This Holy Thursday, Pope Francis has praised all the good and selfless priests worldwide.
Last year, the Pope visited the Velletri Correctional Facility, to celebrate the Mass in Coena Domini with the Rite of the washing of the feet, beginning the Paschal Triduum.
This year, as much of the world is in lockdown to prevent against further spreading of coronavirus, claiming thousands and thousands of deaths worldwide, and already more than 18,000 in Italy itself, the Pope’s schedule has changed.
He did not do the traditional Chrism Mass this morning, nor not make his annual outing for the Washing of the Feet.
Pope Francis instead celebrated in a nearly empty St. Peter’s Basilica the Mass in Coena Domini without that rite.
During his homily, he spoke about priests and praised the countless who are selfless, even to the point of giving their lives.
The Holy Father lamented the more than 60 priests have died in Italy from COVID19.
“Have courage,” the Pope encouraged priests, as the Lord is always with them. Francis praised those who travel to far off lands, even often giving their lives, and sometimes, to hardly ever be remembered by name.
He also remembered those who serve villages, who may not be well known to the world, but to their parishioners. The Holy Father applauded how they know the people they serve personally, and again — as he has in the past–reminded that priests should even try to know the names of the dogs of their parishioners.
The Holy Father lamented how some bad priests have made the lives of the others often subject to insult and disrespect, decrying the abuse crisis.
The Pope expressed his disappointment that the Chrism Mass could not take place in the Basilica this Holy Week, and how he wishes, if the situation were to get better, that it could perhaps be done before Pentecost (otherwise, next year).
ZENIT will give a working translation of Pope Francis’ off-the-cuff homily as soon as possible.
Read More: Vatican News