On March 6, 2020, Pope Francis telephoned the Bishop of Lodi, Monsignor Maurizio Malvestiti, to “inform himself on the situation“ of the coronavirus in the Italian diocese of Lombardy, region highly affected by the epidemic. “With words of faith,” the Pontiff invited the community to prayer and responsibility, said Monsignor Malvestiti in an interview with Vatican News.
“It was a surprise for me, but above all, it’s a great consolation; it’s a consolation that comes from God and, therefore, a source of encouragement to all,” said the Bishop. “Listening to his very paternal, tranquil words and, at the same time, so calming, I have already felt the immense gratitude of all the communities of the most isolated region to our dear Pope Francis, who did not fail to give a special sign in this moment of great trial.”
The Pope’s call “gave everyone much confidence,” affirmed Bishop Malvestiti.
In a letter published on the diocese’s Webpage, the Bishop thanked the Pope “wholeheartedly.” “We pray for him, as we do for all of us, especially those brothers and sisters of the Red Zone, for the sick and for all those caring for them.” “Persevering in mutual care, we will be able to overcome the epidemic together, reads the letter.
The Conference of Bishops of Lombardy has decided to continue celebrating close-door Masses: “The responsibility not to create problems for anyone and to protect both health and public security is a great sacrifice,” explained the Bishop.
“The Lord is accompanying us; He knows we want to praise and thank Him together, unanimously, as we hope to do as soon as possible, but in every Eucharist, the whole Church, the Church of Jesus, is a body and a soul.”
More than 700 Positive Cases
Lodi is one of the regions of Italy most affected by the coronavirus infection: 700 positive cases have been registered. Today “forced isolation affects 18 parishes of the 123 of the dioceses, which belong to the 10 municipalities of the Red Zone,” explained the Bishop. “The rest of us are in the Yellow Zone; there are restrictions in Lombardy, Veneto, and Emilia–Romagna but it’s not so onerous.”
At the end of the interview, the Bishop wished to thank ”the priests of the Red Zone for their dedication, and the rest of the authorities, the volunteers and all those that are working hard for us, the medical personnel and all the collaborators of the sanitary sector, because in some cases they are living extreme situations,” he said.