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Lent and Celebrating Easter in Vatican City 2024!

Introduction

Easter is the most important week for all Catholics worldwide, and what better way to celebrate than in the holy Vatican City?

The Vatican is the heart of the Catholic Church and the only spot where you can get blessings from the Pope in the Holy Week! 

Visitors planning to join the prayers and events happening at the Vatican during the season of Lent and on Easter Day must know all the details before booking their tickets. 

Read further to discover events held in the Vatican during Easter Week, timings, ticket details, & more! 

Dates for Easter in Vatican 2024

Easter Sunday in the Vatican falls on the 31st of March 2024, after 40 days of Lent and the Holy Week.

The first day of Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and falls on the 14th of February this year.

This period of Lent is an important time for Catholics dedicated to fasting and prayer to imitate the 40 days Jesus spent in the Wilderness in the Bible. 

After Lent, begins the Easter Week or Holy Week, seven important days before the resurrection of Christ. 

In 2024, Holy Thursday falls on the 28th of March, followed by Good Friday on the 29th of March.

As mentioned above, Easter Sunday is on the 31st of March, and the celebration ends on the 19th of May 2024, the Feast of the Pentecost. 

Read further to explore in detail how these important days will be commemorated in Vatican City. 

A Glance at the High Mass Celebration Details for Easter in Vatican 

Visitors traveling to the Vatican City to celebrate and pray during Easter Week might get confused about the Mass spots.

Here is a table that provides mass timings, events for the day, and locations for the Lent season and Easter Week in the Vatican! 

DayEventTimingsLocation
Ash Wednesday (14th February 2024)Papal Audience9 amSt. Peter’s Square
Liturgy 4.30 pmSant’ Anselmo Church
Ash application and Eucharist 5 pmSanta Sabina Basilica
Palm Sunday (24th March 2024)Mass9.30 amSt. Peter’s Square
Maundy Thursday (28th March 2024)Mass9.30 amSt. Peter’s Basilica
Good Friday (29th March 2024)Mass5 pmSt. Peter’s Basilica
Holy Saturday (30th March 2024)Easter Vigil Mass8.30 pmSt. Peter’s Basilica
Easter Sunday (31st March 2024)Mass10 amSt. Peter’s Square
Ubi et Orbi blessing by Pope12 pmSt. Peter’s Basilica
Easter Monday (1st April 2024)Pasquetta sermon12 pmSt. Peter’s Square
Pentecost (19th May 2024) Mass12 pmSt. Peter’s Basilica

First day of Lent: Ash Wednesday 

The Holy Father organizes the events held in the Vatican and brings you closer to God and the people around you.

It all begins with Ash Wednesday, which falls on Valentine’s Day in the year 2024 and offers an excellent opportunity to get blessings from the Pope on this Holy day.

On Ash Wednesday, Catholics apply a cross made of ash on their foreheads, which symbolizes that they were created from dust and will return to dust when they die. 

Ash Wednesday Celebrations in the Vatican

Ash Wednesday Celebrations in the Vatican
Image: Independent.co.uk

Begin your day at the Papal Audience in St. Peter’s Square to learn more about the season of Lent.

The audience begins at 9 am on Ash Wednesday, 2024. 

The Pope will be present during this occasion, and free tickets are given to all visitors for the same.

There are two other main celebrations in the Vatican on Ash Wednesday, headed by the Holy Father himself. 

Copying the famous tradition by Pope John XXII, Pope Francis begins with a prayerful liturgy at 4.30 pm at the Sant’ Anselmo Church.

This church stands close to St. Peter’s Basilica on the Aventine Hill. 

From Sant’ Anselmo, the Pope leads a silent procession to the Santa Sabina Basilica.

He applies ash to the foreheads of all visitors, provides his blessings, and celebrates Holy Mass at this spot. 

Visitors who cannot walk for long hours should arrive at Santa Sabina Basilica at 5 pm and wait for the Pope to reach there. 

You will need tickets to attend this Eucharistic Celebration on Ash Wednesday. 

Check out our article on the Vatican Papal Audience for more information about the tickets! 

Beginning the Holy Week: Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday is an important Sunday, on the 24th of March 2024, celebrating the entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem, close to his birthplace.

He rode on a donkey, and people placed palm leaves at his feet to welcome him and show that he was King.

Palm Sunday Celebration in the Vatican

Palm Sunday Celebration in the Vatican
Image: Vaticannews.va

There is a Mass celebration on Palm Sunday by the Pope at 9.30 am in St. Peter’s Square.

Visitors can collect palm leaves, blessed by the Pope during the mass! 

We recommend you arrive an hour early, as you must get through security before entering the Square.

Be prepared for big crowds and a lot of standing time. 

You will need a ticket to be allowed seating in the Square for the mass on Palm Sunday.

Scroll down to the next section to find more information on booking these tickets! 

Maundy Thursday

Maundy Thursday, also known as Holy Thursday, is the day of the Last Supper, where Jesus had a meal with his disciples for the last time.

This meal was followed by Jesus washing the feet of all his disciples, and from this act came the word ‘Maundy.’

Maundy Thursday Services in the Vatican

Maundy Thursday Services in the Vatican
Image: Seattletimes.com

You can attend Holy Mass by the Pope at 9.30 am in St. Peter’s Basilica Vatican City on Maundy Thursday.

This is the only spot where you can receive blessings from the Pope in Vatican City on 28th March 2024.

You need to have tickets to book seating at St. Peter’s Basilica Church for Maundy Thursday.

Check out the next section to find out how! 

Visitors who miss this mass and are still in Rome can attend a 5.30 pm by the Pope at the Basilica of St. John Lateran. 

You can see the blessing of the holy oils and washing of the feet here. 

Good Friday: Commemorating Jesus’ Crucifixion 

Good Friday is an important day for Catholics, and pilgrims gather from all over the world to pray for the crucifixion of Christ. 

In 2024, Good Friday falls on 29th March and is a sad day of mourning spent in prayer and fasting.

You can see processions happening all over Rome replicating the walk of Jesus to Golgotha before his crucifixion. 

Good Friday Service in the Vatican

Good Friday Service in the Vatican
Image: Theday.com

You can attend High Mass, presided over by Pope Francis, in St. Peter’s Basilica at 5 pm. 

During this Mass, the Passion of Christ will be read out during the sermon, followed by the distribution of the Eucharist. 

This is the only event held in the Vatican City.

If you plan to explore Rome next, we recommend visiting the Colosseum to participate in the Stations of the Cross or Via Crucis at 9.15 pm.   

It is a moving experience, with a glowing cross at the front and passages with the deep meaning being read out by the Pope.

Some public transport to get to the Colosseum from the Vatican are: 

  • Subway– Cipro Station. Get down at the Colosseum 
  • Buses– Line 87 and Line 81 
  • Walking–  4.1 km.

Even foreigners can attend the Stations of the Cross, as translation is provided for everything spoken. 

First-time visitors can take a Vatican City and Colosseum tour on Good Friday, so they can find the place easily and avoid the huge crowds.

Holy Saturday

Holy Saturday is the day just before Easter Sunday and falls on the 30th of March this year.

It was the day Jesus’ body was laid in the Tomb.

Holy Saturday Services in the Vatican 

Holy Saturday Services in the Vatican
Image: Vaticannews.va

Visitors can attend Easter Vigil Mass on 30th March 2024 at St. Peter’s Basilica.

Celebrate the Eucharist and receive blessings from the Pope at 8.30 pm at this holy mass!  

Visitors can also observe the ceremony of adults who have converted to Catholics being welcomed into the Church.

You must book tickets in advance to find seating for this celebration.

Check out the section below for the same. 

Easter Sunday Mass in Vatican: Celebrating the Ressurection

Easter is the biggest celebration for all Catholics, which includes distributing sweets and partying because Christ has risen from the dead.

Easter Sunday falls on the last Sunday, the 31st of March.

It is a public holiday in Italy, and you may find many stores and attractions closed on Easter Sunday. 

But before you begin celebrating with your family and friends, it is important to attend the Holy Mass in the Vatican.

Easter Celebrations in the Vatican

Easter in the Vatican
Image: Usccb.org

You must attend the Easter Mass by the Pope in St. Peter’s Square at 10 am.

We recommend you arrive by 8.30 am to find good seating spots for a clear view of the altar. 

Visitors must get a ticket for seating in the Square on Easter Sunday.

In the afternoon at 12 pm on Easter Sunday, the Pope delivers his world-famous blessing to the public.

Known as the Ubi et Orbi – to the City and the World, the blessing is given at St. Peter’s Basilica. 

You need tickets for the Easter Mass, but this blessing needs no entry ticket! 

Easter Monday – Pasquetta 

Easter Monday is also known as Pasquetta, translating to Little Easter, and most people continue celebrating the rising of Christ from the dead on this day. 

It falls on the day directly after Easter, the 1st of April 2024. 

Most attractions in the Vatican are closed on Easter Monday, and sadly, you cannot visit the Vatican Museum & Sistine Chapel on this day. 

You can visit them on all other days of the Lent season, so check out our article on How to see the Vatican Museum in 2 hours to save time and find information about tickets! 

You can take this Monday to visit parks, like the Villa Borghese in Rome, and other quiet places with your family.

Easter Monday Celebrations in the Vatican 

A Pasquetta sermon or speech by Pope Francis is given in St. Peter’s Square on Easter Monday.

It is at 12 pm noon, and you do not need tickets to attend this public address! 

The End of Easter Season: Pentecost 

The End of Easter Season
Image: Oursundayvisitor.com

The Feast of Pentecost is celebrated seven Sundays after Easter Sunday and is an important day for Catholics.

The Pentecost covers a story of the Disciples hiding in a room where the Spirit of Christ appears to them in the form of fire. 

This Spirit descends on them, giving them to ability to speak in different languages to spread the word of God to the world. 

Pentecost will be on the 19th of May, 2024. 

Pentecost Celebration in the Vatican

Visitors can attend a mass by Pope Francis at 12 pm in St. Peter’s Basilica. 

Since most people travel to Rome to the Pantheon for the main event of the Pentecost, the Basilica of St. Peter’s will be less crowded.

A beautiful mass celebration is held at the Roman Pantheon at 10.30 am, where rose petals are showered on the pilgrims from above during the mass.

It is a unique experience, but you must reach there by 8 am to find seats because of the crowds. 

How to get Tickets for Easter & Lent Week Celebrations?

Visitors planning to attend the Urbi et Orbi do not need tickets for seating at St. Peter’s Square. 

But, visitors who are attending all other celebrations during the Lent season and on Easter Sunday.

To book seating in St. Peter’s Square and St. Peter’s Basilica you must send a letter to the Prefecture of the Papal Household. 

You do not need to pay any money for the tickets. 

The address of the Papal prefecture house is 00120 Vatican City State.

You can also send a fax to +39 06 6988 5863. 

You will only hear back if you are being given a seat.

Visitors who did not receive a response can buy the Papal experience with a Tour Guide ticket for the events happening in St. Peter’s Square. 

If you did not receive any response to your letter you can also try getting a free ticket from outside the Bronze Door of St. Peter’s Basilica from 9 am to 7 pm.

You must collect these tickets 1 to 3 days before the mass. 

We recommend you get your tickets online in advance since the Vatican is the most crowded during the Lent and Easter weeks. 

Check out our article on Visiting the Vatican under Budget to save more money when visiting in Easter! 

Dress Code for Easter in Vatican City

Dress Code for Easter in Vatican City
Image: Parkervillas.com

The churches in the Vatican City follow a strict dress code.

It is important that you stick to this dress code when attending any holy event in the Vatican, or you will be asked to leave, even if you have a ticket.

We recommend you wear modest and semi-formal clothes. 

Dress Code for Women

Women are expected to cover their knees and shoulders when visiting the Vatican.

Dresses and skirts below the knee, long jeans, and trousers are allowed.

Avoid wearing off-the-shoulder tops unless you carry a shawl or scarf to cover your shoulders in the Vatican. 

Dress Code for Men

Shirts and T-shirts with short sleeves are allowed but do not wear ones with bright slogans or prints. 

Do not wear vests or tank tops when visiting the Vatican. 

Long trousers, jeans, and knee-length pants are allowed. 

During the Papal Audience, men are sometimes allowed to wear short pants, but these rules change regularly.

Hats and caps are not allowed inside the Basilica, but you can wear these in St. Peter’s Square.

We recommend you carry sunglasses and sunscreen to protect you from the blazing sun when attending the Easter celebrations at noon. 

Tips to Celebrate Easter in the Vatican!

Here are some helpful tips to consider when visiting the Vatican on Easter for the best experience! 

  • Book your Vatican tickets in advance when planning a trip to the city in the Easter week. 
  • Wear comfortable clothes and shoes, as you will have to stay outdoors for long hours. 
  • Check the dress code before you begin packing for the trip. 
  • You must arrive atleast an hour before any celebration begins. The crowds in the Vatican are huge. It is the only way to get good seats.
  • Carry a water bottle and some small snacks for the trip, especially for families with kids.
  • Do not use flash when taking photographs during any celebration or mass in the Vatican. 
  • Ensure to check the main website of the Vatican in case there are any changes in mass or event timings. 
  • The Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel are closed on Easter Sunday and Monday. You can visit them any day before or after these days. 

FAQs for Easter in Vatican City 2024

1. What are the Easter dates for 2024?

Easter is on 31st March 2024. The season of Lent begins on 14th February 2024 with Ash Wednesday.

The Holy Week starts on the 24th of March, Palm Sunday, and ends on Easter Sunday.

2. Does the Vatican celebrate Easter?

Yes, the holy city of the Vatican celebrates Easter every year. Millions of tourists gather here to pray with the Pope and attend other events. 

3. What is the Easter event in Vatican City?

You can attend a special Easter Sunday Mass at Vatican by Pope Francis at 10 am in St. Peter’s Square.

The mass is followed by an Urbi et Orbi blessing at St. Peter’s Basilica. 

4. What happens in Rome on Easter Monday?

On Easter Monday, 1st April 2024, visitors can attend a Pasquetta sermon by the Pope at St. Peter’s Square at 12 pm. 

5. How strict is the Vatican dress code?

The Vatican dress code demands that your knees and shoulders are covered when entering any church.

You cannot wear hats or caps inside a holy place either. 

6. Do I need tickets for St. Peter’s Basilica on Easter?

No, you do not need tickets to attend the Urbi et Orbi blessing at St. Peter’s Basilica on Easter.

You must have tickets for the St. Peter’s Square mass on this day. 

7. Do trains run on Easter in Italy?

Yes, all public transport runs in Italy on Easter Sunday and Monday, even though it is a public holiday. 

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