Pope Francis has given €100,000 to help support Caritas Italy’s effort to ensure the poor and vulnerable are accompanied at this difficult time while taking the necessary measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Italy is currently the hardest-hit country outside China and has imposed a lockdown of its 60 million population to stop the spread of the virus. As of 16th March 2,100 people have died and some 28,000 people have contracted the virus.
The most vulnerable members of society are being most affected by COVID-19: the elderly, the poor, the sick and the homeless.
“This emergency is a call to solidarity for us all, and what is emerging is the beautiful side of Italy,” says Don Francesco Soddu, director of Caritas Italiana. “We’re having to face a very new situation. We’ve launched home-based services to give out meals and food stuffs, we’ve launched a free helpline to monitor and respond to the needs of people who are house-bound, such as the elderly, and we’re helping the homeless and itinerant people in collaboration with Fondazione Migrantes.”
Caritas Italy thanks the tireless work of the volunteers who are continuing to work to help the poor in the midst of the pandemic.
Italian Caritas organisations in the north of Italy have been bearing the brunt of the pandemic as the epicentre was in Lodi, just south of Milan. Here a Caritas worker in Lodi gives an overview of the situation.
Pope Francis’s donation is a further boost to the Caritas Italy COVID-19 response following a €10 million contribution to the organisation by the Italian bishops conference (CEI).
Meanwhile, Pope Francis left the Vatican on Sunday to make a lone pilgrimage through the deserted streets of Rome to two Rome churches to pray for an end to the global pandemic. One of the churches, San Marcello al Corso, houses a crucifix which is thought to have brought an end to one of Rome’s plagues.
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