(Source: MJ/Sr Bernadette Mary Reis, fsp, Vatican News)

After reciting the Regina Caeli in the library of the Apostolic Palace on the Monday after Easter, Pope Francis continued reflecting on how women are contributing during the coronavirus crisis.

After hearing about the women who “proclaimed Jesus’s Resurrection to the disciples”, “I would like to call to mind the efforts” of so many women “during this health crisis”, Pope Francis said.

He specifically mentioned woman who are “doctors, nurses, members of security forces, and prison guards, employees in stores providing basic necessities…, and many mothers and sisters who are confined to their homes with their entire family, with children, the elderly, and persons with disabilities”.

“Strength and support” for victims of spousal abuse

Then he acknowledged that some are at risk of violence “due to a living situation in which they bear a burden that is way too heavy”.

His prayer for them was that “the Lord might grant them strength, and that our communities might support them together with their families”.

The Pope then turned his attention once again to the current Covid-19 crisis.

“During Easter Week”, he said, he wishes to renew his affection and nearness to all those countries suffering the worst of the crisis. He named  Italy, the United States, France and Spain.

“The list is long”, he said. “I pray for all of them. And don’t forget”, he continued, “that the Pope is praying for you. He is near you”.

Before bidding a final farewell, the Pope renewed his Easter greetings and invited everyone to “remain united in prayer and in the commitment to help each other as brothers and sisters”.

He then went to the study window where he generally delivers the noon Angelus and Regina Caeli addresses. After looking about the empty square, he blessed the city of Rome.

In the catechesis: “Death does not have the last word”

Earlier Monday in his noonday catechesis, the pontiff insisted that “Jesus’ resurrection tells us that death does not have the last word, life does”.

“Today, Easter Monday of the Angel, the joyous proclamation of Christ’s resurrection resounds”, the Pope insisted.

Jesus is risen!

Francis’ remarks during his catechesis focused on the day’s Gospel reading (cfr Mt 28:8-15).

The Gospel recounts that the fearful women meet Jesus Himself as they are running away from His empty tomb.

“Do not be afraid”, Jesus tells them. Then He asks them to tell His disciples to go to Galilee where He will see them.

Jesus reward to the faithful women

Pope Francis said that “with these words, the Risen One entrusts the women with a missionary mandate to the Apostles”.

This is how Jesus rewards them, with a gesture that shows “attention and predilection”, he continued. Throughout his public life and passion, they had been faithful in showing him selfless dedication and love.

Slow to believe

These women and the disciples were slow to believe, even though Jesus “had foretold a number of time” that He would die and rise again, the Pope said.

They were not ready yet. Their faith needed “to take a qualitative step forward”. Only the Risen Jesus’s gift of the Holy Spirit could have “provoked” them to take that step, Pope Francis explained.

The Good News has reached every corner of the earth

After that, Peter and many others after him have boldly proclaimed Jesus’s resurrection.

That proclamation, the Pope said, “has spread everywhere” reaching every corner of the earth”. It has become “a message of hope for everyone.”

“Jesus’s resurrection tells us that death does not have the last word, life does.”

Christ, my hope is arisen!

This is why out outlook can be hopeful amidst life’s most difficult and uncertain moments of life, the Pope said.

“This is the Easter message that we are called to proclaim with words, and above all through the witness of life”, he said.

“In our homes and in our hearts, may this joyful news resound: ‘Christ, my hope, is arisen!’”

Mary, silent witness

Concluding his remarks before reciting the Regina Caeli, Pope Francis invoked Mary, the “silent witness” of Jesus’s death and resurrection.

He asked her to help us believe in the “mystery of salvation” that, when “welcomed with faith, can change our lives”.

“It is this Easter wish that renews everyone. I entrust it to You, our Mother, whom we now invoke with the prayer, the Regina Caeli.”

Next on Novena:

Full coverage of Easter 2020

13/4: Santa Marta Mass: On coronavirus recovery, Pope urges politicians to choose “resurrection of the people”, not “god of money” (full text)

Vatican news website denounces “global rise in domestic violence” under coronavirus lockdowns


Progressive Catholic journalist, author and educator. Working on social justice, equality and Church renewal.