The Pope Plays to an Empty Palm Sunday House in Vatican City’s St Peter’s Square

A STRANGE sight greeted Pope Francis this Sunday, as he celebrated a Palm Sunday mass in an empty St Peter’s Square.

The outdoor service involved just a few people assisting the pontiff, with all the appropriate social distancing measures in force because of the Covid-19 outbreak.

Normally the area is packed to the rafters with pilgrims from around the world. 

Pope Francis will preside over the traditional Holy Week ceremonies without the traditional crowds.

Some of the great Catholic traditions will also be staged elsewhere, like the Good Friday Way of the Cross procession taking place in St Peter’s Square rather than in a candlelit procession at the Colosseum in Rome.

The ban on Holy Week crowds was announced last month, with the Vatican saying the Pope’s general audiences and Sunday blessings would be online and on television through to Easter Day.

The Netherlands also announced it will not send the tens of thousands of flowers to the altar for Easter that it normally sends.

Easter Day will feature the Pope’s traditional ‘Urbi et Orbi’ greetings in a variety of languages, which will still be seen by a massive international viewing audience.

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Written by

Alex Trelinski

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