VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – Pope Francis and Christians worldwide recited Wednesday the “Lord’s Prayer” to ask God to stop the coronavirus pandemic that infected nearly half a million people, disrupted countless lives, and closed churches and other public institutions.
Francis invited all other Christian leaders and individual Christians on Sunday to simultaneously recite the prayer “Our Father” on Wednesday at 12:00 noon Italian time (11:00 am GMT).
“At this moment we want to implore (God’s) mercy for a humanity that has been tried so hard by the Coronavirus pandemic. We are doing it together, Christians of every church and community, every tradition, every age, every language and nation,” said he.
In an introduction to the “Our Father”, also known as the “Lord’s Prayer”, he said it was also for “the sick and their families, health workers and those who help them, for the authorities, police and volunteers, for the ( religious) minister of our communities ”.
There are approximately 2.3 billion Christians in the world, of whom 1.3 billion are Catholics.
The 83-year-old Francis prayed from the Vatican, where he was cautiously locked up in recent weeks as Italy has taken strict measures to fight the world’s worst outbreak.
Blessings on the Internet and television
The Pope kept his general public and Sunday blessings on the Internet and on television from the official papal library, instead of in front of tens of thousands of people in St. Peter’s Square.
According to a Reuters balance sheet on Tuesday at 2:00 p.m. GMT, over 420,000 coronavirus cases were reported in 196 countries. About 19,000 deaths are associated with the virus.
Italy reported more than 5,000 infections on the last day alone, and the total number of infections is now almost 70,000. Italy will overtake China’s 81,000 drop burden within a few days if the infection rate continues at this rate.
Italy reported 6,820 coronavirus-related deaths on Tuesday at 1,700 GMT, the highest number in the world.
Francis’ Easter activities next month will also take place without the direct participation of the faithful, the Vatican said.
Masses in Italy and many other countries around the world have been suspended so that not many people will gather, but most churches are still open to individual prayers.
The Pope’s trip to Malta on May 31 was postponed indefinitely, and a trip to Indonesia, East Timor, and Papua New Guinea, which was expected in September, is unlikely to take place.
This Friday, Francis will bless an extraordinary “Urbi et Orbi” (for the city and the world) – usually only for Christmas and Easter.
Catholics who receive the blessing either personally or through the media can receive special enjoyment under certain conditions. Forbearance is forgiveness of punishment for sins.
Reporting by Philip Pullella; Edited by Gareth Jones