News from the Pope – 19 March 2020

Pope Francis delivers his weekly blessing to an empty St. Peter’s Square on Sunday, March 15, 2020


With the square closed to the public, Pope Francis delivered his blessing from inside the Apostolic Library.

“In this situation of pandemic, in which we find ourselves living more or less isolated, we are invited to rediscover and deepen the value of the communion that unites all the members of the Church,” the Pope said in his remarks after the Angelus prayer.

Pope Francis praised the medical personnel and the volunteers who are helping the elderly, poor and homeless.

As he has said several times since the first outbreak of the coronavirus epidemic in China, Pope Francis today said, “I renew my closeness to all who are sick and to those who care for them.” He also extended his closeness to “the many workers and volunteers that help the persons who cannot leave their homes, as well as to all those who reach out to the very poor and the homeless.” He thanked all these people “for the effort that each of you make to help people in this hard moment.” He prayed, “May God bless you and Our Lady protect you.”

Speaking off the cuff before reading his prepared address, Pope Francis thanked priests across the globe, and especially in Lombardy—the region in Italy hardest hit by the virus, for their “creativity” during the crisis. He thanked the priests “that think up a thousand ways of being close to the people, so that the people do not feel abandoned; priests with apostolic zeal that have understood well that in times of the pandemia one should never be one who abandons the people.”

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