Public Masses in Italy will resume on 18 May

FILE PHOTO: Pope Francis leads Mass and the Regina Coeli prayer in Rome's Santo Spirito in Sassia church without public participation due to an outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Rome, Italy, April 19, 2020. Vatican Media/­Handout via REUTERS/File Photo

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

In Italy, Masses, weddings, funerals and baptisms are set to resume in Italy May 18th, with the provision that those attending abide by a strict set of social distancing and sanitation measures, according to Vatican News.

During the past two months, Masses were being live-streamed but as from Monday, the 18th of May the faithful in Italy will once again be able to attend religious ceremonies in churches around the country.

This decision came into effect after the signing of a Protocol, by Cardinal Gualtiero Bassetti, President of the Italian Bishops’ Conference, and Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, and the Minister of the Interior, Luciana Lamorghese.

The protocol outlines that people must wear facemasks and must respect the 1m safety distance between each other. All rooms and objects used will be sanitised at the end of each ceremony, and the sign of peace will be omitted. For the rites of Communion, the celebrant is required to sanitize his hands and must use gloves and a mask.

These measures, said Prime Minister Conte, express the most appropriate ways to ensure that the resumption of liturgical celebrations with the people takes place in the safest way possible.

With the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic religious ceremonies, that is,  Masses, baptisms, weddings and funerals, were either cancelled or closed to the public in early March when the government imposed a nationwide lockdown to help curb the spread of Covid-19.

The virus has now killed almost 30,000 people in Italy alone.

Now as Italy enters phase 2 of its coronavirus lockdown, the government is working together with the Italian Bishops to prudently ensure that the faithful can attend ceremonies in churches again.

Cardinal Bassetti, reiterated the Church’s commitment to overcoming the current crisis by saying that the Protocol is the result of profound collaboration and synergy between the Government and the Italian Bishops’ Conference, where everyone has played their part responsibly.

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