Vatican City (Agenzia Fides) - While the Covid-19 pandemic continues to sow fear and death in many parts of the world, the Emergency Fund established by Pope Francis at the Pontifical Mission Societies (PMS) to support the Churches in this circumstance from mission countries (see Fides, 6/4/2020) continues its work by sending aid. In fact, the majority of the population of these territories usually lives in extremely precarious economic, social and health situations, and is now facing further serious difficulties caused by Covid-19. To continue their work of evangelization and human promotion, as well as helping to contain the pandemic, local Churches make enormous sacrifices, but at this moment they need extraordinary help. Below are reported some local situations to which the PMS Emergency Fund responded by sending help to respond to the needs indicated.
The Apostolic Vicariate of Guapi, Colombia, which is located along the Colombian Pacific coast and includes some municipalities in the Cauca department and a municipality in the Nariño department, has been suffering from violence, corruption and poverty for many years. The quarantine for the containment of the pandemic has provoked a situation of authentic food and economic emergency. The Vicariate has now run out of its already scarce resources to support the priests, staff and children of the Hogar Mónica, and there are no funds available for the future.
The diocese of N'Zérékoré is located in the south of Guinea and includes practically all the representatives of ethnic groups and religions present in the country. The help requested from the Emergency Fund will be used to offer support to the pastoral workers of the diocese (priests, religious, seminarians, catechists ...) in their work of evangelization and struggle against Covid-19. The precautionary measures taken by the authorities to stem the pandemic have led to the closure of churches and mosques, with detrimental consequences on the economic life of communities. In fact, priests and catechists live on the offerings of the faithful, gathered for the celebration of masses. Hunger and a lack of financial resources across the nation are currently the biggest problem in the diocese and parishes.
In the Angolan diocese of Lwena the need to continue reaching the faithful despite the isolation due to the pandemic, thus continuing evangelization and Christian formation, led to a greater use of social networks and to set up a chapel in the seat of the Episcopate, from where the Holy Mass and other formation meetings are broadcast. All this naturally entails management and remuneration costs for the technical personnel involved for which help has been requested. One of the main forms of prevention from Covid-19 is to wash your hands often and ensure constant hygiene: the diocese therefore needs to provide drinking water to the diocesan pastoral center and to the multifunctional social center located 60 km from Luena, in addition to providing for the purchase of means of health prevention for pastoral workers and poor families.
The Bishop of the diocese of Soroti, in the north-east of Uganda, asked for support from the Fund to continue evangelization and the apostolate through radio and digital media, as well as to ensure compliance with preventive hygiene measures for communities of priests and churches and chapels that are frequented by the faithful for personal prayer. Furthermore, it is necessary to provide the numerous basic ecclesial communities that continue to keep faith alive especially in this time, with texts and religious materials necessary to continue their Christian formation.
The harsh consequences that have hit the world economy have made themselves felt even more on Liberia's fragile economic structure and its already precarious health system. The diocese of Monrovia therefore asked for help to support 60 catechists and 30 parishes, which guarantee the evangelization and administration of the sacraments, as well as offering a contribution to the social consequences of isolation, such as domestic violence and psychological stress. (SL) (Agenzia Fides, 8/6/2020)