Pope Francis is ushering in the most solemn period in the Catholic liturgical calendar by celebrating a Holy Thursday Mass.
The Chrism Mass celebrates the unity of priests with their bishops. During Thursday’s service, Francis blessed the holy oils that will be used over the course of the year in the administration of sacraments.
In his homily, Francis stressed that when priests use the oil, they are distributing their vocation and heart to the people of God.
Later Thursday, Francis travels outside Rome to Velletri, where he will celebrate the ritual foot-washing ceremony at a prison. Francis has frequently chosen to wash the feet of prisoners during the Holy Thursday ritual, which re-enacts Christ’s washing the feet of his disciples, in a bid to show his willingness to serve even those on the farthest margins of society.
On Friday, he presides over the Way of the Cross procession at Rome’s Colosseum re-enacting Christ’s crucifixion, followed by the Easter Vigil and Easter Sunday.