';
×
× Digital News Videos Opinions Cartoons Education U-Report E-Paper Lifestyle & Entertainment Nairobian SDE Eve Woman Travelog TV Stations KTN Home KTN News BTV KTN Farmers TV Radio Stations Radio Maisha Spice FM Vybez Radio Enterprise VAS E-Learning Digger Classified The Standard Group Corporate Contact Us Rate Card Vacancies DCX O.M Portal Corporate Email RMS
×

Pope Francis delivers an extraordinary “Urbi et Orbi” (to the city and the world) blessing - something he normally does only twice a year. [Reuters]

Europe
The Vatican called the service “An Extraordinary Prayer in the Time of Pandemic,” a sombre echo of an announcement that the coronavirus death toll in

Pope Francis said the coronavirus had put everyone “in the same boat” as he held a dramatic, solitary prayer service in St. Peter’s Square on Friday, urging the world to see the crisis as a test of solidarity and a reminder of basic values. 

Image courtesy/Vatican News

“Thick darkness has gathered over our squares, our streets and our cities,” he said, speaking from the steps of St. Peter’s Basilica into an eerily empty and rainy square before delivering an extraordinary “Urbi et Orbi” (to the city and the world) blessing - something he normally does only twice a year.

Image courtesy/Vatican News

“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 find ourselves afraid and lost,” he said.

Image courtesy/Vatican News.

The Vatican called the service “An Extraordinary Prayer in the Time of Pandemic,” a sombre echo of an announcement by Italian officials minutes earlier that the coronavirus death toll in the country had surged past 9,000.

SEE ALSO: Pope calls for end to 'pandemic of poverty' after virus

In the United States, the total number of infections has topped 85,000, making it the world leader in confirmed cases.

Image courtesy/Vatican News

Francis walked alone in the rain to a white canopy on the steps of the basilica and spoke sitting alone before a square where he normally draws tens of thousands of people but is now closed because of the pandemic.

“We have realised that we are in 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.

Francis said the virus had exposed people’s vulnerability “to those false and superfluous certainties around which we have constructed our daily schedules”.

He praised doctors, nurses, supermarket employees, cleaners, care givers, transport workers, police, and volunteers, saying they, and not the world’s rich and famous, were “writing the decisive events of our time”.

SEE ALSO: 'I'm trapped inside with my fiancé who I don't love anymore during lockdown'

The leader of the world’s 1.3 billion Roman Catholics said God was asking everyone to “reawaken and put into practice that solidarity and hope capable of giving strength, support and meaning to these hours when everything seems to be floundering.”

He prayed before a wooden crucifix which is normally kept in a Rome church and brought to the Vatican for the special service.

According to tradition, a plague that hit Rome in 1522 began subsiding after the crucifix was taken around the streets of the Italian capital for 16 days in 1522.


Pope Francis St. Peter’s Square Coronavirus lockdown

Read More