Day 4

     We awoke to news of new, serious, draconian measures the Italian government is instituting effective immediately: closure of all churches, including funerals; closure of restaurants at dinner time; closure of all possibly crowded spaces including cinemas, theaters and even Bingo halls (?!).
There is also rumor that schools will be closed but doing distance, online teaching until Easter (?!?!?!).
    Ron and I scurried out of the house and to the grocery store, each grabbing a cart and filling them both up with more food for our stockpile. We have to be ready for them to close or limit even those.
    Then we went to Mass. . . How was that possible, you ask? Because last night I said to Ron, “I wonder if they are about to close down churches.” Ron said, “I don’t know but I’ll just ask Fr. Brown if he would be willing to say Mass on campus.” Sure enough, Fr. Brown said he’d be happy to. When we woke up to the news, we were so happy that we were some of the only Catholics in Italy who would be able to attend Mass today (except for those who live in religious communities, etc.).
     After Mass on campus, we returned home and Ron made a huge lunch for the family. Then there was a little rest time and I finished Michele Schumacher’s book, Women in Christ. Excellent, excellent book.  Then we were off to campus for a big dinner at the forno. Ron made a blazing fire, with Annie and Sebastian collecting pine needles and pine cones, while I made pasta and diced tomatoes, etc. for bruschetta. Ron grilled fresh bread, zucchini, and tons of veal fillets and sausage. Campus friends (faculty and staff) joined us. . . Joe, Theresa, Vasile, Elina, their girls, and Scott for a bit. . . we had a really lovely time trying to enjoy the moment even in a crisis such as this.
     It is hard to know what to think about all this. . . watching Italy go into a recession, watching the global economy tank, for a virus that is causing panic but, as Ron says, “has no big monster behind it.” It is not scarlet fever, the Spanish flu, Ebola. The death rate is less than that for rubella, for example, which kills thousands of people every year and we have a known vaccine but don’t do much to make sure everyone in the world gets it (this is the opinion of a scientist friend. . . ). If the world treated coronavirus like it does rubella, the flu, and many other existing killers, there would not even be a blip in the markets. But because it arose and we were not able to contain it, we are panicked. I don’t know. . . it is all just so hard to process.
     One thing I have been praying about, however: if, in the worst case scenario, Italy has an explosion of dying people as occurred in China, I want to help. I want to be a volunteer. China had tents outside of hospitals for the overflow of patients. If such a thing happens here, I want to be there to help. I am not in a vulnerable population. Of course I will put my family first and not do anything to harm them, and so there are lots of considerations. But if God would make a way, I would love to be on the front lines and bring a little care to those most in need.
    Lord help us!