Message from Fr Isidore

Reflection from Pope Francis 26th March 2020

As the news of what is going on in the world, leaves us sad and scared, Pope Francis says we must turn to God to help us conquer our fear.

Pope Francis gave this reminder today, March 26, as he offered his private daily Mass at his residence Casa Santa Marta for the victims of Coronavirus, which so far has claimed over 7500 lives in Italy.

In today’s homily, the Holy Father reflected on today’s first reading from Exodus 32:7-14, in order to demonstrate how idols can disrupt our lives, especially when our trust and priorities should instead be with God, reported Vatican News.

As the Pontiff acknowledged a sad reality, Francis observed: “In these days there’s so much suffering. There’s a lot of fear.”

This fear, he recognized, includes that “of the elderly who are alone in nursing homes, or hospitals, or in their own homes, and don’t know what will happen. The fear of those who don’t have regular jobs and are thinking about how to feed their children. They foresee they may go hungry. The fear of many civil servants. At this moment they’re working to keep society functioning and they might get sick.”

Francis then recognized “there’s also the fear, the fears, of each one of us.”

“Each one,” he said, “knows what their own fears are.”

After also in his homily warning against idols which only further distance us from God and His help and closeness, he prayed: “We pray to the Lord that He might help us to trust, and to tolerate and conquer these fears.”

Before concluding the Mass, the Pope exhorted faithful to partake in Spiritual Communion in this difficult time, and ended the celebration with Eucharistic Adoration and Benediction.

Here are the Holy Father’s words, followed by the prayer for Spiritual Communion:

I prostrate myself at your feet, O my Jesus, and I offer you the repentance of my contrite heart, which abases itself in its nothingness in Your Holy Presence. I adore you in the Sacrament of Your Love; I desire to receive You in the poor abode that my heart offers You. While waiting for the happiness of a Sacramental Communion, I want to possess You in spirit. Come to me, O my Jesus, that I may come to You. May Your Love inflame my whole being, in life and in death. I believe in You, I hope in You, I love You. Amen.

The Masses in Francis’ chapel normally welcome a small group of faithful, but due to recent measures’ taken by the Vatican, are now being kept private, without their participation.

It was announced in recent days that the Pope would have these Masses, in this period, be available to all the world’s faithful, via streaming on Vatican Media, on weekdays, at 7 am Rome time.

This comes at a time too when the Italian bishops’ conference has canceled public Masses throughout the nation, until at least April 3rd, following guidelines put out by Italian authorities.

In addition to Santa Marta, the Vatican has taken other steps to keep people safe and to stay close to the Pope, even if from a distance. They are televising the Pope giving privately, from the papal library, his weekly Angelus and General Audience addresses.

The Vatican Museums are now closed, along with the Vatican’s other similar museums. There have also been various guidelines implemented throughout the Vatican, to prevent the spread of the virus.

To date, the Vatican has confirmed that four people have been tested positive for Coronavirus in the Vatican, and those who were in close contact with them are all being quarantined at home. Recent reports, not confirmed yet by the Holy See, note there is an Italian monsignor who works at the Italian section of the Vatican Secretariat for State, and lives the Pope’s residence, Santa Marta, has also tested positive and is being hospitalized for COVID19.

The Vatican has neither confirmed nor denied reports which say the Pope was tested since then for COVID19.

By this evening in Rome, Italy’s civil protection agency will confirm that more than 7,000 Italians have died from the virus.

For anyone interested, the Pope’s Masses at Santa Marta can be watched live and can be watched afterward on Vatican YouTube. Below is a link to today’s Mass. https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope-francis/mass-casa-santa-marta/