Pope Francis has to replace his traditional St Peter’s Square address to the believers by the online message, Vatican website said. As COVID-19 is grappling the globe causing more nations to lockdown, the pontiff urges to keep the faith at any the geographic coordinates.
This year, Pope Francis breaks with centuries of tradition by livestreaming his Easter Sunday mass. The traditional address aimed at allowing the world’s 1.3 billion Catholics to celebrate their holiest holiday.
The novel infection hit the globe, reshaped society and transformed the way religion is observed. For the powerful Catholic Church, it is also a brand new day when billions of believers around the world are in lockdown and many countries. To avoid spreading of coronavirus, people have ramped up restrictions as the disease spreads.
Indonesia has imposed curbs on public transport ahead of the annual exodus to home villages that marks the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.
All of the pope’s Holy Week activities were modified, taking place with no participation by the public.
Pope’s virtual pray: a new way to talk to the believers
The pontiff’s virtual prayers are just the most vivid example of religious improvisation in the age of social distancing and confinement. The faithful have already followed his advice and found creative solutions.
This year, Easter is totally different. The Vatican’s entrance is now sealed off by armed police wearing face masks and rubber gloves.
“Easter offers a message of hope in people’s darkest hour,” the 83-year-old pontiff said at a late-night vigil mass on Saturday in an empty St Peter’s Basilica.
The public was barred because of the pandemic, and around the planet, Catholics followed his service and other masses on television or online.
“Do not be afraid, do not yield to fear. This is the message of hope,” said the pope.
He encouraged people to be “messengers of life in a time of death,” again condemning the arms trade and urging those better off to help the poor.
“Let us silence the cries of death, no more wars! May we stop the production and trade of weapons, since we need bread, not guns,” Francis said.
Pope also urged to end the abortion practice, saying that the killing of innocent lives should be stopped. The hearts need to be opened to filling the empty hands of those who do not have the bare necessities, the pontiff added, talking to the believers during online Sunday Mass.