Crowds banned at pope's Easter events

Crowds banned at pope's Easter events
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Crowds reportedly have been banned from Pope FrancisPope FrancisVatican cardinal in charge of saint making resigns amid financial scandal Nuns criticize Catholic group for giving Barr award for 'Christlike behavior' Pope seeks to prevent Mafia from using Virgin Mary imagery MORE's Easter events in April because of the coronavirus.

The pope's Holy Week and Easter events, which are typically attended by tens of thousands of people, will not be open to the public, which is thought to be unprecedented in modern times, Reuters reported.

The Vatican department that organizes the events said on its website that the pope’s general audiences and Sunday blessings would be online and on television until Easter Sunday, according to the news service. Previously, it had announced the pope’s remote messages would continue until March 18.

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Sources told Reuters that officials were considering holding the papal events indoors with a small group of representatives. 

Typically, St. Peter’s Square is covered with olive trees on Palm Sunday as people hold palm branches. On Good Friday, the church holds the Way of the Cross procession at the colosseum. Pope Francis then traditionally provides his twice-yearly “Urbi et Orbi” blessing and message from the central balcony on Easter. 

The Netherlands, which usually sends tens of thousands of flowers for the altar for Easter, announced it would not be sending any this year. 

Italy has been hit hard with the coronavirus, with more than 1,400 deaths and more than 21,000 cases in the country, and has been locked down for a week.

Other Catholic bishops around the world have considered mass cancelations and told their congregations that people are not required to go to services and can participate through television and the internet.