(Source: Devin Watkins, Vatican News)

The Pope offered a prayer to the Virgin Mary on Wednesday afternoon, in a video message to mark the Diocese of Rome’s day of prayer and fasting for the coronavirus emergency.

The video was broadcast at the opening of a Mass celebrated by Cardinal Angelo De Donatis, the diocesan vicar, at the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Divine Love near Rome.

Matteo Bruni, the Director of the Holy See Press Office, said Tuesday that the Pope wanted to entrust the city of Rome, all of Italy, and “the entire world to the protection of the Mother of God, as a sign of salvation and hope” during the ongoing coronavirus emergency.

Steadfast in faith

In his prayer, Pope Francis calls Mary “Health of the Sick”, adding that she kept her faith firm as she stood near the Cross as Jesus suffered.

“You, Salvation of the Roman people, know what we need, and we trust that you will provide for those needs so that – as at Cana of Galilee – joy and celebration may return after this moment of trial.”

The Pope also said we seek refuge under Our Lady’s protection, knowing that she will help us “conform ourselves to the will of the Father”.

Historical precedents

The choice to celebrate Wednesday’s Mass at the Divine Love Sanctuary holds significant historical value.

Pope Pius XII went to pray there before the statue of Our Lady in June 1944.

He pleaded for the salvation of the city of Rome as Nazi troops withdrew from Italy during World War II.

Now, over 75 years later, Pope Francis has asked the Virgin Mary to watch over the world in this current moment of crisis.

An English-language translation of the Pope’s prayer is below:

“O Mary, you shine continuously along our journey as a sign of salvation and hope.

“We entrust ourselves to you, Health of the Sick, who at the Cross were near to the pain of Jesus, keeping your faith firm.

“You, Salvation of the Roman people, know what we need, and we trust that you will provide for those needs so that, as at Cana of Galilee, joy and celebration may return after this moment of trial.

“Help us, Mother of Divine Love, to conform ourselves to the will of the Father and to do what Jesus tells us, He who took our sufferings upon Himself, and took up our sorrows to bring us, through the Cross, to the joy of the Resurrection. Amen.

“We seek refuge under your protection, O Holy Mother of God. Do not despise our pleas – we who are put to the test – and deliver us from every danger, O glorious and blessed Virgin.”

Updated 12/3/20 21:52 CET:

Dicastery for Human Development encourages “solidarity and compassion” in “difficult moment”

Thinking of all the people who are living these days with strong and growing concern the emergency linked to the Coronavirus, the Dicastery invites everyone to strengthen the Lenten time with the practices of prayer, fasting and charity.

The Dicastery therefore joins the “Fasting and prayer day” proposed by the Diocese of Rome and the Cardinal Vicar Angelo De Donatis for Wednesday 11 March 2020.

As Msgr. Bruno-Marie Duffé, Secretary of the Dicastery, commented:

“We remain close, in prayer, to those who suffer from having contracted the disease, to their families, as well as to all those who are engaged in hospital and health care services. This difficult moment calls each of us to live with solidarity and compassion for our neighbor”.

Therefore, continued Msgr. Duffé, “we invite everyone, according to their possibilities, to participate in this moment of prayer and fasting organized by the diocese of Rome in a spirit of communion and fraternity.

“It is a propitious occasion to rediscover our relationship with God and our love for each other. There is in fact a Christian way of living this time, which is that of hope and trust in the mercy of God for all His children”.

(Source: Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development)

More on Novena on the coronavirus emergency:

Cardinal Vicar of Rome: churches remain open for personal prayer…

… calls for day of prayer and fasting March 11

Vatican urges “international solidarity” in coronavirus fight, decries “stigmatisation” of victims

General Audience 11/3: Pope pleads for coronavirus “epidemic” not to obscure plight of “poor Syrians” on Greek-Turkish border

10/3: Pope sends “caress” to Italian communities hit by virus outbreak as Vatican shuts down St. Peter’s Square and Basilica

Santa Marta Mass 10/3: Pope asks priests for “courage” to visit, accompany, bring Eucharist to coronavirus ill

Cardinal praises “care for every life” in coronavirus response; Italian Bishops cancel public Masses until April

9/3: Pope offers live Santa Marta Mass for coronavirus sick, caregivers as Vatican ups preventative measures

Angelus 8/3: Pope expresses “closeness” to coronavirus patients


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