Vatican City (Agenzia Fides) - The isolation decreed by government authorities to contain the Covid-19 pandemic has caused serious economic and social consequences, even in Togo. In addition to the closure of places of worship, schools, training and aggregation centers, the slowdown or halt of production activities has worsened situations that were already frail. The scarce economic resources of dioceses and parishes have long been exhausted. For this reason the Emergency Fund established by Pope Francis at the Pontifical Mission Societies (PMS) to support the Churches of mission countries in the face of the Covid-19 emergency (see Fides, 6/4/2020) continues its work, has sent the help requested, necessary to continue assistance and evangelization.
In the seven dioceses of Togo, aid will be used for the most urgent needs. In the diocese of Aneho, it will be used for the purchase and distribution of food kits and health kits for children in need, as well as ensuring support for children of catechism. The situation of priests is increasingly difficult due to the closure of churches and the lack of sustenance: they too, like seminarians and religious communities, will be given food and health kits.
In the diocese of Atakpamé, mostly rural, the closure of schools and other centers especially puts children at risk. Following the closure of places of worship, priests, religious, catechists and all pastoral workers, very active in evangelization, find themselves in a dramatic situation, as well as seminarians, novices and postulants, who continued their path despite financial difficulties. Aid will be used for these needs, as well as for strengthening the means of social communication, which are very important in this situation.
The diocese of Dapaong includes the poorest region of Togo: Christians, despite limited financial resources, farmers and breeders, have always been generous in providing financial support to parishes, but now the situation has become too difficult for everyone. It is necessary to help teachers, all volunteers, from Catholic primary schools, whose salary is usually paid by the diocese, in addition to purchasing teaching materials for students. Priests and pastoral workers, seminarians and the Formation Center of Catechists also need help.
The diocese of Kara also needs to help priests, parishes, catechists and the minor seminary, as well as diocesan institutions, which must also provide for the costs for the broadcasting of mass through Radio Maria and for the distribution of pastoral subsidies through the various internet platforms, which in this period of isolation are the only contact with the majority of the faithful.
Serious problems are also registered in the diocese of Kpalimé where Covid-19 has destabilized the already precarious economic balance of the population and, consequently, of the diocese. The priests live exclusively on the offerings of the faithful, as well as the catechists for several months a year, but the closure of churches has no longer allowed the collections and the diocese is no longer able to meet the basic needs of pastoral workers and of their families.
Due to the isolation to curb the pandemic, many families of the archdiocese of Lomé, are in a situation of need, so the parishes are taking care of a number of young people, providing them with food, medicines, masks and medical supplies. Many parishes, especially those in the rural area, economically weaker, need to be supported, as well as the parish priests and formators of the seminary, who live on the offerings of the faithful.
In the diocese of Sokodé, there is shortage of food for the orphanages managed by the Church, the funding of radio programs to compensate for the closure of schools and other aggregation centers, and the distribution of health kits. We also need help for those parishes that need to continue their pastoral commitment, as well as religious institutes, seminaries and novitiates, and the diocesan radio Sainte Therese that have had to close their activities and were an indispensable instrument of evangelization and training for catechists. (SL) (Agenzia Fides, 6/7/2020)