VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis did not attend a traditional penitential service with priests of the Diocese of Rome due to a mild cold, the Vatican said.
In a statement Feb. 27, Matteo Bruni, director of the Vatican press office, said that due to “a slight indisposition,” the pope preferred to remain close to the Domus Sanctae Marthae, where he lives.
However, “other commitments will proceed normally,” Bruni said. According to the Vatican, the pope met with members of the Global Catholic Climate Movement in one of the meeting rooms of the Paul VI audience hall.
News of the pope’s cold comes as Italy has been on high alert due to the spread of the coronavirus. According to the Italian civil protection service, 528 people have been infected with the virus as of noon Feb. 27. Twelve, and perhaps, 14 people have died, the office said. The majority of people infected are located in the northern Italian regions of Lombardy and Veneto.
During his weekly general audience Feb. 26, the pope reduced his contact with people in St. Peter’s Square, shaking hands with only a few people before beginning his talk. The pope circled the square in the popemobile, waving and blessing people from afar, and the driver and the pope’s security detail did not stop to pick up any children as is customary.
At the end of his audience, the pope assured all those affected by the coronavirus of his closeness and prayers. He said his prayers were also with the health care professionals and public officials who were working hard to help patients and stop the spread of the disease.
Lazio, the region surrounding the Vatican, has had three confirmed cases of coronavirus infection, including a married couple from Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the outbreak. All three have recovered from the virus and will soon be released from the hospital, the health ministry said.
Follow Arocho on Twitter: @arochoju
In a time to build, CatholicPhilly.com connects people and communities
As society emerges from the loss and separation of the pandemic, CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you join in our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community.
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103