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Wednesday morning general audiences will once again be held in St. Peter’s Square beginning April 20, 2022, the Holy See Press Office reports. This is a first since the COVID-19 pandemic.
Pope Francis’ last catechesis in St. Peter’s Square was on February 26, 2020, two weeks before Italy became the first country to declare a national lockdown on March 11, 2020.
During the lockdown, the pope reached out to the faithful by speaking from the library of the Apostolic Palace. Those talks were broadcast on the Vatican News Youtube channel.
The general audiences did not resume until September 2020. They re-opened in the Vatican’s Courtyard of San Damaso, with a few hundred faithful, and then in the vast Paul VI Hall. From November 2020 to May 2021, the gatherings were once again held without an audience, because of the coronavirus.
On Sunday, April 10, 2022, Pope Francis celebrated the first Mass in St. Peter’s Square since the beginning of the pandemic. According to the Vatican gendarmerie, about 65,000 faithful were present for the Palm Sunday Mass, which marks the entry of Christians into Holy Week.