(Source: Agenzia Fides)

The Italian Bishops’ Conference (CEI) has promoted a moment of prayer for the whole country struggling with the coronavirus pandemic, inviting every family, every faithful, every religious community to pray the Rosary, the Mysteries of light, symbolically united, at home at 9 pm on Thursday 19 March, feast of St. Joseph, custodian of the Holy Family.

The Chaldean Catholic Church, by the express will of Cardinal Louis Raphaël I Sako, Patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans, will spiritually join the initiative of the Italian Church.

This participation is added to the solidarity expressed by many other Bishops’ Conferences around the world, starting with the Eastern European Churches, which ensure their proximity to Italy.

The prayer of the Rosary will also be accompanied by a simple sign: show a small white cloth or a burning candle from their house windows, symbols of hope and the light of faith.

“From our homes – says Cardinal Gualtiero Bassetti, President of CEI – the supplication of his children is raised to the Father, so that the Lord, good and merciful, may give the strength of his Spirit to doctors and health workers, enlighten researchers, guide rulers, instill vigor in the bodies of the elderly and children, remove fear, give everyone, especially the sick, the consolation of his Son Jesus”.

Pope Francis yesterday in the General Audience pledged to participate in the vigil, saying: “I join in the appeal of the Italian bishops who in this health emergency have promoted a moment of prayer for the whole country”.

“I will accompany you from here. We are led to the luminous and transfigured face of Jesus Christ and His Heart by Mary, Mother of God, health of the sick, to whom we turn with the prayer of the Rosary, under the loving gaze of Saint Joseph, Guardian of the Holy Family and of our families.

“And we ask him to take special care of our family, our families, especially the sick and the people who are taking care of them: doctors, nurses, and volunteers, who risk their lives in this service”.

Italian religious “lend ear”, offer “love and attention” to COVID-19 patients, anxious

In the meantime, Italian religious of the Camillian Order are “lending an ear” and offering “love and attention” to COVID-19 patients and those otherwise anxious about the coronavirus outbreak.

“The risk is that the ‘panic mode’ is spreading in many places. Several countries are under severe stress: people are looking for adequate answers and solutions.

“We of the Camillian Disaster Service International Foundation (CADIS) intervened by joining the special Corona Care platform, created in India”, reports Father Aris Miranda, Camillian missionary and CADIS Executive Director, to Agenzia Fides.

“Together with the Catholic Hospital Association of India, Sister Doctors Forum of India, Social Workers Forum, have organized a global call center, dedicated to anyone who wants to talk about the coronavirus over the phone or on the internet: infected people can do it in search of comfort and support but also anyone who is afraid or suspicious of their condition or of some acquaintance or family member”.

“The people – underlines the missionary – need all kinds of information: medical, travel, policy and this platform, made available thanks to a partnership with the company ‘Billion Lives’, offers a great deal of reliable information.

“Our goal is to create a system, in different languages, that allows people to call and speak, a counseling session that people need.

“We are trying to expand globally, we are looking for volunteers (doctors, psychologists, social workers, spiritual directors, priests, nuns, religious, etc.).

“We just need an ear that knows how to listen and above all love and attention for people affected by COVID 19”.

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PhD in ancient Jewish/Christian history and philosophy. University ethics lecturer with 4 years' experience in religion journalism.