Mbabane (Agenzia Fides) - When Pope Francis invited the Church a year ago to celebrate an Extraordinary Missionary Month, we welcomed this invitation with joy: in the Kingdom of Eswatini we decided to extend it to the whole year", said Bishop José Luis Ponce de León, IMC, Bishop of Manzini and Swatini (Swaziland). This missionary dynamic continued during the pandemic and will now, according to the Bishop, be renewed on World Mission Sunday on October 18. "With the pandemic, the Church suddenly found herself preaching: Stay at home", said the Bishop. And added: "very soon, however, we realized that Covid-19 could change the context in which we were living, but not our call to proclaim the Gospel.
We remain “baptized and sent”, therefore we got up and said, Lord, here we are, send us, in new, creative ways".
Mgr. Ponce lists some creative activities that have been started: by forming a small choir, members of associations and priests have made themselves available for Sunday celebrations on YouTube; Young people have launched coronavirus awareness campaigns in rural areas, among the most vulnerable in the country. Nurses have made themselves available in the various parishes to accompany or support these teams; a group of lay people and priests offered short radio podcasts of prayers and reflections based on the day's readings, and over a thousand people registered on WhatsApp to receive them. "Mgr. Ponce de Leon concluded,"furthermore, through the radio we were close to families so that government measures to deal with the crisis reached them and the children could continue to study from home. We are committed to solidarity initiatives by providing personal protective equipment (PPE), food packages for people in need and water supply in areas with little rain".
Catholic layman James McBride, who has been married to Anne for 54 years, gives a special testimony of faith in this situation. 3 children and 3 grandchildren, has taught catechism for 35 years: James remains in contact with children and young people in every possible way in order to nourish their daily relationship with God. (EG) (Agenzia Fides, 7/10/2020)