The pope has called the world to prayer on March 25 with a prayer for all Christians. More on that later, the backstory is more interesting.
On March 11 the pope first spoke publicly of the viral epidemic, saying we should the entrust the world care to the Virgin Mary, addressing her with titles like “Salvation of the Roman people,” “Mother of Divine Love,” and “Holy Mother of God.”
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.
On March 18, the papal entreaty changed, as he told the Italian press. “I asked the Lord to stop the epidemic …”
On March 19, the Feast of St. Joseph, the prayer changed again, calling St. Joseph, the “Custodian of the Holy Family, Guardian of Our Families,” as he prayed:
Holy Custodian, protect this our country. …
Give the intelligence of science to those seeking appropriate means for the health and physical well-being of brothers.
Sustain the volunteers, the nurses, the doctors …
Saint Joseph, bless the Church …
Saint Joseph, accompany the families …, build harmony between parents and children …
Preserve the elderly from loneliness ….
Console the most fragile, encourage the hesitant …
And then to conclude, the pope must have realized that the saints in heaven don’t have power, they’re intercessors:
With the Virgin Mary, implore the Lord to free the world from every form of pandemic.
On the weekend immediately following, a Catholic magazine invented a new patron saint for Catholics to pray to — Our Lady of the Coronavirus. The Jesuit magazine AmericaMagazine.org announced that on Wednesday March 25, the Pope will lead all Christians to pray. The magazine attached this photo to the story:
Caption: OUR LADY OF THE CORONAVIRUS – Pope Francis is calling us all not to consider Mary as an abstract helper, but as a mother who has a proven track record of healing, protecting and watching over her people.
Following his Angelus prayer on Sunday, the pope said:
In these days of trial, as humanity trembles over the threat of the pandemic, I would like to propose to all Christians to join in raising their voices to Heaven.
So there will be another plea come this Wednesday that ALL Christians could readily agree to – if he sticks to the advanced text.
I invite all the heads of the churches and the leaders of all the Christian communities, together with all Christians of whatever denomination, to invoke the most high, almighty God, while reciting the prayer that Jesus Our Lord taught us.
I therefore invite everyone to do so several times a day, but, all together, to recite Our Father next Wednesday, March 25th at noon, all together, … On the day when many Christians remember the announcement to the Virgin Mary of the Incarnation of the Word, may the Lord hear the unanimous prayer of all his disciples as they prepare to celebrate the victory of the risen Christ.