Holy Week

On Palm Sunday, Pope Francis says devil taking advantage of pandemic

Reuters
On Palm Sunday, Pope Francis says devil taking advantage of pandemic

PALM SUNDAY. Pope Francis holds Palm Sunday mass in 2021.

Photo from The Holy See website

The Pope urges people to keep their faith from growing dull from habit and to let themselves be amazed by God and by good

Pope Francis led Palm Sunday services on March 28 in an almost empty St Peter’s Basilica because of coronavirus restrictions for the second consecutive year and he urged people to be close to the poor and suffering.

In pre-COVID-19 times, Palm Sunday, which marks the start of Holy Week and leads to Easter, tens of thousands of people would pack St Peter’s Square holding olive branches and intricately weaved palm fronds in an outdoor ceremony.

Instead, only about 120 members of the faithful participated in Sunday’s Mass, joining the pope and about 30 cardinals in a secondary wing of the huge basilica.

Must Read

Holy Week 2021: Updates, reflections, livestreamed Masses

Holy Week 2021: Updates, reflections, livestreamed Masses

Italy is in the midst of another national lockdown, which is due to end after Easter. The Vatican, a sovereign city-state surrounded by Rome, has applied similar measures.

The Devil is taking advantage of the crisis to sow distrust, desperation and discord,” he said, adding that the pandemic had brought physical, psychological and spiritual suffering.

Since he was elected in 2013, Francis has made clear that he believes the devil to be real, saying in a 2018 document that it was mistaken to consider him a myth.

In both his homily during the Mass and his comments afterward, Francis aid the pandemic made it more important than ever to look after those in difficulty, the poor, and the suffering.

Nearly everyone who took part in the Mass, except the Pope and the choir, wore masks.

In a small-scale version of a traditional Palm Sunday service, the 84-year-old pope and the cardinals processed to the altar holding palm fronds.

Must Read

IN PHOTOS: Catholics join Palm Sunday rites before ‘NCR Plus’ lockdown

IN PHOTOS: Catholics join Palm Sunday rites before ‘NCR Plus’ lockdown

Palm Sunday commemorates the day the gospels say Jesus rode into Jerusalem and was hailed by the people, only to be crucified 5 days later.

During the Mass, the pope had a pronounced limp. He suffers from sciatica, which causes pain in his legs when it flares up.

The remainder of the pope’s Holy Week services – Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday and Easter next Sunday, will also take place with a limited number of participants. – Rappler.com