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Pope cancels traditional pre-Christmas ceremony due to COVID-19

1 December 2020 09:28 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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REUTERS, 30TH NOVEMBER, 2020- Pope Francis has cancelled a ceremony that traditionally begins Rome’s Christmas season on Dec. 8 at the Spanish Steps because of coronavirus restrictions, the Vatican said on Monday.
The pope customarily places a wreath of flowers at the base of a 12-metre column bearing a statue of the Madonna and blesses from a distance another wreath already placed around the statue’s arm by firefighters using a ladder.


The Vatican said Francis would skip the ceremony, which popes have been carrying out on the feast of the Immaculate Conception since 1953, “in order to avoid any risk of contagion caused by gatherings of people”.
Thousands of people usually line the streets near the area to see the pope and pray with him.


The Vatican said the pope would instead hold a private service to entrust the city, its people and the sick around the world to the Madonna.


Only a limited number of people will be allowed into St. Peter’s Basilica for papal Christmas Eve and Christmas Day Masses, which will be broadcast on television and streamed on the internet.

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