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March 13, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Italy is one of the world’s hardest hit countries by the coronavirus. Hospitals are overrun and churches are being closed. Yesterday, I spoke with Katarina Carranco, an American citizen living in Rome, about what life is like in the Eternal City. 

It’s “really strange” and “surreal,” she told me, to see empty streets and empty churches. “It’s almost apocalyptic.” 

A native of Texas, Katarina informed me that most of the tourists are gone and only locals remain. Coffee shops and restuarants are also closed. If you’re walking outside without a good reason you can be fined by the police. The level of intensity has ratcheted up in recent days, she said.

Despite the “bizarre” situation Rome finds itself in, Katarina says there are signs God is still in control. She had a providential run in with a priest who gave her his blessing as he was going to minister to the homeless. She also said this is a good time to offer up our sufferings and to stay in God’s good graces, as it seems He is wanting to chastise us right now.

“Memento mori…that’s what I thought of,” she explained. “I need to go to communion, stay in a state of grace.” It’s a chance to increase charity in one’s spiritual life, she added. If I get the virus, I will “offer it up for my sins, for others,” she continued. We need to always be prepared for death.

Katarina agreed with me that God often inflicts severe punishments on those who mislead the faithful but that this situation is actually an act of mercy, as it serves as an opporutnity for souls to turn back to Him.

It’s definitely “a test for priests,” she stated. God is calling them to “step up to the plate” and be a “witness” for Him.

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John-Henry is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of He and his wife Dianne and their eight children live in the Ottawa Valley in Ontario, Canada.

He has spoken at conferences and retreats, and appeared on radio and television throughout North America, Europe and Asia. John-Henry founded the Rome Life Forum an annual strategy meeting for pro-life leaders worldwide. He co-founded Voice of the Family and serves on the executive of the Canadian National March for Life Committee, and the annual National Pro-Life Youth Conference.

He is a consultant to Canada’s largest pro-life organization Campaign Life Coalition, and serves on the executive of the Ontario branch of the organization.  He has run three times for political office in the province of Ontario representing the Family Coalition Party.

John-Henry earned an MA from the University of Toronto in School and Child Clinical Psychology and an Honours BA from York University in Psychology.


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