Pope Francis will not preside at a Mass and procession on the feast of Corpus Christi, the Vatican announced on Monday.
The Holy See press office said on June 13 that the decision was taken “due to the limitations imposed on the pope by gonalgia,” or knee pain, “and the specific liturgical needs of the celebration.”
The announcement came the day after the 85-year-old-pope apologized for having to postpone a scheduled trip to Africa in July because of his knee problem.
Speaking after the Angelus on June 12, he promised to reschedule the visit to the Democractic Repubilc of the Congo and South Sudan “as soon as possible.”
The 85-year-old pope has been suffering from an inflamed ligament in his knee, limiting his ability to walk. He has been using a wheelchair during public appearances since last month.
Pope Francis was planning to spend July 2-5 in the Congolese cities of Kinshasa and Goma, and July 5-7 in the South Sudanese capital Juba. The Vatican announced June 10 that due to treatment for his knee pain, the trip had to be put off.
Pope Francis addressed the postponement in remarks after his daily Angelus reflection for pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square on June 12 for Trinity Sunday.
“And now I would like to address the people and authorities of the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan,” he began.
“Dear friends, with great regret, due to problems with my leg, I have had to postpone my visit to your countries, planned for the first days of July. I truly feel great sorrow for having had to postpone this trip, which means so much to me. I apologize for this,” he said.
“Let us pray together that, with the help of God and medical attention, I will be able to be with you as soon as possible. Let us be hopeful!” the pope concluded.
Pope Francis is still scheduled to visit Canada on July 24-29.