During Mass at the Casa Santa Marta on Tuesday, Pope Francis prays that people will prudently adhere to measures put in place for the easing of the quarantine so that the Covid-19 pandemic does not return.
By Vatican News
Pope Francis celebrated Mass at the Casa Santa Marta on Tuesday of the Third Week of Easter, turning this thoughts to the reaction of God’s people in the face of an easing of the current quarantine measures.
“At this time, when indications have been given to exit out of quarantine, we pray the Lord will grant to His people, all of us, the grace of prudence and obedience to these indications, so that the pandemic does not return.”
False testimony against Stephen
In his homily, the Pope focused on the passage from the Acts of the Apostles (Acts 7:51-8:1). In it Stephen courageously speaks to the people, the elders and the scribes, who judge him with false testimony, drag him out of the city and stone him.
The Doctors of the Law, explained Pope Francis, did not tolerate the clarity of doctrine, and they asked someone to say that they had heard Stephen blaspheme against God and the Law. The Pope pointed out that, just like Stephen “they did the same with Jesus too, trying to convince the people that He was a blasphemer.”
The Pope noted that it also happens with the martyrs of today, like Asia Bibi. She was in prison for many years, judged by slander. He added, in the face of the avalanche of false news that creates opinion sometimes nothing can be done.
“I think of the Shoah”, said the Pope, when opinion was created against a people in order to cast them out. “Then there is the small daily lynching that tries to condemn people, to create a bad reputation, the small daily lynching of gossip that creates opinions in order to condemn people.”
China, churches to remain closed throughout May, all Marian pilgrimages canceled
The Patriotic Association and the Council of Chinese Bishops give the order to “suspend” the reopening of the churches; “Suspend” all pilgrimage activities; “Postpone” the reopening of schools in religious institutes and seminaries. To combat the pandemic, the Council of State has ruled that “religious gatherings” should be avoided. China lifted the national quarantine last March.
eijing (AsiaNews) – Churches must remain closed; all religious activities and especially Marian pilgrimages are canceled; the opening of schools in religious institutes has been postponed: These are the requirements of the “Yi hui, yi tuan”, that is the Patriotic Association and the Council of Chinese Bishops, the two bodies – not recognized by the Holy See – that manage the life of the Catholic communities in China.
In a communiqué published April 26, orders are given for a “double suspension and a postponement” which will apply throughout the month of May.
The first “suspension” is that churches will remain closed throughout China. The places of worship have been closed since January 23, the day the quarantine was triggered across the country due to the coronavirus. In late March isolation was lifted from the country – April 8 for the city of Wuhan – and the government pushed the population to resume normal life and go to work. But, according to the warning of the “Yi hui, yi tuan”, although “the epidemic situation in China is currently under control … the pandemic continues to spread abroad, and the danger of cases from abroad has found considerable growth”. Because of this, “the suspension of the opening of places for Catholic activities and for all religious activities must continue.”
The second “suspension” is for all activities related to Marian pilgrimages. The reality is that almost every diocese in China has a Marian shrine and these are highly popular during feast days relating to the Virgin and in particular in the month of May. This year, “no type of pilgrimage activity will be organized during the Marian month”.
Again due to the pandemic, “to ensure the safety and health of priests and the faithful, please avoid any relapses caused by the gatherings of people; dioceses and parishes are required to suspend group pilgrimage activities, or organize interregional pilgrimages. The bishops and priests must notify their faithful in advance, asking them to pray in their home, recite the rosary, do meditation to venerate the Virgin Mary, spending this month dedicated to her in peace”.
Two weeks ago, the diocese of Shanghai also decreed the cancellation of all pilgrimage activities to the national shrine of Our Lady of Sheshan.
The “reference” concerns schools within women’s religious institutes (male religious life is forbidden in China), linked to the maturation of vocations, and seminaries. The “Yi hui, yi tuan” orders that for the entire month of May “please renew the teaching methods, organizing online courses and strengthening the students’ individual study skills, so that lessons can continue regularly despite school closings “.
Together with these indications, the Patriotic Association and the Council of Bishops say they follow the declarations of the Council of State and that in order to “continue the anti-coronavirus work”, it has been established that “religious gatherings should be avoided”.
According to some local Catholics, the decision is in reality due to a contempt for religion rather than to any real concern about the pandemic. “The factories, bars, shops, markets are reopening … but not the churches,” a young man from Wuhan told AsiaNews.
2. RESCRIPTUM EX AUDIENTIA SS.MI: Rescript of the Holy Father Francis establishing the institution of the John Paul I Vatican Foundation, 28.04.2020
The Holy Father Francis, in the audience granted to the undersigned Cardinal Secretary of State on 10 February 2020, has established to institute the John Paul I Vatican Foundation, with canonical and civil legal personality and with its headquarters at the Secretariat of State.
The purpose of the Foundation is the promotion and dissemination of awareness of the thought, works and example of Pope John Paul I.
The Foundation will be governed by canon laws, by those in force in Vatican City and by the annexed Statute, approved by the Supreme Pontiff and to be understood as an integral part of the present Act.
The Holy Father Francis has also appointed, pursuant to and for the purposes of Article 7 of the Statute, the President of the Foundation in the person of the undersigned Secretary of State.
From the Vatican, 17 February 2020 PIETRO CARDINAL PAROLIN, Secretary of State of His Holiness
3. AMERICA/DOMINICAN REP. – Sunday 26: National day of prayer from one’s own house for the end of the pandemic
Santo Domingo (Agenzia Fides) – The Permanent Council of the Dominican Episcopal Conference (DEC) has invited all the faithful to join the “National Day of Prayer” from their homes next Sunday, April 26, from 9 to 11, to ask for the end of the coronavirus pandemic. The day will be broadcast nationally and internationally through various communication platforms, starting at 9 from the Cathedral of San Giacomo Apostolo and from 10 from the Primate Cathedral of America. At 11.00 each Bishop, in his diocese, will preside over the Eucharist which will be broadcast by the local media. In their statement the Bishops highlight: “We remind you that the Church is not closed: we are witnesses that now more than ever there is a Church in every home. We know that you miss going to pay a visit, to work normally, participate in church mass, parish activities, communities, we miss it too! Please stay home and listen to the voice of God. Courage, do not be afraid!”.
In the statement sent to Fides, which considers the reality of the country in this time of pandemic, the permanent Council of DEC offers some reflections and guidelines to “strengthen the faith, solidarity and hope of our beloved Dominican people” and to become aware of the measures taken by the authorities to prevent the spread of the virus.
“The Covid-19 experience has brought us general disorder and even the painful loss of loved ones – they write -. But it also touched the sensitive fibers of humanity, suddenly launching us into a greater clarity of conscience regarding our condition of solidarity: nobody – rich or poor – is free from dangers. We all need each other. Throughout the world, thank God, there have been abundant expressions of love for one’s neighbor and our beloved nation is no exception”.
The Bishops therefore thank the faithful for their collaboration in favor of the most disadvantaged, and the priests and pastoral workers for the creativity with which they continue to be close to the faithful, through different means and forms. They therefore assure that the Church will continue to carry out her ministry of assistance to the sick, the poor, the elderly and those deprived of freedom.
“Without a doubt, the great heroes in the present circumstance are all those people who are exposed to infection with their service: health workers, cleaning staff, food suppliers, national police, military organizations, journalists, among others. Our admiration goes to them and we firmly promise prayer”.
In this situation of social isolation, the Bishops invite families to “strengthen the domestic Church in their homes, to love their neighbor while remaining at home and to be creative in the dynamic of the transmission of faith and other values”, as well as to follow the studies of children, which can continue in many cases thanks to digital tools.
Finally, the Dominican Bishops encourage “to be more rigorous in respecting the provisions of the authorities” on social isolation, isolation at set times, use of gloves and face masks, frequent hand washing, disinfection of surfaces and objects of common use.
4. FEATURE: Cardinal Bo Joins Pope Francis in Appeal for Global Ceasefire
‘Now, is the time for wise, coherent, future oriented action. This is no time to escalate conflict’
In the face of the unprecedented and growing threat of the coronavirus pandemic, Cardinal Charles Bo of Yangon, Myanmar, is joining the call of Pope Francis and the United Nations Secretary General, António Guterres, for a global ceasefire.
The President of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC) underscored this in an April 22 message which His Eminence has provided to ZENIT English.
The President of Asia’s Bishops recognized the death and suffering throughout the world from COVID19, and the situation in his own country, the Asian prelate called for an end to hostilities worldwide.
Without cessation of fighting everywhere, he says, the suffering of many will be prolonged the world over and healing delayed indefinitely.
Noting “the pandemic’s consequences are catastrophic for public health and for social and economic life,” the Cardinal noted that “if we truly wish Myanmar to emerge a united, peaceful, prosperous people, now is the time for speedy, aggressive, respectful decision.”
“Now,” he said, “is the time for wise, coherent, future oriented action. This is no time to escalate conflict.”
5. How coronavirus has changed Ramadan for Muslims this year
Ramadan starts on the evening of April 23 and culminates on May 23. Over the 30-day period, Muslims fast during the daylight hours, a practice that is seen as one of the five pillars of Islam. They can eat before sunrise, and break their fast after dusk each day.
Muslims believe their Holy Book, the Quran, was revealed to the Prophet Mohammed during this holy month.
Besides abstinence from food and water, Muslims are asked to abstain from sexual intercourse as well.
During the month, Muslims also try to practice “zakat,” or charity, another one of the five pillars of Islam.
According to a 2017 survey published by the Pew Research Center, 80% of American Muslims observe the holy month by fasting.
|Eight-in-ten U.S. Muslims say they fast during Ramadan|
The Arabic etymology of Ramadan references extreme heat. Fasting therefore becomes the spiritual process of burning away sin with good deeds.
During Ramadan, two main meals are served to begin and end the daytime fast. “Suhoor” is served and eaten before dawn, and “iftar,” is served and eaten after sunset. Typically, these meals are enjoyed in group gatherings among family and friends.