Pope Francis returns to audiences in person after pandemic interruption

The audience coincided with the 40th anniversary of an assassination attempt against St John Paul II.

Pope Francis smiles after an attendee placed a hat on his head in the St Damaso Courtyard at the Vatican for his weekly general audience
Pope Francis smiles after an attendee placed a hat on his head in the St Damaso Courtyard at the Vatican for his weekly general audience

Pope Francis has returned to doing audiences with the faithful in person after a nearly six-month interruption due to Covid-19.

Francis greeted several hundred socially distanced and masked visitors inside the San Domaso Courtyard of the Apostolic Palace.

The audience coincided with the 40th anniversary of an assassination attempt against St John Paul II.

An attendee holds his child towards Pope Francis to bless as the pontiff greets faithful upon arrival the St Damaso Courtyard at the Vatican for his weekly general audience
An attendee holds his child towards Pope Francis to bless at the St Damaso Courtyard (Alessandra Tarantino/AP)

The pope was gravely wounded on May 13 1981 by a 23-year-old Turk as he passed through St Peter’s Square in an open car during a general audience.

Francis said the anniversary “makes us aware that our lives and the history of the world are in the hands of God”.

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