Dioceses cancel Masses in Italy

Several major Italy dioceses cancelled Ash Wednesday services and have suspended public Masses.

Others are doing nothing.

Among the dioceses taking extended precautionary measures is Veneto.

School and major public events have been cancelled until 1 March. The Venice Carnival has also been cancelled, as have several major sporting events. Museums are closed.

Some areas are quarantined.

The Archdiocese of Milan has issued similar precautions, as has the Archdiocese of Bologna. Celebrations that would typically draw a large crowd have been cancelled or pared back, including weddings and funerals.

In Venice, Archbishop Francesco Moraglia announced that all public Masses and gatherings of the faithful were being suspended at least until midnight March 1.

He has also banned funeral Masses, although a priest would still be available to bless the body of the deceased in the presence of the person’s closest family members.

Soup kitchens in the Archdiocese were to continue distributing free meals, but they would be packaged to go to avoid the risk of large numbers of people gathering in a dining hall.

The archdiocesan priests retreat has also been cancelled.

In Turin, the Archdiocese has cancelled all catechism classes and other public gatherings except for Masses.

It has ordered priests to empty all holy water fonts and distribute Communion only in the hand.

The archdiocese says there will is to be no celebrations for children.

By contrast, in Rome public Masses are still ongoing, and Ash Wednesday services took place as normal.

Pope Francis led a procession from Sant’Anselmo church to Mass and the distribution of ashes at Santa Sabina church.

A Vatican spokesman said as a precaution, hand sanitiser dispensers have been placed in Vatican offices and medical staff are on call.

Some events at the Holy See scheduled for the next few days in enclosed places and with a significant public influx have been postponed, he added.

Ghanaian Cardinal Peter Turkson is urging media to be responsible when reporting about the virus.

He is encouraging Catholics to somehow get involved in helping to contain the virus.

Angelo Borrelli, head of Italy’s civil protection service, announced Feb. 24 that the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in the country had risen to 219.

However, in 24 hours the number of coronavirus cases has surged 25%

The rise in Italy, the main focus of infection in Europe, represents a 25% surge in 24 hours.

Amid reports doctors delayed testing a “super-spreader”, Italian prosecutors have begun an investigation into the procedures adopted by hospitals in the Lombardy region.

Several European countries announced new cases traced to Italy.



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