Pope Francis offered the Holy Week reflection in his first general audience after being released from Gemelli Hospital, where he was being treated for bronchitis.
At the end of the Wednesday audience, Pope Francis appealed for peace in Ukraine and asked people to pray for victims of war during Holy Week.
“In this Holy Week of Christ's Passion, commemorating His unjust death, I remember in a special way all the victims of war crimes, and as I call for prayers for them, let us raise a supplication to God that the hearts of all may be converted,” he said.
“And as I look at Mary, Our Lady, before the Cross my thoughts go to the mothers: to the mothers of the Ukrainian and Russian soldiers who have fallen in the war. They are mothers of dead sons. Let us pray for these mothers.”
Despite last week’s sickness and hospitalization, Pope Francis is scheduled to preside over an intense schedule of Holy Week liturgies and services.
On Holy Thursday, the pope will preside over a Chrism Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica at 9:30 a.m. in the presence of cardinals, bishops, and priests living in Rome.
In the evening, the pope will offer Mass at the juvenile detention center "Casal del Marmo," the same detention center where he offered Holy Thursday Mass in 2013, shortly after his election.
On Good Friday, Pope Francis will preside over a celebration for the Passion of the Lord in St. Peter’s Basilica followed by the Stations of the Cross devotion at the Colosseum at night.
On Holy Saturday, Pope Francis is set to preside over the Easter Vigil Mass, “the greatest and most noble of all solemnities,” according to the Roman Missal.
Pope Francis will also preside over Mass on Easter Sunday morning and deliver the annual Easter urbi et orbi blessing from the central balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica.
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Papal liturgies during Holy Week will be broadcast live on EWTN and on YouTube.