Economic concerns must not stop CO19 measures, Pope says (Crux) In a letter to an Argentine judge, Pope Francis has insisted that strict measures to control the CO19 epidemic must continue, even at the risk of economic disaster. “It would be said if the opposite was chosen,” he said, charging that this course would amount to “genocide.” He said that government efforts to control the disease are “always for the common good.”
England rededicated as Mary's dowry (Vatican News) “This Rededication on March 29th is a both a personal promise of the people of our country, and a renewal of the entrustment vows made by King Richard II in 1381,” the Catholic National Shrine & Basilica of Our Lady Walsingham stated on the rededication website.
Cologne cardinal opens seminary to the homeless (Erzbischof Koeln) “I have decided to open up our seminary for the homeless while our seminarians are gone due to the Corona restrictions,” said Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki. “We want to offer warm meals and access to restrooms and showers to those who have nobody to turn to these days in Cologne.”
Worldwide decline in number of priests, seminarians, sisters; Catholic population continues to rise (AsiaNews) According to Vatican statistics, the number of Catholics worldwide rose to 1.329 billion at the end of 2018, an increase of 75 million over the previous five years. During the same time period, however, the number of priests fell by 0.3%, and the number of sisters fell by nearly 8% to less than 642,000—despite strong growth in Africa and Asia. The number of seminarians worldwide also declined, from 118,251 to 115,880. (The number of major seminarians worldwide rose from 63,882 in 1978 to 110,553 in 2000, and peaked at 120,616 in 2011.)
In some parts of Africa's most populous nation, streets deserted and Masses broadcast on TV (Fides) “The situation [in Nigeria], however, varies between different states,” said Archbishop Alfred Martins of Lagos. “Here, gatherings of more than 20 people are banned and, consequently, Masses with people have been suspended.” However, another prelate, Archbishop John Obinna of Owerri, said, “We will continue to observe the traditional handshake of peace during Masses and continue giving Holy Communion to worshippers on their tongues.”
Pope, at Mass, prays for those who are hungry because they have lost work (Vatican News) At a Mass celebrated in the chapel of Domus Sanctae Marthae on March 28 (video), Pope Francis exhorted priests not to be an elite spiritual class separated from the people. The Pope invited those watching the Mass to pray Cardinal Rafael Merry del Val’s act of spiritual communion. The Mass concluded with adoration and Benediction of the Most Blessed Sacrament and the chanting of the Ave Regina Caelorum.
Philippine bishop alarmed over handling of CO19 cases (CBCP News) “Will we wait until the entire province of Albay is infected with the virus before the national government acts?” asked Bishop Joel Baylon of Legazpi, who “lamented that at least three Covid-19 patients were placed under home quarantine instead of being in strict isolation.”
Vatican issues document on water (Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development) “At the end of the month in which the World Water Day 2020 has been celebrated, the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development is pleased to release ‘Aqua fons vitae [Water, the Font of Life]: Orientations on water, symbol of the cry of the poor and the cry of the Earth,’ the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development announced on March 30.
Pope asks faithful to join in worldwide prayer today (Vatican News) Pope Francis has renewed an urgent invitation for the faithful around the world to join him in prayer on Friday, March 27, at 6 pm Rome time (1 pm EDT). As he announced last Sunday, and repeated during his Wednesday public audience, the Pope will give an Urbi et Orbi blessing, and those who participate in the ceremony online may receive a plenary indulgence, subject to the usual conditions. All participation will be remote; the Pope will lead the prayers in an empty St. Peter’s Square.