For those who are praying for the people impacted by and suffering from coronavirus:
The Vatican is encouraging a day of prayer and fasting on Wednesday, March 11, in order to invoke divine help and intervention against the coronavirus in Rome, Italy, and the world.
Many Catholics are saying a Novena prayer to St. Rocco, who has been venerated for centuries as the protector against the plague and all contagious diseases. A Novena (from Latin: novem, “nine”) is an ancient tradition of devotional praying in Christianity, consisting of private or public prayers repeated for nine successive days or weeks.
The Novena to St. Rocco began March 11, and continue through Thursday, March 19, St. Joseph’s Day.
Who Is St. Rocco?
St. Rocco was a nobleman who distributed all of his worldly goods to the poor, And traveled humbly throughout 14th century Italy as a pilgrim, devoting himself to victims of the plague, curing them with prayer and the sign of the cross.
During his travels, he too contracted the plague which was evident by an open sore on his leg. After many sufferings and much patience, St. Rocco was eventually cured.
An Italian Tradition for the Good of Body and Soul
From shortly after his death in the mid-14th century until the present day, the Southern Italian people have time and time again offered prayers and processions with the relics of St. Rocco, invoking his powerful intercession for good health and protection against cholera epidemics and all types of contagious diseases.
Novena Prayer to Saint Rocco to be recited by Members of the Order from March 11-19, 2020:
O Great St. Rocco, deliver us, we beseech thee, from the scourges of God; through thy intercession, preserve our bodies from contagious diseases, and our souls from the contagion of sin. Obtain for us salubrious air; but, above all, purity of heart. Assist us to make good use of health, to bear suffering with patience; and, after thy example, to live in the practice of penance and charity, that we may one day enjoy the happiness which thou has merited by thy virtues. St. Rocco, pray for us (say three times).