Pope to scrap public Angelus prayer amid Covid precautions

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Pope Francis
Pope Francis

dpa/GNA – Precautions to prevent the spread of the coronavirus mean Pope Francis will not recite the traditional Angelus prayer on Saturday before thousands of pilgrims, as in the past, but instead will declaim it from the calm of a Vatican library.

The Vatican moved the location for Saturday’s noon-time (1100 GMT) prayer to the library in the Apostolic Palace, according to a statement from the Holy See.

Originally, the head of the Catholic Church had planned to pray to the faithful in St Peter’s Square, as is customary.

Outside the Vatican in Italy as a whole, strict curfew restrictions apply over the Christmas holidays until the beginning of January, with the exception of four days (December 28 to 30 and January 4).

People are only supposed to leave their homes during this time to go to work, to the doctor’s, shopping, or to exercise on their own, making it difficult for believers to access St Peter’s Square.

Due to the precautions relating to the virus, Francis had to give his “Urbi et Orbi” blessing in a smaller venue on Friday.

The Christmas Mass on Thursday also took place with a limited number of participants.

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