The Cardinal Vicar of Rome, Angelo De Donatis, wrote a letter to Romans, proposing a day of prayer and fasting in face of the coronavirus epidemic. “Taking into account the necessity of the moment, in communion with the Episcopal Council, I ask all Christians of Rome to offer a day of prayer and fasting, on Wednesday, March 11, 2020, to invoke God’s help for our city, for Italy, and for the world,” he wrote.
On the same day, at 7:00 pm, the Cardinal will preside over a Mass in the Shrine of Divine Love, which he invites the faithful to follow live on the private Catholic television channel Telepace (channel 73 and 214 on HD, 515 on Sky) and via streaming on the Facebook page of the diocese of Rome, states the Vicariate’s press release.
“We will pray for those that are infected and for those that take care of them, and for our communities because they are the witnesses of faith and of hope at this moment,” stressed Cardinal De Donatis.
In addition to the fast, “we wish to be close, by a sign of alms, collecting offerings that we will give in support of health personnel spending themselves with generosity and sacrifice to take care of the sick (the offerings can be delivered to the Vicariate’s Health Pastoral Centre).”
The Cardinal explained that he wrote his letter “ at the end of the Spiritual Exercises with the Roman Curia at Ariccia.” “In those days of prayer and silence, I felt . . . the cry of our city, of Italy, and of the world, in this particular moment we are living. It’s a situation that we’re not used to, that disquiets us, but that above all we are called now to live with the strength of faith, the certitude of hope and the joy of charity.”
The Vicar of Rome reminded that it’s “during such days that it’s necessary to give hope, that it’s necessary to transmit confidence, that it’s necessary to kneel to intercede in favor of the world.”
Quoting chapter 7 of Saint Matthew’s Gospel, the Cardinal wrote: “We ask God for what we can’t procure for ourselves: the breath of life, pardon, interior peace, health. Research indicates a movement, a work to do before all to have ‘the Kingdom of God and His justice’ (Matthew 6:33) . . .To knock is to desire to enter in the Father’s intimacy, namely, His Will, by the door of mercy, which is Christ Himself.”