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 falter, let us help ourselves to remain firm in what really matters. It is an indication of the path that I find in many letters from your Pastors who, in sharing such a dramatic moment, try to support your hope and your faith with their word.

The prayer of the Rosary is the prayer of the humble and of the saints who, in its mysteries, contemplate with Mary the life of Jesus, the merciful face of the Father. And how much need we all have to be truly consoled, to feel enveloped by his presence of love! The truth of this experience is measured in the relationship with others, who at this moment coincide with the closest family members: let’s get close to each other, exercising first of all charity, understanding, patience, forgiveness.

By necessity our spaces may have shrunk to the walls of the house, but have a bigger heart, where the other can always find availability and welcome.

Tonight we pray together, entrusting ourselves to the intercession of St. Joseph, Custos, Guardian, of the Holy Family, Custos of each of our families. The carpenter of Nazareth also experienced precariousness and bitterness, concern for tomorrow; but he was able to walk in the darkness of certain moments, always letting himself be guided unreservedly by the will of God.

Protect, Holy Guardian, this country of ours.

Enlighten those responsible for the common good, so that they – like you – can take care of the people entrusted to their responsibility.

Give the intelligence of science to those who seek adequate means for the health and physical well-being of the brothers.

Support those who spend themselves on the needy: the volunteers, nurses, doctors, who are at the forefront of treating the sick, even at the cost of their own safety.

Bless the Church, St. Joseph, starting with her ministers, make her a sign and instrument of your light and your goodness. Accompany families, St. Joseph, with your prayerful silence, build harmony between parents and children, especially the little ones.

Preserve the elderly from loneliness: ensure that no one is left in despair of abandonment and discouragement.

Comfort those who are most fragile, encourage those who vacillate, intercede for the poor.

With the Virgin Mother, beg the Lord to free the world from any form of pandemic. Amen.