- Pope Francis on Friday night delivered a message of hope to the world amid the coronavirus pandemic.
- He did so in a hauntingly empty St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican, as Italy is completely locked down to stop the virus spreading.
- “Like the disciples in the Gospel we were caught off guard by an unexpected, turbulent storm,” the pope said, referencing the Gospel of St. Mark.
- The pictures of the address are stunning, and you can see a selection below.
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With Italy on total lockdown amid its devastating coronavirus outbreak, worshippers in the country and around the world are unable to attend churches, or even leave their homes.
On Friday evening, Pope Francis, the leader of the Catholic Church, took the extraordinary step of delivering an address in front of an empty St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican, leading a prayer of hope for Christians around the world battling to stop the virus and save lives.
The Urbi et Orbi service delivered by Pope Francis to the world is usually only given at Easter and Christmas, the holiest days in Catholicism.
Pope Francis, however, took the extraordinary step of giving the prayers amid the worst pandemic in a century.
In the rapidly fading evening light, the pope, dressed in the papacy’s signature white vestments, was stunningly set against the darkening stone of the monumental St. Peter’s Basilica.
The scene made for a dramatic set of images, captured by Reuters photographers Yara Nardi and Gugliemo Mangiapane.
See a handful of the best pictures below: