The newly elected Argentine pope will preside over a mass at St Peter’s Basilica from 1930 GMT, baptizing four adult converts — an Albanian, an Italian, a Russian and a U.S. national.
The ceremony will wrap up a series of intensive preparations leading up to Easter Sunday – the holiest day in the Christian calendar – by the first non-European pope in nearly 1,300 years.
Tens of thousands of people are expected at mass on Sunday when the pope will issue a special blessing from the same balcony of St Peter’s Basilica where he appeared on the night of his election.
Giovanni Maria Vian, editor of the Vatican’s official daily Osservatore Romano said seeing the new pope during Easter helped explain the timing of his predecessor Benedict XVI’s resignation.
“Thanks to the timing chosen for this decision, his successor has managed to make the start of his service as successor of St Peter coincide with this most important celebration,” he wrote.
“It is in these crucial liturgical days that we have heard the strength of the voice of a pope who has come for the first time almost from ‘the ends of the world’ as he himself said,” Vian wrote.
“In all his life as priest and bishop he has always shown a special concern for material and spiritual peripheries,” he said, underlining the pope’s Holy Week message of bringing the troubled Roman Catholic Church closer to the needy.
Francis marked Good Friday with a traditional ceremony at the Colosseum in Rome, presiding over the re-enactment of Jesus Christ’s last hours.
“Christians must respond to evil with good, taking the cross upon themselves as Jesus did,” said Francis, who followed the ceremony from under a canopy overlooking the 2,000-year-old Roman amphitheater.