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  • Site crashes as half million-plus watch England's rededication to Mary

    WALSINGHAM, England (CNS) -- English Catholics rededicated their country as Mary's Dowry "in the eye of the storm" of the coronavirus pandemic. Because of restrictions on movement and assembly to slow down the transmission of COVID-19, an estimated 530,000 people attempted to join the rededication by watching livestreaming services from parishes, churches and the National Shrine and Basilica of Our Lady of Walsingham, Norfolk. The volume of traffic volume was so high by the rededication time of noon March 29 that it caused the website of the Walsingham shrine to crash, along with the livestreams in cathedrals and parishes provided by Churchservices.tv, a technology firm offering media platforms within churches.

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  • Priority on economy over people may lead to 'viral genocide,' pope warns

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Countries fighting the coronavirus pandemic could face deadly consequences if they focus on protecting their economies more than their own people, Pope Francis said. In a handwritten letter sent March 28 to Argentine Judge Roberto Andres Gallardo, president of the Pan-American Committee of Judges for Social Rights and Franciscan Doctrine, the pope said that some governments that have imposed lockdown measures "show the priority of their decisions: people first."

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  • Across Europe, churches offer empty facilities to help fight COVID-19

    OXFORD, England (CNS) -- Catholic dioceses and religious orders across Europe are offering to turn church facilities into spaces needed for health care or housing during the COVID-19 pandemic. Church leaders throughout Europe have been struggling to maintain Catholic religious devotions during enforced national lockdowns against the coronavirus, but have also sought ways, in addition to regular aid from Caritas and other Catholic organizations, of making resources available for health and social services.

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  • During pandemic, priests work to bridge distance between deceased, family

    ROME (CNS) -- When Father Mario Carminati went to bless the remains of one of his parishioners, he called the deceased man's daughter on WhatsApp so they could pray together. "One of his daughters is in Turin and couldn't take part," he said, the Catholic magazine Famiglia Cristiana reported March 26. "It was very emotional," as she was able to pray with them through the messaging service, said the parish priest from Seriate, near Bergamo.

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  • On Annunciation, dozens of bishops dedicate their nations to Mary

    Church leaders around the world used the feast of the Annunciation March 25 to entrust their nations to Mary and Jesus. Catholic leaders from 24 states sought divine help in ending the COVID-19 pandemic by consecrating their countries to Jesus and Mary during a March 25 ceremony in Fatima, Portugal.

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  • Vatican confirms pope does not have COVID-19

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Neither Pope Francis nor any of his closest collaborators have the COVID-19 virus, said Matteo Bruni, director of the Vatican press office. In a note March 28, Bruni confirmed that a monsignor, who works in the Vatican Secretariat of State and lives in the Domus Sanctae Marthae, where Pope Francis lives, did test positive for the coronavirus and, "as a precaution," was hospitalized.

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  • What is a plenary indulgence?

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis said he will grant a plenary indulgence to the faithful who watch or listen to his extraordinary blessing "urbi et orbi" (to the city and the world) at 6 p.m. Rome time March 27.

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  • Pope prays that world may overcome fear

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis offered his early morning Mass for vulnerable people and health care workers who live in fear that they or their loved ones may fall ill to the coronavirus pandemic sweeping the world.

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  • Vatican asks bishops to help faithful celebrate Holy Week, Easter at home

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The Vatican has asked Catholic bishops around the world, both in the Latin rite and the Eastern Catholic Churches, to provide their faithful with resources to support personal and family prayer during Holy Week and at Easter, especially where COVID-19 restrictions prevent them from going to church.

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  • Italian doctors: Staff overwhelmed during pandemic; model must change

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Doctors working in the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic in Italy have launched an appeal in a major medical journal warning the outbreak in their province is out of control. The medical and humanitarian emergency unfolding before their eyes has made it clear that the Western health care system of centralized hospital care cannot handle this and future epidemics and needs to shift toward more community-focused care.

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  • Vatican City has 4 cases of coronavirus

    Vatican City, Mar 24, 2020 CNA.- The director of the Holy See's press office, Matteo Bruni, said Tuesday there are now a total of four people connected to Vatican City who have tested positive for the coronavirus.

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  • Time: Lockdown's unexpected gift

    ROME (CNS) -- I was video chatting with my childhood friend yesterday. We haven't talked in almost a year and we were organizing a virtual happy hour with our high school friends. Why hadn't we thought about doing this before? I told my friend we had to organize this now because I have sage advice to give about my friends' futures.

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  • North American College decides to send all its seminarians home

    ROME (CNS) -- With more than half of its seminarians already back in the United States, the Pontifical North American College in Rome is sending its students home. "In consultation with our board of governors and the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See, we have asked all students at our two campuses to return to their home dioceses in the United States," said a notice posted on the seminary's Facebook page March 23, the day after students were informed.

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  • Passing the time in lockdown: Sisters sew face masks

    ROME (CNS) -- While most of the work at a religious order's general headquarters continues in lockdown, a group of Missionary Sisters Servants of the Holy Spirit found an additional activity where they could use their hands, do something together and be useful.

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  • Pope prays for people in financial difficulty because of pandemic

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis offered prayers for everyone, particularly families, facing financial difficulties because of the pandemic. "Let us pray today for people who are beginning to experience economic problems because they cannot work due to the pandemic, and all of this falls on the family," he said at the start of Mass March 23.

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  • At least 28 priests in northern Italy have died from COVID-19

    Bergamo, Italy, Mar 19, 2020 CNA.- Italian dioceses surrounding Milan have reported the deaths of 30 priests during the coronavirus outbreak. Avvenire, the Italian newspaper owned by the Italian bishops conference, attributes at least 28 of these priests’ deaths to COVID-19, and also notes two additional cases: that of Fr. Guido Mortari, who died of pneumonia before he could get tested, and Fr. Giorgio Bosini, who had a serious underlying medical condition.

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  • Chinese diocese donates masks to Vatican, Italy, to help fight COVID-19

    HONG KONG (CNS) -- A Catholic diocese in China's Shaanxi province has donated thousands of face masks to communities in the Vatican and Italy to help them fight the coronavirus. Ucanews.com reported Xi'an Diocese has donated 24,000 disposable medical masks to the Vatican and religious communities and dioceses in Italy such as Milan and Bologna.

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  • Papal devotion: Especially in times of trial, pope turns to St. Joseph

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- St. Joseph is the patron saint of retired Pope Benedict XVI -- Joseph Ratzinger -- but Pope Francis' devotion to the husband of Mary and guardian of Jesus is clear as well. In fact, at the beginning of his pontificate in 2013, Pope Francis confirmed a directive that Pope Benedict had made, but which had not gone into effect, to include the name of St. Joseph permanently in the eucharistic prayers used at most Masses in the Latin rite.

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  • At Mass, pope prays for prisoners, families

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis began his early morning Mass praying for prisoners experiencing great uncertainty and worrying about their families who cannot visit them due to lockdown measures to contain the coronavirus pandemic.

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  • Science-solidarity combo needed to stop pandemic, says Vatican official

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The effects of the coronavirus can be defeated only with a combination of science and solidarity, said the president of the Pontifical Academy for Life. "An emergency like COVID-19 is fought especially with the antibodies of solidarity," said Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the academy.

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  • Churches begin canceling Masses in effort to stem COVID-19 pandemic

    WASHINGTON (CNS) -- In an effort to stem the pandemic of COVID-19, bishops' conferences and dioceses around the world began suspending public Masses. The measures were designed to " flatten the curve," an effort to ease the burden on the health care system so treatment is available. In Italy, the health care system in some areas of the north was overwhelmed within three weeks.

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  • Italian priests, religious women are among victims of COVID-19

    ROME (CNS) -- A number of priests and religious women have been among the nearly 2,000 people who have died in Italy because of illness connected with COVID-19. One member of the Little Missionary Sisters of Charity died March 15 at the age of 88 after she and 23 members of her community in Tortona, near Milan, were evacuated by helicopter March 13 and hospitalized for fever and trouble breathing. Another unidentified nun was said to be in critical condition, ANSA, the Italian news agency, reported March 15.

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  • Amid pandemic, half of U.S. seminarians in Rome returned home

    ROME (CNS) -- About half of the U.S. seminarians and priests living at the Pontifical North American College and the Casa Santa Maria in Rome have left the locked-down city, the rector said. At the NAC, the seminary on the Janiculum Hill overlooking the Vatican, 92 seminarians remained as of March 16, Father Peter C. Harman, the rector, told Catholic News Service. The enrollment this year was 192, he said.

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  • Vatican offices to remain open amid coronavirus lockdown

    Vatican City, Mar 12, 2020 CNA.- Amid the coronavirus pandemic, Vatican City State offices and dicasteries of the Holy See will remain open and working, with additional precautions and the possibility to work from home in some cases, the Vatican said Thursday.

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  • Pope: Governments need prayers to make hard decisions for common good

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis asked people to pray for government officials and leaders who are tasked with making critical decisions and taking drastic measures that may make people unhappy. Each day at his livestreamed morning Mass, the pope has been dedicating each liturgy to people affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

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  • Desert blossoms: Church seeks to keep charity alive in time of coronavirus

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- As draconian restrictions, meant to slow the spread of the coronavirus, took effect across Italy, the Catholic Church was faced with an unprecedented dilemma: how to minister to a community of faithful effectively under quarantine and how to keep reaching out to those most in need without spreading contagion.

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  • Pope entrusts world threatened by coronavirus pandemic to Mary

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis entrusted to Jesus' mother the suffering and anguish of millions of people affected by the coronavirus pandemic. In a video message broadcast March 11, the pope prayed before a portrait of Our Lady of Divine Love, beseeching her to "not disdain the entreaties of we who are in trial" but to "deliver us from every danger."

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  • Outside Italy, European churches begin guidance to halt COVID-19 spread

    MANCHESTER, England (CNS) -- Catholic churches across Europe are suspending the sign of peace during Mass in an attempt to halt the spread of coronavirus. Updated guidance issued by the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales recommended a range of new measures to prevent the transmission of the virus, similar to those already implemented in other countries. The English and Welsh bishops also advised parishes not to pass around collection plates or baskets, though they remain silent on how the faithful should contribute financially to the church during Mass on Sundays.

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  • Cardinal ready for protests if Sri Lanka does not move on 2019 bombings

    COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (CNS) -- Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith says he is ready to launch street protests if Sri Lanka's government does not find and arrest the culprits behind last year's Easter bombings. Ucanews.com reported the cardinal said the administration has not taken action regarding the suicide bombings that killed about 300 people, including 40 foreign nationals, and injured at least 500.

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  • Peruvian cardinal says Sodalitium should be 'dissolved'

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Peruvian Cardinal Pedro Barreto Jimeno of Huancayo said he believes Sodalitium Christianae Vitae and any other religious movement mired in sexual abuse should be dissolved. In an interview with Peruvian radio station Radio Santa Rosa March 9, Cardinal Barreto said that while "there are good people in Sodalitium," the cases of sexual and physical abuse, as well as financial irregularities, cannot be ignored.

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  • Vatican closes St. Peter's Square, Basilica to tourists through April 3

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- In cooperation with Italian emergency measures, the Vatican has closed St. Peter's Square and Basilica to tourists starting March 10 through April 3. The new measure, announced March 10, was the latest move by the Vatican to help stop the spread of the coronavirus by reducing access to places that attract large groups of people. On March 8, the Vatican closed the Vatican Museums, the necropolis and other museums connected with the Vatican.

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  • Dublin cancels St. Patrick's parade after advice from health officials

    DUBLIN (CNS) -- Dublin's iconic St. Patrick's Day parade has been canceled due to fears over the spread of coronavirus. Authorities had initially insisted that the festivities -- which mark St. Patrick bringing Christianity to Ireland in 432 -- would go ahead, but bowed to pressure from doctors March 9 and announced the cancellation.

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  • Vatican closes museums, beefs up measures to stop virus spread

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The Vatican has instituted new measures and closures to help curb the spread of the coronavirus. In addition to urging employees to work from home if possible and providing family leave for workers with minors at home due to school closures, Pope Francis also was making some events -- normally held outdoors with large crowds -- closed to visitors, filmed indoors and broadcast online.

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  • Pope prays for coronavirus victims at live broadcast of morning Mass

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- During a live broadcast of his daily morning Mass, Pope Francis prayed for victims of the coronavirus epidemic and the many health care workers fighting its spread. The pope said he offered the Mass for those infected by the virus, also known as COVID-19, as well as "the doctors, the nurses, the volunteers who help so much, family members, the elderly in retirement homes and prisoners who are incarcerated."

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  • Public Masses suspended in Italy as coronavirus continues to spread

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The suspension of public Masses in Italy is a painful yet necessary measure to protect people's health, the country's bishops said. "This is a very restrictive step, the acceptance of which causes suffering and difficulty for pastors, priests and the faithful," the Italian bishops' conference said in a statement March 8.

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  • Pope to review, did not approve new HR department

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The Vatican issued a correction saying Pope Francis had not authorized the establishment of an expanded and centralized human resources department, but that the new department was just a proposal and the pope still had to review it.

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  • Person tests positive for coronavirus in Vatican City

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The Vatican health clinic was closed temporarily after a person tested positive for the coronavirus, the Vatican announced. In a statement released March 6, Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said services were halted "in order to sanitize the area after a patient tested positive for COVID-19."

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  • Pontifical universities close as coronavirus deaths in Italy surpass 100

    Vatican City, Mar 4, 2020 CNA.- Rome’s pontifical universities will temporarily shut down tomorrow, after Italy’s death toll from Covid-19 surpassed 100 people March 4. Italian officials announced March 4 that all schools and universities in the country will be closed March 5-15 because of the country’s coronavirus outbreak.

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  • Pope has been diagnosed with cold; symptoms unrelated to other illness

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis has a common cold and has no symptoms that could be attributed to another illness, the Vatican said. Matteo Bruni, director of the Vatican press office, released a brief statement March 3 in response to reporters' questions, including about an Italian newspaper's unsourced claim the pope had been tested and tested negative for the coronavirus.

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  • English Catholics to rededicate nation as 'Mary's Dowry'

    MANCHESTER, England (CNS) -- Catholics are preparing for the historic rededication of England as "Mary's Dowry" in the hope that it will spur the re-evangelization of their country. The English bishops decided to rededicate the country at a meeting in November 2017 and are now encouraging Catholics to pray the Angelus daily ahead of the March 29 National Day of Rededication.

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  • Pope Francis to miss Lent retreat due to cold

    Vatican City, Mar 1, 2020 CNA.- Pope Francis said Sunday he will not take part in his annual Lenten retreat with the Roman Curia in Ariccia this week due to a cold he has had for several days. “I also ask you to remember in prayer the spiritual exercises of the Roman Curia, which will begin this evening in Ariccia,” the pope said March 1.

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