By Christina Hermoso
A Filipino priest based in Bergamo, Italy, has been holding holy masses and meditation online for the Filipino community in Italy.
Rev. Fr. Virgil Murillo, chaplain of the Diocese of Bergamo for the Filipino community said, the Filipino community in Bergamo, the worst-hit province in Italy, has remained resilient in the midst of trials.
“They remain resilient in the midst of these trials,” Fr. Murillo said in a Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines News post.
“The spirit of charity is really alive,” the priest said as he noted how the Filipinos were helping each other cope with the crisis. Murillo is a priest from the Archdiocese of Palo in Leyte. He has been with the Bergamo diocese’s Office on Migrants since 2015. He is also the only Filipino priest working in the diocese.
Bergamo has been described as the coronavirus ground zero in the country’s badly hit region, Lombardy. Italy has shut down all but most essential services, after nearly 800 people died from the virus on Saturday.
Italy’s death toll has reached 4,825, the highest in the world, exceeding China. Around 53,578 total cases have also been reported to date, with about 6,000 people having recovered. Italy has been locked down since March 8.
In Bergamo, caskets are already being transported to other cities using military trucks as local crematoriums are packed. “The hospitals are overwhelmed, and even the cemeteries,” Fr. Murillo said.
“I have been reaching out to the faithful through our online masses and meditation. I don’t want to trivialize the situation but as a believer, may this be an opportunity for us, especially the families, to pray. In these moments of trials, I encourage the families to be the sanctuary of God’s presence,” Fr. Murillo said.
There are about 161,885 Filipinos in Italy, 1,500 of them are living in Bergamo. (Christina I. Hermoso)#