AFRICA/CONGO - Bishops: "The health crisis becomes an opportunity for conversion"

Monday, 15 June 2020 coronavirus   bishops   local churches   conversion  

Brazzaville (Agenzia Fides) - "Today we are in a phase of progressive reopening", write the Bishops of the Republic of Congo in the message published at the end of their Extraordinary Assembly and sent to Agenzia Fides. Congo Brazzaville has also taken confinement measures to block the Covid-19 pandemic, which, however, is causing a worsening of social conditions, especially of the weaker sections of the population.
"Since the outbreak of the health crisis to date, we have all faced multiple difficulties: suspension of travel, delays and difficulties in food supplies, closure of schools and universities, social problems, etc. In short, the rhythm of normal life has been interrupted and our usual activities reduced to a minimum", says the message. "The effects of this pandemic will be etched forever in our minds and in history, with serious consequences on all fronts and in different areas. That is why, with Pope Francis, we say that the health crisis that has brought the whole world to its knees must help each of us to convert (Pope Francis, Message of 27 March, 2020)".
The Bishops "congratulate and thank the platforms and associations that work to alleviate the suffering of the population", continues the message. "In particular, they thank the members of the coronavirus platform of the Bishops’ Conference of Congo and encourage them to continue to make the image of our Church visible in society, despite the limited means available. They also encourage the National Solidarity Support Committee against Covid-19, made up of different religious denominations, to do the same in the context of the spiritual response and other concrete initiatives such as the interreligious meeting held on May 14, 2020 at the Palais des Congrès".
"Among the events that marked this difficult period there was, among other things, the closure of places of worship. From the first day and until now, churches and places of worship have remained closed, many faithful experienced it as a drama, because they did not have the opportunity to participate in the Holy Mass. But the closure of places of worship is not a pretext to neglect personal, family and community prayer or even an opportunity to fall into spiritual idleness", underline the Bishops who appeal to "public authorities, for the safe reopening of places of worship".
The Bishops conclude by urging the Congolese population "to respect the measures of social distancing and the measures taken by the competent authorities to stop the spread of coronavirus on Congolese land, whose infection rate increases day by day". (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 15/6/2020)