The Lenten recollection with Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle for the Filipino communities in Rome has been canceled amid the coronavirus outbreak in Italy, CBCP News reported on March 8, 2020.
Organized by the Pontificio Collegio Filippino, home to priests taking post-graduate studies in Rome, its rector Fr. Greg Gaston said the March 15 gathering has been postponed “indefinitely”.
He said the decision was made in deference to the Italian government that urged the cancellation of mass gatherings to help stem the spread of the COVID-19.
“Please accept our sincerest regrets for any inconvenience this might have caused, and our gratitude for your interest in the recollection and your prayers,” Fr. Gaston said.
Classes at all levels have also been suspended in the country where over 230 have died from the virus, while more than 5,000 cases have been reported.
The government has also locked down much of its north, placing millions of people under forced quarantine.
The country also has the most fatalities outside China, where the virus emerged in December, as the global toll surges past 3,500.
“We are also monitoring instructions from the different dioceses in Italy, especially where we celebrate Masses for our dear Filipino migrants,” Fr. Gaston also said.
The Vatican on Friday confirmed its first coronavirus case and temporarily closed some offices as a precaution.
Pope Francis, who continues to recover from a common cold, has earlier expressed closeness to those affected by the disease and to those working to care for the sick and to contain the spread of the virus.