New Book Marks 1st Anniversary of Pope Francis’ Urbi et Orbi Blessing as Pandemic Swept World

The new book, Why Are You Afraid? Have You No Faith?, is being released around the world in several languages through a collaboration between the Vatican Publishing House and the French publisher Bayard.

Pope Francis gives an extraordinary Urbi et Orbi blessing from the entrance of St. Peter’s Basilica to an empty square amid the coronavirus pandemic on March 27, 2020.
Pope Francis gives an extraordinary Urbi et Orbi blessing from the entrance of St. Peter’s Basilica to an empty square amid the coronavirus pandemic on March 27, 2020. (photo: Vatican Media)

VATICAN CITY — The Vatican Dicastery for Communication has released a book marking the first anniversary of Pope Francis’ extraordinary “Urbi et Orbi” blessing as the coronavirus pandemic swept the world. 

Pope Francis presided over a time of solemn prayer and Eucharistic adoration on March 27, 2020, before offering the blessing in an empty, rainswept St. Peter’s Square. 

As hospitals struggled to care for a vast wave of patients infected by COVID-19, the pope spoke about faith and trust in God, reflecting on the disciples’ experience 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,” Pope Francis said during the event, known as the Statio Orbis.

The new book, Why Are You Afraid? Have You No Faith?,  is being released around the world in several languages through a collaboration between the Vatican Publishing House and the French publisher Bayard. The English version is published in conjunction with OSV.

A press statement from the Dicastery for Communication explained that the book consisted of texts and photographs related to the blessing.

It said: “They are accompanied  by a brief but intense dialogue with Pope Francis, who, a year on from the Statio Orbis, recalls: ‘I was in contact with the people. I was not alone, at that moment…’” 

“And in response to the question on what gave him strength and hope in that intense and dramatic moment, Francis replies: ‘Kissing the feet of the Crucified Jesus always gives hope. He knows what it means to walk and he understands quarantine, because they put two nails there to hold him still. Jesus’ feet are a compass in people’s lives.’”

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