Coronavirus has a new victim – St. Peter’s Square!

I learned of this interesting but somewhat sad story on a Dutch news site and, with the help of Google translate and tweaking some grammar, you’ll see how Easter will be quite different in the Vatican this year.

The last sentence of the story says: “The Vatican has yet to be notified.”  I’m guessing they know now.


A Christian online news site is reporting that, for the first time in 35 years, there will be no flowers gracing the central loggia of the basilica and the papal altar in St. Peter’s Square at Easter. The annual tradition of placing a sea of flowers on the balcony for the Urbi et Orbi blessing and on the square for the papal Easter Mass will end this year, according to the chief flower arranger of this event, Paul Deckers.

A florist from Posterhold in Limburg, Holland, he told the online paper http://www.nd.dl that he can no longer find sponsors after two years of coronavirus and that, from this year on, St. Peter’s Square will have to do without the Dutch floral splendor.

Deckers has been involved in the flower arrangement on the square since 1988 and responsible for its organization and realization since 2015. “The sponsors are stopping, it no longer fits in with their marketing policy,” says Deckers. “And that while we had a global platform for Dutch floriculture since 1986.” (www.nd.nl file photo)

The floral decoration of the square had been canceled for the past two years due to the pandemic.  Deckers said, “Dozens of growers took part. Rose growers, tree growers, daffodil bulb growers, hyacinths, blue grapes and tulips, you name it. We had thirty employees who transformed St. Peter’s Square in one day, with everything .- flowers, trees, shrubes, – transported in refrigerated trucks. It’s all over.” This was a project rooted in Dutch society, he added, especially with the annual papal ‘Thank you for the flowers’.”

”I saw the realization of the annual flower decoration, together with my fantastic team, all parties involved and growers, as a privilege and honor. I am grateful that we have had the opportunity to present Dutch floral art and floriculture on an international platform for many years. The fact that I received the ‘Benemerenti’ papal award from Pope Francis in 2015 is the crown on my work. Pope John Paul II, then Pope Benedict XVI and then Pope Francis expressed their thanks for the flowers from the Netherlands. This compliment is unique and of great value.”

“I’m losing 15 kilos of weight as the last few months have not been easy, because of all that tug-of-war,” he sighed on Thursday. The Vatican has yet to be notified.

Some photos I once took a few days after Easter in St. Peter’s Square:

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