PALM SUNDAY: Pope celebrates without public in St. Peter’s

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis is celebrating Palm Sunday Mass without the public, since the traditional ceremony in St. Peter’s Square was scrapped because of the coronavirus pandemic. Normally, tens of thousands of Romans, tourists and pilgrims, clutching olive tree branches or palm fronds, would have flocked to an outdoor Mass. Instead, Francis on Sunday was leading the ceremony inside St. Peter’s Basilica, which seemed even more cavernous than usual because it was so empty. Aides, a few invited prelates and nuns and altar servers were present. Appearing pensive, Francis blessed the braided palms held by others, then held one himself.