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Palm Sunday, St Peter's Square, 2019 Palm Sunday, St Peter's Square, 2019  (Vatican Media)

COVID-19: Vatican Holy Week celebrations under study

The Prefecture of the Papal Household announces that Holy Week celebrations in Rome will take place without the physical presence of the faithful, in an attempt to contain the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. (Updated)

By Vatican News

The Prefecture of the Papal Household made the announcement on its website, announcing that, "because of the current global public health emergency, all the Liturgical Celebrations of Holy Week will take place without the physical presence of the faithful.

Furthermore, this Prefecture informs that until April 12 the General Audiences and the Angelus presided over by the Holy Father will be available only in live streaming on the official Vatican News website”.

Clarification

Later on Sunday, just after noon, journalists accredited to the Holy See Press Office received a clarification from its Director, Matteo Bruni. He confirmed that all the celebrations of Holy week are "confirmed". As of Sunday, he wrote, how these celbrations will be conducted and who will participate in them is currently "under study", given the security measures in force and the fact that the situation is in continual evolution. As soon as these things are decided, he continued, they will be communicated. He then repeated that however the celebrations will be conducted, they will be transmitted live via radio and television, and live streamed through Vatican News.

Pope’s Daily Mass, Angelus and Audience

On Saturday, the Holy See Press Office issued the following statement: “Faced with the situation that has arisen because of the coronavirus, the Holy Father has decided that the Holy Mass he celebrates in Santa Marta at 7am every morning, will continue to be broadcast live next week”.

"In order to comply with the rules imposing a ban on gatherings in order to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus", continues the statement, “the Holy Father’s Sunday Angelus prayer and General Audience on Wednesday March 18 will be broadcast live on television, as well as on the Vatican News website, and the images will be distributed by Vatican Media to the media that request them, so as to reach the faithful all over the world”.

This article, first published on 15 March 2020 was updated on 16 March 2020 to reflect the latest clarification by the Holy See Press Office.

15 March 2020, 10:54