VATICAN INSIDER: INTERVIEWS IN A TIME OF QUARANTINE
I welcome listeners to a new edition of Vatican Insider by noting that this Palm Sunday weekend around the world will be a weekend marked by empty churches because of the coronavirus quarantines in place in almost all countries of the world. However, because of wonderful technology available today, thousands, surely tens of thousands of Masses will be streamed live into the homes of tens of millions.
It is thanks to great technology that I bring you “Vatican Insider” each weekend but even the best of technology does not allow me to leave my home for interviews in this tumultuous period of Covid-19.
Because of mandatory restrictions on movements outside of one’s home, except for medical emergencies and necessary basics like food and medicine, I’ve not been able these last weeks to go out and interview guests for the interview segment of VI. Until conditions allow me to do that, we will be re-airing some previous Specials I did, including visits to the seven pilgrim churches of Rome – and that includes the four papal basilicas.
However, because we still are in Lent, this week’s Special is a profile of Rome’s celebrated Lenten Station Churches.
The first station church – Santa Sabina
I will continue to bring you the News segment and a Q&A every weekend when time allows. Thanks so much for your patience under the circumstances! I am hoping you can use the podcasts of these visits in and around Rome for the day you are finally able to visit the Eternal City again!
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POPE’S APRIL PRAYER INTENTION: “LIBERATION FROM ADDICTIONS”
Pope Francis on Thursday released a video message accompanying his prayer intention for April, which is that “those suffering from addiction may be properly helped and accompanied.”
In his prayer intention for April 2020, Pope Francis asks everyone to pray for those who suffer from addiction, especially addiction to gambling, pornography, and the internet. It has become the custom of Pope Francis to release a video message detailing his prayer intention for each month.
That text follows:
“Surely, you’ve heard about the drama of addiction. And, have you also thought about the addiction to gambling, to pornography, to the Internet – and the dangers of virtual space? Supported by the ‘Gospel of Mercy’ we can alleviate, care for and heal the suffering associated with new kinds of addiction. We pray that those suffering from addiction may be properly helped and accompanied.” (source: vaticannews:
FROM CHINESE CATHOLICS: “HOLY FATHER, TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF”
Beijing (Agenzia Fides) – “Holy Father, during the epidemic, may you also have your person at heart. Do it for us, 1.3 billion Catholics around the world. Please take care of yourself too!” This is the recommendation that Chinese Catholics address to Pope Francis from the bottom of their hearts. An open letter addressed to the Bishop of Rome and published today on Xinde Press (“Faith”) website, the widest platform for Chinese Catholic communication.
“The same recommendation” reads the letter, “we would like to extend to those who administer Casa Santa Marta and its secretaries: may they take care of the Pope, in this difficult period, and watch over the safety distances when he has to meet visitors. And if he must necessarily receive someone or participate in events with other people, we hope very much that the Pope will also wear a mask.”
In the words of the letter addressed to the Pope one perceives the loving concern of those who also care about the health of a person they love so much, at a time when danger is incumbent on everyone. As a gesture of faith and communion, countless Chinese Catholics remained awake or woke up on purpose in the middle of the night to follow via internet the extraordinary act of prayer in times of epidemic presided over by Pope Francis on Friday 27 March in St. Peter’s Square (in Beijing it was already one 1 am, Saturday 28 March). A large number of them are following the Pope’s spiritual suggestions every day (reciting the rosary, novena, daily prayers) to live their own Lenten spiritual journey in this time devastated by the global health emergency.
The aid collected with the coordination of Jinde Charity – as well as that sent by other communities and private citizens – is arriving in Italy and in the Vatican with the logistical support of the Italian embassy in Beijing and the Italian Foreign Ministry, which has made it possible to coordinate and organize the air transport of the collected aid. On March 28, the second shipment of aid sent by Chinese Catholics arrived at Malpensa airport (Milan), for a total value of 450,000 euros.
Through the Vatican Pharmacy, the aid was distributed to the Office of the pastoral care of the Vicariate of Rome (10,000 N95 model masks, over 500,000 disposable masks, 27,000 surgical gloves, 8,000 coveralls and 6,000 protective glasses). Large quantities of the same health devices were sent to the Diocese of Macerata, to Gemelli Hospital of the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, and to the field hospital of the National Alpine Association. The first shipment of medical devices was shipped thanks to the collections of Chinese Catholics (that) had arrived in Italy two weeks ago, in which case the protective equipment had been taken over and redistributed by Caritas Ambrosiana, in the archdiocese of Milan and in Lombardy, epicenter of the pandemic. Now the third shipment is ready to leave Beijing with the first available direct flights to Italy.
Since the first outbreak of the Covid-19 epidemic, Pope Francis has publicly shown his closeness to the Chinese population heavily affected by the virus also with direct references expressed at the end of the Wednesday general audience or after the recitation of the Sunday Angelus. As confirmed by Mgr. Segundo Tejado Muñoz, Undersecretary of the Dicastery for the Service of Integral Human Development, quoted by Xinde Press, “through Jinde Charity, Pope Francis donated 200,000 euros unconditionally to China for prevention/epidemic projects and assistance for the elderly, to express his love for the Chinese people”.