Pope Francis has offered his prayers for the victims of the new coronavirus and all of those battling to heal the sick and stop the spread of the epidemic.
Speaking from the chapel of his residence, the Domus Sanctae Marthae, the pope delivered morning Mass for those suffering from the virus, as well as “the doctors, the nurses, the volunteers who help so much, family members, the elderly in retirement homes, and prisoners who are incarcerated,” the Catholic News Service (CNS) reports.
“This week let us pray together this powerful prayer to the Lord: ‘Save me, O Lord, and show me mercy. My foot is on the righteous path. In the assembly, I will bless the Lord,'” he said at the start of Mass on March 9.
The pope’s homily centered on the Book of Daniel, God’s forgiveness and what it means to actually take a proper account of one’s sins when receiving the sacrament.
“A true confession of sins must remain in the heart. Going to confession is not just telling the priest this list, ‘I did this, this, this, this, this,’ and then I’m gone, I’m forgiven. No, that’s not it. It takes one step, one more step, which is the confession of our miseries, but from the heart; that is, that the list of bad things I have done goes down to the heart,” Pope Francis said.
“The way to encounter God’s mercy is to be ashamed of the bad things we have done. So, when I go to confession, I will not only say the list of sins but also the feelings of confusion, of shame for having done this to a God who is so good, so merciful and so just,” he continued.
Although the pope’s daily morning Mass is normally held privately with 20 employees or guests, the March 9 liturgical rite was closed to visitors in an effort to help stop the spread of the coronavirus.
On the previous day, Pope Francis also delivered the Angelus prayer online from the library of the Apostolic Palace, rather than a window of his residence, to a small crowd gathered on St. Peter’s Square.
The general audience on March 11 will also be streamed via video.
Meanwhile, the Rome Diocese has also ordered the immediate suspension of all Masses in a bid to help Italy deal with the coronavirus epidemic.
Priests, however, will still be able to conduct Mass behind closed doors.
Other church related events, including weddings, christenings, and confirmations have likewise been suspended in Rome and across Italy until at least April 3, Wanted in Rome reports, citing the Italian news agency ANSA.
On March 5, the Italian Bishops’ Conference gave the green light for Mass to be celebrated in areas considered not at risk for new coronavirus.
Currently, 15 central and northern provinces in Italy are affected by the ongoing quarantine.