Coronavirus: Pope Francis calls for prayer, compassion and tenderness

Coronavirus: Pope Francis calls for prayer, compassion and tenderness Pope Francis at the Vatican. Photo: CNS

Praying his traditional Sunday Angelus via a videolink Pope Francis called for all Christians to respond to the coronavirus pandemic “with the universality of prayer, of compassion, of tenderness”, adding, “Let us remain united. Let us make our closeness felt toward those persons who are the most lonely and tried”.

Pope Francis – who normally prays the Angelus with the people gathered in St Peter’s Square – has instead been livestreaming the ceremony since the square is closed as part of Italy’s lock-down.

He said, “in these trying days, while humanity trembles due to the thread of the pandemic, I would like to propose to all Christians that together we lift our voices towards Heaven”.

Meanwhile, the Pope also announced that on Friday March 27, he will preside over a moment of prayer on the sagrata of St Peter’s Basilica, the platform at the top of the steps immediately in front of the façade of the Church. “I invite everyone to participate spiritually through the means of communication”, he said.

The ceremony will consist in readings from the scriptures, prayers of supplication, and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament; and will conclude with Pope Francis giving the Urbi et Orbi blessing, with the possibility of gaining a plenary indulgence for all those who listen to it live through the various forms of communication.

In a communique the Holy See Press Office confirmed that the moment of prayer will be broadcast live from the Vatican at 5pm Irish time.

At the end of the Sunday Angelus, Pope Francis went to the window of his study in the Apostolic Palace and imparted his blessing to the deserted square.