VATICAN CITY (AP) — Italians sitting down for dinner and turning on the evening news were greeted by Pope Francis.
RAI state TV broadcast a recorded message from the pope, who said: “Let pray to the Lord for all those who are tried in Italy and in the world” by the COVID-19 pandemic. Said Francis: “This evening I have the possibility to enter your homes” and asked viewers’ permission to chat with them a little.
Francis said he was thinking of the lively children forced with the rest of their families to stay home during government-ordered lockdowns aimed at containing the spread of coronavirus infections. He said “in his heart” he is holding those with family members sick with COVID-19 or who had died.
Francis will celebrate solemn Holy Week ceremonies without the public, starting with Palm Sunday Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica.