VATICAN CITY (CNA) -- On the Solemnity of St. Joseph, the protector of families and the Church, Catholics in Italy will pray the rosary together from their homes for protection from the coronavirus.
Pope Francis said he will also be praying the rosary from his home at the Vatican.
“Mary, Mother of God, health of the sick, leads us to the luminous and transfigured face of Jesus Christ and to her Heart, to whom we turn with the prayer of the rosary, under the loving gaze of St. Joseph, Custodian of the Holy Family and of our families,” he said March 18.
The Italian bishops have asked people across Italy to pray the rosary together March 19 at 9 p.m. (4 p.m. Eastern). Pope Francis echoed the invitation, inviting Catholics around the world to join in the rosary together.
A rosary will be live broadcast at that hour on the local Catholic television station and online from Rome's Basilica of St. Joseph al Trionfale.
The president of the Italian bishops' conference, Cardinal Gualtiero Bassetti, has also invited families to place a lit candle in the window of their home at that time.
Cardinal Bassetti said he will be the first “to join in the prayer that will unite us in emphasizing faith, hope and, above all, that love which becomes a red thread from the Valley d'Aosta to Sicily, the red thread of charity, which is much stronger than the red zone.”
At his morning Mass in the Santa Marta guesthouse March 19, Pope Francis said he was thinking about the Church.
St. Joseph, in the midst of his ordinary life as a carpenter, was able to enter into the mystery of God, he said.
“Our faithful, our bishops, our priests, our consecrated men and women, the popes: are they capable of entering into the mystery?” he asked.
“When the Church loses the ability to enter into the mystery, she loses the ability to worship,” he stated. “The prayer of adoration can only be given when one enters the mystery of God.”
On the feast of St. Joseph, the pope prayed that the Church will be given the grace to live both the concreteness of daily life and the “concreteness” of the mystery.
Without this understanding of the mystery, the Church will just be a “pious association” of rules, lacking in adoration of God, he said.
“To enter into the mystery is not dreaming; to enter into the mystery is precisely this: to worship.”
Pope Francis added that “to enter the mystery is doing today what we will do in the future, when we arrive in the presence of God: worship.”
“May the Lord give the Church this grace,” he prayed.
Pope Francis' daily Masses are being livestreamed during the coronavirus emergency.
At the end of Mass, the pope invited everyone following along through the internet or TV to make a spiritual communion with him.
“I adore you in the Sacrament of Your love, I wish to receive you in the poor abode which my heart offers you,” he prayed.
“In anticipation of the happiness of sacramental communion, I want to possess you in spirit. Come to me, O my Jesus, that I come to you. May Your love inflame my whole being, for life and death. I believe in you, I hope in you, I love you."
He then led Eucharistic adoration and gave benediction.
Pope Francis' March 19 Mass was offered for prisoners during the coronavirus outbreak.
“They suffer so much,” he said, “because of the uncertainty of what will happen inside the prison, and also thinking about their families, how they are, if someone is sick, if something is missing.”
“We are close to prisoners today who suffer so much in this moment of uncertainty and pain,” he said.