Lusaka (Agenzia Fides) - "We are close to the brothers and sisters who contracted and suffer because of the Coronavirus disease", say the Catholic Bishops of Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe in the Easter message signed by Mgr. Thomas Msusa, President of the Episcopal Conference of Malawi (ECM); by Archbishop George Cosmas Zumaire Lungu, President of the Zambia Catholic Bishops' Conference (ZCCB); and by Mgr. Robert Ndlovu, President of the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops' Conference (ZCBC).
"As we continue to fight the spread of the Coronavirus disease, we call upon all to take personal responsibility by protecting yourselves and others, especially those are most at risk due to their preexisting medical conditions, our brothers and sisters living with chronic diseases, the aged and other vulnerable members of our communities. We further entrust those who are suffering from the Coronavirus and all the caregivers to the maternal protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary", write the Bishops.
In the introduction, the Bishops acknowledge that this year, they celebrate Easter in a challenging context and amid painful situations. "In view of protecting our own lives and those of others, we cannot fill churches and make them resound with liturgical music. Instead, we commemorate the mystery of Easter and encounter the Risen Lord in our homes".
In the meantime, the Zambia Conference of Catholic Bishops (ZCCB) has set up a COVID-19 Response Fund (CRF). The fund will mainly be used to prevent the spread of the disease in Zambia and give support to health facilities to respond to the pandemic.
"This fund will supplement the efforts government has put into place. We therefore urge our Catholic faithful and other people of good will, to heed this call and contribute generously towards this Fund", said Mgr. Moses Hamungole Bishop of Monze who spoke on behalf of the ZCCB. Archbishop Hamungole specified that the Fund will be used to support Church programs that not only deal with the sick, but also with the elderly, people with mental and physical disabilities, orphans and the poor in general.
The Catholic Church in Zambia manages 59 health facilities located in all 10 provinces. Of these, 22 are hospitals and 37 are rural health centers. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 18/4/2020)