VATICAN CITY - Following the one-year lockdown, Pope Francis greeted Catholics in St. Peter's Square for his traditional Sunday noon blessing.
"Thank God, we can gather in this square again," Francis said. "I have to say, I miss the square."
During this first gathering, only a few hundred were in attendance outside, all wearing facemasks and socially distancing.
Later in April, Italy plans to gradually ease some anti-pandemic restrictions. Outdoor dining will again be allowed in some areas of the country where Covid is deemed under control.
During the lockdown, Pope Francis stood at a lectern inside the palace to deliver his Sunday remarks via TV, radio, and the Internet.
"Thank God and thank you for your presence," Francis told those at the gathering.