by Margaux Salcedo, Clyde Ericson Nolasco
For the first time, Pope Francis will not lead the Vatican's New Year's Eve and New Year's Day celebrations due to sciatica pain.
The Vatican announced this in a statement on Thursday.
In a statement, the Holy See Press Office announced that Pope Francis will not preside over end of the year Vespers and the solemn chanting of the Te Deum this evening, 31 December, in St. Peter’s Basilica, or at the Holy Mass for the Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God on 1 January, due to “painful sciatica.”
Pope Francis first revealed he had sciatica (herniation of spinal disk) in 2013.
"Sciatica is very painful, very painful! I don't wish it on anyone!," Pope Francis explained to the press during an inflight press conference while on a visit to Brazil.
He shared that his worst experience was an attack of sciatica on his first month as Pope. "The worst thing that happened... was an attack of sciatica -- really! -- that I had the first month, because I was sitting in an armchair to do interviews and it hurt.”
The Vatican later confirmed the Pope underwent treatment, including massages and injections twice a week to reduce the leg pain.
The Pope will be replaced by Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, Dean of the College of Cardinals, for Thursday afternoon's year-end Vespers service and Mass on New Year's Day will be celebrated by Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin.