The Palm Sunday Mass with tens of thousands of young people on-hand in St. Peter's Square marks the beginning of a high intensity week for the Pope, who will be participating at all the ceremonies of Holy Week.
On Holy Thursday at the Vatican, the Pope will celebrate the Chrism Mass with priests from the diocese of Rome with the blessing of the oils to be used in the administration of the sacraments.
In the afternoon he will visit a refugee center to mark the beginning of the Easter Triduum. There he will celebrate Mass to commemorate the institution of the Eucharist and the priesthood. During the celebration he will wash the feet of twelve of those present.
On Good Friday in Saint Peter’s Basilica the Pope will lead the Celebration of the Lord’s Passion, which includes a moment where he lies prostrate in prayer as a sign of penance. At this ceremony the preacher of the Papal Household gives the homily, he’s Capuchin Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa.
Later in the evening, the Pope heads to the Colosseum to lead the Way of the Cross, which this year features meditations written by Cardinal Gualtiero Bassetti, Archbishop of Perugia.
On Holy Saturday, Pope Francis will preside over the Easter Vigil, celebrating the Resurrection of Christ. The liturgy will also include the celebration of the Sacraments of Initiation for several adults receiving Baptism, Confirmation and the Holy Eucharist.
On Easter Sunday morning, the Pope will celebrate Mass in St. Peter's Square, and shortly afterwards at 12 noon Rome time deliver his Easter message and impart his Urbi et Orbi blessing (to the city and the world) from the central balcony of the Basilica.
And with that blessing he officially concludes one of the most intense papal liturgical calendars of the year.