VATICAN CITY — The Council of European Bishops’ Conferences announced the launch of a prayer network during Lent to pray for the victims of COVID-19 and for the families of those who died of the coronavirus.

The council, known by the acronym CCEE, announced Feb. 16 that throughout the Lenten season, bishops across Europe will celebrate a Mass and create a “eucharistic chain, for the more than 770,000 people in Europe who have died from COVID-19.”

“Each European bishops’ conference has engaged in the organization of at least one Mass,” said Italian Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, CCEE president, in a video message published Feb. 16. “It will be like creating a prayer chain, a eucharistic chain,” in memory of so many people.

“In this prayer, we also want to remember the bereaved families and all those who are still suffering from the virus and whose lives remain in uncertainty,” he said.

According to the CCEE website, bishops across Europe have selected a day between Feb. 17 and April 1 to celebrate their memorial Mass. The initiative, the council said, “aims to offer a sign of communion and hope for the entire continent.”

Cardinal Bagnasco said the bishops of Europe are united with “our Christian communities and our priests” and expressed the council’s gratitude “to all those who continue to devote themselves to those most in need.”

“We support them with our words, and above all, with our prayers so that their commitment and their hope — that we must all have, maintain and increase — can help us to look forward together to a better future,” he said.