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Pope’s Midnight Mass To Start Early To Respect COVID Curfew

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File photo: Pope Francis (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

(AP) – Pope Francis will celebrate Midnight Mass earlier than usual to comply with Italy’s anti-coronavirus curfew and will deliver his Christmas and New Year’s blessings in ways that aim to prevent crowds from forming.

The Vatican on Thursday released the pope’s COVID-19 Christmas liturgical schedule. It said the pope’s Dec. 24 Mass – which for years hasn’t been celebrated at midnight at all but at 9:30 p.m. to spare pontiffs from the late hour – will begin instead at 7:30 p.m. this year.

Italy has imposed a 10 p.m. nationwide curfew, as well as restaurant closures and other restrictions, to try to cut down on crowds forming following a surge of COVID-19 infections and deaths this fall.

 

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