Florida (Agenzia Fides) - The Bishops of the Episcopal Conference of Uruguay (CEU) met from 3 to 7 November in Florida. In the press release published at the end of the work, sent to Fides, they inform that they started with a day of retreat and reflection. They then shared the pastoral reality of each diocese, at this particolar moment. The Bishops then met the Apostolic Nuncio, Mgr. Martin Krebs; the team responsible for preparing the course on "Protection of minors and prevention of sexual abuse", which will be addressed to all those who, in parishes, institutions or Church activities work with minors or vulnerable people; the new Radio Maria team. The Executive Secretary of Cáritas and the secretary of the Secretariat of the Social Pastoral Department of CEU informed about initiatives aimed at strengthening coordination and collaboration with the Social Pastoral of the Dioceses. The Bishops then decided to postpone the 5th National Eucharistic Congress, given the extension of the current pandemic situation.
Finally, they prepared the message "Look with God at this moment", in which they offer their perspective as Pastors on the reality caused by the pandemic. The message was released on Sunday 8 November, Solemnity of the Virgin of the Thirty-three, Patroness of the country, when gathered in her Sanctuary, in communion with all the ecclesial communities of the nation, the Bishops addressed the Plea to the heavenly Mother for the end of the pandemic ( see Fides, 7/11/2020).
The Message, disseminated from the Marian Sanctuary, is divided into three points: "Time of hope", "Time of concern", "always time of God". "In this time of pandemic - the Bishops begin - which has left so many projects, personal and collective, without effect or pending, of which we cannot yet foresee the final consequences, we first of all give thanks to God for all the good that he brought about in the hearts of men and women of our land. In all this we find reasons for hope". They then mention the various solidarity and aid activities that have arisen, the attention towards the elderly, new forms of teleworking, the commitment of the parishes to maintain contact with the faithful through social networks, the effort made by Catholic education centers so as not to leave their students without education, the services of the Church and the State for the homeless and migrants ...
Among the reasons that arouse fear, the Bishops underline that "health continues to be a cause of great concern" not only with regard to Covid-19, but also for those in need of ordinary assistance and in particular for lonely people. As a result, "the uncertain prospects of the economy and related jobs", such as the situation of informal workers, the unemployed and people without health insurance. The Bishops are also concerned about the lack of contact with family members and friends, the tensions which have increased within families forced into isolation. "Beyond the commendable efforts to maintain teaching through digital platforms - they continue - many parents and even the students are wondering what this school year will mean in their life".
The last part of the message highlights that this time "is always God's time". If this time is the time we have been given to live, it is time to consider what gives meaning to our life, to seek answers to the deepest questions. "Christians find this answer in the risen Jesus Christ". In fact, the Bishops write, "there is 'a time for everything', but it is always God's time; a time in which he shows His love and presence in different ways. It is always the time when it is possible to love. There is always a gesture, a service, an act of love that we can do for others".
Finally, making themselves interpreters of the doubts and anxieties of many, the Bishops exhort: "The pandemic continues to raise questions about the providential love of God which allows these painful realities to strike the world. What does God want to tell us in this situation? In search of answers, in the whole Word of God and in the history of the Church, we see that these calamities have always been received as a call to conversion, to put aside sin and to turn to God. Even today the Bishops of Uruguay want to renew their trust in Jesus Christ, Lord of history and Savior of the world". (SL) (Agenzia Fides, 10/11/2020)