Cold weather prevents Pope Francis from attending Way of Cross at Colosseum, Vatican says

Pope Francis washing the feet of an inmate in the Holy Thursday ceremony

 VATICAN CITY -- Pope Francis will not attend the traditional Good Friday open air Way of the Cross service and procession at the Colosseum due to cold weather in the Eternal City, the Vatican press office said Friday.

 "Because of the intense cold in these days, Pope Francis will follow the Via Crucis this evening from the Casa Santa Marta, joining in the prayer of those who gather with the diocese of Rome at the Colosseum," the Vatican press office said in a brief statement.

  The 86-year-old pontiff was discharged from the Gemelli Hospital last Saturday after spending four days there following his being taken ill at a weekly audience. He was diagnosed with infectious bronchitis.

 Francis presided over the long Palm Sunday Mass in St Peter's Square last week and after resuming his normal diplomatic and pastoral work in the Vatican then on Easter Thursday travelled to a juvenile prison at Casal di Marma where he washed the feet of 12 inmates in a ceremony recalling Christ washing the feet of his disciples before being crucified.

 Temperatures have plunged in Rome this week as the Easter week-end begins, evidently raising concerns of the pope's medical advisors over possible risk from his attending the long Way of the Cross ceremony.