25 March 2020, The Tablet

Prince of Wales has coronavirus as Pope leads world in Lord's Prayer

Prince of Wales has coronavirus as Pope leads world in Lord's Prayer

Pope Francis, seen celebrating a mass in Saint Marta at the Vatican behind closed doors on 25 March, will lead the world's Christians in the Lord's Prayer
VATICAN MEDIA /CPP / IPA/IPA MilestoneMedia/PA Images

Pope Francis will at 11am this morning lead Christians worldwide in the Lord's Prayer, in response to the coronavirus crisis.

His prayer comes as it emerges that the Prince of Wales has coronavirus, is displaying mild symptoms, and is working from home and self-isolating in Scotland with Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall.

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York are among those who have responded to the Pope's call, made during the Angelus on Sunday. He also wrote to all Christian leaders inviting them to take part, invoking "graces from heaven" to end the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Pope will lead by saying the Our Father at midday, Rome time which is 11am GMT in London and the UK.

Calling for Christians to respond with the universality of prayer, compassion and tenderness, Pope Francis wrote: "Let us remain united. Let us make our closeness felt toward those persons who are the most lonely and tried.

"In these trying days, while humanity trembles due to the thread of the pandemic, I would like to propose to all Christians that together we lift our voices towards Heaven."

The Church of England is encouraging everyone to share a photo or video using #praytogether. 

Archbishop Welby said: “When the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray he taught them the words that we know as the Lord’s Prayer or the Our Father. This prayer gives us words to pray even when we don’t know how or what to pray.

“I will be joining with Pope Francis and with Christians all round the world to pray the Lord’s Prayer at 1100 London time (1200 Rome) tomorrow, commending the world into God’s merciful care at this difficult time.”

The Church of England's “Time to Pray” app, which includes simple daytime and night prayer services, is now free to everyone. An accompanying daily audio offering on SoundCloud and iTunes was launched last week, with the Archbishop of Canterbury leading worship.

In his homily today, at his livestreamed Mass at Santa Marta, Pope Francis spoke also of making "spiritual communion". He said: “At your feet, O my Jesus, I bow down and offer you the repentance of my contrite heart that sinks into its nothingness and Your holy presence. I adore you in the Sacrament of Your love, the ineffable Eucharist. I wish to receive you in the poor abode that my heart offers you. In anticipation of the happiness of sacramental communion, I want to possess you in the Spirit. Come to me, my Jesus, and that I come to you. May Your love inflame my whole being, for life and death. I believe in you, I hope in you, I love you. So be it".

He also spoke of the sisters of the Daughters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul, who with their volunteers are in many places at the front line of the response to the coronavirus. He said the sisters have been serving in the dispensary of Santa Marta for 98 years, and have been there at Mass, renewing their vows together with their sisters in every part of the world. "I would like to offer Mass today for them, for their Congregation that always works with the sick, the poorest, as here for 98 years, and for all the sisters who are working at the moment looking after the sick and also risking their lives and giving the life."

Meanwhile, four Vatican employees have tested positive for coronavirus and  L’Osservatore Romano has temporarily suspended its paper edition. 

The Tablet has set up an online collection of resources for Catholics on the Coronavirus outbreak, which can be found here.

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