Pope Francis has given a solitary prayer service to an empty St Peter's Square on Friday.
Francis walked alone in the rain to a white canopy on the steps of the basilica and spoke sitting alone before a square which is now closed because of the pandemic . He prayed before a wooden crucifix which is normally kept in a Rome church and brought to the Vatican for the special service. This particular service was called "An Extraordinary Prayer in the Time of Pandemic". The pontiff said that the health crisis put everyone "in the same boat".
He urged the world to see the coronavirus pandemic as a test of solidarity and a reminder of basic values. "It has taken over our lives, filling everything with a deafening silence and a distressing void that stops everything as it passes by; we feel it in the air ... We find ourselves afraid and lost," he said. Francis said the virus had exposed people's vulnerability "to those false and superfluous certainties around which we have constructed our daily schedules". Pope Francis delivered an extraordinary "Urbi et Orbi" (to the city and the world).