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WATCH: Pope Francis holds first public Mass as Vatican reopens churches

Over 100 people flocked to St. Peter's Basilica to celebrate Mass with the Pope!

On Monday, May 18, churches all over Italy and the Vatican City resumed holding public masses as the Italian government loosened some lockdown restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Guards wearing hazmat suits took the temperature of all the attending faithful using thermal guns before they were allowed to enter the church premises. All priests were also wearing face masks and gloves, especially during the giving of the Holy Communion.

Also Read: Pope Francis celebrates St. John Paul II’s 100th birth anniversary

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Hygiene measures are being imposed in the Vatican’s four Roman basilicas – including the St. Peter’s Basilica. (Photo from AP / Internewscast)

Some Masses on that day were in commemoration of Saint Pope John Paul II’s 100th birth anniversary, and a special Mass was held at St. Peter’s Basilica with Pope Francis himself as the presider.

In his homily, he told the audience that “out of love, He [God] sends a prophet, a man of God” and that 100 years ago, He sent a man who would guide His Church—Karol Wojtyla, better known as Pope John Paul II.

Also Read: A Prayer for the Intercession of St. John Paul II

The Mass was celebrated at the altar of the former pope’s tomb in St. Peter’s Basilica. Over 100 people attended and celebrated with Lolo Kiko—a first since the lockdown in Italy was imposed.

Pope John Paul II served as the head of the Catholic Church and sovereign of the State of Vatican City for over 26 years, from 1978 until his death in 2005 due to hypotension.

Respect Guidelines

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A man wearing a mask takes a photo at the St. Peter’s Square as Pope Francis leads the Angelus from his library in the Apostolic Palace at the Vatican March 8, 2020. (Photo from CNS / Paul Haring / The Catholic Weekly)

With the resumption of public masses in Italy, Pope Francis reminded the faithful to observe proper COVID-19 protocols such as physical distancing and proper handwashing.

“As we are beginning to have protocols to get out of quarantine, let us pray that the Lord gives his people, all of us, the grace of prudence and obedience to the protocols so that the pandemic doesn’t return,” the pope said.

As of writing, the Vatican City has 10 individuals confirmed to have contracted COVID-19.

Watch the Mass on the centenary birth of John Paul II below:

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