(Source: CD/Vatican News)

Pope Francis celebrated the liturgy for the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord on Wednesday morning at the Casa Santa Marta chapel with special prayers for heroes on the coronavirus frontlines.

He began the liturgy announcing that the Daughters of Charity of Saint Vincent de Paul, present at the liturgy, would renew their vows together with all their fellow sisters throughout the world.

These sisters direct the Santa Marta dispensary. It has been in the hands of their Congregation for 98 years.

There, the sisters provide medical assistance to children and families in need. It is located just a stone’s throw away from the Pope’s residence inside the Vatican.

“I would like to offer the Mass today, for them, for their congregation, who has always cared for the sick and the poorest, as they have done here for 98 years”.

This prayer intention also extended to “all women religious who are working at this moment, caring for the sick and also risking their lives and giving their lives”.

We are before a mystery

After the proclamation of the Annunciation from the Gospel of Luke, Pope Francis began his homily. He said Luke would have known what had happened “only because the Madonna had told him”.

“Listening to Luke, we listened to the Madonna who recounts this mystery. We are before a mystery.

“Perhaps the best thing we can do right now is to re-read this passage, thinking that it was the Madonna who recounted it”.

The Pope then read the entire Gospel for the day once again.

His final words were:

“It’s a mystery”.

Before proceeding with the liturgy, the two Daughters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul renewed their vows silently.

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PhD in ancient Jewish/Christian history and philosophy. University ethics lecturer with 4 years' experience in religion journalism.