Rome (Italy). A day of prayer and fasting was announced for Wednesday 11 March 2020, to invoke help from God for Italy and for the world. All the citizens of the World are called to a great sense of responsibility so that the Coronavirus contagion may be contained.
Cardinal Msgr. Angelo De Donatis, Vicar General of His Holiness for the Diocese of Rome, sends a message a to the faithful of Rome for a day of prayer, of fasting, and of solidarity with the sick and with those who work for them in Italy and in the world.
Prayer and fasting
The Cardinal writes, “In these days of prayer and silence, I have strongly felt the cry of our city, of Italy, and of the world. It is a situation that we are not used to, that worries us, but above all, we are now called to live with the strength of the faith, the certainty of hope, the joy of charity.” Listening to the Word of God, he exhorts the faithful to “read these times with His eyes, helping the community to turn to Him, to rediscover what is essential, and to find once again the taste for prayer. These are days in which to infuse hope, in which to transmit trust, in which to kneel down to intercede for the world.
This is the favorable time to give space to listening to the Word of God, to fast from the many forms of egoism, to share the confidence and hope of Jesus in the love of the Father, so that we can cross the desert and celebrate the Easter of Resurrection. It is now the time to rediscover the desert as an obligatory passage for those who want to respond to their deepest aspiration. How many superfluous things can be left aside so as to search for what really counts, for the full meaning of life.”
A time to rediscover prayer as a time of communion with God and with our brothers and sisters. We cannot participate in the community celebrations, but we can feel ourselves in communion through prayer. How important prayer is within the community! We can close the television, and leave aside the telephone, computer, the media. “Prayer is not a sacrifice. It is the gift that revives hope, nourishing the spiritual life.”
In his homily at St. Martha on 10 March 2020, the appeal of Pope Francis was: “Let us pray to the Lord for our priests as well, that they may have the courage to go out to the sick, bringing the strength of the Word of God and the Eucharist, and accompanying the health workers, the volunteers in the work that they are doing.”
Responsibility and Closeness
“Today is the time of responsibility,” is the call of the Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte, who speaks of the measures against the coronavirus in Italy, “I signed a provision entitled ‘I will remain at home’. There is no more time. We all need to renounce something, and we will all do it and we will do it immediately.”
The health measures adopted by the Italian State are shared by the Vatican to avoid the spread of Coronavirus. Pope Francis, Sunday 8 March 2020, from the Library of the Apostolic Palace said: I am close with prayer to the people suffering from the current coronavirus epidemic and to all those who take care of them. I join my brother Bishops in encouraging the faithful to live this difficult moment with the strength of faith, the certainty of hope, and the fervor of charity. The season of Lent helps us all to give an evangelical meaning also to this moment of trial and suffering.
Everyone must pay the maximum attention to face the emergency with a common effort. Prevention and protection from contagion is a moral duty not only for each person, but also for the health and the good of others.
The Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians joins the Church’s request to have a day of prayer and fasting on 11 March 2020. It feels in communion with many countries of the five continents where the Coronavirus infection is present and urges the Educating Communities to live faith, hope, and charity with intensity.
Just in these days, Pope Francis sent the world the message for World Youth Day 2020, entitled “Young people, I say to you: get up!“. Now is the favorable time: “Let’s get up. There is no situation of death that does not also contain the germ of Life!