In Brief

In Brief
Indian parish sews and distributes free face masks

A Catholic parish in India has stepped in to distribute free face masks in response to a huge shortage and surge in prices due to the panic caused by the coronavirus.

Little Flower Latin Church is on a mission to provide materials free of charge to other parishes and dioceses to curb the supply shortfall in Kerala.

“We have stitched and distributed more than 30,000 masks and 17 parishes have joined the movement,” says Fr Sebastian Karukapally. “Some people provide sewing machines, others provide materials for the masks, others offer free services and others provide food and drinks, making it a truly community-cum-family affair.”


Lourdes closes for the first time in France

The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes has closed for the first time in its history following new restrictions in France to slow down the spread of the coronavirus.

“The sanctuary will close its doors for a while,” said Lourdes sanctuary rector Msgr Olivier Ribadeau Dumas last week.

Following the closure, French Auxiliary Bishop Antoine Hérouard of Lille called on Catholics to participate in a novena to Our Lady of Lourdes until March 25 to pray for the sick.

The date also marked the anniversary of the Virgin Mary’s 16th apparition at Lourdes where Our Lady declared to St Bernadette Soubirous “I am the Immaculate Conception”.


Pope appoints new bishop for diocese in Kenya

Pope Francis has announced the appointment of Fr Joseph Mwongela [pictured] as the new Bishop of Kitui in Kenya last week.

Fr Mwongela, who will turn 52 on April 7, will become the fourth bishop of his home diocese, having been born in Kakumi.

He was ordained a priest in 1996 and has been the Vicar General of Kitui since 2015.

The Kitui diocese became vacant in April 2017 when Archbishop Anthony Muheria was transferred to the Archdiocese of Nyeri.

Archbishop Muheria, however, continued serving Kitui as Apostolic Administrator.


Celebrations for anniversary of first Argentine Mass suspended

The 500th anniversary of the first ever Mass held in Argentina at Puerto San Julian has been postponed until further notice.

The event, which was scheduled for March 31 to April 2, was cancelled following provisions issued by the government of Santa Cruz province and the National Ministry of Health last week.

“Let us be inspired by this time of lived communion, so that the 500 years of the first Mass may be a sign of unity that spurs us to continue building a Church to whose table everyone feels invited, especially the poorest and most excluded,” said Bishop of Santa Cruz, Msgr Jorge Garcia Cuerva.


Chinese diocese donates face masks to Vatican

A Catholic diocese in China’s Shaanxi province has donated thousands of face masks to communities in the Vatican and Italy to help them fight the coronavirus.

Xi’an Diocese has donated around 24,000 disposable medical masks to religious communities and dioceses in the country as a gesture of goodwill.

“When mainland China experienced the epidemic, the Holy See and the Italian Church group helped by sending medical masks,” said Fr Chen Ruixue of Xi’an.

“We sincerely hope that these donations will help people, and that it will help promote the friendship between China and the Vatican.”