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Filipinos fear for pope after doctor's Covid death

Doctors, churchgoers launch online prayers amid concerns physician may have infected Francis

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Filipinos fear for pope after doctor's Covid death

Pope Francis celebrates the Eucharist during a Mass for the Epiphany at St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican on Jan. 6. (Photo: Remo Casilli/AFP)

Churchgoers, including several doctors in the Philippines, have voiced concerns over the health of Pope Francis following the death of his personal physician Fabrizio Soccorsi from the coronavirus on Jan. 9.

They fear Soccorsi, 78, may have infected the pope before he died.

“I hope and pray Pope Francis is safe from the coronavirus. We received reports that the pope was having medical consultations more than thrice a week ... having a physician infected with Covid-19 is a serious matter,” Dr. Eduardo Hababag told UCA News.

He said members of the papal household should undergo regular mandatory swab tests for the health and safety of the Holy Father.

Meanwhile, another doctor and churchgoer in Manila Archdiocese has started an online campaign to pray for the pope’s health by reciting the rosary for nine days.

“Let us join our hands together by seeking the mantle of protection of our Blessed Mother for nine days. Join our online recitation of the rosary for nine days dedicated to the health and safety of Pope Francis,” Dr. Joseph Edralin wrote on social media.

Edralin’s daily rosary recitation entitled “Rosary for the Pope” is being held at 8pm each day local time with a Filipino family assigned to lead and to recite the rosary.

“In this way, we show the world and our country that our faith is stronger than the pandemic and we are one with the Holy Father. Pope Francis, too, needs prayers … so we are praying for his good health,” Edralin told UCA News.

Another churchgoer has printed the pope’s image on face masks asking people for prayers.

“Pray for the pope … We hope that the pope is Covid-free,” says one of the logos on the masks being sold online.

Father Obet Geralde of Catanduanes Diocese said churchgoers should not worry too much about the pope’s health because church officials were likely taking extra precautions to protect his health.

“Please be assured that the papal household is taking the virus seriously,” Father Geralde told UCA News.

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