Italy Suspends All Masses Due to Deadly Coronavirus Outbreak: “A Painful Choice”

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Pray for an end to this coronavirus outbreak!

The Italian Episcopal Conference announced today that all Masses are suspended in Italy until April 3, 2020. The decision comes in collaboration with the government’s health authorities due to the Covid-19 crisis.

As of this writing, the current death toll in Italy is 366, and at least one quarter of Italy’s population is under quarantine.

According to a press release,”The Church in Italy and, through the Dioceses and parishes, comes close to every man, shares the common concern, facing the health emergency that is affecting the country.”

“…the Government is committed to countering the spread of the “coronavirus”.

“The Decree of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers…suspends ‘civil and religious ceremonies, including funeral ceremonies’ throughout the country until Fri., April 3.'”

“The interpretation provided by the government strictly includes the Holy Masses and the funeral rites among the ‘religious ceremonies.’ It is a highly restrictive passage, the reception of which encounters sufferings and difficulties for Pastors, priests and faithful.

“The acceptance of the Decree is mediated solely by the desire to do its part, also in this situation, to contribute to the protection of public health.

“A painful choice that of the Italian Church, but which could not be different from that of the government, in this terrible circumstance.”

Diocese of Rome calls for day of prayer and fasting

According to Catholic News Agency, “the Diocese of Rome has called on all Catholics in Rome to observe a day of fasting and prayer for the victims of coronavirus on March 11, and invited people to tune into a special televised Mass.”

“I heard the cry of our city, of Italy and of the world, at this particular moment we are experiencing. It is a situation we are not used to, that worries us, but above all we are now called to live with the strength of faith, the certainty of hope, the joy of charity,” Diocese of Rome vicar general Cardinal Angelo De Donatis wrote in a March 6 letter.

“In addition to fasting…we want to be close, with a sign of almsgiving by collecting offerings that we will donate in support of the health personnel who are spending generously and sacrifice in the care of the sick.

Sts. Roch and Rosalie, please pray for us!

[See also: Cure the Coronavirus: Prayers to 2 Incredible Saints Who Miraculously Defeated Plagues]

[See also: Already Failed at Your Lenten Penance? This Priest Encourages Catholics Not to Give Up]