Vatican City, 29 November, 2021 / 7:37 pm (ACI Africa).
For the second year in a row, Pope Francis has canceled the Roman tradition of a public gathering at the Spanish Steps on Dec. 8 to venerate a statue of the Immaculate Conception due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Holy See press office announced on Nov. 27 that instead of the usual outdoor public ceremony, the pope will instead perform a private act of devotion to Our Lady to avoid the formation of a crowd and the risk of spreading the coronavirus.
The pope will ask the Virgin Mary in prayer “to protect the Romans, the city in which they live, and the sick who need Her maternal protection everywhere in the world,” the statement said.
The announcement came after the Italian government unveiled further COVID-19 restrictions entering into force on Dec. 6.
Under the new restrictions, unvaccinated people in Italy will be unable to dine indoors at restaurants, go to the gym, visit museums and other tourist sites, or attend weddings or other public ceremonies until at least Jan. 15.