After celebrating Mass on the Feast of Corpus Christi, Thursday evening, in front of the main entrance to the Basilica of St. John Lateran, Pope Francis is to travel by car to the Basilica of Saint Mary Major where he will await the arrival of the Blessed Sacrament.

A brief communiqué released by Vatican Press Office Director, Father Federico Lombardi SJ, explained that the Pope will not lead the traditional Corpus Christi procession between the two Basilicas, but will be in the Square in front of Saint Mary Major at the conclusion of the procession to impart the solemn Eucharistic Blessing.

Lombardi explained that Pope Francis’s decision to not walk in the procession comes in the run-up to an intense weekend schedule which includes an Apostolic Journey to the southern Italian town of Cassano all’Jonio on Saturday.

Another reason for the decision – he said – is because the Pope does not want to be at the center of attention during the procession, a moment in which the faithful must concentrate solely on the Blessed Sacrament.

There is never a reason to lose hope. Jesus says: “I am with you until the end of the world”

–Pope Francis

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