A COVID-19 emergency fund has been set up by Pope Francis to help mission areas
The Holy Father has established an emergency fund through Missio (the Pontifical Mission Societies), in order to come to the aid of those people and communities who are being tragically impacted by the spread of COVID-19. The Emergency Fund will be used to accompany impacted communities in mission countries via Church structures and institutions.
Cardinal Tagle, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples, welcomes the announcement:
“In her task of evangelisation, the Church is often on the front lines of major threats to human well-being. In Africa alone, there are over 74,000 religious sisters and over 46,000 priests operating 7,274 hospitals and clinics, 2,346 homes for elderly and the vulnerable, and educating over 19 million children in 45,088 primary schools. In many rural areas they are the only providers of healthcare and education.”
The Cardinal continued: “The Holy Father is calling upon the Church’s entire vast network to face the challenges ahead”.
No one is alone
The Holy Father has designated US $ 750,000 as an initial contribution for the fund and has asked that those Church entities that are able and desirous to help, to contribute to this fund through the Pontifical Mission Societies in each Country.
Archbishop Giampietro Dal Toso, President of the Pontifical Mission Societies, said:
“This fund has the aim of supporting the presence of the Church in mission territories, which also suffers the consequences of Corona Virus. Through the Church’s activity of preaching the Gospel and of practical aid through our vast network, we can show that no one is alone in this crisis. In this sense, the Church’s institutions and ministers play a vital role. This is the Holy Father’s intention in establishing this Fund. While so many are suffering, we remember and reach out to those who may have no one to care for them, thus showing forth the love of God the Father “.
The Pontifical Mission Societies, known as Missio NZ, is the Holy Father’s official channel of support for more than 1,110 dioceses mostly in Asia, Africa, Oceania and part of the Amazon region. The Archbishop continued: “I call upon our network of Pontifical Mission Societies, present in every diocese around the world, to do what they can to support this important initiative of the Holy Father”. Contributions can be made also to:
Poverty-stricken families need urgent food
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to ravage our nation’s public health and economy, the consequences to poor children and families are dire. These people have very limited access to health services and bear the most severe impacts of the deadly virus.
Churches and mission areas are being approached by those needing food and assistance. However, dioceses in poorer countries are struggling to respond due to severe lack of resources to cover the magnitude of impact during these unprecedented times.
Food is the major problem for poor people. It has been over 30 days of full lockdown in Sri Lanka with no indication when it will end – our priests have been getting many requests to help different people to give them something to eat. Families in depressed areas and many dioceses live on daily wages. Now that they have lost their jobs and any ability to earn income, their access to food is also getting worse by the day.
Now is the time to help
Our brother and sisters, who have dedicated their lives to bring Jesus into people’s home, need our help for people currently fighting for survival. There are so many families who are in need of food. They need our help to give at least some dry rations, to give them something to eat. Every donation no matter how big or small counts. A $10 donation maybe small to one donor but goes a long way in a starving community.
The COVID-19 crisis is like no other in the world. We all have our own share of sacrifices, staying indoors during lockdown and giving up our normal daily activities. Some of us may have to work reduced hours or face redundancy or put their lives at risk as frontliners. This is the moment we are called to rise to the occasion as Christians and as one people. Our collective small acts of kindness during crisis become a concrete manifestation of God’s extraordinary love and compassion to the world.