Rome, Italy. All Claretians in all three General Houses (General Curia, Juridicum, Claretianum) in Rome are safe. There are no cases of contamination reported in the neighborhood so far. The Claretians in the Italian communities of Sanctus Paulus Province (Banchi Vecchi, Parioli, Segrate, Altamura, Trieste) are also safe.
Father General, Mathew Vattamattam, CMF, sent a message to all the Major Superiors of the Congregation stating the situation of the members in Rome amid the lockdown of the entire country and the COVID-19 outbreak.
“We stay at home. Travels are restricted, and possibly we have to cancel some of the travels of the GG [General Government] to do the Canonical Visits in Europe. The Formator’s meeting [School of the Heart of Mary formators course] scheduled in April-June is postponed to next year,” he said.
He further said that “there is uncertainty in the air, but [we] face the situation responsibly cooperating with the authorities without panic. Our hearts go for those who are sick and the zones which are very much affected. Thanks for your prayers. In this critical moment in the world, we trust in the Lord and face the situation in faith, hope, and love.”
“We were thinking [of] what could be done on our part to alleviate the situation of others. The first thing we do is to cooperate fully with the Government measures to prevent the spread of the virus. We are exploring what can be done to support others to face this situation,” he continued.
The Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte declared a lockdown of the entire country late Monday, March 9, 2020, effective the following day, March 10, until April 3.
“I am going to sign a decree that can be summarised as follows: I stay at home,” Conte said on television to limit the spread of coronavirus.
One must avoid leaving the house. One can go out to work or for health reasons or other needs, such as the purchase of essential goods. One must, however, be able to prove it, even by means of a self-declaration that can be made on pre-printed forms already supplied to the state and local police forces. Airports remain open, modes of transportation are functioning.
All events organized as well as events in public or private places, including those of a cultural, recreational, sporting, religious and trade fair nature, even if held in closed but open to the public, are suspended throughout the national territory.
The government suspended all classes at all levels on March 4, which at first expected to resume after March 15, but now with the new declaration, it is extended until April 3. Likewise, in cooperation with the state, the Italian Episcopal Conference suspended on Sunday evening, March 8, all religious celebrations and services, including the public celebration of Masses, weddings, and even funerals until April 3. But churches are open for those who would like to pray personally but to maintain a distance of 1 meter from each other.
In the light of the new measure, all activities of the Institute of Theology of Consecrated Life – Claretianum (seminar in March, doctoral thesis defenses, the meeting of the quality commission, etc.) are suspended until a date to be determined. The Minor Basilica of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in Parioli is open for those who wanted to pray.
Today, March 10, the Vatican State closed the St. Peter’s Basilica and the Square to the public.