In the face of the “apocalyptics” who refer to this serious world situation as a punishment from God, the Salesian cardinal Oscar Andrés Rodríguez Maradiaga, Coordinator of the Council of Cardinals of Pope Francis, replied clearly stating that "the Coronavirus is not a punishment from God." However, humanity is grappling with a global crisis and in this situation Pope Francis urges everyone: "Don't be afraid." His words are of great encouragement to the whole Salesian Congregation, which is also paying a high toll due to COVID-19.
Yesterday, the Salesian world received, with Christian resignation and hope in the Lord, the news of the situation caused by the virus in Spain. Thousands of people united in prayer, testifying to the unity of a world community. Today we wish to inform of the situation in Italy, where there are a total of 80,539 cases of contagion, 8,165 total victims, and 10,361 healed, according to official information.
In the ILE Province, corresponding to the territory most affected by the epidemic, the Provincial Vicar communicates:
At the community of Nave, made up of 24 religious, those who have died due to COVID-19 are: Msgr. Angelo Moreschi (67 years old), Apostolic Prefect of Gambella (Ethiopia); Fr Alessandro Baroni (90), and Fr Giuseppe Ghiggini (81).
In the Chiari community, Fr Pietro Bettinzoli (95) has died.
In the community of Sesto San Giovanni, parish of Mary Help of Christians, Fr Agostino Sosio (66), former Provincial, the acting Director and parish priest, has also passed away.
In Nave, among the illl, are: Fr Giovanni Dof Sotta and Fr Mario Moriggi; from the Provincial Community of Milan, Fr Luca Fossati, Provincial Economer, has been hospitalized, as has Fr Germano Battaglia, from the "Sant’Ambrogio" community, in Milan.
Several other religious have lost relatives because of COVID-19.
The three communities, Nave le due in Milan, are in quarantine.
From Rome, the Rector Major, Fr Ángel Fernández Artime, said in a short message: “We want to unite in prayer and make you feel our presence in this painful moment of the pandemic. We feel with and are supportive of those who suffer most."
"How can God help us?" a reporter asked Pope Francis. "He does so in many ways. He gives us strength and closeness, as He did with the disciples who asked Him for help in the midst of the storm," he replied.