Pope Francis spoke to the faithful from his study on Sunday with a view of St. Peter’s Square, for the first time in a little over a month.
“I’ll tell you something: I miss the space when I have to recite the Angelus in the library,” Francis said, referring to the prayer that he leads believers to pray most Sundays. During the pandemic, the Pope often gave the weekly address, prayer and blessing from the apostolic library without a public attendance.
“I am happy, thank God! And thank you for your presence, ”said the Pope with a smile on Sunday.
The Pope identified several flags among the several hundred believers in the square: “Brazilians, Poles, Spaniards”, said Francis and also greeted the “people of Rome and the pilgrims” warmly.
Italy suffered one of the earliest and most severe coronavirus outbreaks in Europe. During the first lockdown in 2020, pilgrims were not allowed to gather in St. Peter’s Square from March 8 to May 24. A huge surge over the winter brought new restrictions, and another that peaked last month resulted in another tight lockdown. That succeeded Many restrictions on cutting infections are expected to be relaxed from April 26th.
Francis has often used the Sunday address to comment on current global affairs. This Sunday he said he was particularly concerned about mounting tensions and an “increase in military activity” in eastern Ukraine, “where ceasefire violations have multiplied in recent months”.
For weeks, Russia has been moving military equipment and troops along its border with Ukraine and triggering alarms in Europe and Washington, the largest build-up since the conflict began in the embattled region seven years ago.
“Please, I firmly hope that the build-up of tension can be avoided and, on the contrary, gestures can be made that can promote mutual trust and promote reconciliation and peace, both as necessary and as desired,” said Francis.