Pope celebrates joy of Easter amid sorrow of virus, alone

Pope celebrates joy of Easter amid sorrow of virus, alone

Pope celebrates joy of Easter amid sorrow of virus, alone

On Sunday, the Pope will certainly provide his Easter Sunday address at an event behind shut doors.

Image: Pope Francis delivers prayers in an empty St. Peter's Square at the Vatican on March 27, 2020.

Pope Francis will break with centuries of tradition and livestream his Easter Sunday mass to allow the world's 1.3 billion Catholics to celebrate their holiest holiday.

Earlier in the day, at a Good Friday service inside the basilica, the papal preacher said the pandemic has alerted people to the danger of thinking themselves all-powerful.

Corbari's workaround came about after Italy's government in February imposed strict restrictions on movement in a desperate bid to halt the deadly coronavirus outbreak. The faithful in Spain blasted religious music from their balconies during Holy Week.

"The pope is making an effort to make himself present by showing that he is praying with us", said the Rev. Robert Gahl, an American priest and an associate professor of ethics at the Vatican-affiliated Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome.

The Catholic Church in the Philippines is urging the faithful not to kiss the cross.

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The public was barred because of the pandemic, and around the planet, Catholics followed his service and other masses on television or online.

The ceremony, normally held at the Colosseum, was moved to a deserted Saint Peter's Square because the virus killed 570 additional patients in the last 24 hours, raising the death toll there to 18,849. The Vatican's entrance is now sealed off by armed police wearing face masks and rubber gloves.

On Saturday, Pope Francis livestreamed his Easter Vigil to the world's 1.3 billion Catholics from an nearly empty St Peter's Basilica.

"Do not be afraid, do not yield to fear".

"So: to be in lockdown, but yearning, with that memory that yearns and begets hope", the pope said.

The Vatican was only one of thousands of cities across the world in lockdown over the weekend with restirctions intensifying in many parts of the globe.

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