Brazzaville (Agenzia Fides) - The outbreak of the global health crisis caused by Covid-19 has profoundly changed the life and mission of the Church in Congo-Brazzaville", says Fr. Gélase Armel Kema, National Director of the Pontifical Mission Societies (PMS) to Agenzia Fides in the Republic of Congo (Congo Brazzaville).
"First of all, places of worship have been closed by decision of the government since March 31, 2020", underlines Fr. Gélase. "Consequently, since that date, it has not been possible to celebrate the Eucharist with the faithful, nor guarantee catechesis, or administer the sacraments. On the other hand, it was equally impossible to celebrate funeral services and organize the usual Church activities".
"The initiative of Pope Francis to establish the Special PMS Fund for the victims of Covid-19 was welcomed by the Congo-Brazzaville Bishops' Conference", says Fr. Gélase referring to the initiative by Pope Francis in April, to establish an Emergency Fund to be distributed through the worldwide network of the PMS.
"Several dioceses have difficulty organizing themselves due to the restrictions on mobility imposed by state and municipal authorities. Despite these difficulties, the Episcopal Conference of Congo is working to mobilize the faithful to establish the special PMS fund for the victims of Covid-19 together with the national direction of PMS-Congo", says Fr Gélase.
The National Director also stresses the pedagogical nature of the "special fund because it will certainly increase awareness of the dangers of the pandemic as well as contributing to the collection of basic necessities during this confinement period".
"In Congo, it must be recognized, this crisis has led to a huge wave of solidarity", says Fr. Gélase. "Many donations are made to the government by companies, religious denominations, individuals, etc. to support response initiatives against Covid-19. Others participate through acts of charity, but due to the concomitant economic crisis in Congo, there is still much to do, concludes the PMS National Director. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 16/5/2020)