Raising the Blessed Sacrament in a monstrance over a deserted St. Peter’s Square on March 27, 2020, Pope Francis gave a blessing “to the city and to the world” (Urbi et Orbi). He also venerated an ancient icon, Maria Salus Populi Romani (Mary, Protectress and Health of the Roman People), and kissed the feet of a miraculous medieval crucifix.
“Kissing the feet of the Crucified Christ always gives hope,” the pope later recounted. “He knows what it means to walk, and he knows all about quarantine because they put two nails there to keep him there. Jesus’ feet are a compass for people’s lives.”
The extraordinary moment of prayer was broadcast around the world with Knights of Columbus support.
More than a year later, the Holy Father’s blessing and meditation remain a sign of hope for a suffering world. To commemorate the unprecedented event, the Vatican Publishing House (Libreria Editrice Vaticana) has published a book titled Why Are You Afraid? Have You No Faith? In addition to numerous photographs, together with the pope’s March 27 meditation and reflections on the event, the book features a variety of the pope’s homilies, messages and general audiences during the past year, as well as excerpts from his latest encyclical, Fratelli Tutti (Brothers All).
The Vatican partnered with various publishers to release the book in multiple languages this past March.
The English-language version of Why Are You Afraid? Have You No Faith? was recently published by Our Sunday Visitor. Visit osvcatholicbookstore.com.
“In the midst of isolation when we are suffering from a lack of tenderness and chances to meet up, and we experience the loss of so many things, let us once again listen to the proclamation that saves us: he is risen and is living by our side.
“The Lord asks us from his cross to rediscover the life that awaits us, to look towards those who look to us, to strengthen, recognize and foster the grace that lives within us. Let us not quench the wavering flame (cf. Is 42:3) that never falters, and let us allow hope to be rekindled.
“Embracing his cross means finding the courage to embrace all the hardships of the present time, abandoning for a moment our eagerness for power and possessions in order to make room for the creativity that only the Spirit is capable of inspiring.
“It means finding the courage to create spaces where everyone can recognize that they are called, and to allow new forms of hospitality, fraternity and solidarity.
“By his cross we have been saved in order to embrace hope and let it strengthen and sustain all measures and all possible avenues for helping us protect ourselves and others. Embracing the Lord in order to embrace hope: that is the strength of faith, which frees us from fear and gives us hope.”
Pope Francis, from St. Peter’s Square, March 27, 2020
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