Brazil’s iconic ‘Christ the Redeemer’ statue in Rio de Janeiro was illuminated with the flags of nations across the world fighting the raging Chinese coronavirus epidemic.
The city’s Catholic Bishop, Orani João Tempesta, held Mass at the statue on Wednesday night, urging the faithful of Brazil and the world to pray for those afflicted with the disease and nations struggling to contain it.
The statue of Jesus Christ is Brazil’s most-known landmark. It overlooks the city of Rio de Janeiro on the neighboring Corcovado Mountain.
Brazil may be the first Latin American nation where the disease spreads in force. Conflicting reports have surfaced indicating that the nation’s President, Jair Bolsonaro, may have tested positive for the coronavirus after coming into contact with a cabinet secretary since diagnosed with the disease.
Global coronavirus diagnoses have surpassed 210,000, and deaths from the novel disease may be higher than 10,000. The disease originated in Wuhan, China.
Catholic officials in Italy- the most severely affected nation by the virus in terms of death count- took the almost unprecedented move of suspending regular Sunday masses and religious proceedings at the start of the month.
Gestures in their own right are not going to deter the spread of the contagious virus, but mankind shouldn’t discount the power of God during an unprecedented event some have likened to the most serious in world history since the conclusion of World War II.
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Pope Francis Prays For Coronavirus Relief in Unprecedented Empty Vatican Audience
The Pope appeared alone.
Pope Francis prayed that God would comfort Italy and the world in the midst of the raging Chinese coronavirus epidemic, appearing in an unprecedented Vatican audience in Saint Peter’s Square. Papal events at the Vatican are almost always filled with pilgrims and the faithful, but the ceremony overseen by the Pope was entirely empty on account of the strict quarantine imposed on Italy as the nation reels from an unmatched death count from the disease.
Imagery of the event revealed the striking emptiness of the Vatican square, the overcast and rainy weather adding to the solemn nature of the papal event.
These aesthetics are something else. pic.twitter.com/kj8MMY148l
— Richard #StayHome (@OmnipotensGamer) March 27, 2020
“May God’s blessing come down upon you as a consoling embrace,” said the Pope at the event. “Lord, bless the world. Give health to our bodies and comfort our hearts.”
The Pope encouraged prayer from the faithful for those directly involved in the response to the historic health epidemic- healthcare workers, doctors, grocery employees, police and volunteers.
The Pope chose to deliver the traditional ‘Urbi et Orbi’ address at the event, a Vatican tradition that is usually reserved for Christmas and Easter. The prayer implied the likely cancellation of Vatican Easter proceedings, with the devastation caused by the coronavirus in Italy likely precluding any major gatherings within the coming months, at least. Reports indicate that the Pope will celebrate traditional Good Friday and Easter Sunday masses, but alone, in a manner similar to Friday’s papal appearance.
Catholic Sunday Masses have been entirely cancelled in Italy, a nearly entirely unprecedented development that speaks to the gravity of the situation in the disease-stricken country. The nation had its worst day in terms of casualties on Friday, with deaths rising to 9,134, with a total national count of almost 87,000.
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