Friday, January 28

Pope cancels New Year’s visit to St. Peter’s Square nativity scene

(Belga) Pope Francis has canceled his traditional New Year’s visit to the nursery in St. Peter’s Square, due to the risk of Covid-19 contamination induced by this type of gathering, the Vatican announced on Thursday.

The Sovereign Pontiff is normally welcomed by the faithful when he visits the manger on December 31, after having presided over the end of year vespers and sung the Te Deum prayer. But the Vatican indicated, in its diary, that “the event will not take place, to avoid gatherings and the risks of contamination by Covid-19”. Pope Francis, 85, held his weekly general audience as usual in the Vatican’s huge Paul VI Hall on Wednesday, wearing masks and respecting social distancing. As elsewhere in Europe, Italy – and by extension the small state of Vatican City – is facing an upsurge in coronavirus cases, caused by the new variant Omicron. (Belga)

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