Pope Francis won’t preside at Corpus Christi Mass and procession due to knee pain

Pope Francis Celebrates Corpus Christi in Ostia June 3 2018 Credit Daniel Ibanez CNA CNA Pope Francis celebrates the Feast of Corpus Christi in Ostia June 3, 2018. | Daniel Ibanez/CNA

Pope Francis will not preside at a Mass and procession on the feast of Corpus Christi, the Vatican announced on Monday.

The Holy See press office said on June 13 that the decision was taken “due to the limitations imposed on the pope by gonalgia,” or knee pain, “and the specific liturgical needs of the celebration.”

The announcement came the day after the 85-year-old-pope apologized for having to postpone a scheduled trip to Africa in July because of his knee problem.

Speaking after the Angelus on June 12, he promised to reschedule the visit to the Democratic Republic of the Congo and South Sudan “as soon as possible.”

The 85-year-old pope has been suffering from an inflamed ligament in his knee, limiting his ability to walk. He has been using a wheelchair during public appearances since last month.

From 2013 to 2017, Pope Francis followed the custom established by Pope John Paul II of marking the Solemnity of Corpus Christi by celebrating a Mass at the Archbasilica of St. John Lateran and then leading a Eucharistic procession to the Basilica of St. Mary Major.

In 2018, he celebrated the solemnity in Ostia, a district of Rome, and in the following year, he presided at Corpus Christi Mass and procession in Rome’s Casal Bertone neighborhood.

In 2020 and 2021, he marked the solemnity with a Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica, but without a procession due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Corpus Christi, which dates back to the 13th century, traditionally falls on the Thursday following Trinity Sunday, but is transfered to the Sunday in many parts of the Catholic world.

The Vatican announced later on June 13 that Cardinal Mauro Gambetti, the archpriest of St. Peter’s Basilica, will celebrate Corpus Christi Mass in the basilica on Thursday, June 16. The Mass will be accompanied by a procession and Benediction.

The pope is still scheduled to visit Canada on July 24-29.

This report was updated at 07:23 a.m. with information about the Corpus Christi Mass due to be celebrated in St. Peter’s Basilica by Cardinal Gambetti.

Our mission is the truth. Join us!

Your monthly donation will help our team continue reporting the truth, with fairness, integrity, and fidelity to Jesus Christ and his Church.