Convalescing cardinal prays for coronavirus sufferers

CNA 5e573200c9687 183430 Cardinal Gualtiero Bassetti, president of the Italian bishops’ conference, at a press conference in Bari, Italy, on Jan. 22, 2020. | Daniel Ibáñez/CNA.

A cardinal who is convalescing after he was hospitalized with the coronavirus said Thursday that he was praying for those "still in the moment of trial."

In a Nov. 19 message, Cardinal Gualtiero Bassetti, president of the Italian bishops' conference, urged Catholics to join him in praying for medical staff and patients battling the virus. 

"I continue to recommend everyone to continue praying for those who suffer and live in situations of pain. I entrust everyone to the Mother of God, Mary, to intercede for her children," the cardinal wrote.

Bassetti issued the message as he left Santa Maria della Misericordia Hospital in Perugia, where he serves as archbishop, to begin the next stage of his recovery at the Agostino Gemelli University Policlinic, Rome's largest hospital.

The 78-year-old cardinal was hospitalized Oct. 31 after testing positive for the coronavirus. He was moved to intensive care on Nov. 3.

According to Italian media, Pope Francis closely followed Bassetti's progress, making a series of phone calls to inquire about his health.

In Thursday's message, Bassetti thanked everyone involved in caring for him in Perugia, including doctors, nurses and other staff. 

"I thank them and I carry them all in my heart, because with their tireless work they do their best to save as many lives as possible, a task all the more difficult in this time scourged by the pandemic. They will not be missing in my prayers," he said.

"I also carry with me in my memory and in prayer all the patients who are still in the moment of trial. I leave you with an exhortation of comfort: let us remain united in the hope and love of God, the Lord never abandons us and, in suffering, He holds us in His arms."

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