VATICAN CITY (RNS) — After nearly 50 days of a strict lockdown in their homes, Italians flocked to parks and strolled the streets on Monday (May 4), the first day of “Phase Two,” when the Italian government loosened some of the restrictions put in place to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

Over the weekend, the Italian Catholic bishops, after a prolonged and sometimes strained debate with local authorities, also secured a deal with the government with the hopes that by the end of May, Italian Catholics will also be able to attend Mass.

“It feels like a dream,” a woman told Religion News Service on Monday, her voice muffled by a protective mask as she enjoyed a walk around the grounds of the Villa

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