Ogbeta.ng: Vatican cancels open Easter celebrations over coronavirus

Monday, 16 March 2020

Vatican cancels open Easter celebrations over coronavirus

Pope Francis will not lead any public celebration for Easter due to coronavirus, the Vatican said on Sunday, a move unprecedented in modern times.

“All the Liturgical Celebrations of Holy Week will take place without the physical presence of the faithful,’’ a statement from the Prefecture of the Pontifical Household said.

Before the statement was made public, the Nigerian Christian Pilgrims Commission (NCPC) said it was considering postponing the Easter pilgrim exercise to Israel due to the pandemic.

Vatican explained that celebrations will still take place, but in ways that have yet to be defined in accordance with anti-virus contagion measures.

Easter, which this year falls on April 12, is the most important Christian holiday, celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ. There are several ceremonies leading up to it, during the Holy Week.

One of the most solemn is a Good Friday evening procession by Rome’s Colosseum, the Way of the Cross, led by the Pope and attended by thousands of worshippers.

Another key event is the Holy Thursday’s foot-washing ceremony, which Pope Francis has performed in the past in prisons, migrant detention centres and hospices for the disabled.

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