Rome, March 18 – Pope Francis said in a frontpage interview with La Repubblica Wednesday that he had asked God to stop the coronavirus epidemic during his recent ‘pilgrimage’ down Via del Corso street to a church in central Rome.
“I asked the Lord to stop the epidemic: Lord, stop it with your hand, I prayed for this,” said the pontiff.
“In these difficult days we can rediscover the little gestures of closeness and concreteness towards the people who
are the closest to us, a caress for our grandparents, a kiss for our children, for the people we love, they are important, decisive gestures.
“If we live these days like that they will not be wasted.
“Understand that in the little things there is our treasure.
“There are minimal gestures, which sometimes get lost in the anonymity of daily life. For example, a hot meal, a caress, an embrace, a phone call.
“They are familiar gestures of attention to the details of every day that make life have meaning and make sure there is communion and communication between us”.
“Sometimes we live a communication between us that is only virtual. Instead, we must discover a new closeness. Families often eat together in great silence, they seem so many monks isolated from each other. Here there is no communication. There is a language made of concrete gestures that must be safeguarded. In my view the pain of these days must open up to this concreteness.”
The pope said people treating and helping others through the crisis were “an example of this concreteness”.