Saint Peter’s reopens to Vatican visitors as Italy pursues reopening
Issued on: 18/05/2020 – 09:52Modified: 18/05/2020 – 09:58
Saint Peter's Basilica throws its doors open to visitors on Monday, marking a relative return to normality at the Vatican and beyond in Italy, where most business activity is set to resume.
Public masses also resume throughout the predominantly Catholic country after a two-month hiatus, while restaurants, bars, cafes, shops and hairdressers, among other businesses, are all expected to reopen.
Most, however, opened shortly thereafter, with entry reserved for prayer only.
"I share the joy of those communities who can finally reunite as liturgical assemblies, a sign of hope for all society," Francis said on Sunday during his live-streamed prayer.
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Italy's lockdown not only extinguished most business activity in the country, but radically disrupted Italians' personal lives, including attending mass.
The Argentine pontiff is not yet expected to lead any public religious ceremonies either in the basilica, which can accommodate 60,000 people, or in Saint Peter's Square, as the Vatican seeks to avoid crowds.
Francis will, however, celebrate a private mass on Monday, broadcast by video, in front of the tomb of John Paul II, on the 100th anniversary of the birth of the Polish-born pontiff.
In Milan, the Duomo cathedral will conduct mass at 10:30 GMT. On Friday, the cathedral said it had introduced gadgets worn around the neck that beep softly, flash and vibrate if visitors approach too closely to one another.
In preparation for the reopening of Saint Peter'sRead More – Source