Article brought to you by: Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Swine Flu: All Catholic Masses Cancelled in Mexico City

April 27th, 2009
Zenit News Agency (www.zenit.org)

Cardinal publishes a prayer to Our Lady of Guadalupe:'quickly overcome this epidemic that has come to affect our nation.'

MEXICO CITY (Zenit) - The Archdiocese of Mexico City cancelled all Masses Sunday in accordance with the government's attempt to contain a deadly outbreak of swine flu.

On Saturday, the nation's Ministry of Health announced school closings in three Mexican states until May 6, and that museums, libraries, movie theaters, restaurants and places of worship in the mountain capital would be closed until further notice.

In a statement published later in the evening, Cardinal Norberto Rivera, the archbishop of Mexico City, asked that priests suspend all Masses without exception Sunday. The move is without precedent in the city and surrounding municipalities, which has a total population exceeding 22 million.

The cardinal also published a prayer directed to Our Lady of Guadalupe that asks for her intercession to "quickly overcome this epidemic that has come to affect our nation."

"Cover us with your cloak," the prayer pleads, "free us from this illness."

Mexico City is the epicenter of a global swine flu outbreak, which is suspected to have caused some 86 deaths since mid April. Some 1,400 people have affected by the virus.

Several cases have been confirmed in the United States, Canada, and New Zealand, but no deaths have been reported.

Travel in and out of Mexico has not been restricted, but several governments have taken precautions such as screening travelers for flu-like symptoms.

The World Health Organization has declared the outbreak a "public health emergency of international concern."

Article brought to you by: Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)