Pope Francis’ daily morning Mass, offered in the chapel of Casa Santa Marta, the Vatican guesthouse where he lives, is being livestreamed this week so people from around the world may join in prayer for those sick with coronavirus.
The livestream this week is “to allow those who wish to follow the celebrations in union of prayer with the Bishop of Rome,” Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said.
Video recordings of the popes 7:30 am (6:30 am UK time), Masses are usually made available for use by broadcasters, but not livestreamed. The livestreams can be found on the Vatican Media website and on YouTube.
At the start of Mass March 9, Pope Francis said he was offering Mass this week “for those who are sick from the coronavirus epidemic, for the doctors, nurses, volunteers who are helping them, for their families, for the elderly in nursing homes, for prisoners.”
He also asked everyone to pray together the entrance antiphon: “Redeem me, O Lord, and have mercy on me. My foot stands on level ground; I will bless the Lord in the assembly.”
Pope Francis was suffering from a cold last week, but from the video stream appears to be doing better. He carried out a normal schedule Monday, including an ad limina meeting with bishops of France.
The Vatican has taken measures to avoid large gatherings of people to help slow the spread of coronavirus in Rome, including the closing of the Vatican Museums.
As well, the pope’s weekly general audience will be conducted by video livestreamed to discourage people from gathering in St. Peter’s Square.
In his homily yesterday, Pope Francis reflected on the day’s first reading, which is from the Book of Daniel.
The prophet’s letter is a “confession of sins,” the pope said. “The people recognised that they had sinned.”
They recognise that the Lord is faithful with them, “but we have sinned, been wicked and done evil; we have rebelled and departed from your commandments and your laws. We have not obeyed your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes, our fathers, and all the people of the land,” Francis read.
“This is a confession of sin,” he said, adding that Catholics should do this, an examination of conscience when preparing to receive the sacrament of reconciliation. “Understand what we have done before God: I sinned.”
Francis warned Catholics that to acknowledge one’s sins is not just making a mental list, however.
He compared making a list of one’s sins to writing a to-do list or a shopping list, things which remain “in the head.”
“A true confession should remain in the heart,” be felt in the heart, he urged.
Recognizing the sins we have committed, that we have not prayed well, “we get this feeling of shame. I am ashamed that I did this,” he said. “Shame for our sins is a grace. We have to ask for it.”
He advised people, when they go to confession, not only to name their sins but to acknowledge also their feelings of confusion and shame about what they “have done to a God who is so good, so compassionate, so righteous.”
“Today, let us ask for the grace of feeling ashamed, of feeling ashamed for our sins. May the Lord grant this grace to all of us,” he prayed.