Pope Francis
Pope Francis

dpa/GNA – Pope Francis launched the week before Easter on Palm Sunday by holding a mass, noting that it was the second Holy Week to take place against the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Last year we were shocked, this year we are tried and tested,” the pontiff told worshippers.

Due to coronavirus containment measures, only about 120 faithful and some 30 cardinals were allowed to worship at St Peter’s Basilica.

According to the Bible, Palm Sunday commemorates the arrival of Jesus Christ in Jerusalem, which was celebrated by crowds waving palm branches. Days later he was crucified.
A series of restrictions will be in place for Easter celebrations over the coming week.

On Good Friday, traditional celebrations at the Colosseum have been cancelled, according to the Holy See. It will be moved to the square in front of St Peter’s Basilica.

Because of the night-time curfew in place across Italy, the Easter vigil on Holy Saturday is starting at 7.30 pm (1730 GMT).

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