“We fly to Thy protection, O Holy Mother of God …” With these words Pope Francis has asked the Virgin Mary to free Italy and the entire world from the pandemic of the coronavirus.
He offered the prayer in a video message March 11, a day set by the Church in Rome as a day of fasting and prayer for this intention, standing before an image of Our Lady of Divine Love.
As well, the pope’s vicar for Rome, Cardinal Angelo De Donatis, celebrated Mass (without a congregation) at the Shrine of Divine Love, outside of Rome, for the intention.
One of the prayers Pope Francis asked for this month is the most ancient Marian prayer
Our Lady under this title is also known as “She who saves the City,” a designation given her in 1944, when a vast crowd followed Pope Pius XII to the image of the Virgin, praying before the fresco for the protection of Rome during the final battle for the city, which led to its liberation from German occupation.
A few days after the Allied entry into the city, Pius XII gave the image the title Salvatrice dell’Urbe.
Here is Pope Francis’ prayer of entrustment, concluding with the most ancient recorded prayer to Our Lady:
O Mary, you shine continuously along our journey as a sign of salvation and hope.We entrust ourselves to you, Health of the Sick, who at the Cross were near to the pain of Jesus, keeping your faith firm.You, Salvation of the Roman people, know what we need, and we trust that you will provide for those needs so that, as at Cana of Galilee, joy and celebration may return after this moment of trial.Help us, Mother of Divine Love, to conform ourselves to the will of the Father and to do what Jesus tells us, He who took our sufferings upon Himself, and took up 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 entrusting people of Italy to Our Lady of Divine Love: Here’s why
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. pic.twitter.com/Ubk6RummYP— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) March 11, 2020