A stunning image: Pope Francis on a lonely pilgrimage

ROME — A stunning photo of Pope Francis on a lonely pilgrimage. Seemingly alone, Francis in fact walks with the entire Catholic community, the community of all believers and of all people of good will. It is a symbol of our times.

With Italy on lockdown and Rome streets almost deserted, Pope Francis left the Vatican March 15 in a mini-pilgrimage to an icon and to a crucifix associated with miraculous.

“With his prayer, the Holy Father invoked the end of the pandemic striking Italy and the world, imploring healing for the many people who are sick, remembering the many victims and asking that their family and friends find consolation and comfort,” said Matteo Bruni, director of the Vatican press office.

Pope Francis prays in front of the Marian icon “Salus Populi Romani” at the Basilica of St. Mary Major in Rome March 15, 2020. (Vatican Media)

The pope, Bruni added, also prayed as he did that morning at Mass, for health care workers, doctors, nurses and all those who are still working in Italy so that necessary services are guaranteed even amid the lockdown.

Pope Francis prays in front of a crucifix at the Church of St. Marcellus in Rome March 15, 2020. The crucifix was carried through Rome in 1522 during the “Great Plague.” (Vatican Media)

Below is an English-language translation of the prayer Pope Francis began using last week to entrust “the entire world to the protection of the Mother of God, as a sign of salvation and hope” during the ongoing coronavirus emergency.”

O Mary, you shine continuously on our journey as a sign of salvation and hope.

We entrust ourselves to you, Health of the Sick.

At the foot of the Cross you participated in Jesus’ pain, with steadfast faith.

You, Salvation of the Roman People, know what we need.

We are certain that you will provide, so that, as you did at Cana of Galilee, joy and feasting might return after this moment of trial.

Help us, Mother of Divine Love, to conform ourselves to the Father’s will and to do what

Jesus tells us: He who took our sufferings upon Himself, and bore our sorrows to bring us, through the Cross, to the joy of the Resurrection. Amen.

We seek refuge under your protection, O Holy Mother of God.

Do not despise our pleas – we who are put to the test – and deliver us from every danger, O glorious and blessed Virgin.

Pope Francis walks down Via del Corso to pray at the Church of St. Marcellus in Rome March 15. (Vatican Media)

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