VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis left the Vatican to make a surprise visit Sunday to two churches in Rome to pray for the end of the coronavirus pandemic — a move that came even as Italian health authorities insisted people stay home as much as possible to limit contagion in the heart of Europe’s outbreak. Francis who recently had a cold, headed first to a Rome basilica, St. Mary Major, where he often stops to give thanks after returning from trips abroad. There he prayed before an icon of the Virgin Mary dedicated to the “salvation of the Roman people.” “With his prayer, the Holy Father has invoked the end of the pandemic that is striking Italy and the world, implored for healing for the many sick, recalled the so many victims of these days and asked that their family members and friends find consolation and comfort,”’ Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said in a statement. After that, the 83-year-old pope left the basilica, near Rome’s central train station, and headed toward central Piazza Venezia, strolling along a brief stretch of Via del Corso, a noted shopping street for Romans. He then ducked into a church that most tourists pass by,


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