Pope gives Urbi et Orbi blessing: In this storm, our façades fall away
Pope Francis led this extraordinary moment of prayer amid the coronavirus pandemic. With the faithful participating online from the safety of their homes, the Vatican was empty like never before during his pontificate.
The reading from the Gospel of Mark, chosen specifically for the occasion, recounts the story of Jesus calming the seas. In his homily, the pope compared the tempest from the Gospel to the current pandemic, which has uprooted the daily routines of people around the world.
In this world, that you love more than we do, we have gone ahead at breakneck speed, feeling powerful and able to do anything.
In this storm, the façade of those stereotypes with which we camouflaged our egos, always worrying about our image, has fallen away, uncovering once more the (blessed) common belonging, of which we cannot be deprived: our belonging as brothers and sisters.
He remembered the disciples' fear and lack of faith. He reminded Christians of the need to invite Jesus into their lives and trust in His infinite care for them.
Lord, you are calling to us, calling us to faith, which is not so much believing that you exist, but coming to you and trusting in you. Let us hand over our fears to Him so that He can conquer them.
Following his reflection, Pope Francis spent a moment praying before this image of the patroness of Rome, known as the Salus Populi Romani. The moment was accompanied by the Marian hymn “Sub tuum praesidium,” in English, “Beneath thy protection.”
He also prayed before the crucifix of St. Marcellus.
He then prayed in silence in front of the Blessed Sacrament.
Then Cardinal Angelo Comastri, archpriest of St. Peter's Basilica, announced the Urbi et Orbi blessing and the plenary indulgence to be granted.
Pope Francis then imparted the Urbi et Orbi blessing, to the city of Rome and the world.
This extraordinary blessing, usually reserved for Christmas, Easter and the election of a new pope, was a response to the suffering of so many people and those who care for the sick during this coronavirus pandemic.