MAY 14: Pope Reminds Religions Today Unite in Prayer & Fasting for End to Pandemic


Today, May 14th, religions across the world are invited to unite in prayer and fasting for an end to the pandemic…

Pope Francis reminded faithful of this today during his private daily Mass, streamed from his residence Casa Santa Marta, reported Vatican News, stressing we are, no matter our religious affiliation, brothers and sisters.

“Today, the Higher Committee for Human Fraternity,” Francis reminded, “has called for a day of prayer and fasting to ask the merciful God for an end to this tragic moment of the pandemic.”

“We are all brothers and sisters,” he continued, reminding: “St Francis of Assisi used to say: “All brothers and sisters”. And so, men and women of every religious confession are uniting themselves today in prayer and penance to ask for the grace of healing from this pandemic.”

In his homily, the Holy Father reflected on the example of the prophet Jonah.

“The city of Nineveh,” he recalled, “was afflicted by some sort of pandemic – perhaps by a moral pandemic – and was about to be destroyed. God called Jonah to preach a message of prayer, penance, and fasting.”

Jonah, the Pope said, was initially overcome by fear and so ran away from his mission, but then God called him again, and the prophet went to Nineveh to preach.

People of all faiths and traditions, the Holy Father repeated, are called to pray and fast together for delivery from the pandemic, as the people of Nineveh did in response to Jonah’s preaching.

He acknowledged that none of us expected the coronavirus pandemic, but that it is upon us, and “many people are dying, many of them alone.”

Francis also cautioned those who have not been affected by the pandemic not to rejoice.

“Often,” the Argentinian Pope recognized, “the thought can arise: ‘Well, at least I haven’t been affected. Thank God I’m safe.’

“But,” he appealed, “think about others. Think about the tragedy and its consequences on the economy and education. Think about what will come afterwards.”

This selfish attitude, he expressed, we try to overcome with today’s prayers.

Praying together, the Pope adamantly stressed, is in no way “religious relativism.”

“How can we not,” he asked, “pray to the Father of all?”

“Everyone,” the Pope acknowledged, “prays as they know how, as they can, according to what they have received from their culture.”

Stressing “we aren’t praying against each other,” he said, “we are united in humanity as brothers and sisters.”

The Holy Father urged everyone to ask God for forgiveness of our sins, so that “God might put an end to this pandemic.”

Many other pandemics, the Pope said, afflict humanity.

Over 3.7 million people, the Pope said citing official statistics, died from hunger in the first four months of the year.

“This day of prayer against the pandemic,” he urged, “must make us think also of many other pandemics. The pandemics of war, of hunger.”

The people of Nineveh, the Pope said, listened to the prophet and converted from their evil ways. God saw their conversion and stopped the pandemic.

“May God,” he said, “put an end to this tragedy – this pandemic – and have mercy on us.

“And may He put an end to the other terrible pandemics of hunger, war, and uneducated children. This we ask as brothers and sisters, all together.

Pope Francis concluded, praying: “May God bless us all, and have mercy on us.”

The Masses in Francis’ chapel normally welcome a small group of faithful, but due to recent measures’ taken by the Vatican, are now being kept private, without their participation. The Holy Week and Easter celebrations in the Vatican were also done without the presence of faithful, but were able to be watched via streaming.

The Masses at Santa Marta will stop being streamed as of Monday, May 18th.

It was announced at the start of the lockdowns in Italy that the Pope would have these Masses, in this period, be available to all the world’s faithful, via streaming on Vatican Media, on weekdays, at 7 am Rome time, along with his weekly Angelus and General Audiences.

On May 4th, the country entered its so-called ‘Phase 2′, where it will slowly relaxing some of the lockdown restrictions.

Public Masses in Italy with the faithful will resume on Monday, May 18th, according to a statement of the Italian Bishops’ Conference. There will continue to be various safety measures in place, in order to protect the faithful.

In Italy where more than 30,000 people have died from COVID19, public Masses are still prohibited. To date, in the Vatican, there have been twelve cases of coronavirus in the Vatican, confirmed a recent statement from the Director of the Holy See Press Office, Matteo Bruni.

The Vatican Museums are closed, along with the Vatican’s other similar museums. There have also been various guidelines implemented throughout the Vatican, to prevent the spread of the virus.


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