NewsPope Francis skips Palm Sunday homily, prays for peace amid health concerns

Pope Francis skips Palm Sunday homily, prays for peace amid health concerns

Francis did not deliver a homily.
Francis did not deliver a homily.
Images source: © PAP | Stefano Spaziani

3:44 PM EDT, March 25, 2024

An unusual situation unfolded during the Palm Sunday Mass at the Vatican as Pope Francis chose not to deliver the homily, a decision reportedly linked to his ongoing health issues.

About 30,000 attendees gathered in St. Peter's Square for the Mass, which marks Jesus' entry into Jerusalem, starting with a procession of olive branches and palms.

From the onset of the liturgy, it was evident that Pope Francis was speaking in a subdued tone. He only managed to read parts of the Mass before opting out of the prepared homily entirely.

Despite this, after the Mass, Francis proceeded to give his weekly Sunday address for the Angelus and impart his blessing.

The Pope prays for the victims of the attack in Russia

In his address before the concluding prayer of the Angelus, to an audience exceeding 30,000, Pope Francis expressed, "I assure my prayers for the victims of the despicable terrorist attack that occurred the night before last in Moscow. May the Lord welcome them into His peace and offer consolation to their families."

"And may He transform the hearts of those who (...) plan and execute these cruel acts, disrespecting God's commandment: thou shalt not kill," Francis emphasized.

He also urged the gathered faithful to pray for everyone affected by war. "In particular, my thoughts go to the suffering people of Ukraine, many of whom are living without electricity due to severe attacks on infrastructure. This not only causes death and suffering but also raises the threat of an even greater humanitarian disaster," he said.

"Please, let's not forget about Ukraine in turmoil. And let's also remember Gaza, which is enduring severe hardship, along with many other places engaged in war," the pope appealed.

Following the Mass, he took the time to mingle with the attendees and offer his greetings.

The health of the pope

On February 24, the Vatican disclosed that the 87-year-old Pope is battling "mild flu symptoms." Francis himself revealed in a subsequent audience that he has bronchitis. He also underwent hospital tests to eliminate the possibility of lung complications.

There is growing concern among the faithful about the Pope's health, particularly as this marks another instance of respiratory issues in recent months.

The Pope's health struggles gained prominence toward the end of February when, citing a "mild flu condition," the Holy See announced the cancellation of the pope's scheduled audiences.

Source: PAP

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