The Pope is always very busy during Easter time, and there are many occasions to take part at the most moving and exciting events of the Catholic calendar.
This year Easter is Sunday, April 21st, and the first big Catholic Mass with Pope Francis in Saint Peter’s Square is on Palm Sunday, at the beginning of the Holy Week, on April 14th.
This is the complete program of Pope Francis calendar on the Holy Week 2019.
The first big Catholic event is the Mass on Palm Sunday (April 14th), the Sunday before Easter, that commemorates the triumphant return of Jesus Christ to Jerusalem. The Pope presides over the Blessing of the Palms, the Procession, and the Holy Mass, starting at 9.30am in Saint Peter’s Square. You’ll need tickets to assist at the event.
At noon of the same day, the Pope celebrates the Angelus, as on every Sunday, from the window of his study overlooking Saint Peter’s Square, with a short speech followed by the Apostolic Blessing. No tickets are required.
On April 18th, Holy Thursday begins the Holy Triduum (that means three days, in Latin), with the commemoration of the Last Supper of Jesus Christ and His institution of the priesthood.
The Chrism Mass in Saint Peter’s Basilica begins at 9.30am (tickets required).
On this day Christ washed the feet of his Disciples, who would become the first priests. Echoing the story of Christ, the Pope chooses the most marginalized groups of society for this special ritual.
The Mass of the Lord’s Supper begins at 4.30pm at Velletri Correctional Facility, in Rome.
Good Friday, April 19th, is one of the holiest days of the year, commemorating the Passion of the Lord. Pope Francis leads a service at the Vatican Basilica at 5.00pm for the highest officers of the church, including cardinals and bishops (tickets required).
The main event on Good Friday though, is the Way of the Cross, at 9.15pm in the evening, at the Colosseum (no tickets required).
The Way of the Cross, or Via Crucis, sees Pope Francis lead a torchlit procession from the Colosseum to the Palatine Hill, stopping at the 14 Stations of the Cross along the way, commemorating the stages of Christ’s Passion, while a cross flames against the sky.
At the end of the Via Crucis, the Pope says a few words to the faithful and passes his blessing on the crowds. This is definitely one of the most dramatic and popular event of the Holy Week.
On Holy Saturday, April 20th, Pope Francis celebrates the Easter Vigil Mass in the Holy Night of Easter, at 8.30pm in Saint Peter’s Basilica (tickets required). A service waiting for the Resurrection of the Lord, balanced between mourning and hope. The Pope blesses the ‘new fire’ in the atrium of Saint Peter’s Basilica and carries the Easter candle.
At 10am on Easter Sunday, April 21st, Pope Francis celebrates the Holy Mass in Saint Peter’s Square, where the faithful gather under his window (tickets required).
At the end of the Mass, at noon, he imparts the Urbi et Orbi (to the city and to the world) benediction (no tickets required).
Easter Monday, April 22nd, marks the culmination of the Holy Week. The Italian term for Easter Monday is Pasquetta, literally little Easter, and it’s a national holiday, usually spent amongst friends, with a day trip, an excursion, or a pic nic.
Pope Francis celebrates the Regina Coeli at noon in Saint Peter’s Square (in the place of the Angelus), a prayer to the Virgin Mary, Queen of heavens (no tickets required).
Other than these major events, Pope Francis holds the General Audiences on Wednesdays at 9.30 am.
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, or consult the web site of the Prefecture of the Papal Household where you can find all the details.
However, if you decide to take part to one of these event at the last moment, even without a ticket attend is possible, without a seat and not very near to where the Pope is, but it would be equally moving and exciting, definitely one in a life time experience.