There are many significant festivals that take place during Holy Week in Rome and attending one of the many masses offered by Pope Francis between Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday is a unique experience.
Most of the festivities take place in the Vatican City, inside the Basilica of Saint Peter or in the Plaza de San Pedro. Also the celebrations take place in other churches of Rome, and in Basilicas of the capital.
Therefore, we offer you the events and dates to celebrate Easter in Rome:
Holy Week begins on Palm Sunday at the Vatican, which celebrates the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. The Mass is offered by the Pope and ends with the “Angelus” which happens at 12:00 noon from the window of the Pope’s study in the Vatican Apostolic Palace. Admission is free, but you must book in advance.
On Holy Thursday, the Pope offers a Mass called “the Mass of Chrism” in the Basilica of St. Peter at 9:30 a.m. At this Mass the Pope blesses the Holy Oils, which are used in the sacraments throughout the year and which are then given to priests and ministers to take back to their parishes.
In the afternoon at 5:30 p.m., the Mass of the Lord’s Supper is celebrated, where the last supper of Jesus with the disciples is remembered, followed by the rite of “Washing of the Feet” where the Pope washes the feet of twelve people and they represent the twelve disciples. Admission to the two celebrations is free but a reservation is required.
During this day, masses are not celebrated until the Easter Vigil. At 21:15 the “Via Crucis” guided by the pope takes place, where the path that Jesus suffered until his crucifixion is reconstructed and commemorated. The procession takes place from inside the Colosseum and ends in the Colinas del Palatino. It is not necessary to make a reservation to participate in the Via Crucis.
On this day, just like Good Friday, masses are not celebrated until the night. This day you can see the Roman churches in a totally different way than normal as none of them will be lit with lights or candles, you can also see the tomb adorned with flowers and arrangements. This symbolises the waiting of the announcement of the resurrection of Jesus.
At 8:30 p.m., the Vigil Mass is celebrated where the natural elements are blessed by the Pope in the Plaza de San Pedro. Admission is free but a reservation is required.
On this day the most crowded mass in the world is celebrated, where the Pope looks out on his balcony that overlooks St. Peter’s Square at 10:15 am and at the end of the Mass he offers the famous “Urbi et Orbi”, which is the blessing of the Pontiff for the city and for the world, which is scheduled for 12:00 noon.
All the Holy Week events in Rome are completely free, but the tickets are difficult to get, so it is better to go to the Episcopal chapel and ask for them, or you can also visit the official website of the Vatican or fill out the form and send it by fax.
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