Pope highlights economic crisis in 2nd Holy Week address affected by pandemic

Vatican City, Mar 28 (efe-epa).- Pope Francis on Sunday highlighted the hardship people were facing due to the economic crisis brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We have begun Holy Week. For the second time, we are experiencing it during the pandemic. Last year we were more shocked, this year we are more tested. And the economic crisis is heavier,” he said during the Angelus prayer.

During his Palm Sunday mass, he urged Christians to embrace a sense of “amazement” in their faith to “start over” in a world inflicted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The head of the Catholic church gave a Palm Sunday mass to a limited congregation in Saint Peter’s Basilica as followers are still kept at bay by health and safety requirements in place to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

“Let us be amazed by Jesus so that we can start living again,” he said, marking the date when, according to Christian tradition, Jesus Christ entered Jerusalem, marking the start of Holy Week.

Francis was accompanied by around 30 cardinals and other religious officials, who maintained a social distance in accordance with the laws in Italy — also applicable to the Vatican City. Over 100,000 people have died from Covid-19 in Italy since the pandemic first arrived last year.

Last year, Francis delivered a historic version of the Urbi et Orbi address to an empty St Peter’s Square.

In his homily this year, Francis referred to the “feeling of astonishment” that this liturgy arouses every year: “We go from the joy of welcoming Jesus who enters Jerusalem, to the pain of seeing him condemned to death and crucified.”

“Today, too, there are many who admire Jesus, because he spoke well, because he loved and forgave, because his example changed history” but “astonishment is different from simple admiration,” he said.

 “Admiration can be worldly because it seeks the likes and dislikes. expectations of each one; on the other hand, astonishment remains open to the other, to their novelty.”EFE-EPA

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