St. Peter’s Basilica. / feliks/Shutterstock.
Vatican City, Mar 9, 2023 / 11:00 am (CNA).
St. Peter’s Basilica will now host an hour of Eucharistic adoration on its front portico once a month.
Beginning March 14, adoration will take place every second Tuesday from 8-9 p.m. on the parvise in front of the Vatican basilica leading to St. Peter’s Square.
The holy hour, according to a press release, is part of the pastoral initiatives of the basilica.
The March 14 adoration will be led by Cardinal Mauro Gambetti, OFM Conv., who is the archpriest of St. Peter’s Basilica. The prayer will be offered for Pope Francis in light of his 10th anniversary as pope.
St. Peter’s Basilica is typically open every day from 7 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. in the winter or 7 p.m. in the summer.
The Eucharist is also exposed in St. Peter’s Basilica for adoration in the Chapel of the Most Blessed Sacrament from approximately 9 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
A monthly Eucharistic holy hour in front of St. Peter’s Basilica is added to other initiatives started by Cardinal Gambetti after he was appointed archpriest in February 2021.
In October 2022, the facade of St. Peter’s Basilica was illuminated with a 3-D projection mapping of art from the Vatican Museums. The eight-minute light show, called “Follow Me: The Life of St. Peter,” played every night for two weeks.
Last year the Vatican also held the Stations of the Cross in the basilica every Friday during Lent. The prayer was accompanied by paintings of the Passion of Christ by the Italian artist Gaetano Previati (1852-1920).
During his tenure, Gambetti also enacted a ban on the celebration of private Masses at the altars in the upper part of St. Peter’s Basilica.
Though early morning Masses by groups “with particular and legitimate needs” may be allowed, in general, private Masses can now only be celebrated in the chapels in the Vatican crypt. Visitors to the basilica may also participate in regularly scheduled Italian language Masses in the basilica and priests may concelebrate.
The change was criticized by Cardinals Joseph Zen, Robert Sarah, Raymond Burke, Gerhard Müller, and Walter Brandmüller.
Pope Francis also led Eucharistic adoration and gave an extraordinary Urbi et Orbi blessing on the portico of St. Peter’s Basilica on March 27, 2020, to pray for an end to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The televised prayer took place before an empty square since Italy’s lockdown prevented attendance.