Vatican City (Agenzia Fides) - Although the Covid-19 pandemic does not stop, causing suffering and death on all continents, the Church continues its work of assistance and charity, especially in those areas of the world where the situation of the population, already precarious, has received new blows from the health emergency. In assisting as much as possible those who suddenly found themselves in a state of need, the local Churches, which largely lived on the offerings of the faithful, have now finished their limited economic resources, as well as priests, religious and catechists who find themselves without means of subsistence not only to continue their work of charity and evangelization, but also for daily needs.
To respond to the emergencies caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, Pope Francis has set up an Emergency Fund at the Pontifical Mission Societies (PMS) which, thanks to the generosity of many, has been responding to requests from dioceses throughout the missionary world for months, (see Fides, 6/4/2020). Aid was recently sent to various ecclesiastical circumscriptions in Africa.
In Nigeria, aid from the PMS Fund went to four dioceses. To the diocese of Auchi, to help the religious Mother of Perpetual Help of the Archangels Sisters (Mophass), who due to the lockdown have had to close their schools and therefore have no livelihood for their community which includes several novices. In the diocese of Bomadi, aid was also sent to a religious congregation engaged in pastoral activity, the Little Friends of Mary Missionary Sisters. Pastoral operators in the diocese of Idah have been hit hard by the pandemic.
The usual financial support for the activities of the Church by the laity has ceased, as families have found it impossible to meet their daily needs. The assistance of the PMS Fund will help 90 priests, 757 catechists of the diocese and Augustinian nuns.
A contribution was also sent to the diocese of Uromi to meet the needs of the diocese following the effects of Covid.
The Missionary Sisters of the Consolata of Liberia received help to be able to continue their evangelization activities in the two communities in the Archdiocese of Monrovia, where the religious are engaged in the human and Christian formation of children, young people and adults, in the promotion of women and in the formation of lay missionaries. In addition, St. Peter Claver Catholic High School, entrusted to them, ensures quality education for over 800 children. The 252 sisters of the diocese of Ngong, in Kenya, who ensure a precious service to the Church in various fields, have also received help from the PMS Fund.
In Namibia, the state of emergency and the lockdown have resulted in further suffering for the population, due to hunger and extreme poverty caused by unemployment and the stop of all forms of small trade. The diocese of Windhoek, which so far has not spared itself to help the poor and destitute, has now asked for support to be able to continue its evangelization activities. The diocese of Konstad, in South Africa, is also in serious economic difficulty to cope with current expenses and the management of charitable and pastoral activities.
During the lockdown, extensive use was made of the media to somehow compensate for the closure of pastoral activities and churches, with meetings, moments of prayer, homilies and reflections, to help communities nourish hope and continue with evangelization. The functioning of these instruments involves considerable expenses, which have aggravated the financial situation of the dioceses, already precarious due to the lack of offers from the faithful. For this purpose, aid from the PMS Emergency Fund was allocated to National Catholic Television - Luntha TV and Radio Maria Nazionale of Malawi, together with a contribution to the Bishops' Conference in order to provide for the most urgent payments. Also in Angola, aid was sent to the diocese of Cabinda, for the strengthening of the diocesan radio, and to that of Dundo, for the completion of the Radio Ecclesia equipment, which will allow the diocesan broadcaster to reach even the population of the more peripheral areas. The same in Cameroon, where the diocese of Douala has asked for help for Radio Veritas. (SL) (Agenzia Fides, 13/10/2020)