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Pope cites priests in frontline of pandemic, who serve poor as ‘saints next door’

Pope Francis leads the "In Coena Domini" Mass of the Lord's Supper of Maundy Thursday, commemorating the Last Supper of Jesus with his disciples and inaugurating the Easter triduum, on April 9 behind closed doors at St. Peter's basilica in the Vatican, during the lockdown aimed at curbing the spread of the COVID-19 infection, caused by the novel coronavirus. (Photo by Alessandro Di Meo/AFP)

Pope Francis cited priests who have been working in the frontline of the coronavirus pandemic, especially those who offered their lives with health workers, as “saints next door” during the Holy Thursday celebration in the Vatican.

In his homily during Mass commemorating the Last Supper of Jesus before his passion and crucifixion, the pope recalled the priests “who have given their lives to Christ” and “the priests who are servants.”

He remembered especially the “more than 60 priests in Italy” who “have given their lives” while “serving the sick in hospital, together with the doctors and nurses” in the midst of the new coronavirus pandemic.

Pope Francis called them “the saints next door.”

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