Nick Benson

OTHER NEWS

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Vatican says public will not be admitted to papal Holy Week liturgies

The Vatican office that distributes free tickets to papal events has posted a notice on its website that ‘the liturgical celebrations of Holy Week will take place without the physical presence of the faithful’.

While public gatherings, including Masses, have been banned in Italy through 3rd April, Holy Week begins with the Palm Sunday liturgy on 5th April, so the notification from the Prefecture of the Papal Household was read as a sign that the ban would be extended, at least at the Vatican.

Matteo Bruni, director of the Vatican press office, told Catholic News Service early on Sunday 15th March that arrangements for the pope’s Holy Week and Easter schedules were “still under study” and that the prefecture’s note was meant only to inform people seeking tickets that they would not be distributed as usual.

The prefecture’s notice said the decision was made ‘because of the current global public health emergency’ posed by the spread of the coronavirus.

In a formal statement on Sunday 15th March, Bruni said Pope Francis would celebrate all of the Holy Week and Easter liturgies: Palm Sunday, the chrism Mass, the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, the liturgy of the Passion of the Lord, the Easter vigil Mass and Easter morning Mass.

However, he said, the Vatican is still studying how those liturgies will take place and with what kind of participation “that respects the security measures in place to avoid the spread of the coronavirus.”

The decisions will be communicated, “as soon as they are determined, in line with the evolving epidemiological situation,” he said, adding that whatever decisions are made about who can or cannot attend, the liturgies will be transmitted and streamed live.

The Prefecture of the Papal Household posted its notice late on Saturday 14th March, hours after the Italian Ministry of Health released daily figures for the COVID-19 infection, which continues to spread despite the entire country being on lockdown.

Picture: Pope Francis greets the crowd after celebrating Palm Sunday Mass in St Peter’s Square at the Vatican on 14th April 2019. This year, the Vatican office that distributes free tickets to papal events has posted a notice on its website that ‘the liturgical celebrations of Holy Week will take place without the physical presence of the faithful’. (CNS photo/Paul Haring).

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OTHER NEWS

Pope sets up new commission to study women deacons

Pope Francis has established a new ‘Study Commission on the Female Diaconate’ as a follow-up to a previous group that studied the history of women deacons in the New Testament and the early Christian communities. Cardinal Giuseppe Petrocchi of Aquila will serve as...

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The Covid-19 quarantines, lockdowns and stay-at-home orders are the perfect opportunity for conversion: for individuals, for the Church and for governments, Pope Francis said in an interview. "What we are living now is a place of 'metanoia' (conversion), and we have...

On the cross, God’s loving nature is revealed, pope says

Jesus chose to reveal his divine majesty not through miracles or wondrous deeds but on the cross where God's love for humanity was manifested, Pope Francis said. Throughout his ministry, Christ walked away when people wish to proclaim him king and silenced demons he...

Pope prays for ‘change of heart’ of people profiting off pandemic

Pope Francis put the spotlight on people profiteering during the pandemic and taking advantage of people in need. Some people are making a business off of people in need, "profiting from the needs of others," such as "mafiosi, loan sharks and many others," he said...