CNA Staff, Feb 17, 2021 / 13:00 pm America/Denver (CNA).
Pope Francis encouraged Brazil’s Christians on Wednesday to confront the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic together this Lent.
In a message marking the start of the country’s Ecumenical Fraternity Campaign on Ash Wednesday, the pope underlined the importance of unity as Brazil struggles to contain the virus.
“We have to overcome the pandemic and we will do so to the extent that we are able to overcome divisions and unite around life,” he said in the message dated Feb. 17.
South America’s largest country has been hit hard by COVID-19. More than 240,900 people have died of the virus in Brazil as of Feb. 17, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center. The country, which has a population of 211 million people, has the world’s second-highest death toll after that of the United States.
The pope noted in his message that the Catholic Church in Brazil has held an annual fraternity campaign in Lent for decades “as a concrete help to live this time of preparation for Easter.”