Pope prays for people dying alone during pandemic

People dying alone during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic were the focus of Pope Francis’s prayers in his Mass on Tuesday.

Francis dedicated the Mass to people dying alone or who have already died, saying: “Today we pray for the deceased who have died because of the pandemic.

“They have died alone, without the caresses of their loved ones. So many did not even have a funeral. May the Lord welcome them in His glory.”

According to John Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Centre, as of 5 May, worldwide, more than 250,000 people have died of COVID-19.

Praying for the isolated elderly is a theme close to Francis’ heart. Calling the elderly “our roots, our story, our history,” Francis asked the Lord to be close to them.

“Let us pray today for the elderly, especially for those who are isolated or in nursing homes. They are afraid, afraid of dying alone,” Pope Francis said before Mass on April 15.

In his homily Tuesday, Francis reflected on Gospel reading (John 10:22-30), where Jesus is asked to say if he is the Christ.

Jesus says he has already told his listeners, but they have not believed him because they are not among his sheep.

In the light of this, Francis urged Catholics to ask themselves: “What makes me stop outside the door that is Jesus?”

Francis identified several barriers to progress towards Jesus.

One barrier he mentioned is the rigidity of heart.

“Jesus reproached the doctors of the law for their rigidity in interpreting the law, which is not faithfulness. Faithfulness is always a gift of God; rigidity is only security for oneself.”

Rigidity leads us away from Jesus’s wisdom and robs us of our freedom, Francis said.

He also named two further obstacles: acedia, which he defined as a tiredness that “takes away our desire to strive forward” and makes us lukewarm, and clericalism, which he described as a disease that takes away the freedom of the faithful.

“…we cannot follow Jesus without freedom. ‘At times freedom might go too far, and we might slip and fall.’ Yes, that’s true. But this is slipping before becoming free.”


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News category: World.

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