The pope began his homily by reflecting on the Sunday Gospel reading from St. John, in which Christ not only presents himself as the shepherd but also as "the gate for the sheep" because "whoever enters through me will be saved."
Guided by the overarching principle "First, save lives," the Civil Society Action Committee offered several suggestions to help countries combat the spread of the virus among migrant and refugee communities.
Bishop Giovanni Nerbini of Prato, Italy made six doctors extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist so that coronavirus patients could receive Communion on Easter, offering a new way to provide spiritual care and comfort.
Praying that "the Lord may be close to them in this moment," Pope Francis publicly offered prayers for the elderly afraid of the coronavirus and of dying alone.
The preacher of the papal household said on April 10, Good Friday, that "Christ's cross changed the meaning of pain and human suffering, in that both are no longer viewed as divine punishment or a curse."
Prison guards, probation officers and volunteers also authored some of the meditations, which were released in Italian April 3 by Libreria Editrice Vaticana, the Vatican publishing house.
The papal almoner's office announced March 26 that the pope was donating 30 ventilators to "hospitals in the areas most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The pope prayed for prisoners and their families who are unable to visit because of the Italian government's strict social-distancing measures.
"I don't like that word because optimism sounds to me like makeup," something false and superficial, he said. "I have hope in humanity, in men and women, and I have hope in the people."
Dressed in white vestments to commemorate the feast of St. Joseph March 19, the pope expressed his closeness to prisoners "who suffer so much in this moment of uncertainty and pain."