Port au Prince (Agenzia Fides) - "People are very worried because nobody knows when this virus can hit us. The Church is closed, schools are closing. Families suffer due to the psychological, socio-economic and political impacts. And we already see the suffering of people who live in isolation, because they are deprived of everything on a human and material level and with covid-19, the situation becomes more painful and distressing. At an ecclesial level: baptisms, weddings, holy communions, everything is paralyzed. And all this poses challenges to the mission of Christ in our dear Haiti, where the announcement of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is proving to be difficult and requires new strategies", says Fr. Clarck De la Cruz, National Director of the Pontifical Mission Societies (PMS) in Haiti, in a interview with Agenzia Fides, reflecting on the repercussions of the pandemic on the life of the Church in this Caribbean country.
Thus continues Father De la Cruz: "Parish communities, chapels in the countryside, ecclesial groups feel a little abandoned to themselves, because they cannot gather as before. They meet however during certain days of the week and on Sunday, respecting hygienic measures.
This pandemic plunges many families into profound sadness, the traces of which will remain impressed in the minds of every Hatian. Too many problems to solve. The hunger of families, the hunger of young people and many destitute children who cry tirelessly.
And therefore, how can we proclaim the Good News of Christ to people who die of thirst and hunger? People who wait for their worries to turn into joy, but who in reality have no hope for better days.
"Through the media, in particular the radio - the National Director continues - information on the pandemic is communicated to the people. In small liturgical assemblies, we discuss the pandemic with people. Personally, every Saturday, I reach the people of the municipalities of Hinche, Maissade and a good part of the center, of the north, always by radio and I comment the Sunday liturgical texts. We are committed to serving the Gospel through people's motivation and awareness campaign so that they know how to protect themselves from the coronavirus. In order to keep faith alive, people meet in the family for prayer and to read the word of God and meditate".
Regarding the Emergency Fund for Coronavirus Victims, the National Direction of the Pontifical Mission Societies in Haiti initially invited all the diocesan directors of the PMS and all Catholics to unite in a joint action for the benefit of coronavirus victims. "Several groups were ready to collaborate to turn this project into reality; but, unfortunately, they cannot even move from their home, they are all confined, online activity has not yet been developed in most of the provinces of the country. In the future, when everything returns to normal, humanitarian interventions will be carried out in this direction. I am very optimistic", says Fr. De La Cruz
Looking ahead, the priest adds: "This pandemic is an incredible opportunity for all Christians to recover in terms of solidarity, communion and mutual aid. It is a time to create a community in the image of the community of the first Christians (as described in the Acts of the Apostles, chapter 2, 42): one body and one soul". For this reason, he notes, in the Church of Haiti one works tirelessly for sharing: together with priests, catechists, members who work in the pontifical missionary societies, are carrying out commendable works of charity: we collect food, soft drinks, hygiene items to accompany people who are often forgotten by society. The poor, poor children, the disabled are our priority as well as women, widows, orphans". Humanitarian aid is distributed to those who live in the mountains, "because in this difficult period drought is an enormous problem, the land does not bear fruit. We are committed to supporting all those who are in need, in despair", he concludes. (CE) (Agenzia Fides, 13/5/2020)