St Peter’s Square empty, other lockdowns mark second Easter amid pandemic
For the Vatican, it was another empty Easter after Italy returned to lockdown amid rising coronavirus cases in Europe. It is now the second Holy Week that Pope Francis must celebrate in the midst of the, making it almost impossible for him to mingle with people.
This is not the style of Pope Francis: walking through the Stations of the Cross in a deserted St. Peter’s Square. He usually spends Good Friday at the Colosseum, surrounded by thousands of worshipers.
“He likes to be with the people. He wants to go to the outskirts, to the poorest of the poor, and the pandemic has robbed him of all that… He said, ‘I feel like a prisoner in the country.CBS News Vatican contributor, Monsignor Anthony Figueiredo, told Chris Livesay.
But for such a determined pontiff, where there is a vaccine, there is a way. Pope Francis took a break for this on Friday, paying a surprise visit to some of the 1,200 homeless people receiving their COVID-19 vaccine in the Vatican during Holy Week. The pontiff paid it after obtaining theearlier this year.
Like so many newly vaccinated people, her first order of business was to travel. He visitedin March – the first time a pope has visited the country – and prayed in churches desecrated and destroyed by ISIS, defying risks to both security and public health. While Francis and his entourage were vaccinated, the tens of thousands of people who gathered to see him were not. He said something he had prayed for, and suggested that God had promised that he would take care of them.
“I really believe he [Francis] wanted to go to Iraq to give a message to the world: “That I can break the standards to be with my people,” “said Figueiredo.
Ppeople have left the church en masse amid the priestly sex abuse scandal, and for the past 20 years in the United States alone, the Catholic Church , according to a Gallup poll conducted before the pandemic. Closed churches around the world have not helped.
The pandemic didn’t help either. With fewer people visiting the Vatican or attending churches, there has been an increase in empty collection plates and empty Vatican Museums – a source of tens of millions of dollars in revenue.