Pope cancels Florence visit and Ash Wednesday Mass
By Vatican News staff writer
The Holy See Press Office on Friday said that due to acute knee pain, Pope Francis will no longer be able to make a visit to Florence, which had been scheduled for Sunday, 27 February.
In addition, the Pope will also not preside at the upcoming Ash Wednesday, 2 March celebrations.
“Due to acute gonalgia, for which his doctor has prescribed a period of more rest for his leg, Pope Francis will not be able to travel to Florence on Sunday, Feb. 27, or preside over Ash Wednesday celebrations on March 2,” the Holy See press office said in a statement on 25 February.
Pope Francis had been scheduled to make a trip to the Tuscan capital on Sunday for the last day of the “Mediterranean, Frontier of Peace” meeting, taking place from 23 – 27 February, which gathers Bishops and Mayors of major cities of the Mediterranean.
The Pope's closeness
In a statement, President of the Italian Bishops' Conference, Cardinal Gualtiero Bassetti, highlighted how much the Pope cares for the ongoing meeting. "Since the beginning," the Cardinal said, "we have shared with [the Pope] this important project towards which he has always expressed words of support and encouragement to continue on the path marked out."
Cardinal Bassetti assures of the prayers of all and notes that "the Holy Father accompanies us in this process of listening, mutual knowledge, spirituality, fraternity and peace." On Sunday, he continued, "we will all be spiritually united; we will pray together for peace, with our thoughts turned toward Ukraine."