Pope Francis has called on Christians to respond to the new coronavirus with the “universality” of prayer, compassion, and tenderness, while recognizing our closeness to all who are working to safeguard the public during this time of pandemic.
After his Angelus prayer, delivered from the library of the Vatican Apostolic Palace on March 22, Pope Francis called on all Christians to “lift our voices towards Heaven” in these trying times.
“I invite all the heads of the Churches and the leaders of every Christian community, together with all Christian of the various confessions, to invoke the Almighty, the omnipotent God, to recite at the same time the prayer that Jesus, our Lord, taught us,” Pope Francis said, referring to the Lord’s Prayer.
The pope both asked Christians to individually pray several times a day, but also to join him at noon, Vatican time on March 25, so that “the Lord [may] listen to the united prayer of all of His disciples who are preparing themselves to celebrate the victory of the Risen Christ.”
Pope Francis also appealed to Christians to show their closeness, both to those suffering from the new coronavirus, but also to the many healthcare workers and public servants battling against the pandemic.
“Let us remain united. Let us make our closeness felt toward those persons who are the most lonely and tired. Our closeness to the doctors, the healthcare workers, nurses, volunteers… Our closeness to the authorities who must impose stringent measures, but for our own good,” the pope said.
“Our closeness to the police, to the soldiers who try always to keep order on the streets, to ensure that the things the government asks to be done for the good of all are implemented. Closeness to all,” he said.
On March 22, Italy recorded 651 new coronavirus fatalities, with the overall death toll approaching 5,500, the Local Italy reported. The previous day, the country registered 793 new coronavirus deaths — the highest one day record since the virus hit the country last month.
Now the epicenter of the global pandemic, Italian authorities have banned domestic travel and closed all non-essential businesses in efforts to control the spread of the virus.
On March 19, Catholics around the world joined Pope Francis in praying the rosary for the coronavirus afflicted.