Cold weather forces Pope Francis to miss Way of the Cross for first time


April 7 (UPI) — Cold weather is forcing Pope Francis to miss the Way of the Cross Friday night in Rome, the Vatican Press Office confirmed in an afternoon statement.

The pope will instead follow along with the traditional celebration from his private residence, Vatican News reported.


“Due to the intense cold of these days, Pope Francis will follow tonight’s Way of the Cross from Casa Santa Marta,” the report stated, citing officials at the papal residence.

Pope Francis will join “the prayer of those who gather with the Diocese of Rome, at the Colosseum,” according to the statement.

The temperature in Rome hovered around 57 degrees F Friday evening, with the chance of dropping to 49 degrees overnight.

The Way of the Cross celebration takes place at the famed Colosseum in Rome. This will mark the first time since he was elected leader of the Roman Catholic church in 2013 that Pope Francis will miss the event.

Pope Francis presided over mass in the Vatican Thursday and later traveled into Rome to perform a ritual, washing and drying the feet of 12 residents of a juvenile prison.


Friday’s news comes just days after Pope Francis was released from a hospital in Rome after being treated for bronchitis for three days.

The 86-year-old on Thursday thanked more than 1,880 priests, bishops and cardinals during mass at the Vatican. The pontiff thanked priests around the world for the “good that you do,” warning them against bitterness.

Pope Francis took part in earlier Easter-related festivities, performing Palm Sunday Mass in St. Peter’s Square before an estimated 60,000 people last weekend. That came just one day after he was released from the hospital.