Italian death toll is now well past that reported by China.
Pope Francis announced on March 18 a call to join with an initiative of the Italian bishops, to pray the Rosary all together at 9 pm Rome time, on the Solemnity of St. Joseph, March 19.
People from many countries joined in, making this Rosary a worldwide plea for the end of the pandemic.
Italy on March 19 surpassed the number of deaths reported in China.
Before praying the Rosary, which was live-streamed from the Vatican, the Holy Father offered this message, and prayer:
Dear brothers and sisters,
I join in the prayer that the Episcopal Conference wanted to promote, as a sign of unity for the whole country.
In this unprecedented situation, in which everything seems to waver, let us help each other to remain firm in what really matters. This is a road sign which I find in the many letters of your Pastors who, in sharing such a dramatic moment, seek to sustain your hope and your faith with their words.
The prayer of the Rosary is the prayer of the humble and of saints who, in its mysteries, contemplate with Mary the life of Jesus, the merciful face of the Father. And how much we all need to be truly consoled, to feel embraced by his loving presence!
The truth of this experience is measured by our relationship with others, who at this moment coincide with our closest relatives: let us be close to one another, being the first to exercise charity, understanding, patience and forgiveness.
By necessity our spaces may have shrunk to the walls of our houses, but have a larger heart, where others can always find availability and welcome.
This evening we pray united, entrusting ourselves to the intercession of St. Joseph, Guardian of the Holy Family, Guardian of all our families. The carpenter of Nazareth also experienced uncertainty and bitterness, and concern for the future; but he knew how to walk in the darkness of certain moments, always letting himself be guided unreservedly by God’s will.
Protect, Holy Guardian, our country.
Enlighten those responsible for the common good, so that they may know—as you did—how to take care of the people entrusted to their responsibility.
Give scientific understanding to those who seek adequate means to promote the health and physical well-being of their brothers and sisters.
Support those who give themselves to help the needy: volunteers, nurses, and doctors, who are in the front line in treating the sick, even at the cost of their own safety.
Bless, Saint Joseph, the Church: starting with her ministers, make her a sign and instrument of your light and goodness.
Accompany, Saint Joseph, families: with your prayerful silence, build harmony between parents and children, especially the youngest ones.
Preserve the elderly from loneliness: let no one be left in the despair of abandonment and discouragement.
Comfort those who are most fragile, encourage those who falter, intercede for the poor.
With the Virgin Mother, implore the Lord to free the world from every form of pandemic. Amen.
#PrayTogether, entrusting ourselves to the intercession of St. Joseph, who knew precariousness and bitterness. Though he worried about the future, he knew how to walk through the darkness of certain moments, always letting himself be guided by God's will without reservation. pic.twitter.com/NXMt2LvWiq— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) March 19, 2020