Pontiff visited two Rome churches to pray for the Coronavirus to end.
Pope Francis left the Vatican on Sunday afternoon for a surprise visit to two Rome churches to pray for the end of the Coronavirus pandemic that has struck Italy and the world.
The pontiff implored the healing of those suffering from the virus, its victims and their families and friends.
Pope Francis also prayed for healthcare workers, doctors, nurses and those working to keep society functioning while many are in quarantine.
The pontiff prayed first at the Basilica of S. Maria Maggiore near the capital's central train station before making his way to the church of S. Marcello al Corso in city centre, where he prayed at the foot of a wooden crucifix that protected Rome from a great plague in 1522.
The pope made his way to the second church by foot, in a silent pilgrimage of prayer, and the Vatican released a dramatic photograph showing the pontiff walk along a normally bustling Via del Corso, now deserted due to the nationwide lockdown.
Photo credits: Vatican Media
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Pope Francis walks across empty Rome to pray for end to Coronavirus
Piazza di San Marcello, 5, 00187 Roma RM, Italy