Saturday, Apr 10
Pope Francis gives his blessing to empty squares

Pope Francis gives his blessing to empty squares

The Vatican said earlier that his Holy Weeks and Easter services next month will be held without public participation, a step believed to be unprecedented in modern times.
16.03.2020 - 11:07

Pope Francis ventured into a deserted Rome on Sunday to pray at two shrines for the end of the coronavirus pandemic, as the Vatican said his Easter services will be held without the public for the first time.

POPE PRAYED FOR AN END TO THE PANDEMIC

Francis left the Vatican unannounced to pray at the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore and then walked along one of Rome’s main streets to visit St. Marcello church to pray before a crucifix that was used in a procession when the plague hit Rome in 1522.

A Vatican statement said he prayed for an end to the pandemic and also for the sick, their families and health providers and workers keeping pharmacies and food stories open amid a national lockdown.

It was not clear how the massive events will be scaled down but sources said officials were studying ways to hold them in indoor locations, including St. Peter’s Basilica and the Sistine Chapel, with small representative groups attending.