Easter is, without doubt, the most important event in the Catholic calendar. The feast is not fixed and the date is different every year. In 2017 Easter Sunday will be on April 16th, and in 2018 on April 1st.
If you are planning to be in Rome during Easter period, you can decide to join one of the most touching ceremonies of the year with the Holy Father.
Here is the complete calendar of the events presided over by the Pope, and all His activities on April 2017.
The major events of the Holy Week, where you can see the Holy father, are:
Palm Sunday (April 9th):
- Blessing of the Palms, Procession and Holy Mass – Saint Peter’s Square, 9:30am.
- Angelus at noon – Saint Peter’s Square.
This is the Sunday before Easter, that commemorate the triumphant return of Jesus Christ to Jerusalem. Before the Holy Mass there will be the Blessing of the Palms and a Procession. Usually devotees bring home blessed olive and palm sprigs, as symbols of peace.
Holy Thursday (April 13th):
- Chrism Mass – Vatican Basilica, 9:30am.
Blessing of the holy oils in Saint Peter’s Basilica during a special Mass.
Good Friday (April 14th):
- Celebration of Lord’s Passion – Vatican Basilica, 5:00pm.
- Stations of the Cross – Colosseum, 9:15pm.
The Service of the morning is not a complete Mass, as a sign of mourning over Christ’s death. It is called the Mass of the Presanctified because Communion that is given to the people, had already been consecrated on Holy Thursday.
In the evening the Pope leads the procession of the Via Crucis, that commemorates the stages of Christ’s Passion. A huge cross with burning torches lights the sky as the Stations of the Cross are described in several languages. At the end, the Holy Father gives a blessing. This is the most moving and popular Easter event.
Easter Saturday (April 15th):
- Easter Vigil in the Holy Night, Resurrection of the Lord – Vatican Basilica, 8:30pm.
The Pope usually celebrates this Mass in the late evening in Saint Peter’s Basilica. During this service adult converted to Catholicism are officially received into the Church.
Easter Sunday (April 16th):
- Mass of the Day, Resurrection of the Lord – Saint Peter’s Square, 10:15am.
- Urbi and Orbi blessing – Saint Peter’s Square, 12.00pm.
This Mass will be the most followed and crowded one. After the Mass, at noon, the Pope delivers the blessing known as Urbi et Orbi (to the City and to the World) from the central loggia of the Vatican Basilica.
Other than these major events, Pope Francis will hold the General Audiences on Wednesdays at 10.00 am, and the Angelus on Sundays and Monday 17th (Easter Monday) at noon.
How to participate
No tickets are required for the Angelus and for the Way of the Cross at the Coliseum. For all the other celebrations, and for the General Audiences, you’ll have to reserve tickets in advance.
To reserve tickets, you can contact the Chancery offices of your local diocese, advisable if you’ll be with a large group, or consult the web site of the Prefecture of the Papal Household, where you can find the request form, and the fax number and mail address.
Tickets must be collected in the days before the event, at the ticket office in Saint Peter’s Square.
The tickets are free of charge, but capacity is limited, so they run out quickly. Consider also that a ticket does not guarantee a seat or even a place: seating and space are given on a first-come, first-serve basis, so you should plan to get there as early as possible. However, even without a ticket attend at the events is possible, without a seat and not very near to where the Pope is.
If you need any assistance to participate to Easter celebrations, contact us: we can pick up your tickets and bring them at your hotel, provide private transportation to the Vatican, from your hotel or your ship, and back, in total comfort and safety!