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Pope cautions against premature claims of ‘victory’ over pandemic

After praying the Angelus on Sunday, Pope Francis expressed his closeness to victims of the new coronavirus disease around the world.

The pontiff said it is unfortunate that in many countries “the virus continues to claim many victims,” adding that on June 5 alone “one person died every minute” in one country.

“Terrible,” said the pope. “I wish to express my closeness to those populations, to the sick and their families, and to all those who care for them,” he said.

“With our prayer, let us be close to them,” added Pope Francis.

The pope invited the faithful and the pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square to join him to pray the Angelus.

He said the presence of the pilgrims, including individual faithful, families, and religious communities in the square is “a sign that in Italy the acute phase of the epidemic is over.”

“But be careful, do not sing ‘Victory!’ yet, do not celebrate victory too soon!”

Pope Francis stressed that it is “necessary to follow the rules in force carefully” to help the population prevent the virus from gaining ground.

“Thanks to God we are coming out of it stronger, but always with the prescriptions given to us by the authorities,” he said.

The pope recalled that June is dedicated in a special way to the Heart of Christ. He said it is a devotion “that unites the great spiritual teachers and the simple among the people of God.”

“Indeed, the human and divine Heart of Jesus is the wellspring where we can always draw upon God’s mercy, forgiveness, and tenderness,” said the pontiff.

He encouraged the public to adore the Eucharist “where this love is present in the Sacrament.”

“Then our heart too, little by little, will become more patient, more generous, more merciful, in imitation of the Heart of Jesus,” he said.

Pope Francis also said that the feast of the Holy Trinity invites people to once again “be fascinated by the beauty of God; beauty, goodness, and inexhaustible truth.”

“But also beauty, goodness and humble truth, close, who became flesh in order to enter into our life, into our history, into my history, into the history of each one of us, so that every man and woman may encounter it and have eternal life,” he said.

He prayed for the Blessed Virgin Mary to “help us to welcome with an open heart the love of God, which fills us with joy and gives meaning to our journey in this world.”

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