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“We can only get out of this situation together, humanity together,” Pope Francis urges

AFP PHOTO / OSSERVATORE ROMANO
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Pope thanks health care workers who, despite extreme fatigue, still take the extra time to make up for the absence of the patients’ families

Pope Francis urged hope and unity in a brief interview with La Stampa held March 16 and published March 20, saying that we much “look at each other with a sense of solidarity.”

He said that after all of this passes, it will be a “bit like a post-war period,” and we’ll have to rebuild.

The Holy Father encouraged this time of preparation for Easter — which will be celebrated without people able to attend liturgies — to remember that life has dark moments for everyone, and make that a motive for solidarity. “We think they can happen only to someone else,” bu this current crisis shows us differently, since no one is excluded.

Pope Francis suggested now is a time to cry out to the Lord as Peter and the Apostles did when they felt they could drown. “In a difficult situation, a desperate one, it is important to know that there is the Lord to hold on to.”

God supports us in many ways. God gives us strength and closeness; in the same way He did with the disciples who asked for help in the storm. Or when He gave His hand to Peter who was drowning.

Asked how non-believers might find this consolation, the Holy Father said he didn’t want to separate the believers from the non-believers, since as human beings, we are all in the same boat, and no human experience is foreign to the Christian. “Here we cry because we suffer. All of us. What helps us is synergy, mutual collaboration, the sense of responsibility, and the spirit of sacrifice that is generated in many places. We don’t have to make a distinction between believers and nonbelievers; let’s go to the root: humanity. Before God we are all children.”

The pope said he has been hearing the stories of how final good-byes are being made through nurses’ and doctors’ cell phones, as family members are unable to be with dying patients. He said he thanks these health care workers who, “despite their extraordinary fatigue, [still] bend with patience and kindness of heart, to make up for the forced absence of the patients’ families.”

Francis also looked to a silver lining in the pandemic: That we’re being reminded that all of humankind is one family, one community. “And how important and decisive is universal brotherhood. We have to think that it will be a bit like a post-war period. There will no longer be ‘the other,’ but it will be ‘us.’ Because we can only get out of this situation together.”

We will have to look at the roots even more: the grandparents, the elderly. To build a real brotherhood among all of us. To remember this difficult experience we lived all together. And to move forward with hope, which never disappoints. These will be the keywords to start again: roots, memory, brotherhood and hope.

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