Pope Francis has asked God to stop the coronavirus epidemic and said people should utilise their time in quarantine to reconnect with their families.
In an interview with Italian journalist, Paolo Rodari, published in Wednesday’s edition of “La Repubblica” newspaper, the Pope said “ "I asked the Lord to stop the epidemic: ‘Lord, stop it with your hand’. That is what I prayed for”.
Defying a nationwide lockdown, the Pope last Sunday (Mar 15) visited the Roman churches of Saints Mary Major and Marcello on the Via del Corso and had offered prayers.
It comes as Italy is battling with the most acute outbreak of COVID-19 outside of China, with 35,500 infections and nearly 3000 deaths as of Wednesday (Mar 19).
Offering advice on facing the daily challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Pope said "We need to rediscover the concreteness of small things, the small acts of kindness shown to those who are close to us, family, friends. We need to realize that our treasure lies in small things. There are tiny gestures that sometimes get lost in the routine of everyday life, gestures of tenderness, affection, compassion, that are nevertheless decisive, important”,
The Pope also gave the examples of sharing “a hot plate of food, a caress, a hug, a phone call... These are familiar, attentive gestures regarding everyday details that make life meaningful, and create communion and communication amongst us".
Addressing those who have lost loved ones in the coronavirus crisis, the Pope said: 'I ask everyone to stay close to those who have lost loved ones, to be close to them in every possible way.'
The Pope himself is said to be suffering from a cold since last month.
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