Roman Catholics around the world are expected to tune in for the Vatican’s annual Good Friday Mass, a central event on their Easter season calendars. A live stream of Pope Francis’ service will be available online at the Vatican’s YouTube page, and it can also be heard via Catholic TV, Vatican Radio and the Vatican Television Center.
Good Friday Mass is scheduled in Saint Peter’s Basilica at 5 p.m. local time (11 a.m. EDT). Around 9:15 p.m. local time (3:15 p.m. EDT), the annual Stations of the Cross ritual is slated to take place near Rome’s Colosseum, a tradition dating back to the 18th century and involving the carrying of a huge cross lighted by torches.
Pope Francis began the Christian Easter holiday Thursday morning with the Mass of the Chrism, a solemn service commemorating Holy Thursday, also called Maundy Thursday, which Christians believe corresponds with the day of Jesus’ Last Supper. Some 10,000 people packed into St. Peter’s Basilica for the service, according to GMA News Online.
“The tiredness of priests! Do you know how often I think about this weariness which all of you experience?” Francis told the congregation. “I think about it and I pray about it, often, especially when I am tired myself. I pray for you as you labor amid the people of God entrusted to your care, many of you in lonely and dangerous places.” The pope spent part of Thursday at a prison in Rome where he washed the feet of 12 inmates, a symbolic gesture of humility mirroring Jesus’ washing of his apostles’ feet on the Thursday before his crucifixion.
The Friday before Easter is the day Christians commemorate the betrayal of Jesus by Judas, his trial and crucifixion as recalled in the biblical gospels. Good Friday church services typically involve retelling the events that led to Jesus’ crucifixion, called the Passion story.