“I would like to propose to all Christians that, together, we lift our voices towards Heaven,” said the pope, who will start saying the ‘Our Father’ in Rome on Wednesday at 10am Irish time.
The Easter ceremonies will take place in Rome but it is still uncertain how these celebrations will be conducted and who will participate in them, as this is currently under review and evolving.
“Live this difficult moment with the strength of the faith, the certainty of hope and the ardour of charity,” said the pope in a message to all those affected by the coronavirus outbreak.
“The Church must consider whether to suspend masses and religious services,” said Italian consumer protection activist Carlo Rienzi.
Women’s bodies must be freed from consumerism. They must be respected and honoured, said Pope Francis in his homily on the first day of the year, which is dedicated to the figure of Mary, Mother of God.
“I encourage you to seek, in every poor person whom you encounter, his or her true needs, not to stop at their most obvious material needs, but to discover their inner goodness,” Pope Francis told the faithful.
“I entrust to the Lord all those who have tragically perished, and I pray for the injured and all those who suffer as a result of this tragic event.”
The saints are close to us and they tell us the way of the Beatitudes is not about doing extraordinary things, but about following every day this way that leads us to Heaven.
“She bowed down before those who were spent, left to die on the side of the road, seeing in them their God-given dignity; she made her voice heard before the powers of this world, so that they might recognise their guilt for the crime of poverty they created.”
“When I arrived at the break of day, I saw a destroyed village, screams, death... We are truly in a desperate situation" - Bishop Giovanni D'Ercole of Ascoli Piceno.
Refugees are people like everyone else, who have been deprived by war of their homes, their jobs, their parents and their friends, Pope Francis stresses.
The “pervasive crime, gangland killings and continued threat of paramilitary violence" as well as poverty & homelessness shows "much still needs to be done to create a culture of life & prosperity for all."
“To pass through the Holy Door means to rediscover the infinite mercy of the Father who welcomes everyone and goes out personally to encounter each of them."
Francis "conveys his closeness to the Greek people, with a special thought for the many families gravely beset by such a complex & keenly felt human and social crisis”.
“Jesus has compassion on those who mourn because the death of a loved one is never without pain for families. This is especially true of parents who lose a child": Pope