Pope Francis delivers Palm Sunday sermon to empty St. Peter’s Basilica

Pope Francis called on listeners in his Palm Sunday sermon — on the first day of Holy Week — to “reach out to those who are suffering and those most in need” during the coronavirus pandemic, Reuters reports.

Why it matters: Francis delivered his message inside an empty St. Peter’s Basilica, broadcasting it over the internet to churches around the world.

The Vatican has mirrored Italy’s lockdown, where more than 15,000 people have died from the virus, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

What he’s saying: “The tragedy we are experiencing summons us to take seriously the things that are serious, and not to be caught up in those that matter less; to rediscover that life is of no use if not used to serve others. For life is measured by love,” Francis said, according to Reuters.

He urged his listeners to turn to God “in the tragedy of a pandemic, in the face of the many false securities that have now crumbled, in the face of so many hopes betrayed, in the sense of abandonment that weighs upon our hearts.”

“May we not be concerned about what we lack, but what good we can do for others,” he said.

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