St. Peter's Basicalla was virtually empty for Palm Sunday Mass, where usually tens of thousands would gather. Just a few nuns, prelates and laypeople gathered, abiding by social distancing guidelines, while Pope Francis livestreamed the mass in his homily.
Francis asked worshipers to think of others suffering from coronavirus.
"The tragedy we are experiencing summons us to take seriously the things that are serious," Francis said, "And not to be caught up in those that matter less; to rediscover that life is of no use if not used to serve others."
The virtual Mass affected traditional Palm Sunday rites around the globe; in Argentina worshipers used plants already in their homes for traditional blessings, rather than buying palm branches.
In the U.S. Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo urged church-goers to stay home and stream mass services.
"May we reach out to those who are suffering and those most in need," Francis said in his virtual address. "May we not be concerned with what we lack, but what good we can do for others."