Right now I’m living in a parish in Italy, where the coronavirus cases are spreading. The government has prohibited all public or private events, whether for social, educational, political, or religious ends. The bishops are being very obedient and have subsequently cancelled all Mass celebrations until April 3.
That means over a month without the Eucharist, catechism, or Stations of the Cross. Over a month with no school, no sports, no extracurricular activities. Teachers are trying to organize video conference classes, with little success. Children and young people are drowning in excess leisure time. A teenager from our town just yesterday fell through the roof of an old factory and almost killed himself. He was roaming around with his friends (who abandoned him after the fall) because they had nothing better to do.
While everyone else is panicking about the spread of coronavirus, a little community of Sisters in Northern Italy is panicking about the spread of sin and vice. It is more obvious than ever that “Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour" (1 Peter 5:8). Deprived of the Eucharist and of community prayer, Christians seem almost defenseless before this threat.
What is left to do? The day the government started taking these measures in our area, the daily Mass reading was from Mark 9, when Jesus explains, “This kind [of demon] can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting” (Mark 9:29). So we pray and fast. We use Skype to “meet” with young people and families to pray the Rosary and discuss how to live the Faith in such bizarre circumstances. We try to help people see that there is a graver infection floating around, and teach them how to fight against it. This infographic is a summary of our reflections.