Panama City (Agenzia Fides) - "In the midst of uncertainty, we are in a time of grace, which offers us a historic opportunity to rebuild the social fabric and establish another dynamic that makes us more human, more caring and fraternal .
We encourage our communities of faith to kindle the flame of hope, witnessing a Servant, Supportive and Fraternal Church, through parishes, groups and movements so that the joy of the Gospel is rediscovered": this is the appeal that the Bishops of the Episcopal Conference of Panama address at the end of their ordinary Plenary Assembly, which was held from 14 to 17 September.
Sharing the reflections on the life of the Church and the country in this time of pandemic, the Bishops in their message highlight the signs of hope. "Our Country has shown once again that it is inhabited by a noble people during this pandemic. Six months have passed, in which we have lost many loved ones, many have been affected by Covid-19, in their health, in their economy, in their human and commercial relationships, in their life of faith. However, in the midst of this dark landscape, the light of solidarity and brotherhood have emerged from many people, organizations and institutions, who have put their talents at the service of others to share what they have and alleviate their difficult situation".
The Church of Panama has also been affected by the pandemic, however, "now more than ever, its social and works of mercy have been strengthened and others have been created, in order to be that Church that goes forth". The domestic Church, which is the family, has also been strengthened through accompaniment through digital platforms, taking on a different pastoral dimension, always open to hope.
"As Pastors, in permanent contact with the people - they continue -, we have noted the concern for the problems that existed before and which survived the pandemic, because they are viruses that erode the social fabric, impoverishing a large majority, such as corruption, lack of credibility and ethics in all spheres of life. "Concerns regard education, the collapse of the health system, "but with health workers who set a commendable example to fight Covid-19", a growing number of vulnerable families who have lost their jobs or livelihoods. To all this are added violence and crime in all its forms, corruption and the lack of transparency in public management, the constant requests for better living conditions: water, housing, health, education, decent and stable employment. To reactivate the economy, there is also the risk of a resumption of the contagion, so "it is up to the authorities to design a strategy that allows for the control of Covid-19 and guarantees the protection of the population", which, however, is called to observe the measures adopted by the authorities.
In the concluding part of the message, the Bishops invite us to "renew fraternity and solidarity, aware that no one is saved alone. It is time to move from words to action, to tear down the walls that separate us. It is urgent to face together the challenge of poverty and exclusion, global warming and the universality of globalization, after the alarm of Pope Francis". We must all work to alleviate the suffering of our brothers and sisters, the Panamanian Bishops exhort: "It is up to us to wear the shirt of Panama to rebuild our Country, we are a people of faith and a people of hope. Against the viruses that have condemned many to poverty and death, we have the necessary antibodies of justice, charity and solidarity. We live the commitment to be one in all, to become more human, responsible for each other". (SL) (Agenzia Fides, 18/9/2020)