Pope preferred to cancel one of his planned events due to slight indisposition, the Vatican said on Thursday. However, the pontiff is carrying out the rest of his schedule in his residence.
Pontiff’s health is good but the 83-year-old pope preferred to stay inside Santa Marta, his Rome residence instead of going to the Basilica of St. John’s in Lateran on Thursday morning.
The head of the Roman Catholic Church appeared to have a cold and spoke with a slightly hoarse voice at his general audience on Wednesday but appeared better in the afternoon at an Ash Wednesday service. Papal office reassured that other his commitments will be done according to the schedule.
“All other commitments will go ahead regularly,” spokesman Matteo Bruni said.
Under restriction over coronavirus, some Lent Ash Wednesday services were cancelled or limited in areas of northern Italy. Since last week, the region hit by the spread of Covid-19 originated in China.
More than 400 people have contracted the disease and 12 have died of it in Italy, in the worst contagion from the coronavirus so far recorded in Europe.
A number of people wore masks in St. Peter’s Square at the Wednesday audience but only one person was seen wearing one at the pope’s Ash Wednesday service.
During the traditional Ash mass, Pope Francis went on to describe ashes as a reminder of the direction of our existence: “a passage from dust to life.”
But if we allow ourselves “to be shaped by the hands of God, we become something wonderous.” Lent, he said, is a time of grace during which we can change our lives by letting God gaze upon us with love.