Pope urges global prayer vs pandemic
Pope Francis urged Catholics around the world to pray in May for end to COVID-19 pandemic, which has directly affected almost 143 million people and claimed more than 3 million lives across the globe.
The Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization announced on Wednesday that Pope Francis will open the Marian month of prayer on May 1 with a rosary broadcast across Vatican’s media platforms.
“The initiative will involve all the shrines of the world in a special way, so that they might encourage the faithful, families and communities to recite the rosary to pray for an end to the pandemic,” the council’s statement read. Each day will see Vatican News broadcast the recitation of the rosary at 6 p.m. or 12 midnight in the Philippines, from the various shines taking part in the initiative.
The Pope will also close the initiative on May 31 with another specially broadcast rosary, the council added.
In response, the Archdiocese of Manila declared May 8 as a day of prayer for the thousands of lives lost to COVID-19.
Manila Auxilliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo said the clergy would “pause to mourn” and offer a Mass for the dead at the Manila Cathedral at 9 a.m. of May 8.
“The whole archdiocese will mourn for our dead during this pandemic but with great hope given by the resurrection of the Lord Jesus,” he said.
Pabillo also encouraged parishes to install a memorial with pictures of those who succumbed to the disease.
A three-day prayer service every 6 p.m. will also be offered for front-line health workers on May 5, for the sick on May 6 and for the dead on May 7.
In the Philippines, the COVID death toll has reached over 16,000, the highest since middle of last year among countries of the Western Pacific Region according to the World Health Organization on Thursday.
In the Western Pacific, Philippines (with over 962,000 cases) is followed by Japan with 546,000 cases and more than 9,000 deaths, while China, where the virus was first detected, has about 90,000 cases and 4,000 fatalities.
Pope Francis, in a letter for the month of May, said, “The restrictions of the pandemic have made us come to appreciate all the more this ‘family’ aspect, also from a spiritual point of view.”
“Contemplating the face of Christ with the heart of Mary our mother will make us even more united as a spiritual family and will help us overcome this time of trial,” the Pope said.
Pope Francis also proposed two new prayers to the Blessed Virgin Mary, which can be recited at the end of the rosary. In his letter, he assured the faithful that he, too, will be reciting those prayers throughout the month of May, “in spiritual union with all of you.”
—WITH A REPORT FROM VATICAN NEWS
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