“We have realised that we are on the same boat, all of us fragile and disoriented, but at the same time important and needed, all of us called to row together, each of us in need of comforting the other" - the pope said in his meditation, "we have realised that we cannot go on thinking of ourselves, but only together can we do this.”
The service concluded with Pope Francis giving the Urbi et orbi Blessing, with the possibility of gaining a plenary indulgence for all those who follow live through the various forms of communication, reports Vatican News.
Pope Francis donated 30 respirators to hospitals in areas hardest hit by the pandemic, the Vatican announced on 26 March, the same day that an Italian priest living at Casa S. Marta, the pope's residence, tested positive for coronavirus, bringing the total number of covid-19 cases at the Vatican to five.
On 15 March, the pope left the Vatican to pray at two Rome churches for an end to the covid-19 pandemic.
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 walked to the second church, in a silent pilgrimage of prayer, and the Vatican released a dramatic photograph showing the pontiff making his way along a Via del Corso, now deserted due to the nationwide lockdown.
For full text of the pope's meditation in English, see Vatican Media website.