The Roman Catholic bishop of Brescia, Italy, Peirantonio Tremolada, has called upon the lay faithful to exercise their baptismal priesthood given that chaplains and clergy have limited access to quarantined patients.
The bishop has specifically asked doctors and nurses to take on an extra pastoral role in the diocese, which has suffered the majority of deaths from COVID-19 in Italy.
My thoughts first of all go to our brothers and sisters who because of the virus are in serious condition in our hospitals, who cannot be accompanied by their loved ones in the last moments of their life and who cannot receive pastoral care or the sacraments.
It is my wish that they do not feel alone, that they can have a sign of the loving presence of the Lord, of his power of salvation and of his mercy.
I therefore turn to you dear doctors and nurses who believe in the Lord: be ministers of consolation for these our brothers and sisters, always respecting the freedom of conscience. Add to the admirable care that you are carrying out also this gesture: when you see the sick in particular difficulty or at the end of their earthly life, entrust them to the Lord with a simple silent prayer, and if they or their loved ones make known their desire to be accompanied by Christian comforts, draw a small cross on their foreheads.
Do it on their behalf and also on my behalf, on behalf of our entire Church. You have the full dignity to do so by virtue of your baptismal priesthood.