Pope Francis will take part in an online service with the Anglican archbishops of Canterbury and York on the feast of Pentecost, the Church of England has announced.
The Pope will deliver a message in which he calls on Christians to “become messengers of the comfort bestowed by the Spirit” and become “more deeply united as witnesses of mercy for the human family so severely tested in these days.”
The service is part of ‘Thy Kingdom Come’, a global ecumenical prayer movement that began in 2016.
Pentecost marks the descent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles after Christ’s Ascension into Heaven. It is traditional regarded as the Church’s birthday.
Pope Francis will say that the world is experiencing a “tragic famine of hope” amid the coronavirus outbreak, and will call on Christians to turn away from the “selfish pursuit of success without caring for those left behind” and to be united in facing the “pandemics of the virus and of hunger, war, contempt for life and indifference to others.”.
“Today, more than ever, it is necessary to implore the Holy Spirit to pour forth into our hearts the life of God, who is love. Indeed, if there is to be a better future, our hearts must change for the better.
“Today our world is experiencing a tragic famine of hope. How much pain is all around us, how much emptiness, how much inconsolable grief. Let us, then, become messengers of the comfort bestowed by the Spirit. Let us radiate hope, and the Lord will open new paths as we journey towards the future.”
During the service, which will be available on the Church of England’s social media platforms, Justin Welby, the Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury, will deliver the sermon, and the Coptic Orthodox Archbishop of London will say the Creed. Pentecostal Pastor Agu Irukwu will also say prayers.
The service will conclude with the premiere of a special version of the Protestant hymn Amazing Grace.