Churches of other denominations joined the Catholic churches in ringing their bells on Wednesday. A video taken by Stephen Brown shows the bells tolling at a Lutheran church in Courbevoie, near Paris.
In his interview with Le Parisien, Aupetit expressed hope that the suspension of Masses may lead to a renewed desire for faith among the French people.
"When you are thirsty, you become more and more thirsty. And when water is given to us, we drink in abundance. We are currently weaned from this communion, so I hope that we will live it more intensely when the epidemic is over," he said.
Aupetit, who worked as a doctor for two decades before entering the priesthood, said that he is volunteering to treat the sick, and that fear of the virus was not a deterrent for him.
"I even think I caught it," he said, noting that about two weeks ago, he lost his sense of smell, which was a symptom of the novel coronavirus.
"Fear does not prevent death, nor disease. The one who is afraid is unable to fight the virus," he said.
"In a situation of distress, you have to arm yourself to be able to face it. And if it's my hour, it's the one God chose."
Aupetit also preached a message of hope in his interview, saying that Christian hope is one of the things that can come from something evil, especially in this season of Lent and preparation for Easter.
"We can imagine more fraternity, delicacy, civility, a different look on others and those who do not think like us. We are not quite in the worst with this virus, it can still get worse. But now is not the time to let go," he said.
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"You have to be standing in hope. When Christ is crucified, we tell ourselves that everything is finished. Three days later, we celebrate his resurrection. The last word is not to death, but to life."