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The Power of Solitary Prayer

18 14 1
06.04.2020

An elderly man wearing a white skullcap walked alone across a large square in pouring rain. Not far from the entrance to the house of worship, he stopped, lifted his eyes to the heavens and prayed. This happened neither in Bnei Brak nor in Jerusalem, but rather in Vatican City, in Rome.

Pope Francis chose, in light of the circumstances, to invoke for the crowd of believers the most solemn prayer in the calendar of the Catholic Church: Urbi et Orbi (in Latin: For the City and the World), which in normal times is reserved only for Christmas, Easter and the day a new pope is elected. He did this by himself, in St. Peter’s Piazza, which is synonymous with the tens of thousands of worshippers crowding into it throughout the year. This time, however, in the days of the coronavirus and social distancing, the pope stood alone, prayed and blessed.

The contrast between the vast space planned by Roman Baroque artist Gian Lorenzo Bernini and the pope’s solitary worship was stunning. In the 17th century, Bernini designed an elliptical plaza, bounded by two rows of huge........

© Haaretz