"Pope Francis among the people at St. Peter's Square" by Edgar Jiménez / CC BY-SA 2.0

Vatican, Italy resume public church services as lockdown eases

May 18, 2020

By Philip Pullella

Pope Francis inaugurated the full reopening of St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican on Monday and Catholic churches across Italy held public Masses for the first time in two months, in the latest easing of coronavirus restrictions.

Francis said a private Mass in a side chapel where St. John Paul II is buried to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the late Polish pope’s birth. John Paul II was made a saint in 2014.

The basilica, which on Friday underwent a sanitising process to make it as cornavirus-free as possible, later opened to the public for Masses by priests on other side altars after the pope had left.

Signs in English and Italian told those entering that they had to keep at least 1.5 metres (five feet) apart, wear masks and sanitize their hands.

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