• Vatican City, Mar 31, 2020 / 04:15 am (CNA).- Vatican flags are flying at half-staff on Tuesday in solidarity with the victims of the coronavirus in Italy and worldwide.

    “Today, in solidarity with Italy, the Holy See will display flags at half-mast in mourning to express its closeness to the victims of the pandemic in Italy and in the world, to their families, and to all those who generously struggle for its end,” Holy See Press Office Director Matteo Bruni told journalists March 31.

    Pope Francis met with the Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte at the Vatican the day prior as the Italian government attempts to confront an outbreak which has led Italy to have the highest number of coronavirus mortalities in the world.

    More than 11,500 people have died of COVID-19 in Italy after a total of 101,739 people have been documented by the Italian Ministry of Health as infected with the coronavirus. Throughout the world, more than 37,800 people have died, according to Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center.

    Italy was the first country outside of China to implement a mandatory lockdown in response to the coronavirus outbreak. Conte announced the lockdown on March 9, and has since said that the national quarantine will be extended beyond the original April 3 deadline.

    The Italian government has suspended all public religious gatherings, including funerals, throughout the country, and all restaurants, schools, and non-essential businesses remain closed.

    Pope Francis also met with the mayor of Rome Virginia Raggi on March 28 at the Vatican. The Holy See did not release any further details about either of the private meetings.

    Lazio, the Italian region in which Rome is located, has had 2,914 documented cases of COVID-19, including Rome’s vicar general, Cardinal Angelo De Donatis.

    There have been six coronavirus cases connected to Vatican City. The Holy See has tested at least 170 employees for COVID-19, according to the Holy See Press Office, which confirmed that Pope Francis does not have the coronavirus on March 28.

    Vatican liturgies for Holy Week and Easter will take place without the presence of people this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, and will be broadcast live for those quarantined at home.

  • Vatican City, Mar 31, 2020 / 04:14 am (CNA).- Pope Francis prayed Tuesday for all those who do not have homes to go to during the coronavirus pandemic, that people may be aware of this reality and that the Church will welcome them.

    “Let us pray today for those who are homeless, at this moment when we are asked to be inside the house,” he said March 31, “so that society will become aware of this reality and help, and the Church welcome them.”

    Pope Francis is offering his private morning Masses in the chapel of the Santa Marta guesthouse for all those affected by the coronavirus. Every day he prays for a particular intention related to the viral outbreak before the start of Mass.

    In his homily, the pope reflected on Christ’s sacrifice on the cross for the sins of the world, which he said is prophesied in the day’s first reading.

    “We have to get used to looking at the crucifix in this light, which is the truest, it is the light of redemption,” he said.

    In the first reading for March 31, from the Book of Numbers, one sees God’s wrath, Pope Francis explained. Angry at the complaints of the people, God sent serpents which bit the Israelites and many of them died.

    The snake is an “image of evil,” Francis said. The people then turn to Moses and repent of their sins, asking him to beg the Lord to take the snakes away.

    Moses prayed for the people and God told him to put a bronze snake on a metal rod, and those who look at it will live, the pope recounted.

    This might look like idolatry, but it is a prophecy of when Jesus will be raised on the cross for our sins, he explained.

    “Jesus lifted up: on the cross. Moses makes a snake and lifts it up. Jesus will be lifted up, like the serpent, to give salvation,” he said.

    He noted Jesus’ words to the doctors of the law in the day’s Gospel passage: “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will realize that I AM, and that I do nothing on my own.”

    “But the heart of the prophecy is precisely that Jesus made himself [our] sin for us. He did not sin: he became sin,” he explained.

    Francis quoted from the first letter of St. Peter: “He carried our sins upon himself.”

    “And when we look at the crucifix, we think of the Lord who suffers: all that is true,” the pope said, encouraging people to meditate on the truth that at the moment he was lifted onto the cross, Jesus made himself the sacrifice for the sins of the world.

    The crucifixion was torture, “but the truth which comes from God is that He came into the world to take our sins upon himself to the point of becoming sin. All sin. Our sins are there,” the pope argued.

    “It is not easy to understand this,” he concluded. “Just contemplate it, pray, and give thanks.”

     

  • Vatican City, Mar 30, 2020 / 12:45 pm (CNA).- Cardinal Angelo De Donatis, vicar general of the Diocese of Rome, has tested positive for coronavirus. He is the first cardinal known to have the virus.

    The cardinal has been admitted to the Gemelli Hospital in Rome with a fever. He is reportedly in good condition, and his close collaborators are reported to be self-isolating, according to a statement from the Vicariate of Rome.

    “I feel serene and confident amid this trial,” the cardinal said in a statement March 30. “I entrust myself to the Lord and to support from the prayers of all of you, dear faithful of the Church in Rome.”

    “I live this moment as an occasion given to me in Providence so that I can share the sufferings of so many brothers and sisters. I offer my prayers for them, for the whole diocesan community and for the inhabitants of the city of Rome,” the cardinal added.

    While Pope Francis is the Bishop of Rome, the day-to-day leadership of the diocese is provided for by De Donatis, who enjoys broad vicarious authority delegated by the pope.

    The cardinal, 66, was chosen by Pope Francis in 2014, while not yet a bishop, to offer the Lenten spiritual exercises to the Roman Curia, a job traditionally given to a cardinal. In 2015 he became an auxiliary bishop in Rome, and became vicar general of Rome in 2017. He was created a cardinal in 2018.

    One Catholic bishop is known to have died from the virus, which is a global pandemic, and several have been diagnosed with it, among them is New Orleans' Archbishop Gregory Aymond. Nearly 100 priests are reported to have died of the virus.

     

  • Vatican City, Mar 30, 2020 / 11:16 am (CNA).- In a private letter to an Argentine judge, Pope Francis is reported to have warned that government decisions to prioritize the economy over people could result in a “viral genocide.”

    “The governments that face the crisis in this way show the priority of their decisions: the people first.... It would be sad if they opted for the opposite, which would lead to the death of very many people, something like a viral genocide,” Pope Francis wrote in a letter sent March 28, according to America Magazine, which reported it had obtained the letter.

    The pope sent a handwritten note in response to a letter from Judge Roberto Andres Gallardo, the president of the Pan-American Committee of Judges for Social Rights, Argentine news agency Telam reported March 29.

    “We are all concerned at the increase … of the pandemic,” Pope Francis wrote, while praising some governments for “adopting exemplary measures with priorities that are well targeted at defending the population” and serving “the common good.”

    The pope also said he was “edified by the response of so many people, doctors, nurses, volunteers, religious, priests, who risk their lives to heal and defend healthy people from contagion,” Telam reported.

    Pope Francis recounted in the letter that he has been in discussions with the Vatican Dicastery for Integral Human Development to “prepare ourselves for what follows” the global coronavirus outbreak.

    “There are already some consequences that must be faced: hunger, especially for people without permanent work, violence, the appearance of usurers (who are the true plague of a social future, dehumanized criminals),” he wrote, according to Telam.

    The pope’s letter also cited the economist Dr. Mariana Mazzucato, whose published work argues that state intervention can drive growth and innovation.

    “I believe [her vision] can help to think about the future,” he wrote in the letter, which also mentioned Mazzucato’s book “The Value of Everything: Making and Taking in the Global Economy,” according to America Magazine.

    To combat the spread of the coronavirus, at least 174 countries have implemented COVID-19 related travel restrictions, according to the Center for Strategic and International Studies. 

    Argentina was one of the first Latin American countries to implement strict coronavirus restrictions prohibiting entry to foreigners on March 17 and implemented a 12-day mandatory quarantine on March 20.

    There have been 820 documented coronavirus cases in Argentina and 22 deaths from COVID-19.

    “The choice is to take care of the economy or take care of lives. I chose to take care of lives,” Argentine President Alberto Fernandez said March 25, according to Bloomberg.

    Global documented coronavirus cases have surpassed 745,000 confirmed cases, of which more than 100,000 cases are in Italy and 140,000 in the United States, reports the Italian Ministry of Health and Johns Hopkins University respectively.

     

  • Vatican City, Mar 30, 2020 / 09:06 am (CNA).- Six sisters in one northern Italian convent have died of coronavirus, and nine sisters are being treated in the hospital after testing positive for COVID-19, according to Italian media. Coronavirus is spreading among several religious houses in Italy.

    An outbreak in the Little Missionary Sisters of Charity Mother House in Tortona, Italy led half of its 40 sisters to test positive for COVID-19 earlier this month.

    “Many times as Little Missionary Sisters of Charity we have set ourselves the goal of sharing the lives of the poor and the least, the fragile lives,” Sister Gabriella Perazzi told Vatican News.

    “At this moment we share the lives of many people, who throughout Italy and all over the world, experience this fragility in the face of something that comes and upsets the life of a family, like that of a religious community,” she said. “I believe that the Lord calls us today to serve here, in this precariousness.”

    After the Red Cross evacuated 19 sisters in the community to a hospital on March 12, the remaining Little Missionary Sisters of Charity were placed under quarantine in another residence.

    Sister Gabriella and one other sister remained behind in the Mother House to tend to six elderly sisters who had not tested positive for the coronavirus, but suffer from other health problems.

    “We stayed because these sisters need assistance and our motherhouse is for us a sort of retirement home where the [sisters] come after a life spent in service,” she said. “We have remained at our own risk.”

    The motherhouse in Tortona is closely connected to the order’s founder, St. Luigi Orione, 1872-1940, who also founded the Sons of Divine Providence, an order of priests and brothers, dedicated to the care of the elderly, disabled, and disadvantaged.

    The Italian newspaper La Stampa reported on March 27 that nine sisters remained hospitalized in Tortona’s COVID-19 hospital, and four have been discharged.

    The six Little Missionary Sisters of Charity to have died of COVID-19 are Sister Maria Annetta Ribet, 85, Sister Maria Cristina Fontes, 91, Sister Maria Filomena Licitra, 98, Sister Maria Ulisia Felici, 86, Sister Maria Caterina Cafasso, 82, and Mother Maria Ortensia Turati, 89.

    The coronavirus can spread quickly in a religious order because of their shared community life. In two Rome convents, at least 58 religious sisters have tested positive for the coronavirus.

    A religious community of the Daughters of San Camillo, dedicated to care for the sick, had 40 sisters test positive for COVID-19, one of whom was hospitalized on March 20.

    The Angelic Sisters of Saint Paul, which has a convent in Rome, had 19 sisters out of 21 test positive for the coronavirus earlier this month.

    A missionary order of priests in Parma, the Xaverian Missionary Fathers, have seen 16 elderly priests and brothers die since February 29, however the religious community could not confirm that all of these deaths were due to COVID-19.

    “Adding to the fact that given the health emergency in the city, and having us an internal assistance service with one of our medical confreres, we thought we would not aggravate the workload of the hospital, believing that we would manage it on our own,” Fr. Rosario Giannattasio, superior of the Xaverian Missionary Fathers’ Italian province told Avvenire March 27.

    The deceased Xaverian priests and brothers had previously served as missionaries in Brazil, Indonesia, Rwanda, Congo, Sierra Leone, and Bangladesh.

    More than 10,000 people in Italy have died of COVID-19 according to the Italian Ministry of Health. Among the dead are at least 79 diocesan priests in Italy.

     

Lohodedoo ken Lahahdi u sha Uhaa ken Shiegh u Mzungu ken Inyom i A, sha zwa u Fada Micheal Meladu

 

What is happening in Nigeria?

Nigerian authorities say the Italian patient - who had flown in from Milan, a city badly hit by the coronavirus outbreak - is clinically stable, with no serious symptoms, and is being managed at the Infectious Disease Hospital in Yaba, Lagos.

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