Pope Delivers ‘Extraordinary’ Prayer Of Hope To Unprecedented Empty St. Peter’s Square

by : Cameron Frew on : 28 Mar 2020 13:32


As Italy’s coronavirus death toll passed 9,000, Pope Francis delivered a solitary prayer to an empty St. Peter’s Square, urging people to embrace ‘the strength of faith, which frees us from fear and gives us hope’.

Last night, March 27, the Pope gave a special ‘Urbi et orbi’ – a solemn papal address and apostolic blessing generally reserved for Christmas and Easter – to an empty congregation.


The service, titled ‘An Extraordinary Prayer in the Time of Pandemic’, attracted global participation online, as people responded to ‘the coronavirus pandemic with the universality of prayer’.

Italy: Pope Francis prays to respond to COVID-19PA Images

As he stood before a deserted square in front of St. Peter’s basilica, Pope Francis dubbed the COVID-19 an ‘unexpected, turbulent storm’ that has placed us all on the ‘same boat, all of us fragile and disoriented, but at the same time important and needed, all of us called to row together, each of us in need of comforting the other’.

He said:


For weeks now it has been evening. Thick darkness has gathered over our squares, our streets and our cities; it has taken over our lives, filling everything with a deafening silence and a distressing void, that stops everything as it passes by; we feel it in the air, we notice in people’s gestures, their glances give them away.

His prayer also noted that the storm ‘exposes our vulnerability and uncovers those false and superfluous certainties around which we have constructed our daily schedules, our projects, our habits and priorities’.

Italy: Pope Francis prays to respond to COVID-19PA Images

However, he took a moment to praise ‘often forgotten’ doctors, nurses, supermarket employees, cleaners, caregivers, providers of transport, law and order forces, volunteers, priests, religious men and women who are ‘writing the decisive events of our time’ as opposed to the rich and famous.

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If you’d like to read the full translation of the Pope’s prayer from the Vatican News click here.

It’s okay to not panic. LADbible and UNILAD’s aim with our Coronavirus campaign, Cutting Through, is to provide our community with facts and stories from the people who are either qualified to comment or have experienced first-hand the situation we’re facing. For more information from the World Health Organization on Coronavirus, click here.

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Cameron Frew

After graduating from Glasgow Caledonian University with an NCTJ and BJTC-accredited Multimedia Journalism degree, Cameron ventured into the world of print journalism at The National, while also working as a freelance film journalist on the side, becoming an accredited Rotten Tomatoes critic in the process. He's now left his Scottish homelands and taken up residence at UNILAD as a journalist.

Topics: News, Coronavirus, COVID-19, Pope Francis, The Vatican


Vatican News
  1. Vatican News

    Pope at Urbi et orbi: Full text of his meditation