Pope Francis praying to an empty St. Peter’s Square amid the coronavirus
As Easter approaches, images from an empty St. Peter’s Square during a prayer Friday paint a stark portrait of the Vatican, which, along with surrounding Italy, has been afflicted by coronavirus.
During the Urbi and Orbi prayer, Pope Francis stood underneath a canopy as he spoke to an empty St. Peter’s Square.
The Pope likened the coronavirus pandemic to an “unexpected, turbulent storm” that brings us on “the same boat.”
He also expressed gratitude for the “ordinary people … who do not appear in newspaper and magazine headlines” – doctors, nurses, grocery store workers and cleaners, among other essential employees working at the frontline of the pandemic.
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This moment of prayer provides an example of how the pope will celebrate many of the Catholic Church’s largest masses amid this crisis. He will celebrate Palm Sunday, Holy Thursday, Easter vigil and Easter Sunday at the basilica’s central altar.
Italy’s outbreak includes the world’s highest number of deaths for a single nation. The Vatican has four confirmed cases.