Friday, 27 March: it was raining. That Crucifix, that image on which the Bishop of Rome, together with tens of millions of people connected through TV, radio, and internet, gazed. Even though it had been placed near the façade of the Basilica, the Crucifix got wet by the pouring rain. Contrary to what some people had reported, the work of art did not undergo grave or significant damage. This can be seen, thanks to the fact that it has once again reappeared central to the Palm Sunday liturgy. It required only some minor retouching, done on a single morning, by art restoration experts from the Vatican Museum, in agreement with the appropriate Italian authorities. The minor retouching was related to small pieces that had become detached. Some of the damage was pre-existent, while other damage happened as a result of being moved. These minor and rapid interventions secured the safety of the work of art, which will return to the Church of St Marcello after the Easter Triduum.
Within the Christian tradition, art and beauty have always played a fundamental role to help believers enter into the mystery of Sacred Scripture, the liturgy, and prayer. This particular Crucifix is an image that has accompanied the history of the Eternal City, taking to itself the pain, the prayers, the hope and devotion of those dwelling there.
Therefore, its presence in front of St Peter’s Square on 27 March, and now inside the Basilica for the Easter liturgies, has profound significance. Many, many people throughout the world, in this moment of pain, when more than 50,000 lives have already been claimed by the pandemic, would have immediately understood its significance. Vatican News