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Pope Francis celebrated Palm Sunday Mass alone for the first time in history as The Vatican modified traditions in response to the novel coronavirus outbreak.
St. Peter's Basilica hosted a small number of top clergy members and nuns in the service that marks a Holy Week that will see some scrapped traditions that comply with social distancing guidelines.
Churches have urged by experts to close its doors to members of the public to avoid large gatherings and spreading the novel coronavirus.
Pope Francis celebrated Palm Sunday Mass, which marks the first of several Holy Week services that will be celebrated across the world, with no members of the public in the latest world event to nix audiences in the wake of the novel coronavirus outbreak.
Francis was joined by a small group of top clergy members and nuns who were spread out during the ceremony, with some sporting medical masks.
See the first audience-free Mass as churches across the world embrace technology to keep their congregations healthy.
Italian Carabinieri and police officers stood guard in an empty St. Peter's Square after the Vatican announced it would scrap traditional processions and services in accordance with the current bans on gatherings.
The grand St. Peter's Basilica served as a backdrop for millions of people who observed the service online or via radio and television.
Despite the new spin on attendance, the Mass featured the traditional palms.
In another likely first for the traditional service, some attendees sported face masks.
The service's attendees included top clergy members and nuns, who were dutifully spaced out in accordance with social distancing guidelines.
The Holy Father's remarks during the service addressed young people in particular, whom he urged to consider "real heroes," who are not rich and famous but "those who are giving themselves in order to serve others."
Source: Vatican News
Palm Sunday marks the first of several Holy Week services that will be celebrated across the world.
One Catholic church in Madrid seemed to more closely resemble a production set as the priest celebrated Mass on a live stream.
Churches have been a major point of warning for experts urging members of the public to avoid large gatherings, so the virus has marked a critical point for celebrants to warm up to technical alternatives.
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