Dear Confreres: More than 100 countries are reported to have people infected with COVID-19, and many have died due to this virus. China is very much affected due to this virus. However, Italy draws much attention with a more than 460 deaths, and more than 9,100 people infected with this virus according to the information on 10th March. Every day, there is a notable increase of deaths and infected people.
Governments of different countries have taken various measures to prevent the further spread of COVID-19. In Italy, on 10th March, the government has decided to lockdown the whole country till April 3. All are asked to remain in the house except for going for work, visit to hospital for health reasons, buying necessary things or any emergency. This is to guarantee the health of the citizens.
On Sunday evening, March 8, the Italian Bishops’ Conference announced the suspension of all public Masses and liturgical celebrations until April 3 amid growing fears surrounding the coronavirus outbreak. This is also a response after the Italian government ordered the closure of all cinemas, museums, and theaters, sport events, public functions or gatherings, etc. The homes for the elderly are closed to prevent unnecessary visits.
Fr. Francesco Pavesi, the Provincial of ITA, informed us that our confreres are well. However, their ministries are reduced following the instructions of the government and the dioceses.
In Nemi, two courses are going on: The Inter Gentes Sabbatical Course and the Joint Renewal Course of SSpS and SVD. Some resource persons have cancelled their arrival to Nemi, hence, the organizers of the courses need to find the replacements.
The upcoming course is Workshop for Formators and Vocation Promoters which is supposed to begin late April in Steyl and continue Nemi in mid-May. The final decision will be taken soon regarding this course. Concerning the other courses and workshops, we have already made all arrangements but we will keep you updated on these programs.
At the Collegio del Verbo Divino, measures are being taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19. At present, all have good health. Although the universities are closed, some students have online classes or received materials for home study. The Domitilla Catacombs is closed for uncertain period. The situation at the Collegio San Pietro is the same as at the Collegio del Verbo Divino. The students remain at the Collegio until April 3. Many of them also attend to some online classes.
Since COVID-19 is worldwide outbreak, we believe every country has issued precaution measures and how to deal with the virus outbreak, we ask you to follow the instructions of the respective governments as well as the local Bishops’ Conferences directives. We wish you all good health.
Please include in your prayers the victims of COVID-19 all over the world and for all those who care for them. With the intercession of Saints Arnold and Joseph, Blessed Maria Helena, and Josepha and our blessed Martyrs, may the situation improve soon.
Trusting in the Divine Word,
Fr. Paulus Budi Kleden, SVD