Pope Francis' liturgical schedule from now until Easter has been released — and it includes the creation of new cardinals and a daylong pastoral visit to Italian cities of Naples and Pompeii. In February, Pope Francis will kick-off the month by celebrating a special Mass on the second commemorating the feast of the Presentation of the Lord as well as the 19th World Day of Consecrated Life. The Mass, which will take place inside St. Peter's Basilica at 5:30 p.m., will be held specifically for the members of Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life in honor of the Year for Consecrated Life declared by Pope Francis. On Sunday, Feb. 8, Pope Francis will make a 4 p.m. pastoral visit to the Roman parish St. Michael the Archangel in Pietralata, where he will most likely celebrate Mass. The next weekend, on Saturday, Feb. 14, the Pope will hold an 11 a.m. ordinary public consistory for the creation of 20 new cardinals and for several causes of canonization inside St. Peter's Basilica. The next day, Feb. 15, he will celebrate Mass with the newly-created cardinals in the basilica at 10 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 18, marks Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent. Pope Francis will celebrate the day with a 4:30 p.m. penitential procession from the Roman Basilica of St. Anselm to the Basilica of St. Sabina, where he will celebrate Mass at 5 p.m. and distribute ashes. The first Sunday of Lent, Feb. 22, Pope Francis and the Roman Curia will begin five days of spiritual exercises in the Italian city of Ariccia. The exercises will conclude that Friday, Feb. 27. Pope Francis will begin the month of March with a 4 p.m. pastoral visit to the Roman Parish of Holy Mary Mother of the Redeemer on the eighth, which also marks the third Sunday of Lent. On Friday, March 13, Pope Francis will hold a penitential liturgy in St. Peter's Basilica at 5 p.m., and a week later will make his daytrip to the Italian cities of Naples and Pompeii, which lay roughly 225 kilometers south of Rome. Naples is the third-largest municipality in Italy after Rome and Milan, and is also the capital of the Italian region Campania. The Pope will bring the month of March to a close by celebrating Palm Sunday Mass on the 29th at 9:30 a.m. in St. Peter's Square. The celebration will also include a procession and the blessing of the palms. April 2, Holy Thursday, begins the Easter Triduum — the three days leading up to the Easter Vigil celebrating Christ’s resurrection. Pope Francis will mark the start of the Easter Triduum on Holy Thursday with a Chrism Mass at 9:30 a.m. inside St. Peter's Basilica, during which all of the holy oils used in the administration of the sacraments for the next year are blessed. On April 3, Good Friday, the Pope will preside over a liturgy commemorating the Passion of Jesus at 5 p.m. inside St. Peter's Basilica. Later that day, at 9:15 p.m., he will lead faithful in the Stations of the Cross at Rome’s Colosseum. The next day, Holy Saturday, the pontiff will preside over the Easter Vigil inside St. Peter's Basilica at 8:30 p.m. On April 4, Easter morning, he will give the traditional “Urbi et Orbi” blessing at 12 p.m., which goes out to Rome and to the whole world. Pope Francis' scheduled, public April liturgies will conclude on the 12th with the celebration of Mass for Divine Mercy Sunday at 10 a.m. in St. Peter’s Basilica. The Mass will be celebrated particularly for faithful of the Armenian rite.
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