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Rome’s De Donatis is first cardinal known to have coronavirus

Vatican City, Mar 30, 2020 / 12:45 pm (CNA).- Cardinal Angelo De Donatis, vicar general of the Diocese of Rome, has tested positive for coronavirus. He is the first cardinal known to have the virus.

The cardinal has been admitted to the Gemelli Hospital in Rome with a fever. He is reportedly in good condition, and his close collaborators are reported to be self-isolating, according to a statement from the Vicariate of Rome.

“I feel serene and confident amid this trial,” the cardinal said in a statement March 30. “I entrust myself to the Lord and to support from the prayers of all of you, dear faithful of the Church in Rome.”

“I live this moment as an occasion given to me in Providence so that I can share the sufferings of so many brothers and sisters. I offer my prayers for them, for the whole diocesan community and for the inhabitants of the city of Rome,” the cardinal added.

While Pope Francis is the Bishop of Rome, the day-to-day leadership of the diocese is provided for by De Donatis, who enjoys broad vicarious authority delegated by the pope.

The cardinal, 66, was chosen by Pope Francis in 2014, while not yet a bishop, to offer the Lenten spiritual exercises to the Roman Curia, a job traditionally given to a cardinal. In 2015 he became an auxiliary bishop in Rome, and became vicar general of Rome in 2017. He was created a cardinal in 2018.

One Catholic bishop is known to have died from the virus, which is a global pandemic, and several have been diagnosed with it, among them is New Orleans' Archbishop Gregory Aymond. Nearly 100 priests are reported to have died of the virus.

 

Pope Francis warns of a coronavirus ‘genocide’ if economy prioritized over people

Vatican City, Mar 30, 2020 / 11:16 am (CNA).- In a private letter to an Argentine judge, Pope Francis is reported to have warned that government decisions to prioritize the economy over people could result in a “viral genocide.”

“The governments that face the crisis in this way show the priority of their decisions: the people first. ... It would be sad if they opted for the opposite, which would lead to the death of very many people, something like a viral genocide,” Pope Francis wrote in a letter sent March 28, according to America Magazine, which reported it had obtained the letter.

The pope sent a handwritten note in response to a letter from Judge Roberto Andres Gallardo, the president of the Pan-American Committee of Judges for Social Rights, Argentine news agency Telam reported March 29.

“We are all concerned at the increase … of the pandemic,” Pope Francis wrote, while praising some governments for “adopting exemplary measures with priorities that are well targeted at defending the population” and serving “the common good.”

The pope also said he was “edified by the response of so many people, doctors, nurses, volunteers, religious, priests, who risk their lives to heal and defend healthy people from contagion,” Telam reported.

Pope Francis recounted in the letter that he has been in discussions with the Vatican Dicastery for Integral Human Development to “prepare ourselves for what follows” the global coronavirus outbreak.

“There are already some consequences that must be faced: hunger, especially for people without permanent work, violence, the appearance of usurers (who are the true plague of a social future, dehumanized criminals),” he wrote, according to Telam.

The pope’s letter also cited the economist Dr. Mariana Mazzucato, whose published work argues that state intervention can drive growth and innovation.

“I believe [her vision] can help to think about the future,” he wrote in the letter, which also mentioned Mazzucato’s book “The Value of Everything: Making and Taking in the Global Economy,” according to America Magazine.

To combat the spread of the coronavirus, at least 174 countries have implemented COVID-19 related travel restrictions, according to the Center for Strategic and International Studies. 

Argentina was one of the first Latin American countries to implement strict coronavirus restrictions prohibiting entry to foreigners on March 17 and implemented a 12-day mandatory quarantine on March 20.

There have been 820 documented coronavirus cases in Argentina and 22 deaths from COVID-19.

“The choice is to take care of the economy or take care of lives. I chose to take care of lives,” Argentine President Alberto Fernandez said March 25, according to Bloomberg.

Global documented coronavirus cases have surpassed 745,000 confirmed cases, of which more than 100,000 cases are in Italy and 140,000 in the United States, reports the Italian Ministry of Health and Johns Hopkins University respectively.

 

Six sisters from same Italian convent have died, as coronavirus spreads among religious orders

Vatican City, Mar 30, 2020 / 09:06 am (CNA).- Six sisters in one northern Italian convent have died of coronavirus, and nine sisters are being treated in the hospital after testing positive for COVID-19, according to Italian media. Coronavirus is spreading among several religious houses in Italy.

An outbreak in the Little Missionary Sisters of Charity Mother House in Tortona, Italy led half of its 40 sisters to test positive for COVID-19 earlier this month.

“Many times as Little Missionary Sisters of Charity we have set ourselves the goal of sharing the lives of the poor and the least, the fragile lives,” Sister Gabriella Perazzi told Vatican News.

“At this moment we share the lives of many people, who throughout Italy and all over the world, experience this fragility in the face of something that comes and upsets the life of a family, like that of a religious community,” she said. “I believe that the Lord calls us today to serve here, in this precariousness.”

After the Red Cross evacuated 19 sisters in the community to a hospital on March 12, the remaining Little Missionary Sisters of Charity were placed under quarantine in another residence.

Sister Gabriella and one other sister remained behind in the Mother House to tend to six elderly sisters who had not tested positive for the coronavirus, but suffer from other health problems.

“We stayed because these sisters need assistance and our motherhouse is for us a sort of retirement home where the [sisters] come after a life spent in service,” she said. “We have remained at our own risk.”

The motherhouse in Tortona is closely connected to the order’s founder, St. Luigi Orione, 1872-1940, who also founded the Sons of Divine Providence, an order of priests and brothers, dedicated to the care of the elderly, disabled, and disadvantaged.

The Italian newspaper La Stampa reported on March 27 that nine sisters remained hospitalized in Tortona’s COVID-19 hospital, and four have been discharged.

The six Little Missionary Sisters of Charity to have died of COVID-19 are Sister Maria Annetta Ribet, 85, Sister Maria Cristina Fontes, 91, Sister Maria Filomena Licitra, 98, Sister Maria Ulisia Felici, 86, Sister Maria Caterina Cafasso, 82, and Mother Maria Ortensia Turati, 89.

The coronavirus can spread quickly in a religious order because of their shared community life. In two Rome convents, at least 58 religious sisters have tested positive for the coronavirus.

A religious community of the Daughters of San Camillo, dedicated to care for the sick, had 40 sisters test positive for COVID-19, one of whom was hospitalized on March 20.

The Angelic Sisters of Saint Paul, which has a convent in Rome, had 19 sisters out of 21 test positive for the coronavirus earlier this month.

A missionary order of priests in Parma, the Xaverian Missionary Fathers, have seen 16 elderly priests and brothers die since February 29, however the religious community could not confirm that all of these deaths were due to COVID-19.

“Adding to the fact that given the health emergency in the city, and having us an internal assistance service with one of our medical confreres, we thought we would not aggravate the workload of the hospital, believing that we would manage it on our own,” Fr. Rosario Giannattasio, superior of the Xaverian Missionary Fathers’ Italian province told Avvenire March 27.

The deceased Xaverian priests and brothers had previously served as missionaries in Brazil, Indonesia, Rwanda, Congo, Sierra Leone, and Bangladesh.

More than 10,000 people in Italy have died of COVID-19 according to the Italian Ministry of Health. Among the dead are at least 79 diocesan priests in Italy.

 

Pope Francis: Trust in the mercy and justice of God

Vatican City, Mar 30, 2020 / 04:30 am (CNA).- Pope Francis said Monday that the Church can trust in the mercy and justice of God.

“Each of us has our own stories. Each of us has our own sins. And if you do not remember them, think a little: you will find them,” Pope Francis said March 30 in his daily Mass broadcast.

“Let us look to the Lord who acts with justice, but is very merciful. Let us not be ashamed of being in the Church: let us be ashamed of being sinners. The Church is the mother of all,” he said.

In his homily, the pope compared the lives and circumstances of two women described in the day’s Mass readings: Susanna and the woman caught in adultery.

The first reading from the Book of Daniel describes a “beautiful and God-fearing woman”, Susanna, who is falsely accused of infidelity by two elders and ultimately justified after Daniel’s examination of the deceitful old men.

The Gospel of John describes an encounter between Jesus and a woman charged by the scribes and Pharisees of committing adultery. Jesus said to the Pharisees: “Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her,” and then to the woman: “Go, and from now on do not sin any more.”

Pope Francis said: “The innocent and the sinner. The Fathers of the Church saw a figure of the Church in these women: holy, but with sinful children."

“Both women were in a dark valley … one fell into the hands of hypocrites and the other into the hands of the corrupt," he said.

Francis noted that both women, the innocent and the sinner, faced a death sentence. The woman accused by the corrupt was “an innocent woman, falsely accused, slandered,” while the one condemned by hypocrites was a sinful woman.

“What does the Lord do with these people? To the innocent woman, he saves her, he brings justice. To the sinful woman, he forgives her. To the corrupt judges, he condemns them; to the hypocrites, he helps them to convert,” the pope said.

“In the first case, the people praise the Lord; in the second case, the people learn what God's mercy is like,” he said.

Francis said that the corrupt put themselves in the place of God and “were unable to ask for forgiveness.”

“May each one of us, seeing how Jesus acted in these cases, entrust ourselves to God's mercy and pray, trusting in God's mercy, asking forgiveness” the pope said.

In his livestramed Mass from the chapel in his Vatican City residence, Casa Santa Marta, the pope prayed for people who are paralyzed by fear because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“May the Lord help them to stand up, to act for the good of all society, of the whole community,” he said.

“Because God guides me in right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk in the dark valley -- the valley of sin --  I fear no harm for you are at my side with your rod and your staff that give me courage,” Pope Francis said at the end of his homily.

Pope Francis prays for those who weep from coronavirus loneliness or loss

Vatican City, Mar 29, 2020 / 07:30 am (CNA).- In his Sunday homily, Pope Francis said it is a grace to weep with those who weep as many people suffer from the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Many cry today. And we, from this altar, from this sacrifice of Jesus -- of Jesus who was not ashamed to cry -- ask for the grace to cry. May today be for everyone like a Sunday of tears,” Pope Francis said in his homily on March 29.

Before offering Mass in the chapel of his Vatican City residence, Casa Santa Marta, the pope said that he was praying for people who are weeping because of coronavirus loneliness, loss, or economic hardship.

“I think of so many people crying: isolated people in quarantine, lonely elderly people, hospitalized people, people in therapy, parents who see that since there is no salary they will not be able to feed their children,” he said.

“Many people cry. We too, from our hearts, accompany them. And it won't hurt us to cry a little with the Lord's weeping for all of his people,” he added.

Pope Francis focused his homily on one line from the Gospel of John’s account of the death and resurrection of Lazarus: “And Jesus wept.”

“How tenderly Jesus weeps!” Pope Francis said. “He cries from the heart, cries with love, cries with his [people] who cry.”

“The cry of Jesus. Perhaps, he wept at other times in his life - we do not know -- certainly in the Garden of Olives. But Jesus cries for love, always,” he added.

The pope said that Jesus cannot help but to look upon people with compassion:“How many times have we heard in the Gospel this emotion of Jesus, with a phrase that is repeated: 'Seeing, he had compassion.’”

“Today, facing a world that suffers so much, in which so many people suffer the consequences of this pandemic, I ask myself: ‘Am I capable of crying as … Jesus is now? Does my heart resemble that of Jesus?'” he said.

In his livestreamed Angelus address, Pope Francis reflected again on the Gospel account of the death of Lazarus.

“Jesus could have avoided the death of his friend Lazarus, but he wanted to make our pain for the death of loved ones his own, and above all he wanted to show God's dominion over death,” the pope said.

When Jesus arrives in Bethany, Lazarus has been dead for four days, Francis explained. Lazarus’ sister Martha runs to meet Jesus and says to him: "If you had been here, my brother would not have died.”

“Jesus replies: ‘Your brother will rise’ and adds: ‘I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live.' Jesus shows himself as the Lord of life, the One who is capable of giving life even to the dead,” the pope said after quoting the Gospel.

“Have faith! In the midst of crying, you continue to have faith, even if death seems to have won,” he said. “Let the Word of God bring life back to where there is death.”

Pope Francis said: “God's answer to the problem of death is Jesus.”

The pope called on each person  to remove “everything that tastes of death” from their lives, including hypocrisy, criticism of others, slander, and the marginalization of the poor.

“Christ lives, and whoever welcomes him and adheres to him comes into contact with life,” Francis said.

“May the Virgin Mary help us to be compassionate like her Son Jesus, who made our pain his own. Each of us is close to those who are in affliction, become for them a reflection of the love and tenderness of God, who frees us from death and makes life victorious,” Pope Francis said.

'COVID-19 knows no borders': Pope Francis calls for global ceasefire

Vatican City, Mar 29, 2020 / 06:00 am (CNA).- Pope Francis appealed for a global ceasefire on Sunday as countries work to defend their populations from the coronavirus pandemic.

“The current emergency of COVID-19 … knows no borders,” Pope Francis said March 29 in his Angelus broadcast.

The pope urged nations in conflict to respond to an appeal made by the United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres on March 23 for an “immediate global ceasefire in all corners of the world” to “focus together on the true fight of our lives,” the “battle” against the coronavirus.

The pope said: “I invite everyone to follow up by stopping all forms of war hostility, promoting the creation of corridors for humanitarian aid, openness to diplomacy, attention to those in a situation of greater vulnerability.”

“Conflicts are not resolved through war,” he added. “It is necessary to overcome antagonism and differences through dialogue and a constructive search for peace.”

After first appearing in Wuhan, China in December 2019, the coronavirus has now spread to more than 180 countries.

The UN Secretary General said that a global ceasefire would “help create corridors for life-saving aid” and “bring hope to places among the most vulnerable to COVID-19.” He pointed out that refugee camps and people with existing health conditions are most at risk of suffering “devastating losses.”

Guterres appealed in particular to those fighting in Yemen to end hostilities, as UN humanitarian advocates fear the potentially devastating consequences of a Yemeni COVID-19 outbreak because the country already faces a significant humanitarian crisis.

Both the Saudi-led forces and Iran-aligned Houthi movement fighting in Yemen both responded to the UN appeal for a ceasefire on March 25, according to Reuters.

“The joint commitment against the pandemic can lead everyone to recognize our need to strengthen fraternal bonds as members of a single family,” Pope Francis said.

The pope also appealed for government authorities to be sensitive to the vulnerability of prisoners during the coronavirus pandemic.

“I read an official memo from the Human Rights Commission that talks about the problem of overcrowded prisons, which could become a tragedy,” he said.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet issued a warning on March 25 about the potentially devastating effects COVID-19 could have in overcrowded prisons and immigrant detention centers around the world.

“In many countries, detention facilities are overcrowded, in some cases dangerously so. People are often held in unhygienic conditions and health services are inadequate or even non-existent. Physical distancing and self-isolation in such conditions are practically impossible,” Bachelet said.

“With outbreaks of the disease, and an increasing number of deaths, already reported in prisons and other institutions in an expanding number of countries, authorities should act now to prevent further loss of life among detainees and staff,” she said.

The High Commissioner also appealed for governments to release political prisoners and to implement health measures in other facilities where people are confined together, such as mental health facilities, nursing homes, and orphanages.

“At this moment my thoughts go in a special way to all people who suffer the vulnerability of being forced to live in a group,” Pope Francis said.

“I ask the authorities to be sensitive to this serious problem and to take the necessary measures to avoid future tragedies," he said.

Vatican does coronavirus testing, says Pope Francis does not have virus

Vatican City, Mar 28, 2020 / 11:05 am (CNA).- The Vatican said Saturday Pope Francis does not have the coronavirus, and that recent testing of 170 Holy See employees for COVID-19 resulted in only one new case.

This brings the total number of coronavirus cases connected to Vatican City to six, papal spokesman Matteo Bruni said in a statement March 28.

“I can confirm that neither the Holy Father nor his closest collaborators are involved,” the spokesman stated.

The six positive cases include a priest who lives in the same Vatican guesthouse as Pope Francis. The priest, an official of the Secretariat of State, was put into isolation as soon as he presented symptoms of COVID-19, Bruni said.

Tests were carried out on those the official had been in physical contact with and later other Holy See employees were also tested “as a precaution,” bringing the total tested to 170, the spokesman said.

According to Bruni, only one other test came back positive from those tests – a Holy See employee who was in close contact with the Secretariat of State official.

The spokesman said other precautionary measures have been carried out, such as additional sanitation.

The Secretariat of State official is not in critical condition but has been admitted to a hospital in Rome for care and observation, Bruni added.

The Vatican’s first case of the coronavirus was found after a patient tested positive in the city state’s outpatient health facilities March 5. The facilities were then closed for one day to allow for their sanitation.

Of the next three cases to have been discovered, two are employees of the Vatican Museums and one is a warehouse employee.

Bruni told journalists March 24 that these four coronavirus patients “had been placed in solitary confinement as a precaution before they tested positive and their isolation has already lasted for over 14 days; currently they are being treated in Italian hospitals or at home.”

Pope Francis’ schedule has lessened during the coronavirus pandemic, though he continues to have some meetings in the apostolic palace, from where he is also livestreaming his weekly Wednesday general audience and Sunday Angelus during Italy's lockdown.

March 28 the pope met with Rome’s mayor, Virginia Raggi, as well as other Vatican officials.

Pope Francis prays for everyone going hungry because of coronavirus

Vatican City, Mar 28, 2020 / 04:29 am (CNA).- Pope Francis prayed Saturday for everyone who is going hungry, or who will go hungry, because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“In recent days, in some parts of the world, there have been consequences – some consequences – of the pandemic; one of them is hunger,” he said March 28 before the start of Mass.

“We begin to see people who are hungry, because they cannot work, they did not have a permanent job, and for many circumstances,” he added.

This, the pope said, is the “after” of the COVID-19 outbreak: “We pray for families who are beginning to feel need because of the pandemic.”

Pope Francis is offering his daily Mass in the Santa Marta guesthouse for those affected by the coronavirus.

In his homily, the pope spoke about the “elite” doctors of the law, the Pharisees, who hear the words of Jesus but do not believe.

As recounted by St. John in the day’s Gospel, after hearing Jesus, the crowd was divided: some believed he was the Christ and others did not.

After Jesus spoke, “each went to his own house,” the pope quoted from the Gospel, noting that “after the discussion and all of this, each returned to his own convictions.”

But the Pharisees feel “contempt for Jesus” and “contempt for the people, ‘those people,’ who are ignorant, who know nothing,” Francis recounted.

“The holy faithful people of God believe in Jesus, follow him,” he said, “and this group of elites, the doctors of the Law, separate themselves from the people and do not receive Jesus.”

Pope Francis drew a comparison between this attitude of the Pharisees and clericalism today – explaining that this clericalism can impact the Church during the coronavirus outbreak.

He said he has recently heard some criticism of healthy religious sisters and priests who are taking food to the poor, that they are putting themselves at risk of catching COVID-19.

Some people say, he continued, that he should “tell the mother superior to not let the sisters go out, tell the bishop to not let the priests go out!”

Those people argue priests should administer the sacraments, but to feed the poor and hungry is the job of the government, he said.

According to Francis, this is a clerical attitude, which thinks the poor “are second-class people: we are the ruling class, we must not get our hands dirty with the poor.”

He said there are even many good priests and religious sisters who do not have the courage to bring food to the poor and hungry.

This kind of clericalism stems from losing the memory of belonging to the people, he argued.

“They lost their memory, they lost what Jesus felt in his heart: that he was part of his own people. They have lost the memory of what God said to David: ‘I took you from the flock.’ They have lost the memory of their belonging to the flock.”

But there are also many men and women, including many priests, who have not lost this sense of belonging to the people, he said, sharing the story of a priest who is a pastor in a several mountain villages, and who took the monstrance with the Eucharist through the snow to bless the people.

“He did not care about the snow, he did not care about the burning the cold made him feel in his hands in contact with the metal of the monstrance: he only cared to bring Jesus to the people,” Francis stated.

The cross is our hope: Pope gives Urbi et Orbi blessing during coronavirus

Vatican City, Mar 27, 2020 / 12:19 pm (CNA).- On Friday, before an empty and rain-covered St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis held Eucharistic adoration and gave an extraordinary Urbi et Orbi blessing, praying for the world during the coronavirus pandemic which has killed more than 25,000 people.

The holy hour March 27 included a reading from the Gospel and a meditation by Pope Francis, who spoke about faith and trust in God during a time when people fear for their lives, as did the disciples when their boat was caught in a violent storm.

“We have an anchor: by his cross we have been saved. We have a rudder: by his cross we have been redeemed. We have a hope: by his cross we have been healed and embraced so that nothing and no one can separate us from his redeeming love,” Francis said.

Embracing Christ’s cross, he said, “means finding the courage to embrace all the hardships of the present time.”

“Embracing the Lord in order to embrace hope: that is the strength of faith, which frees us from fear and gives us hope,” the pope stated.

Pope Francis held Eucharistic adoration on an altar set up under the portico in front of St. Peter’s Basilica. Also present nearby was a miraculous crucifix which the pope visited March 15 to pray for an end to the coronavirus pandemic.

The crucifix, which usually hangs in San Marcello al Corso, was venerated as miraculous by Romans after it was the only religious image to survive unscathed from a fire that completely gutted the church on May 23, 1519.

An image of the Byzantine icon of Mary as Salus Populi Romani, was also brought to the square for veneration during the prayer.

At the conclusion of the prayer, Pope Francis gave an extraordinary Urbi et Orbi blessing, and gave benediction with the Blessed Sacrament while the bells of the basilica rang.

In his meditation, Pope Francis entrusted everyone to the Lord through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, “from this colonnade that embraces Rome and the whole world.”

“Lord, may you bless the world, give health to our bodies and comfort our hearts,” he prayed. “You ask us not to be afraid. Yet our faith is weak and we are fearful. But you, Lord, will not leave us at the mercy of the storm.”

“Tell us again: ‘Do not be afraid’ (Mt 28:5). And we, together with Peter, ‘cast all our anxieties onto you, for you care about us.’”

God’s call to be converted resounds in our hearts this Lent, he said. This is a time, he said, “to separate what is necessary from what is not. It is a time to get our lives back on track with regard to you, Lord, and to others.”

In this moment, “how many are praying, offering and interceding for the good of all. Prayer and quiet service: these are our victorious weapons,” Francis said.

He noted that in the Gospel, the disciples are afraid of the storm, but Christ sleeps in the boat. The disciples lacked faith not because they stopped believing in Christ, but because they think he does not care about what happens to them.

“‘Do you not care about me?’ It is a phrase that wounds and unleashes storms in our hearts. It would have shaken Jesus too. Because he, more than anyone, cares about us. Indeed, once they have called on him, he saves his disciples from their discouragement,” Francis said.

The storm, he said, “exposes our vulnerability and uncovers those false and superfluous certainties around which we have constructed our daily schedules, our projects, our habits and priorities.”

“‘Why are you afraid? Have you no faith?’ Lord, your word this evening strikes us and regards us, all of us.”

The extraordinary Urbi et Orbi also included the opportunity for Catholics to receive a plenary indulgence by joining via the media, praying for the intentions of the pope, and having perfect contrition, as well as the will to receive sacramental confession and the Eucharist as soon as possible.

Pope Francis said during the hour of prayer that part of faith is realizing we are in need of salvation, that we are not self-sufficient.

“We need the Lord, like ancient navigators needed the stars,” he said. “Let us invite Jesus into the boats of our lives. Let us hand over our fears to him so that he can conquer them. Like the disciples, we will experience that with him on board there will be no shipwreck.”

Pope Francis will offer Easter liturgies in St. Peter's Basilica and with no public

Vatican City, Mar 27, 2020 / 06:40 am (CNA).- Pope Francis will follow a slightly modified schedule this year for the liturgies of Holy Week and Easter, which will all take place inside St. Peter’s Basilica and without the presence of the public, the Vatican announced Friday.

The Vatican published the pope’s revised schedule March 27, after the coronavirus pandemic forced a change to the papal Masses and services, usually attended by thousands of people.

The Masses of Holy Week and the Easter Triduum, April 5-12, will now take place at the Altar of the Chair inside St. Peter’s Basilica, the Vatican announced, confirming that they will be celebrated “without the participation of the public.”

Besides the change in location, Pope Francis will also not celebrate the Chrism Mass on Holy Thursday, but only the evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper, which in recent years he had offered at different prisons in and around Rome.

According to instructions issued by the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments March 25, dioceses may transfer the Chrism Mass to a later date in the year.

The pope’s schedule still includes Mass for Palm Sunday, which is April 5 this year, and the celebration of the Lord’s Passion on Good Friday.

Instead of praying the Stations of the Cross at the Coliseum, Francis will lead them from the parvis, the area in front of the basilica.

The Easter Vigil at night and Easter Sunday Mass will take place as planned, both celebrated within the basilica.

Following Easter Sunday Mass, Pope Francis will give the traditional “Urbi et Orbi” blessing.

The Prefecture of the Papal Household, the office tasked with distributing the free tickets for attending papal events, put out an online notice March 14 that there would be no public at the Easter liturgies in 2020, due to the global coronavirus emergency.