VATICAN - Aid from the PMS Fund for the Covid emergency to support monasteries, rural communities, parishes in Africa and Latin America

Tuesday, 21 July 2020 coronavirus   pontifical mission societies  

Vatican City (Agenzia Fides) - The Covid-19 pandemic that has been marking the lives of peoples of all continents for months, also places serious limits on the life of ecclesial communities, which face difficulties and often dramatic situations. To support the Churches of mission countries in the face of the Covid-19 emergency, Pope Francis has set up an emergency fund at the Pontifical Mission Societies (PMS) which is responding to requests from dioceses around the world (see Fides, 6/4/2020). The latest aid has been sent to Africa and Latin America.
The Poor Clares of the Mary Queen and Mather Monastery in Lilongwe, Malawi offer, with their prayers, a valuable and appreciated contribution to the life of the Church and the country, spiritually supporting the mission. They usually draw their livelihood from the small offerings of the faithful who join in their prayer in the chapel of the monastery. With the closure of the churches imposed by the need to contain the pandemic, the 31 nuns find themselves without economic means also to pay the current consumption costs of the monastery and meet basic needs, for this reason they have been sent help from the emergency Fund of the PMS.
The diocese of Kwito-Bié in Angola habitually assists many poor people, but the situation created following the pandemic makes it impossible to continue this charity service to parishes and missions. The help sent by the PMS Fund will allow the diocese in particular to support Radio Ecclesia, a fundamental tool to guarantee communication and spiritual animation in this period of isolation.
The Archdiocese of Yaoundé, Cameroon, includes the country's political capital, so it is a crossroads for many people who go there for work or other business, making it one of the places most exposed to the pandemic. The efforts made by the diocese's health services for health prevention are limited and cannot cover the many needs of a city with about 2 million inhabitants. The most urgent need reported to the PMS Fund concerns the sanitation of the premises and the awareness of the faithful of the 162 parishes of the 23 Eucharistic Centers of the diocese for the fight against the coronavirus.
The diocese of Ngaoundéré is located in northern Cameroon, Catholics are 20% of the population. Most of its 26 parishes are located in the rural area, not only for evangelization, but also to help improve the living conditions of that population through schools and health centers. Priests, religious, seminarians, catechists, animators of ecclesial communities contribute generously to the Church's action. In March the first case of Covid-19 was registered and therefore all the provisions aimed at containing the pandemic were issued, both by the State and by the Church. The majority of the population thus found themselves unable to earn their daily bread. The closure of the prayer and catechesis meetings no longer allowed, among other things, to collect offers for the sustenance of parishes and pastoral workers.
The San Pedro Claver retirement home, located in the Apostolic Vicariate of San Andrea, Providencia and Santa Catalina, Colombia, no longer has resources to assist its guests. Usually a food festival is organized annually to collect contributions and offers, but following the pandemic this year it was not possible. Of the 38 elderly hosted, not all are able to contribute economically to the management of the house. The help sent by the PMS Emergency Fund will be used to support some priests who no longer have livelihoods and who so far had also contributed to the expenses of the Vicariate.
In the Apostolic Vicariate of Camiri, Bolivia, this year 2020 marks the 25th anniversary of the birth of the diocesan clergy. In the parishes, efforts have always been made to make the faithful aware of the need to support themselves economically, keeping the structures and pastoral workers at the service of the community. During this time of pandemic, various forms of solidarity aid have been promoted for people in difficulty, but with the churches closed and the fear of contagion it is not possible to collect offers among the faithful. The aid from the PMS Fund will go to basic services and pastoral activities in parishes held by both diocesan priests and religious, as well as for the families of some catechists in difficulty. (SL) (Agenzia Fides, 21/7/2020)