Pope Francis breaks tradition

Pope Francis waves as he leaves at the end of his weekly general audience, in St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Wednesday, May 29, 2013. The rain hasn't stopped Pope Francis. The 76-year-old pontiff, who lost part of a lung during his youth to an infection, got soaked Wednesday as he braved a brief spring shower to kiss babies and greet crowds at his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square. Zooming around the piazza in his open-air jeep, Francis had no umbrella or cover over him as he made his way through a sea of brightly colored umbrellas, happily stopping to caress and kiss babies handed up to him. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
Pope Francis waves as he leaves at the end of his weekly general audience, in St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Wednesday, May 29, 2013. The rain hasn't stopped Pope Francis. The 76-year-old pontiff, who lost part of a lung during his youth to an infection, got soaked Wednesday as he braved a brief spring shower to kiss babies and greet crowds at his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square. Zooming around the piazza in his open-air jeep, Francis had no umbrella or cover over him as he made his way through a sea of brightly colored umbrellas, happily stopping to caress and kiss babies handed up to him. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

ROME (AP) – Pope Francis has again broken with the practice of his predecessors, walking the full length of an annual 1 mile-long procession from one Roman basilica to another.

The 76-year-old Francis, who walks with a slight limp because of apparent lower back pain, paused several times in prayer during the 45-minute nighttime walk between St. John Lateran and St. Mary Major.

Thousands of pilgrims holding candles lined the route on a chilly spring evening.

During his nearly eight-year pontificate, Pope Benedict XVI would make the annual Corpus Domini procession riding on a specially outfitted flat-top pickup truck, kneeling in prayer. Pope John Paul II did the same in his final years.

On Thursday, two priests knelt on the truck in prayer before the Eucharist while Francis walked behind them.

blog comments powered by Disqus