By Sr Bernadette Mary Reis, fsp
As a sign of his closeness to those who were ill, under quarantine, or for whatever reason, were unable to leave their homes, Pope Francis began transmitting his daily morning Mass as Italy went into lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic.
From 9 March to 18 May, the Mass Pope Francis celebrated every morning was transmitted throughout the world. Thousands of people, regardless of religious affiliation, watched or listened through the various Vatican Media channels, and other radio and televisions stations or digital platforms that picked up the transmission. For many, Pope Francis’s Mass became a staple for coping with the adverse effects of the Coronavirus pandemic and subsequent lockdown.
Digital edition of Pope's homilies
Playbacks of the Mass and summaries of Pope Francis’s homilies were made accessible through the Vatican News’s YouTube channel and web portal. The complete texts of his homilies were available as a downloadable digital file, kept up-to-date as English translations became available.
Entitled Strong in the Face of Tribulation: The Church in Communion – A Sure Support in Time of Trial, the text also contains blessings and prayers, including the prayer used during the extraordinary moment of prayer with Pope Francis on 27 March; as well as the decrees of the Apostolic Penitentiary regarding the special indulgences granted because of the special circumstances created by the coronavirus pandemic.
Pope's words are precious
Father Giulio Cesareo, editorial director of Libreria Editrice Vaticana (the Vatican Publishing House), underlined how important Pope Francis’s homilies were. “He is a father,” Father Giulio said, “a spiritual guide who accompanied us as we lived that period. His homilies are precious because they are not only valid for back then. We still experience conflicts, shame, difficulties in praying. We were perhaps more receptive and attentive to what he told us back then. But it is important to keep his words with us so as to allow ourselves to be continually nourished by the beautiful things he said that concern life”.
Print edition of Pope's homilies
Since the suspension of the daily transmission of the Pope’s Mass, the feedback received from many readers was that the .pdf edition be made available in print. Thus, the booklet that “accompanied them as they lived through faith the first phase of the coronavirus pandemic” could also be a concrete keepsake of the closeness of both Pope Francis and our Lord at this devastating time.
The digital edition of Strong in the Face of Tribulation is no longer available. The printed edition is available through Amazon.com and through other publishers who obtain the rights to publish it.
updated 24 July