Asunciòn (Agenzia Fides) - "We Bishops of Paraguay, gathered in the 227th Ordinary Plenary Assembly in an unusual context for the life of the Church and of the country because of the health situation, in a climate of prayer and fraternal affection, wish to walk together with our people to share faith, hope and charity according to our evangelizing mission. With renewed insistence and urgency, we want to remember that we are brothers and that we all need each other". It is with these words that the message of the Episcopal Conference of Paraguay, published at the end of the ordinary assembly, held from 2 to 6 November in digital format begins.
The Bishops recall that "the Covid-19 pandemic has changed our plans and projects, influencing many aspects of our life". "It is a difficult moment, of great uncertainty, marked by the suffering, pain and mourning of many families". "Many compatriots are experiencing financial difficulties and have lost jobs, study opportunities, investments and means of subsistence".
As for the life of the Church, for several months it has not been possible to celebrate the sacraments in the presence of the faithful and even the celebrations take place with a limited number of people. There are many who, because of their age or health conditions, cannot yet access the grace of the Eucharist. "Necessity has made us creative to be close to our people and accompany them in their spiritual and material needs - they continue -. This whole dramatic situation highlights our vulnerabilities as individuals and as a society. Many of the certainties on which we base our daily lives have weakened, leading us to ask central questions about happiness and what is really important in life".
The Bishops therefore recall: "With a sense of Christian faith, we discover that God calls us in everything we are currently going through, to feel and live what Pope Francis was able to tell us with his latest Encyclical: We are brothers, and we must love each other as Jesus loved us".
The Bishops note that the difficulties have provole gestures of solidarity and charity on the part of people, institutions and companies, therefore they give thanks to God "for the heroic commitment" of medical and health personnel, for the voluntary firefighters, the military, police officers, "and for all those people who offer and expose their health and their lives for others". Special thanks go to priests, consecrated persons, pastoral workers and volunteers of parishes and ecclesial communities, "who have spared their efforts and sacrifices to serve others in their spiritual and fundamental needs".
Within the Paraguayan community there are many positive things and many others that need to be changed or changed for the growth of society. In particular, the Bishops cite five aspects: public and private corruption, the fragility and ineffectiveness of many institutions, poverty, the situation of indigenous peoples, the criticality of the educational system.
In the concluding part, the Message exhorts: "We must strengthen reconciliation between all compatriots and restore security in the lives of all. The path of violence is not the one we need to take to achieve the social justice we desire. We must promote a social pact based on transparent, objective and efficient justice, and on a common commitment to seek global and inclusive solutions".
They therefore call on all Paraguayans, but mainly the authorities, to feel responsible for building "a more just, more fraternal and equitable society, together with the social and economic developments that our country needs". They therefore invite "the public authorities , political, social and economic leaders not to spare their efforts to promote an open, participatory and transparent social dialogue that leads to the definition and implementation of appropriate policies and actions at this time".
The concluding exhortation of the Message emphasizes that "the greatest good we all have to take care of is our brother, our neighbor" therefore "let us walk together, contributing to our evangelizing mission, with the help of our pastoral structures and with dedication at the service of life, the most precious gift of God. We entrust ourselves to the protection of our Blessed Mother, the Virgin of Caacupé". (SL) (Agenzia Fides, 9/11/2020)