Message from our rector, Fr. Enrique Tapia, L.C. about the measures taken against the virus
Italy is experiencing a very critical moment because of the COVID-19, a situation that in recent days has spread to the whole of Europe.
I am convinced that in this Lent when our habits are changed and we feel lost, may the Lord ask us to fast differently and accompany us in the desert. So, we can, in the silence of our hearts, rediscover the true relationship with the Father and commit ourselves with a greater charity in community life, discovering its deepest meaning.
Our College has put in place new measures to deal with the epidemic and to follow up on what has been issued in government decrees and in the dispositions of the Italian Episcopal Conference and the Vicariate of Rome.
We have gradually introduced various measures according to evolving circumstances:
– Since Wednesday 4 March the lessons of the universities and schools of Italy have been closed and so have the Pontifical Athenaeums. Since the ministerial decree forbade people to leave their homes we asked the seminarians to suspend the blessing of the houses and, to them and the priests, not to leave except in necessary cases;
– Since 9 March the measures have been exacerbated and among other provisions, the possibility of leaving the College without a valid reason verifiable by the authorities by presenting a legal self-certification has been prohibited. We, at home, have asked the seminarians and priests to:
- Not to leave for any reason (except in cases of grave necessity). We commissioned the formators to buy what the seminarians and priests needed, respecting all the anti-contagion precautions;
- To keep at least one-meter distance in interpersonal relationships, for this reason we have also adapted the different areas of the house: chapel, dining room, etc.;
- Follow the instructions of the Vicariate for Holy Mass, that is, to omit the greeting of peace, distribute communion on the hand and empty the stoups of the chapel. We continued normally with the liturgical celebrations and community acts.
We also asked for a sense of responsibility and attention, by protecting themselves they will also protect their confreres and formators.
In order to correctly inform the seminarians and priests about the virus and to prevent excessive fear spreading among them, we invited one of our medical confreres to give a conference.
We are reorganizing the days so that seminarians and priests will privilege personal and community prayer and study during this time. Since last week the Pontifical Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum has activated some lessons via internet. A lot of Pontifical Universities in Rome are doing the same thing, allowing all of us to follow the lessons of the academic year.
We pray that as the Pope wishes “the time of Lent will help us to give an evangelical meaning to this moment of trial”.
Yours, in Christ, Fr. Enrique Tapia, L.C.