“Today my thoughts turn in the first place to the many who have been directly affected by the coronavirus: the sick, those who have died and family members who mourn the loss of their loved ones, to whom, in some cases, they were unable even to bid a final farewell. May the Lord of life welcome the departed into his kingdom and grant comfort and hope to those still suffering, especially the elderly and those who are alone,” he said.
The pope prayed for the vulnerable in nursing homes and prisons, for the lonely, and for those suffering from economic difficulties.
Pope Francis acknowledged that many Catholics are left without the consolation of the sacraments this year. He said it is important to remember that Christ has not left us alone, but reassures us, saying: “I have risen and I am with you still.”
“May Christ, who has already defeated death and opened for us the way to eternal salvation, dispel the darkness of our suffering humanity and lead us into the light of his glorious day, a day that knows no end,” the pope prayed.
Before the blessing, Pope Francis offered the Solemn Mass of Easter at the Altar of the Chair in St. Peter’s Basilica without the presence of the public due to the coronavirus. He did not give a homily this year. Instead, he paused for a moment of silent reflection following the Gospel, which was proclaimed in Greek.
“In these weeks, the lives of millions of people have suddenly changed,” he said. “This is not a time for indifference, because the whole world is suffering and needs to be united in facing the pandemic. May the risen Jesus grant hope to all the poor, to those living on the peripheries, to refugees and the homeless.”
Pope Francis called on political leaders to work for the common good and to provide the means for everyone to lead a dignified life.
He appealed to countries engaged in conflicts to support the call for a global ceasefire and to relax international sanctions.
“This is not a time for continuing to manufacture and deal in arms, spending vast amounts of money that ought to be used to care for others and save lives. Rather, may this be a time for finally ending the long war that has caused such great bloodshed in Syria, the conflict in Yemen and the hostilities in Iraq and in Lebanon,” the pope said.
The reduction, if not the forgiveness, of debts can also help poor countries to support their citizens in need, he pointed out.