Pope Francis on Monday approved two new liturgical texts, including one for Good Friday, which were both created in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
One of the liturgical texts was a “Mass in Time of Pandemic,” a “votive mass,” (or mass said for a specific purpose) aimed at praying for an end to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The other was a “special intention,” (or a specific purpose which a mass can be offered) for the coronavirus that will be offered for Good Friday services next week.
According to the Vatican News, the Good Friday intention will include a prayer on behalf of “those who suffer because of this pandemic.”
The votive mass will include an opening prayer that asks God to “grant eternal rest to the dead, comfort to mourners, healing to the sick, peace to the dying, strength to healthcare workers, wisdom to our leaders and the courage to reach out to all in love, so that together we may give glory to your holy name.”
The Roman Catholic Church’s Congregation for Divine Worship has already sent the two liturgical texts to Catholic bishops across the world.
Cardinal Robert Sarah, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, said in a decree accompanying the Good Friday text that the holy day “has a particular significance [this year] because of the terrible pandemic that has stricken the whole world.”
“Indeed, on the day on which we celebrate the redeeming passion and death of Jesus Christ on the Cross, who like a slain lamb has taken upon himself the suffering and sin of the world, the church raises her voice in prayer to God the Father Almighty for all humanity, and in particular for those who suffer most,” he said, as reported by America Magazine.
Last month, Pope Francis called on Christians of all denominations to recite the Lord’s Prayer, also known as the Our Father, at noon on March 25.
“Let us stay united. I invite all Christians to direct their voices together toward Heaven, reciting the Our Father tomorrow, 25 March, at noon,” the pontiff posted on his official Twitter handle.
The tweet also included a short video of Francis giving a prayer with English subtitles, calling on people to “pray together for the sick, for the people who are suffering.”
“I thank all Christians, all the men and women of goodwill who pray at this moment in unison, whichever religious tradition they belong to,” said Francis in the video.