Pope Francis on Friday sent a video message to Catholics around the world, urging them amid the global coronavirus pandemic to hope, solidarity with those who suffer, and to prayer.
“In the risen Jesus, life conquered death,” Pope Francis said in an April 3 video, speaking about the upcoming Holy Week which will begin on Sunday, and culminate with Easter.
“We will celebrate Holy Week in a truly unusual way, which manifests and sums up the message of the Gospel, that of God’s boundless love,” the pope said.
“And in the silence of our cities, the Easter Gospel will resound,” Pope Francis said. “This paschal faith nourishes our hope.”
Christian hope, the pope said, is “the hope of a better time, in which we can be better, finally freed from evil and from this pandemic.”
“It is a hope: hope does not disappoint, it is not an illusion, it is a hope. Beside each other, in love and patience, we can prepare a better time in these days.”
The pope expressed solidarity with families, “especially those who have a loved one who is sick, or who have unfortunately experienced mourning due to the coronavirus or other causes.”
“These days I often think about people who are alone, and for whom it is more difficult to face these moments. Above all I think of the elderly, who are very dear to me. I cannot forget those who are sick with coronavirus, people who are in hospital.”
“I also remember how many are in financial straits, and are worried about work and the future, a thought also goes out to prison inmates, whose pain is compounded by fear of the epidemic, for themselves and their loved ones; I think of the homeless, who do not have a home to protect them.”
“It is a difficult time for everyone,” he added.
Amid that difficulty, the pope praised “the generosity of those who put themselves at risk for the treatment of this pandemic or to guarantee the essential services to society.”
“So many heroes, every day, at every hour!”
“Let’s try, if we can, to make the best use of this time: let’s be generous; let’s help those in need in our neighborhood; let’s look for the loneliest people, perhaps by telephone or social networks; let’s pray to the Lord for those who are tried in Italy and in the world. Even if we are isolated, thought and spirit can go far with the creativity of love. This is what we need today: the creativity of love.”
More than one million people worldwide have contracted the coronavirus, and at least 60,000 have died. The pandemic has led to a global financial crash, in which tens of millions have lost jobs in recent weeks. While some parts of the world are now thought to be on the downslope of the viral spread, many nations have locked themselves down in the midst of the pandemic, or in the hope of quelling it early in its spread within their borders.
In Italy, one of the countries hardest hit by the virus, more than 120,000 people have contracted it, and there have been almost 15,000 recorded deaths from the virus.
To conclude his video, the pope urged tenderness and prayer.
“Thank you for allowing me into your homes. Make a gesture of tenderness towards those who suffer, towards children, and towards the elderly,” Pope Francis said. “Tell them that the pope is close and pray, that the Lord will soon deliver us all from evil.”
“And you, pray for me. Have a good dinner.”
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