CITY OF VATICAN- The Pope Francisco imparted an extraordinary “Urbi et Orbi” blessing to deal with the coronavirus pandemic, from a platform located in the middle of an empty St. Peter’s Square. During the service, he recalled that, like Jesus’ disciples during a storm, everyone is in the same boat to fight this evil, and he urged the world to see the crisis as a test of solidarity and a reminder of basic values.
“A thick darkness has accumulated over our squares, our streets and our cities,” he said, from the steps of St. Peter’s Basilica.
After walking in the rain to a white canopy, he spoke before an empty plaza, where tens of thousands of people normally gather. From there, he stressed that, like the apostles, humanity has been surprised by an “unexpected and furious storm”.
“The storm unmasks our vulnerability and exposes those false and superfluous assurances with which we had built our agendas, our projects, routines and priorities,” he said. Jorge bergoglio, 83 years old.
“We realized that we were in the same boat, all fragile and disoriented; but, at the same time, important and necessary, all called to row together, all needed to comfort each other. We are all in this boat ”, he emphasized.
He also vindicated “so many traveling companions who are exemplary” and who -to fear- reacted by giving their own lives: “They are ordinary people, who do not appear on the front pages of newspapers and magazines, but are writing decisive events in history” .
He thus referred to doctors, nurses and nurses, in charge of replenishing products in supermarkets, cleaners, caregivers, transporters, security forces, volunteers, priests, religious and “so many, but others who understood that no one saves himself alone.”
“How many people every day show patience and instill hope, taking care not to sow panic but stewardship. How many fathers, mothers, grandfathers and grandmothers, teachers show children, with small and daily gestures, how to face and go through a crisis, readapting routines, raising glances and promoting prayer, “he added.
The Vatican called the service “an extraordinary prayer in times of pandemic,” a grim echo of an announcement, minutes earlier, that the death toll from the coronavirus in Italy had risen to more than 9,000.
The isolation measures will continue next month, when – for the first time in history – the Way of the Cross will take place in Saint Peter’s Square (instead of in the Colosseum) and other liturgical celebrations will take place without the faithful and in closed places, to avoid contagion.
The Vatican Headquarters Press Office reported the absolute shielding and specified that the Holy Week services will be held at the altar of the Chair in St. Peter’s Basilica, and not under the canopy. The ceremonies will be adapted to the new circumstances in which there will be no presence of pilgrims. The Palm Sunday procession was canceled. Instead, Francis will celebrate a mass inside the basilica. In addition, the chrism mass for Holy Thursday was postponed with all the priests of Rome until the confinement measures to control the pandemic are withdrawn.
The Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday at 9pm and the Easter Sunday mass at 11am will be broadcast through the Vatican News portal.