Vatican Corner 03-08-2020

Since Jan. 27, 2020, 600,000 medical masks were collected and donated by the Va can pharmacy and Chinese Chris an communities es in Italy. The masks were then transported at no cost by China Southern Airlines to Wuhan, China the epicenter of the coronavirus epidemic. Pope Francis spoke to the faithful on Jan. 26th, in St. Peter’s Square and prayed for the people who were sick because of the virus that has spread in China. He said “May the Lord welcome the deceased in his peace, comfort families and support the great commitment already put in place by the Chinese community to combat the epidemic.” As of March 1, 2020, there have been no diagnosed cases of the coronavirus in Va can City, however in Italy, mainly in the North, more than 1,576 people have tested positive for the virus, and the death count of infected people is at 34, though 84 people have recovered. In response to the disease spread, Italian officials have imposed quarantine restrictions  on several towns in the Lombardy and Veneto regions of Italy. The Archdiocese of Milan and the Archbishop of Venice have suspended Masses and other liturgical celebrations for a period of me. In the Rome region of Lazio, there were three reported cases of the virus, an Italian who has recovered, and two Chinese tourists, who are being treated in a hospital. Consequently, the Va can has implemented special health measures and canceled some planned events. Hand sanitizers have been installed in the Va can offices and a doctor and nurse are on call at a Va can clinic to give immediate assistance. The Va can health staff and the Italian Ministry of Health have worked together on emergency procedures and both are in close contact with the regional authorities. In compliance with the provisions of the Italian authorities, some events at the Va can with a large influx of people have been postponed. A conference scheduled upon the opening of the Va can archives of Pope Pius XII was cancelled as well as a communications workshop and a book event. Also a major conference on the world economy scheduled for later in March which was to have 2,000 young people from 115 countries, was moved to November. The catacombs, located below the Va can that are normally open to the public were closed because of having ideal conditions for virus spread. At this same me, Pope Francis fell ill with an apparent cold. He coughed and spoke with a slightly hoarse voice through his traditional Sunday blessing on March 1, 2020 and he announced that he canceled his participation on at a week-long Lenten retreat in the Roman countryside. He also canceled some official audiences, but he did attend morning Mass and met other commitments. There is no suggest on that Pope Francis has caught the coronavirus. He is 83 years old, is generally healthy, though he suffers from sciatica (back pain) and had eye surgery for cataracts last year. He also had a portion on of one lung removed when he was young due to an infection. Let us pray for Pope Francis’ speedy recovery, and per Bishop Van Kham: “Pray to God to heal those who have been infected and for other people not to contract the epidemic.”