Christmas with Coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions may turn out to be a less commercial and more spiritually pure festivity, Pope Francis suggested on Wednesday.
“Restrictions and inconveniences await us this year,” Francis said during his weekly audience, recalling the biblical hardships faced by St. Joseph and the Virgin Mary when Jesus was born.
“Yet faith, hope, and love guided them and supported them.
“Let it be the same for us. May these difficulties help us to purify a bit the way we experience and celebrate Christmas,” the pope said.
“Leaving aside consumerism, let it be more religious, more authentic, more true,” he added.
The pandemic has forced several changes in the pope’s agenda.
This year’s Christmas Eve Mass in St Peter’s Basilica, for example, is scheduled to take place two hours earlier than normal, at 7:30 p.m., so that it can finish before Italian curfew rules kick in at 10 p.m.
It is also expected to take place with no public in attendance.