In line with the “social distancing” precautious measures recommended by the health authorities to limit the spread of the “Covid-19″virus, COMECE cancels its Spring Assembly and postpones to October 2020 the reception for the celebration of its 40th anniversary.
The two events were expected to take place in Brussels on 25-27 March 2020, with the participation of H.Em. Card. Pietro Parolin, Secretary of State of the Holy See, Mairead McGuinnes, Vice President of the European Parliament, and all Bishop delegated to COMECE by EU Episcopates.
The decision was taken by H.Em. Card. Jean-Claude Hollerich SJ, President of COMECE, in concertation with the rest of the Presidency and in line with the recommendations expressed by the World Health Organization and the measures recently taken by the Federal Government of Belgium.
In order to ensure safety and health of COMECE staff and partners, General Secretary Fr. Manuel Barrios Prieto also announced the cancellation of all meetings, workshops and group visits until further notice. The staff of COMECE will work from home through smart-working stations until Easter.
EU Bishops offer their apologies for the inconveniences caused by the above mentioned measures, and invite all persons, families and communities to pray and to behave responsibly, and in solidarity with each other, in order to avoid the spread of the virus – which already infected 135,000 persons from across 126 countries, causing the death of about 5,000 people.
On Thursday 12 March the COMECE President, together with his CCEE counterpart, H.Em. Card. Angelo Bagnasco, raised a common prayer to God for help, comfort and salvation.
They also joined Pope Francis in reiterating the closeness of the Church to all those struggling due to the current “Coronavirus” outbreak: the victims, their families and all healthcare workers, volunteers and faithful who are in the frontline in caring for those affected, bringing them relief.