To all the Faithful, Priests, Men and Women Religious residing in Israel
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
The Lord give you peace!
The Israeli government, and in this case the Ministry of Health, in order to restrict the spread of the Corona Virus, issued a decree that, among other things, stipulates that it is mandatory "to avoid as many groups of people as possible in the same space. If this take place, there must be as few as possible together and in any case, not more than 100 people ". The decree also recommends not to shake hands.
This directive applies to the entire territory of the country and to all groups, organizations and institutions, including religious entities of any faith. In other words, it also applies to our churches.
I hereby ask the parish priests to make every effort to comply with and enforce these directives and to organize the various liturgical celebrations and services, Sunday included, in such a way as to conform with government instructions, from which we have not been exempted.
It is a difficult time, which requires a sense of responsibility from all of us.
No one will prevent us and can never prevent us from praying, from receiving the Eucharist, from holding and keeping ourselves as a community. And we want to continue to do so peacefully. But it is our duty to accept these directives with a sense of responsibility.
I invite everyone, especially the religious and the community of Nazareth, to pray to the Virgin Mary their fellow citizen, to entrust to her the needs, sufferings, and hopes of those directly and indirectly affected by this malevolence, praying together, especially in the family, the holy rosary for this particular intention every day.
March 12, 2020
+ Pierbattista Pizzaballa