The archbishop of Barcelona and president of the Spanish Episcopal Conference (EEC), Cardinal Juan José Omella, calls in his Sunday letter for "fraternity, trust and prayer" in the face of the coronavirus epidemic, on the first Sunday in which they will not be held face-to-face masses in Spain.
"The coronavirus has put our world in check: the economy, politics, religion, public health, schools, universities, workplaces, etc.," the archbishop wrote on a parish sheet that for the first time it will only be distributed digitally.
Omella acknowledges: "We all fear, a certain dose of uncertainty, similar to what the apostles had when they sailed on Lake Tiberias and a strong wind shook the boat to the point of putting it at risk of sinking."
He also affirms that we are invaded by questions "that are in the hearts of citizens: What do we have to do? Are we doing the right thing? Should we take more decisive measures?"
According to the president of the Spanish Episcopal Conference, "the authorities insist on the importance of actively collaborating by following their instructions to prevent this virus from spreading."
For this reason, he pleads "insistently to all of us to follow his instructions and as long as this situation of serious health crisis lasts, I invite him to continue the celebration of Holy Mass on television or radio."
"Also," he adds, "let's not forget that at home we can pray alone or with the family."
"We also find God in the people around us. Many people are alone, they will not be able to go outside to buy food or medicine and they will also need the comfort of a visit, a phone call. Why not make a gesture a good Samaritan serving the neediest brothers, our neighbors? ", suggests the archbishop.
Omella clarifies, however, that these aids to others must be done "always following the health instructions required to avoid contagion, especially among the population at risk."
"Let us try to be close to those who suffer and have a hard time. We are available at all times. Sometimes it is enough just to listen, give a word of comfort and encouragement. During these days, we take particular advantage of the telephone, internet and new technologies to be close to people who are more alone, "recommends the prelate.
For Omella, this time of mandatory seclusion and confinement, "is also an opportunity."
"Do not steal our technologies all the time. Let us dedicate time to review our lives, to think about where and how we want to direct the rest of our lives in this world," advises the archbishop, a supporter of family recollection.
The president of the Spanish Episcopal Conference has excused all parishioners from attending masses, has recommended to all dioceses - which are autonomous to decide - to suspend the face-to-face celebrations of all of them and has recommended to follow them on radio, television and the Internet.
As preventive measures, the Church has also ordered to remove all the holy water and cover the piles, restrict access to the images so that the faithful venerate them without kissing or touching them, although the temples may remain open for the faithful who need to go. , always maintaining the recommended distances of two meters between each person and not touching.