Joy in Rome church as Catholic masses resume
Rome: After two and a half months of waiting, 83-year old Alba Fiore eagerly pulled down her mask to receive communion at a church in Rome Monday.
"Finally!" she said with a gratified sigh.
This was the first religious ceremony at the Church of Santa Maria in Traspontina, a stone’s throw from the Vatican, since Italy went into lockdown.
"I feel relieved," said pensioner Antonio Butera, a fellow Catholic.
"After two months without being able to attend a mass other than the one on television, it’s a great day for me."
Religious ceremonies were authorised in the 25,000 parishes across the country from Monday -- provided the fonts for holy water were empty and visitors followed strict social distancing rules.
The faithful have been warned repeatedly that a failure to adhere to sanitary protocols could spark a second wave of the pandemic that has claimed around 32,000 lives, 120 priests among them.
Fiore, who rarely left her home during the shutdown, described being able to attend the 16th-century Carmelite church as like seeing the "dawn" after a period of darkness. - AFP