By ZENIT Staff

Cardinal Angelo De Donatis, the Pope’s Vicar for the Diocese of Rome, is hospitalized at the Agostino Gemelli University Policlinic since Monday, March 30, for coronavirus. His condition is improving. Today he wrote a message of gratitude and good wishes for Easter to the whole diocesan community.

Here is a translation of the text.

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“Now on the first day of Unleavened Bread, the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Where will You have us prepare for You to eat the Passover?” He said. “Go into the city to such a one, and say to him, ‘The Teacher says, My time is at hand; I will keep the Passover at your house with my disciples.’” The disciples did as Jesus ordered them, and prepared the Passover (Matthew 26:17-19).

These words, proclaimed in the account of the Passion by the evangelist Matthew, resound in my heart, coupled with immense gratitude. In a few hours, thanks to the Liturgy that makes us contemporaries of Christ, we will relive in faith the Paschal Mystery of the Lord Jesus, with our history and bringing you our present.

To you, dear brothers in the priesthood, Deacons, men, and women religious and all of you, beloved daughters and sons of the Holy People of God that live in Rome, on the eve of the Mass in Coena Domini, I want to send my thanks for the powerful and incessant prayer that I have felt in these days of suffering and sickness. The thanksgiving that will go up to God the Father from your celebrations, united to my prayer, fills me with gratitude for the moving experience of spiritual communion that I have been able to live in these days of hospitalization, feeling sustained and consoled by the prayer of all of you who have been close to me.

I am very grateful to our Bishop Francis for his prayer, for the closeness and paternity that he has shown me also on this occasion.

Thank God I am healing and not too long from now I should be discharged. All my gratitude goes to the doctors, the nurses and all the health personnel of the Agostino Gemelli Policlinic, who are taking care of me and of so many other patients, with great competence and demonstrating profound humanity, animated by the sentiments of the Good Samaritan.

“Where will You have us prepare for you to eat the Passover?” Meditating on this question, in the light of the experience of sickness, it seems I have perceived clearly how none of us can really prepare the Passover, without recognizing that, in the first place, it is Jesus who desires ardently to “have Easter” with us. We must only receive the grace and enter with our life in the Paschal Mystery of Christ, who “died for our sins and resurrected for our justification.” Through His merciful love, let us allow the Lord to cure our infirmities and to console the sorrows we bear in our hearts.

Let us contemplate trustingly the wounds of God Crucified, in the expectation of His resurrection!

Angelo Cardinal De Donatis

April 8, 2020

Translation by Virginia M. Forrester

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