VATICAN CITY VATICAN CITY Pope Francis attended but did not preside over the Easter Vigil in St. Peter’s Basilica on Saturday night, likely due to recurring leg pains that have caused him to stop certain activities.
Italian Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re replaced the pope as the principal celebrant for the event that was accompanied by a procession with complete darkness along the central aisle of the world’s largest church.
The pope was sitting in front of the basilica , in an enormous white chair to the side , and seemed to be in a state of alert. The Vatican announced that he would give the homily in the following part of the Mass.
The pope of 85 is suffering from sciatica, which results in pain in one leg and can cause a severe limp. Recently, Francis also had an increase in discomfort on his left knee.
The problem appears to change over time.
He had to restrict certain movements during an excursion to Malta at the beginning of April, but the following Friday, he felt well enough to stroll the entire aisle at both the beginning and at the conclusion of a Good Friday service at the basilica.