Harare (Agenzia Fides) - "The corona virus pandemic, to some extent has sent us into o ur own little exile, away from our friends and sometimes from our families", writes Fr. Keto Sithole, a priest from Zimbabwe, in a note of reflection on how the quarantine for Covid-19 is having an impact on the life of his community of faithful.
"The priests are unable to meet their members' spiritual needs perhaps most painfully represented in the absence of public funerals for those who have passed on", underlines with sadness Fr. Sithole, who carries out his ministry at St Marys in Lukosi.
"A big lesson so far from this periodhas been the discovery that relationships matter more than meetings. Having meetings and functions to attend has enabled clergy and even family members to spend time with individuals near them and far (by phone), seeing how they are, which is hugely delightful. That is what I believe Jesus wants to see happening. Too often, we have been busy with our wants without a serious thought about others unless we can get something out of them to our benefit". "During the lockdown, we have the opportunity to pray for others better and support them, simply through habitual pastoral phone calls and chats. The greatest challenge has been to reach the majority of my parishioners who don’t own mobile phones. They have been in my prayers always so that they don’t lose their faith and hope".
From a liturgical point of view Fr. Sithole points out that "like most churches around the world St. Marys Mission in Lukosi where I am currently working has been closed. The lay people are unable to gather and the pastoral workers (priests) are unable to meet with them as the nation prepares for the potentially worst public- health crisis judging from how the virus has ravaged countries with better medical facilities than our own".
"While the children of Israel cried to God for reprieve, we also make our clarion call to God not from the usual Grottos or pews but from places of quarantine, our homes, alone or with our loved ones", invokes the priest, who concluded with the hope that "when we emerge from this lockdown my hope is that we will all have rediscovered those essential values of community, caring for those in need, and the world as Pope Francis in Laudato Sì implored". (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 11/5/2020)