Pray for him!
Pope Francis will not preside over the traditional end-of-the-year prayer service nor the New Year’s Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica due to “painful sciatica,” the Vatican said.
In a statement published Dec. 31, Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said that instead, Cardinal Giovanni Batista Re, dean of the College of Cardinals, will preside over the evening prayer and the singing of the “Te Deum” to thank God for the year that is ending.
Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state, will preside over the Jan. 1 Mass for the feast of Mary, Mother of God, and World Peace Day at the Altar of the Chair in St. Peter’s Basilica, he said.
However, Bruni confirmed that “Pope Francis will still lead the recitation of the Angelus from the library of the Apostolic Palace, as scheduled” Jan. 1.
The pope has suffered for several years from sciatica which, according to the Mayo Clinic, can cause sharp pain that radiates along the path of the sciatic nerve, which branches from the lower back through the hips and down each leg.
Pope Francis has spoken in the past about the physical pain he suffers due to the condition.