The Netherlands rallies to continue tradition of supplying pope's Easter flowers

 | 
13/02/2022
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Easter in the Vatican is a joyful celebration like nowhere else. 

And since 1985, the pope's Easter Urbi et Orbi blessing has been brought to life by the vivid colors of Dutch flowers decorating St. Peter's Square. 

POPE FRANCIS
2014
'A special thought of thanks for the gift of the beautiful flowers which come from the Netherlands.'

FR. ANTOINE BODAR
Rector, Church of Saints Michael and Magnus
'The Pope is always saying every year, thank you a lot for the flowers. Dank u voor de bloomen. And that is a tradition in the Netherlands.'

That was, until 2020, when the donors who supply the flowers backed out due to the pandemic, and Pope Francis celebrated Easter Mass inside an empty St. Peter's Basilica.

Fr. Antoine Bodar is rector of the church for Dutch pilgrims traveling to Rome. And he says that Dutch people of all faiths are banding together to carry on the tradition. 

FR. ANTOINE BODAR
Rector, Church of Saints Michael and Magnus
'So we have said, if it is not possible any longer, we have the responsability, and we will further on give the flowers to the Pope.'

The number of Dutch pilgrims in Rome has fallen dramatically since the start of the pandemic, and with them donations. That means there could be less flowers surrounding Pope Francis on Easter, but Fr. Bodar says the important thing is having a Dutch presence at one of the Church's most important celebrations.

FR. ANTOINE BODAR
Rector, Church of Saints Michael and Magnus
'We are hoping that further on, after COVID, we can give more flowers, but we will give flowers.'

Catholics everywhere are hoping this will be the year Pope Francis will once again deliver his Easter blessing to the world from the balcony of St. Peter's Basilica, and the Netherlands are on a mission to make sure he does so with Dutch flowers alongside him. 

JM

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