Pope Francis offers a private Mass in the chapel of Casa Santa Marta March 15, 2020. Credit: Vatican Media.
As many Catholics are unable to attend Mass or gather because of the coronavirus pandemic, Pope Francis recalled the Church’s spiritual communion as the Body of Christ, united in prayer.
“In this pandemic situation, in which we find ourselves living more or less isolated, we are invited to rediscover and deepen the value of the communion which unites all members of the Church,” Pope Francis said today.
Speaking at the end of his Sunday Angelus address, he said “united with Christ we are never alone, but we form a single Body, of which He is the Head.”
“It is a union that is nourished with prayer, and also with spiritual communion in the Eucharist, a highly recommended practice when it is not possible to receive the sacrament,” he urged.
“I say this for everyone, especially for people who live alone.”
Due to the global coronavirus outbreak, Pope Francis prayed the midday Marian prayer via live video from his library in the Vatican’s apostolic palace. Usually he leads the prayer from a window overlooking pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square.
“These days St. Peter’s Square is closed,” the pope remarked, “so my greeting goes directly to you who are connected through the media.”
“Thank you so much for all the strength each of you gives to help during this very difficult moment,” he said. “May the Lord bless you and Our Lady guard you.”
He renewed his closeness to the sick, those who care for them, and to workers and volunteers helping people who cannot leave their homes.
Francis also expressed his closeness to those who are helping to meet the needs of the poor and homeless during the coronavirus pandemic.
He thanked the archbishop of Milan for his closeness to his people and to God in prayer. He also thanked priests, especially those in northern Italy, for being creative in their solutions to help Catholics feel supported during this time.
Pope Francis offered his morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta for all those who, during the coronavirus pandemic, keep the city running with their work: “employees of the pharmacies, the supermarkets, transportation, policemen.”
“Let us pray for all those who are working so that community life, city life, can go on at this moment,” he said.
The pope’s morning Masses, which will continue to be livestreamed every day next week, are being offered for those who are sick with coronavirus and for the suffering.
In his homily, Francis reflected on Jesus’ conversation with the Samaritan woman at the well. At this meeting, Jesus reveals his identity as the Messiah for the first time in the Gospels.
He reveals his identity to a woman, a sinner, who had the courage to tell him the truth about herself, the pope said. The Samaritan woman then had the courage to proclaim the news of the coming of the Messiah to others.
Before the Angelus, Francis said “if our searching and our thirst find their full fulfillment in Christ, we will show that salvation does not lie in the ‘things’ of this world, but in the One who loved us and always loves us: Jesus our Savior.”
“May Mary Most Holy help us to cultivate the desire for Christ, the source of living water, the only one who can satisfy the thirst for life and love that we carry in our hearts,” he prayed.