Amid questions about his health, Pope Francis leads Easter Vigil service

On Saturday, Pope Francis participated in the Easter Vigil service at the Vatican, following the last-minute cancellation of his appearance at a major Good Friday procession. The 87-year-old pontiff arrived at Saint Peter’s Basilica in front of thousands of pilgrims from around the world, clad in white and in a wheelchair. Despite concerns about his Health, the Vatican had confirmed earlier in the day that he would attend the service.

During the Easter Vigil, Francis delivered a homily and baptized eight adults after the symbolic rite of light representing the passage from death to life of Christ. The upcoming Easter Mass and the “Urbi et Orbi” blessing will be broadcast live worldwide on Sunday.

The decision to cancel his appearance at the Stations of the Cross ceremony and the lack of detail in the statement from the Vatican raised doubts about the pope’s health and his ability to continue leading the Catholic Church and its 1.3 billion followers.

While there have been concerns about Pope Francis’ health, a Vatican source reassured that there was no particular concern and that the decision to withdraw was a precautionary measure. The pope had also canceled his participation in a similar event in 2023 due to health reasons, but he has continued to fulfill his duties during Holy Week ceremonies.

Despite recent appearances of fatigue and delegating speaking roles to colleagues, Pope Francis has expressed his commitment to continue serving as long as he is physically able. Although he has left the option open to resign if necessary, he stated in a recent memoir that he does not currently have a serious reason to consider stepping down.

As the Catholic Church prepares to celebrate Easter, all eyes are on Pope Francis as he continues to lead the faithful during this important time in the religious calendar. His dedication and leadership will be closely watched as he navigates his responsibilities in the face of potential health challenges.

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