Pope Francis to skip New Year's Eve Mass due to sciatic pain

Pope Francis to skip New Year's Eve Mass due to sciatic pain
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Pope FrancisPope FrancisTop Vatican official, aide test positive for COVID-19 NY mayor revises Bronx apartment fire death toll down to 17 Pope sends condolences to victims of 'devastating' Bronx fire MORE will miss the 2021 New Year's Eve and New Year's Day celebrations hosted by the Vatican as a result of chronic sciatic pain, the Holy See said Thursday.

In a statement obtained by CNN, the Vatican announced that Francis would be replaced at Thursday's Vespers service by Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re and at Friday's New Year's Day Mass by Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin. He will continue to lead the Angelus prayer on Friday, according to Vatican officials.

This year's celebrations will be the first that Francis, 86, has missed as Pope. He first revealed his diagnosis in 2013, and the Vatican said in 2017 that he was receiving regular treatment including injections for the pain.

Sciatica is a common condition that causes pain along the sciatic nerve down the lower back and legs. It is caused by parts of the body pressing down on the nerve itself. Treatment ranges from physical therapy to steroid injections.

"Sciatica is very painful, very painful! I don't wish it on anyone!" the Pope reportedly said in a 2013 interview revealing his diagnosis, according to CNN.