Pope prays for those still hit by COVID-19, urges caution elsewhere

Pope Francis greets the crowd as he leads the Angelus from the window of his studio overlooking St. Peter's Square at the Vatican June 7, 2020. The pope urged people to not declare victory against COVID-19 but continue to be careful and follow health precautions. (CNS photo/Vatican Media)

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis prayed for people living in countries where COVID-19 is still causing a huge number of deaths, and he cautioned people in Italy to continue to be careful and follow health precautions.

"Be careful, do not sing 'Victory!' yet, do not celebrate victory too soon! It remains necessary to follow the rules in force carefully because they are rules that help us to prevent the virus from gaining ground," he said June 7 after reciting the Angelus prayer from the window of the Apostolic Palace.

He greeted the few hundred visitors who had assembled in St. Peter's Square, maintaining social distancing and many wearing masks.

Seeing people in the square, he said, was a sign that "the acute phase" of the pandemic in Italy was over, which had led to the gradual easing of restrictive measures.

[Don’t miss the latest news from the church and the world. Sign up for our daily newsletter.]

But the pope cautioned everyone to continue to be careful.

"Thanks be to God we are coming out of the epicenter stronger, but always with the rules given the authorities give us," he said.

The Vatican press office had announced the evening before that the last Vatican employee who had tested positive for the coronavirus was now testing negative. A total of 12 cases were reported among Vatican employees since late February. None of the 12 died.

He reminded people, however, that "the virus continues to claim many victims" in other countries.

[Want to discuss politics with other America readers? Join our Facebook discussion group, moderated by America’s writers and editors.]

"I wish to express my closeness to those populations, to the sick and their families, and to all those who care for them. With our prayer, let us be close to them."

The pandemic is claiming large numbers of victims in the United States and other countries in Central, South and North America, according to the World Health Organization June 6.

 

Some countries were also seeing "upticks" in COVID-19 cases as lockdowns eased, which meant people had to continue to follow precautions, Margaret Harris, a WHO spokesperson said from Geneva.

In his Angelus talk, Pope Francis talked about the importance of the day's feast of the Most Holy Trinity, which celebrates God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

The June 7 feast day "invites us to let ourselves once again be fascinated by the beauty of God; beauty, goodness and boundless truth."

"This is faith -- to welcome God-as-Love," who gives himself in Christ, "who moves us in the Holy Spirit," the pope said.

Christian life, he said, is letting oneself be encountered by God because "he encounters us first" and to trust in him, to search for him and to love.

The pope also reminded people that the month of June was dedicated in a special way to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

"Indeed, the human and divine heart of Jesus is the wellspring where we can always draw upon God's mercy, forgiveness and tenderness," he said.

At the center of Jesus' every gesture and word there is love, "the love of the Father who sent his Son, the love of the Holy Spirit that is within us," he said.

He urged people to practice eucharistic adoration because they can find that love present in the Eucharist and "little by little, one's heart will become more patient, more generous, more merciful, in imitation of the heart of Jesus."

He also encouraged people to recite, for the month of June, a short prayer his grandmother taught him, "Jesus, let my heart resemble yours in all I do."

We don’t have comments turned on everywhere anymore. We have recently relaunched the commenting experience at America and are aiming for a more focused commenting experience with better moderation by opening comments on a select number of articles each day.

But we still want your feedback. You can join the conversation about this article with us in social media on Twitter or Facebook, or in one of our Facebook discussion groups for various topics.

Or send us feedback on this article with one of the options below:

We welcome and read all letters to the editor but, due to the volume received, cannot guarantee a response.

In order to be considered for publication, letters should be brief (around 200 words or less) and include the author’s name and geographic location. Letters may be edited for length and clarity.

We open comments only on select articles so that we can provide a focused and well-moderated discussion on interesting topics. If you think this article provides the opportunity for such a discussion, please let us know what you'd like to talk about, or what interesting question you think readers might want to respond to.

If we decide to open comments on this article, we will email you to let you know.

If you have a message for the author, we will do our best to pass it along. Note that if the article is from a wire service such as Catholic News Service, Religion News Service, or the Associated Press, we will not have direct contact information for the author. We cannot guarantee a response from any author.

We welcome any information that will help us improve the factual accuracy of this piece. Thank you.

Please consult our Contact Us page for other options to reach us.

When you click submit, this article page will reload. You should see a message at the top of the reloaded page confirming that your feedback has been received.

[Explore America’s in-depth coverage of Pope Francis.]

The latest from america

Evo Morales said Pope Francis called him to congratulate him on his party’s win after exit polls showed that the former Bolivian president’s top pick, Luis Arce, would win the general election.
Ricardo da Silva, S.J.October 20, 2020
Students at Boston College pray the Examen, while wearing masks and engaging in social distancing. (Photo courtesy of Joseph Vecchio and Emily Egan)
The coronavirus pandemic has caused campus ministries around the country to reassess how to best minister to their students.
Kevin Christopher RoblesOctober 20, 2020
In keeping with Italian law, all of the religious leaders, including Pope Francis, wore a mask except when delivering their speeches, which they did while keeping a distance from those listening.
Sister Campbell, the social justice activist made famous by headlining “Nuns on the Bus” tours, announced she will step down from her post leading Network Lobby this March.
Michael J. O’LoughlinOctober 20, 2020