By Cindy Wooden Catholic News Service
VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis highlighted the many ways women are caring for others during the coronavirus pandemic, but he also offered prayers for those facing an increased risk of domestic violence during the lockdowns.
At midday April 13, after reciting the “Regina Coeli” prayer livestreamed from the library of the Apostolic Palace, Pope Francis turned to the day’s Gospel reading and its account of the contrast between the faith of the women disciples, who were certain Jesus rose from the dead, and the uncertainty of the men, who doubted their words.
“Today,” he said, “I want to remember with you how much many women do — including in this time of a health emergency — to care for others: women doctors, nurses, law enforcement and prison officers, clerks in stores selling basic necessities and all the moms, sisters and grandmothers who find themselves closed in their homes with the whole family, with children, the elderly, those with disabilities.”
“Sometimes,” the pope said, “they risk being subjected to violence because of a living situation in which they bear too great a burden. We pray for them that the Lord would give them strength and that our communities would support them together with their families.”
“May the Lord give us the courage of women to always go forward,” he added.
Pope Francis also expressed his “closeness and affection” for every country “strongly impacted by the coronavirus — some with very large numbers of people infected and deceased.”
The pope said he was thinking especially of “Italy, the United States, Spain, France — the list is long. I pray for all of them.”
Looking directly in the camera, he added, “Don’t forget that the pope prays for you. He is near.”