Vatican City (Agenzia Fides) - The Pontifical Society of the Holy Childhood (POSI), or Missionary Childhood (POIM), has never stopped intervening in the communities of mission countries. In particular in this period, in response to the Covid emergency, the Society has access to the Emergency Fund established by Pope Francis at the Pontifical Mission Societies to accompany the communities affected in mission countries through the structures and institutions of the Church (see Fides, 6/4/2020).
Sister Roberta Tremarelli, Secretary General of the Pontifical Society of the Holy Childhood, told Agenzia Fides: "When the lockdown was widespread in almost all countries, on March 22nd we sent a letter to all missionary children and adolescents, to their families, to diocesan and national animators and directors in order to make our closeness felt and to solicit our missionary action". The appeal did not fall on deaf ears: "Missionary children and young people know that since the beginning the Society of the Holy Childhood or Missionary Childhood has asked its members to pray daily for all the children of the world", explains the Secretary General. And thus "the time of the pandemic was an opportunity to rediscover missionary prayer in the family, at home and so many children and young people created a missionary corner with some of these signs: the Bible, the world, the crucifix, Mary, the images of St. Teresina and St. Francis Saverio, and they committed themselves to pray every day involving their parents and the rest of the family, too. Some national directions have promoted these moments also on various social media and have also organized the prayer of the rosary or the sharing of the Word on the net or video testimonies of the children themselves".
Prayer is accompanied by action: "In some countries children were promoters not only of missionary prayer, but also of missionary cooperation, even in this time when it seems that many proposals have been stopped. The missionary creativity of animators and children, aroused by the faith and passion for the mission, showed the opposite".
Thus reads an excerpt from the letter sent to the children, meaningful to keep the power of prayer alive: 'Let us continue to pray every day, together, in the family, in particular the missionary Rosary to offer our spiritual support to every continent, every country, so that Mary Queen of the Apostles may intercede for us with God and soon end this pandemic. Following the example of St. Teresa of the Child Jesus, Patroness of the Missions, let us fulfill our mission and with her we say: "in the heart of the Church I will be love"’.
Sister Roberta further explains that "the initiative of the Covid-19 Special Fund at and of the PMS was welcomed by local churches, given that the suspension of activities, celebrations and many meetings have interrupted in some contexts the possibility not only of going to work, but also to be able to eat every day. All those jobs that are paid daily have been penalized. Some priests and religious communities who often live also thanks to the offerings not only of money, but also material, have been penalized and without resources to continue to live and be able to share with the families in need".
"Sometimes - the Secretary General explains - the means the local churches have are not enough, especially in times of difficulty and since we all belong to the same human family and in particular to the universal Church it is everyone's responsibility to have the well-being of our brothers and sisters at heart".
With regard to the feedback received so far by the PMS all over the world, Sister Roberta Tremarelli stresses that "some National Directors concerned about the spread of this lockdown urged the President of the PMS, Archbishop Dal Toso, and the whole Executive Committee, to intervene to support the churches in mission territories. Following the creation of the Special Emergency Fund for the current pandemic, an extraordinary collection has been started in some countries to support the most urgent needs of particular churches in general. Some Episcopal Conferences have engaged personally. Some national directions promote support for missionaries by sharing their stories and experiences every day. This highlights that every baptized person should have the mission and missionaries at heart not only in view of World Mission Day, but every day".
On the use and destination of the funds, the Secretary General of POSI further explains that she has received right from the beginning "numerous requests for help from different Circumscriptions in mission territories. In order to facilitate the procedure, the PMS Executive Committee has created a document that defines the criteria to be considered in the destination, underlining that the purpose of the PMS fund is to provide support to ecclesiastical structures, according to the charism of the PMS, that is, providing support for priests, religious communities, catechists, primary schools and shelters for children, and other cases solicited by the National Directions". (AP) (Agenzia Fides, 12/5/2020)