Pope cancels traditional pre-Christmas ritual for COVID-19

File Photo: Pope Francis is leading a prayer for the Immaculate Conception on December 8, 2019 at Piazza di Spagna in Rome, Italy. REUTERS / Remo Casilli / File Photo

November 30, 2020

Philip Purlera

Vatican City (Reuters) -Pope Francis canceled the ceremony to traditionally start the Christmas season in Rome on the Spanish Steps on December 8 due to restrictions on the coronavirus, the Vatican said Monday.

The Pope usually places a wreath on the base of a 12-meter pillar bearing the statue of Madonna, and uses a ladder to celebrate from a distance another wreath that the firefighter has already placed around the statue’s arm.

The Vatican said Francisco would skip the ceremony that the Pope had held at the Immaculate Conception feast since 1953, “to avoid the risk of transmission caused by a gathering of people.”

Thousands of people are usually lined up in the streets near the area to see the Pope and pray with him.

The Vatican said the Pope would instead do private service to entrust Madonna with the city, its people, and the sick in the world.

The COVID-19 crisis has already restricted access to all of the Pope’s traditional Christmas activities, including the blessings and messages of his “Urbi et Orbi” (“To the City and the World”). It has been announced.

Only a limited number of people are allowed to enter St. Peter’s Basilica for the Pope’s Christmas Eve and Christmas Mass. And it is broadcast on TV and streamed on the internet.

Last month, the Pope’s weekly public audience was returned indoors with public participation after a period of time when a limited number of people were allowed to attend.

Recently, one person living in a residence containing more than 12 Swiss Security Forces and the Pope tested positive for the coronavirus and had to be quarantined.

Italy, the first western country to be infected with the virus, has recorded 54,904 COVID-19 deaths since its outbreak in February. This is the second highest victim in Europe after the United Kingdom. In addition, 1,585,000 cases have been registered so far.

(Report by Philip Pullella, edited by Hugh Lawson)

Pope cancels traditional pre-Christmas ritual for COVID-19

Source link Pope cancels traditional pre-Christmas ritual for COVID-19

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