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ROME — Pope Francis called on the Virgin Mary Saturday to touch the hearts of world financiers to stop investing “huge sums” of money in armaments but to invest in cures for future pandemics.

In April, the pontiff announced a month-long rosary prayer marathon to ask God for a swift end to the coronavirus pandemic, at which time the Vatican said the pope himself would kick off the crusade on May 1.

On Saturday, Francis presided over the prayer of the rosary in Saint Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican, joining in prayer with “the faithful and with all people of good will, to entrust into the hands of our holy mother the whole of humanity, severely tested by this pandemic period.”

“Every day of this month of May we will entrust to you, Mother of Mercy, the many people who have been touched by the virus and continue to suffer its consequences,” he said.

Following the rosary prayer, the pope offered a series of petitions to the Virgin Mary for those affected by the coronavirus in different ways.

“O Virgin Mary, turn your merciful eyes to us in this coronavirus pandemic, and comfort those who are lost and weeping for their dead loved ones, buried sometimes in a way that wounds the soul,” he said, while also remembering “those who are anxious about the uncertain future and the consequences on the economy and work.”

“As in Cana, intervene with your divine Son, asking him to comfort the families of the sick and victims and to open their hearts to trust,” he said.

The pope went on to pray for doctors, nurses, health personnel, and volunteers, asking for strength, kindness, and health.

“Holy Virgin, enlighten the minds of men and women of science, so that they find the right solutions to overcome this virus,” he continued. “Assist the leaders of nations to work with wisdom, concern, and generosity.”

“Holy Mary, touch people’s consciences so that the huge sums used to increase and perfect armaments may be destined instead to promote suitable studies to prevent similar catastrophes in the future,” he said.

“O Mary, consoler of the afflicted, embrace all your troubled children and obtain that God intervenes with his almighty hand to free us from this terrible epidemic, so that life can resume its normal course in serenity,” he said.

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