Pope Francis is suffering from painful sciatica; this is back pain caused by a problem with the sciatic nerve. Because of this, he will not be able to participate in the year-end prayer service on Thursday evening in St Peter’s Basilica.
The 84-year-old Pope will also miss Mass on New Year’s Day in the Basilica for the same reason. This is according to a Vatican spokesman.
But even though he is in pain, Pope Francis still will deliver his scheduled New Year’s blessing during an appearance at noon on Friday in the library of the Apostolic Palace.
To discourage crowds in St Peter’s Square during a COVID-19 surge in Italy, Francis lately has moved his weekly and holiday blessing appearances to inside the Vatican.
This has been instead of greeting faithful from a palace window overlooking the square.