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Pope Francis begins Lent with Vatican Ash Wednesday ceremony



Earlier than the coronavirus pandemic, the ceremony used to see monks sprinkling ashes and marking a cross on one another’s foreheads, in addition to these of the devoted.

ROME, Italy — Pope Francis presided over the Vatican’s Ash Wednesday ceremony, marking the beginning of the Catholic Church’s Lent season in St Peter’s Basilica.

Earlier than the coronavirus pandemic, the ceremony used to see monks sprinkling ashes and marking a cross on one another’s foreheads, in addition to these of the devoted.

This 12 months, clergy might solely sprinkle ashes on the backs of heads and stored their facemasks on, as to respect security measures. The pope, who was the one one not sporting a masks in the course of the ceremony, obtained ashes from Cardinal Angelo Comastri.

The Vatican launched its vaccination program on January 13, administering the Pfizer vaccine.

Vatican Metropolis has had 27 confirmed circumstances of the coronavirus, together with a cluster among the many Swiss Guards final fall.

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For most individuals, the brand new coronavirus causes gentle or average signs. For some, particularly older adults and other people with current well being issues, it might trigger extra extreme sickness, together with pneumonia and demise.

The USA has almost 28 million confirmed circumstances of COVID-19, in accordance with information from Johns Hopkins College.

As of Wednesday, the U.S. had greater than 488,000 deaths from the virus. Worldwide, there are greater than 109 million confirmed circumstances with greater than 2.four million deaths. Italy has Europe’s second-highest recognized demise toll, with 94,171 casualties as of Wednesday.

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