DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – At noon on Wednesday, Catholics in North Texas joined others around the wold to pray for an end to the COVID-19 pandemic.

It’s estimated 1.3 million Catholics came together in hearts and minds after Pope Francis asked them to pray that God gets rid of the coronavirus.

Bells at Dallas’ Cathedral Guadalupe, and hundreds of thousands of others, rang out after the Pope asked church leaders of other denominations to join Catholics in their petition to a higher power.

Those participating in the invocation were asked to pray for healing and comfort in the midst of fear about the virus – which has claimed the lives of more than 20,000 worldwide.

As an expression of their common faith, Pope Francis asked Christians to pray the Our Father prayer, or The Lord’s Prayer, aloud… at the same time.

Speaking about the coronavirus Auxiliary Bishop Greg Kelly told CBS 11 News, “It’s invisible, we don’t know exactly where it is. The prayer that the Holy Father has asked us to say together is an expression of faith, which is stronger than fear. So often Jesus said to people ‘be not afraid.'”

Pope Francis will also issue a special blessing on Friday. Bishop Kelly says it’s typically given at Christmas and Easter, but that the Holy Father believes the blessing is warranted in the current world climate.

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