Worshippers return to St Peter's Square for Pope's Sunday blessing

Worshippers return to St Peter’s Square to receive Pope’s blessing from his window for first time in almost three months as Italy emerges from lockdown

  • Pope Francis spoke to the square which reopened after three months of closure
  • St Peter’s Basilica was also reopened on Monday and worshippers wore masks
  • Pope has been blessing an empty square since the coronavirus lockdown began 
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

The public returned to St Peter’s Square to receive Pope Francis’s blessing from his window for the first time in nearly three months today.

Pope Francis called for a year of reflection on the environment as a few dozen people went to the square, which was reopened on Monday.

St Peter’s Basilica was also reopened following the coronavirus lockdown and worshippers kept to social distancing rules and most wore masks.

Francis delivered his message via the internet from his library as those in the square watched on large screens and then went to the window for the silent blessing.  

Worshippers returned to St Peter’s Square to hear the Pope’s blessing today for the first time since it was closed for coronavirus and reopened on Monday

Pope Francis has blessed an empty square for the past three months after the coronavirus lockdown began

A few dozen Nuns and Faithfuls attend the Regina Caeli Sunday prayer, sticking to social distancing guidelines and wearing masks

He has blessed an empty square over the last three months in The Vatican in Rome, Italy. 

Sunday was the fifth anniversary of his encyclical “Laudato Si” on the care of the environment. 

He called for a reduction of fossil fuels and backed the majority scientific consensus that human activity is partly to blame for global warming.

The Argentine urged Catholics to reflect on the environment for the next twelve months, how they can better protect it and how to help those most vulnerable to the effects of climate change. 

Pope Francis delivered his Sunday prayer and blessing on video screens in the square but appeared briefly from the window of his studio to greet worshippers at the end of the ceremony

A priest covers his face with a scarf in St. Peter’s Square during Italy’s Phase 2 of the Covid-19 emergency

The Pope called for a reduction of fossil fuels and backed the majority scientific consensus that human activity is partly to blame for global warming

He also sent special greetings to Catholics in mainland China on the day they celebrate a national religious feast day. 

Catholics in China are emerging from more than half a century of division which saw them split between a state-backed “official” Church and a “non-official” underground Church loyal to Rome.

In 2018, the Holy See and Beijing signed a historic pact on the naming of bishops, meaning all bishops recognised the pope’s authority.

But there have been hiccups. In June, the Vatican asked Beijing to stop intimidating clergy who refuse to sign an official government registration.

The Pope has blessed an empty square over the last three months in The Vatican in Rome, Italy

St Peter’s Basilica was also reopened following the coronavirus lockdown and worshippers kept to social distancing rules and most wore masks

The deal, which is up for renewal in September, has split Catholics in China and around the world, with some critics saying the pope caved in to the Communist government.

Churches, restaurants, bars, cafes, hairdressers and other shops have reopened in Italy subject to social distancing measures.

The country has entered Phase 2 of the emergency after more than two months of a nationwide lockdown was in place to curb the spread of Covid-19.

Italy imposed a national lockdown on March 10, earlier than any other European country, and only began to lift it on May 4. 

The Pope urged Catholics to reflect on the environment for the next twelve months, how they can better protect it and how to help those most vulnerable to the effects of climate change

Church services resumed from Monday, including in the Vatican where believers had their temperatures checked as they entered St Peter’s Basilica

From June 3, EU nationals will be allowed to enter Italy without a quarantine period – a move which Italy hopes will revive its tourism sector.  

Church services resumed from Monday, including in the Vatican where believers had their temperatures checked as they entered St Peter’s Basilica.

Restaurants and cafes opened with their tables are spaced at least two metres (6.5ft) apart.

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