Greetings from the Big Apple!
Yes, I am in New York – arrived a few hours ago – but right now I simply want to greet the huge numbers of you – especially family, my sister, nieces, cousins, and my many friends in the U.S. – who have sent me emails, text messages, phone messages, notes on Facebook, etc. asking how I am, how things are in Rome and how are we all getting along. You will never know what your messages and your love and friendship mean to me! I know more than ever how blessed I am!
I will try to go into more detail tomorrow about why I am here and how things are in Italy but right now I wanted to say HI! I am well and happy and had a lovely trip (details tomorrow) and am in a city, notwithstanding some coronavirus cases, that is bustling with life and activity and traffic and people running errands, shopping, sitting in parks and chatting with friends, and so on. I pray it remains that way for New Yorkers!
Read on for an update on some Vatican news…..
VATICAN UPDATE MARCH 10: CORONAVIRUS MEASURES
Statement from the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See and of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples: “The Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See (APSA) and the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, owners of the management of buildings belonging to the Holy See, are available to accept requests for temporary reduction of commercial lease payments. The decision was taken into consideration of the situations of particular economic suffering that the business owners face, as a consequence of the measures issued by the Italian authorities to stem the spread of Covid-19.
“This morning, as he started the Eucharistic Celebration in the Santa Marta residence, Pope Francis addressed a prayer to the Lord for the priests that they may have the courage to go out and minister to the sick, bringing them the strength of the Word of God and the Eucharist, clearly in compliance with the health measures established by the Italian authorities.”
From Holy See Press Office: Starting tomorrow, Wednesday 11 March 2020, at 12.00 noon and throughout the week, except for Sunday, the Vicar General of His Holiness for the Vatican City, Cardinal Angelo Comastri will lead the Angelus prayer, followed by the Lauretan Litanies and the Salve Regina. Faithful can join the Marian prayer in live streaming on Vatican News.
On the occasion of the Holy Mass to be celebrated March 11 presided over by Cardinal Vicar Angelo De Donatis in the absence of the faithful at the Shrine of Our Lady of Divine Love for the Day of prayer and fasting, Pope Francis has sent a video message in which he addresses his prayer to the Virgin. In these days of medical emergency, the Holy Father entrusts the city, Italy and the world to the protection of the Mother of God, as a sign of salvation and hope.
FROM A CNS STORY: Based on precautions and protocols consistent with Italian government health standards, the Vatican issued a large number of recommendations and measures for all offices and entities that are part of the Roman Curia, the Holy See and Vatican City State. The Vatican released copies of the provisions March 8.
In addition to all previous health protocols already issued, the Vatican health and hygiene department recommended people: not congregate in common areas; avoid using elevators unless physically impaired; stay a yard apart from others in closed areas; frequently disinfect areas and objects; avoid having outside visitors; notify management in case of travel to high-risk areas; and contact medical professionals by telephone if displaying flu-like symptoms.
The Vatican also urged those in charge of Vatican offices to consider the impact emergency measures were having on employees and to consider offering their staff the following options where appropriate or possible: avoid having staff work overtime or calling in volunteers or outside help; suspend hiring new personnel unless absolutely necessary; promote flexibility in scheduling for employees who have children so they can spend more time with their families; promote working from home for employees where possible; allow extra family leave provisions for employees who request