“We continue to pray together for the sick who suffer from this epidemic,” Pope Francis declared.
In the absence of the opportunity to hear the Holy Mass, the faithful are mobilizing for 24-hour prayers online.
This follows a decree by the Italian government suspending all public religious ceremonies in response to the coronavirus outbreak
For the first time Pope Francis did not appear in the window from which he traditionally adresses the crowd.
The Nativity Church receives some 10,000 tourists a day, according to Palestinian officials.
The gathering occurred as Pence was assigned to spearhead the government’s response to the global outbreakeak of the coronavirus.
Many churches emptied holy water fonts and several dioceses recommended worshippers receive Communion only in the hand.
Italian bishops in the area have taken various measures, including asking Catholics to receive the Eucharist only in the hand.
The Catholic Church issued guidelines to stem the spread of the disease.