Pope on pandemic’s second year: Weariness, economic hardship

VATICAN CITY (AP) — For a second time in the pandemic, Pope Francis is leading Holy Week ceremonies without the usual crowds of pilgrims and tourists. After celebrating Palm Sunday Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica instead of as usual in the square outside, Francis said last year people were more shocked. But this year, the pope said the pandemic is more trying.  And Francis added that “”the economic crisis has become heavy.” On Sunday, about 120 faithful, including nuns and a few families or couples, attended, sitting a safe distance apart in the pews. Participants in the procession of 30 red-robed cardinals wore masks, but Francis, clutching a braided palm, didn’t use one.