On Friday, before an empty and rain-covered St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis held Eucharistic adoration and gave an extraordinary Urbi et Orbi blessing, praying for the world during the coronavirus pandemic which has killed more than 25,000 people.

The holy hour March 27 included a reading from the Gospel and a meditation by Pope Francis, who spoke about faith and trust in God during a time when people fear for their lives, as did the disciples when their boat was caught in a violent storm.

“We have an anchor: by his cross we have been saved. We have a rudder: by his cross we have been redeemed. We have a hope: by his cross we have been healed and embraced so that nothing and no one can separate us from his redeeming love,” Francis said.

Embracing Christ’s cross, he said, “means finding the courage to embrace all the hardships of the present time.”

“Embracing the Lord in order to embrace hope: that is the strength of faith, which frees us from fear and gives us hope,” the pope stated.

Pope Francis held Eucharistic adoration on an altar set up under the portico in front of St. Peter’s Basilica. Also present nearby was a miraculous crucifix which the pope visited March 15 to pray for an end to the coronavirus pandemic.

The crucifix, which usually hangs in San Marcello al Corso, was venerated as miraculous by Romans after it was the only religious image to survive unscathed from a fire that completely gutted the church on May 23, 1519.

An image of the Byzantine icon of Mary as Salus Populi Romani, was also brought to the square for veneration during the prayer.

At the conclusion of the prayer, Pope Francis gave an extraordinary Urbi et Orbi blessing, and gave benediction with the Blessed Sacrament while the bells of the basilica rang….

The above comes from a March 27 story on Catholic News Agency.