Manila (Agenzia Fides) - The spiritual and material work of the Catholic Church in the Philippines and, in this context, the action of the Pontifical Mission Societies (PMS) in the country constitute a compass, and a safe haven for the population, in a time of disorientation like that of the pandemic. They are an essential point of reference, both at a spiritual consolation level, and in the work of assistance and proximity to needy communities, and for the needs of local Churches, thanks to the Emergency Fund of the PMS: says Mgr. Esteban Lo, priest in Manila, member of the "Lorenzo Ruiz Mission Institute", and national Director of the Pontifical Mission Societies in the Philippines.
Father Lo tells Agenzia Fides: "Humanly speaking, this crisis represents the great temptation to be more self-referential and less oriented towards the mission. But, thank God, it is also an alarm bell to put each other in touch as we go through the same storm".
The closeness is made concrete also by participating in the special Covid-19 Emergency Fund, established by the Pope in the Pontifical Mission Societies, to meet the needs of the local Churches: "With a first humble expression of solidarity we sent 5,000 US dollars, through the Apostolic Nunciature, to the special PMS Emergency Fund to reach the victims of the virus in Catholic communities that are particularly in need of assistance all over the world. Mutual charity is the key in these times: in the Philippines too, the initiatives of proximity towards Catholic families who are in extreme need, starting from essential needs, and with only the help of the Church can help to survive".
The expressions of charity are not lacking, reports the Director: "In general, in our country we see a generous and charitable response towards the poor, even towards those who do not know each other personally. Aid is extended by giving money, food and essential goods for daily life. Numerous Catholic institutions and schools, parishes and other organizations have made available rooms and facilities for the homeless and marginalized, while doctors and nurses are at the forefront with regards to aid. Volunteering plays an important role: young parishioners volunteer to help distribute food parcels and to prepare spaces to accommodate different groups".
On a spiritual level too, the Church offers her widespread contribution, also thanks to new technologies: "In many communities, prayers and masses are organized online to nourish and strengthen the life of the faith of the baptized. The Word of God fills social media and numerous messages with words of the Gospel, or spiritual thoughts, run through the net like a chain, forwarded from one user to another, acting as inspiration and consolation. Faith is a valid help in this difficult moment, and we continue to trust in God", Father Lo concludes. (PA) (Agenzia Fides, 15/5/2020)