On Maundy Thursday, Paris Archbishop Michel Aupetit blessed the city with the Blessed Sacrament from the Sacré-Coeur Basilica in Montmartre. The Eucharistic benediction has brought hope and courage to the faithful in Paris. On April 15, the entire nation will commemorate the 1st anniversary of the fire that ravaged the historic cathedral building. The reconstruction works are still going on. More than 75,000 corona cases have been confirmed in France. Around 20,000 people have recovered
Google search for ‘prayer’ skyrockets amidst COVID-19
In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, research has shown an exponential growth in Google search for ‘prayer.’ As per the preliminary draft on the research paper titled “In Crisis, We Pray: Religiosity and the COVID-19 Pandemic,” by Jeanet Sinding Bentzen, Associate Professor of Economics at the University of Copenhagen, Google searches on prayer has skyrocketed during the month of March 2020 when the COVID-19 went global. Bentzen says that “search intensity for prayer doubles for every 80,000 new registered cases of COVID-19.” She terms this phenomenon as “religious coping,” where people turn to prayer as a coping mechanism amidst adversities and uncertainties. Jeanet Bentzen said that the pandemic increases the demand for religion beyond borders. She is also the Executive Director of the Association for the Study of Religion, Economics, and Culture.
Andrea Bocelli to perform live on Easter at Duomo Cathedral
Andrea Bocelli, the world-famous Italian opera singer will perform at Duomo Cathedral in Milan on Easter. The concert, titled “Bocelli: Music for Hope,” from the Duomo Cathedral will be live streamed at 7 p.m. (Italian time) on Andrea Bocelli’s official YouTube Channel. Emanuele Vianelli, the cathedral organist will accompany the world-famous tenor. As most of the churches around the globe remain locked amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Bocelli hopes that the live-stream concert will unite people around the world. He said that he believes in the strength of praying together. In a statement, the Mayor of Milan, Giuseppe Sala said that the extraordinary voice of Bocelli will be the embrace we are missing these days, a strong, special hug, capable of warming the heart of Milan, Italy and the world. The concert will feature spiritual songs like “Ave Maria” and “Sancta Maria.”
Shroud of Turin to be displayed online on Holy Saturday
On April 4, the Archbishop of Turin, Cesare Nosiglia announced that the Shroud of Turin which is believed to be the burial shroud of Jesus, will be exposed online on Holy Saturday for veneration by the faithful. Archbishop Cesare Nosiglia will preside over a liturgy of prayer before the Shroud on Holy Saturday. The veneration of the sacred cloth and contemplation on the passion and death of Jesus will be live-streamed through various television and online platforms. The archbishop announced that the special veneration of the Shroud is in response to the request made by thousands of Catholics in the current scenario of Covid-19 pandemic. The Shroud is a 14-foot-by-4-foot linen cloth which has a full-length photonegative image of a man, which is believed to be Jesus.
Pontifical Academy for Life: As individuals and as local churches, we can do much for the elderly
The Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life has issued a letter on April 7, emphasizing the need to value the life of elderly amid COVID-19 pandemic. The letter calls for special care and compassion for the elderly suffering from loneliness and illness. According to the statistics from Italy, the epicenter of the pandemic, “more than 80% of the people who lost their lives were over 70 years old.” The letter concludes by praying for “grandparents and the elderly around the world,” who are the “present and tomorrow of the Church.” The Dicastery for the Laity, Family, and Life also calls for action to help the lonely.
Cardinal Sako: It is time for a global plan to build a more peaceful and prosperous society
Cardinal Louis Raphaël I Sako, Patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans in his Easter message, has shared his hope in prayer and Christ’s resurrection amidst COVID-19 pandemic. The cardinal said that this is the moment to turn back to the Catholic faith, spirituality, morality and “to prepare for a better tomorrow”. With coronavirus outbreak around the globe causing thousands of fatalities and the global economy facing recession, the archbishop also said that the pandemic is the “time for political leaders to respect human rights, adopt new behaviors, and appropriate laws that guarantee a world free of wars, conflicts, death, fear and poverty.” The Cardinal concluded the letter praying for the end of pandemic and peace in Iraq and the world.