RMG – "Formation, Solidarity, Prevention": letter of General Councilor for Formation to address COVID-19
(ANS – Rome) – In just a few months, all of our lives have changed due to a virus that is spreading increasingly faster and that afflicts many people worldwide. It is a global emergency that is changing our habits and which, inevitably, also affects all the pre-novices, novices and Salesians in the formation communities in Italy. To them, Fr Ivo Coelho, General Councilor for Formation, addressed a letter with several recommendations and with an invitation to cultivate communion in the spirit “with all the more intensity in this time.”
“First of all, I am writing to express the closeness and solidarity of the Rector Major, the Council and the other confreres who live here, in conditions that a few weeks ago would have been unthinkable,” writes Fr Coelho, before focusing on the hygiene measures that have been taken in the community of the “Sacred Heart” and, undoubtedly, in all the houses of formation across Italy: different shifts apply, different rooms are used for prayer and meals, and automatic distributors have been installed with hand sanitizing liquid.
“It is not an excess of prudence,” continues Fr Coelho. “It is a duty of citizenship in line with this year’s Strenna and, even more, in solidarity with the enormous effort that is being made in our countries to contain the spread of the virus.”
The General Councilor for Formation, remembering that COVID-19 has also spread within some houses of religious in Rome, infecting practically all the members of those communities, therefore invites caution, especially so as not to aggravate a health system that is already at the limits of its capacity.
However, the letter continues, in this time when everyone’s movements are limited, community life must not stop and “charity and mutual support can find new forms.”
In fact, Fr Coelho explains that new “digital” forms have been devised in the community of the Sacred Heart to participate in the Mass, which is video-transmitted via the Internet every day, and which is followed both from Italy and abroad.
In concluding the letter, the General Councilor for Formation invites us to prepare for Easter by remaining united and supporting each other with prayer and, above all, living this time as a time of “Passion and Resurrection, unique in its kind compared to all the previous years.”