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Rome Reports

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Coronavirus: churches take measures to guarantee pastoral care


Images like these have shocked Catholics throughout the world. It is Mass meant for online participation, an initiative of the diocese of Hong Kong in response to the coronavirus epidemic.

The diocese suspended religious services due to the health risk, including those on Ash Wednesday. If the crisis continues, it could also affect Holy Week. 

It's a reality that has also been replicated in Italy.

Northern cities such as Milan and Bologna are leaving their churches open for now, but large public ceremonies, events and catechesis are suspended. 

They are also enforcing these measures:

- No physical greeting at the time of peace.

- Ash Wednesday Mass will not be celebrated in churches, but it can be followed online.

- For funerals, a short rite and service is suggested.

- Weddings will be celebrated only with close relatives.

- Holy water will be removed from fonts in churches.

- Parish dining rooms will have food in ready-to-go containers and only upon request.

In many areas in Italy, these measures began at least one week ago; in China for much longer. Now the problem is continuing the epidemic so it does not affect the most important time for Catholics, Holy Week.

Daniel Díaz Vizzi
Translation: Melissa Butz