Around the Catholic Coronavirus World

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by William Mahoney, Ph.D.  •  •  March 19, 2020   

Struggling to make do without Mass

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DETROIT ( - As bishops in the United States and abroad submit to what some are calling coronavirus hysteria by suspending Masses and other gatherings, digital calls for prayer and innovative ways to administer the sacrament of confession abound. 

Father Scott Holmer's drive-through confession

Caught up in the coronavirus scare, bishops have been closing Masses to the public at an alarming ratebut that has not stopped all the clergy and faithful from finding contemporary ways to unite in prayer, benefit from sacramentals and even receive absolution.  

Father Scott Holmer of St. Edward the Confessor Catholic Church in Bowie, Maryland is providing the sacrament of confession to Catholics drive-through style. 

"As we go through this coronavirus, I hope to be in daily communication with you to create a sense of being connected as a parish throughout these uncertain days," said Fr. Holmer in a message on Monday.

"Since I cannot guarantee your physical safety by opening up the Church or the office to visitors, I have set up a 'drive through confessional' and will be hearing confessions in the church parking lot to maintain a six-foot distance while penitents stay in their cars," he explained.  

Devotion in Europe

Italian politician Matteo Salvini has asked Italians to face the coronavirus by turning to God and the Blessed Virgin Mary. In a video post, Salvini asked for collective prayer on the feast of St. Joseph for the good of Italy.

Also considering the feast of St. Joseph, the Conference of Italian Bishops has promised a moment of prayer for the entire country, inviting the faithful and religious communities to recite the Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary at 9 p.m. on the feast of St. Joseph. 

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Archbishop Stanisław Gądecki, President of the Polish Bishops' Conference, has announced he will be praying the Rosary every evening at 8:30 p.m. and asked clergy and laity to join him in spirit. 

God gave the Polish nation a wonderful help and defense.

"Let us remain united in prayer," he said

Archbishop Wacław Depo of Częstochowa asked the faithful in Poland to put images of Mary in their windows, especially images of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Częstochowa, "in whom," he said, "God gave the Polish nation a wonderful help and defense." 

On Monday, priests from the Sanctuary of St. John Paul II in Krakow blessed the Krakow archdiocese and all of Poland with the Blessed Sacrament online. They will continue doing this every day at 9:37 p.m. and invite the faithful to join them on Facebook while making a spiritual communion.  

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