ROME (AP) — Pope Francis is urging his coronavirus-weary flock to not lose hope even through the continued “dark months” of the pandemic.
Francis made the appeal for hope as he celebrated a scaled-back Easter vigil service in St. Peter’s Basilica on Saturday.
Due to social-distancing norms, only about 200 masked people were allowed to attend the service, which marks the period between Christ’s crucifixion and his joyous resurrection on Easter Sunday.
For the second year in a row, the Vatican cut out the traditional sacrament of baptism for a handful of adults to limit the chance of contagion.
This year’s vigil service also started earlier than usual to respect Italy’s 10 p.m. COVID-19 curfew.