In a small sign of life getting back to normal, crowds returned to St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican City on Sunday as Pope Francis resumed his traditional greeting from his window, for the first time since lockdown began in Italy nearly three months ago.
The Pope said he hoped people would “have the courage to change, to be better than before and to positively build the post-pandemic world.”
He appealed for everyone, including the world's poorest people, to have access to health care and prayed particularly for those affected in the Amazon region of South America. “People are more important than the economy,” he said.
Tourists were noticeably absent and only several hundred people, mainly Italians, wearing masks and social distancing, gathered to listen to the Pope and receive his blessing.
“You know that from a crisis like this, you don’t come out of it the same as before. You come out either better or worse,” he said.
“The human family needs to come out of this crisis more united and not more divided.“
Italian and Vatican Police were stationed at all entrances and people entering St. Peter’s Basilica had their temperatures checked.
The Vatican museums will open on Monday, by online reservation only. Museums and other cultural sites throughout Italy will also reopen this week.