In Bethlehem and elsewhere the coronovirus dampens the joy of Christmas


On Christmas Eve in Italy, church bells rang earlier than usual. The Italian government’s 10 o’clock curfew prompted Pastor to move services with a “Midnight” Mass, starting as early as dark after dark in some churches on Thursday evenings. Pope Francis, who has said that people should follow the measures of civil authorities to fight the spread of COVID-19, fell in line. This year, Mass Mass of Christmas was moved from 9:30 am to 7:30 pm at St. Peter’s Basilica.

Generally, seats in vigilante mass are quickly snapped up by Romans and tourists, but epidemics have reduced tourists in Italy. Considering social security measures, barely 200 loyalists – instead of several thousand – in basilica pews and wearing masks, attended the celebration of Francis’ Mass. A row of raging red-pointed plants contrasted with the lingering cold marble marble. Basilica.

Francis considered the importance of Christmas at his home. “We often say that the greatest joy in life is the birth of a child. It is something extraordinary and it changes everything, ”he said. A child “loves us, but can also teach us how to love.”

“God had born a child to encourage us to take care of others,” said Francis, who has paid attention to the poor and unjustly considered the important subject of his papacy.

Elsewhere in Europe the festivities were canceled or very few were withdrawn as the virus infection continued to grow throughout the continent and a new version that could be more contagious has been explored.

In Athens, Christmas Eve was silent. In normal times, the voices of children singing carol can be heard throughout the day while piercing metal triangles. The decades-old custom, in which children go from house to house and receive small gifts, was banned this year. The children’s group managed to honor the tradition by singing the video link to Prime Minister Kyrikos Mitsotakis – a school for children with difficulty listening to students who performed in sign language.

During the epidemic, one of New York City’s toughest churches has been St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Manhattan. Church leaders say more than 60 members of the congregation – which numbered about 800 before the epidemic – have died of COVID-19, almost all of them 400, some of whom are community people who are in services in Spanish Participate.

Despite their own heartbreak, members of the congregation – many of them immigrants – donated coats, scarves and other winter clothes for more than 100 migrant minors at a detention center in Manhattan.

While personal services have been resumed in many other New York City churches, St. Peter’s continues to offer its Mass online only. Christmas Eve and Christmas day programs included Masses in English and Spanish, and a bilingual Jazz Vespers service.

In Bethlehem, the authorities tried to get the most out of the bad situation.

“Christmas is a holiday that renews hope in spirits,” Mayor Anton Salman said. “Despite all the obstacles and challenges caused by Corona and the lack of tourism, the city of Bethlehem is still looking to the future with optimism.”

The rain, the rainy season, added to the gloomy atmosphere, as several dozen people gathered in central Manger Square to greet the Latin Friendship Pierbatista Pizaballa. The youth marching band playing Christmas carols on the bagpipe, accompanied by drummers, led a joyous procession before the arrival of the ancestral side in the afternoon.

“We want to celebrate as much as possible with family, community and happiness, despite restrictions and limitations,” said Pizabela, who was to lead a small midnight mass gathering in the evening. “We want to offer hope.”

Thousands of foreign pilgrims usually come to Bethlehem for the celebration. But with the closure of Israel’s international airport for foreign tourists, the Palestinian embargo, along with Palestinian sanctions, banned intercity travel to areas in the Israeli-occupied West Bank that kept visitors away.

The ban limits attendance for residents and a small entry of religious officials. The evening festivities, when pilgrims typically hover around the Christmas tree, were canceled, and the Midnight Mass was limited to the priests.

Coronoviruses have suffered a major setback during the lifetime of Bethlehem’s tourism sector, the local economy. Restaurants, hotels and gift shops have been closed.

Rio de Janeiro’s iconic beaches remained open, but a city hall decree intended to limit gatherings prevented drivers from parking on the sidewalks. The rain also maintained the beach at home.

Thomas Azivedo and his 9-year-old son roasted bad weather, selling fresh fruit beers and kafirinhas to set up a small stand. By noon, he did not sell a thing.

“The rain is not so much; In previous years it was full of tourists on Christmas. There is no one this year, ”said Aziveedo, 28.

The people of Australia looked forward to a relatively COVID-19-free Christmas following travel restrictions on state borders comfortably in recent weeks in the absence of any evidence of community broadcasting. But after new cases were detected in the previous week, states again closed their borders.

While many locations around the world were creating or increasing restrictions for Christmas, Lebanon was an exception. With the Tatars largely destroyed by the 4 port explosion and its economy in parts of its capital, Lebanon has taken most of the virus measures ahead of the holidays to encourage spending. Thousands of Lebanese expatriates have come home for the holidays, anticipating an inevitable increase in cases during the festive season.

Lebanon has the largest percentage of Christians in the Middle East – about a third of its 5 million people – and traditionally celebrate Christmas with great pomp.

“The people around us were tired, depressed and discouraged, so we said let’s just put a drop of joy and love,” said Sevin Aris, one of the organizers of the roadside Christmas Fair on the seaside where the explosion Caused the most damage.

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