As the COVID-19 pandemic causes widespread lockdown in Pakistan, the Church is working to reach those families who cannot access aid.
‘Pakistan is going through a tough time as the government is planning to prolong lockdown,’ Fr Peter*, a missionary in Pakistan writes.
‘Life is completely paralysed and Pakistan is facing its biggest challenge ever, as the number of confirmed Coronavirus cases rises rapidly. But the confirmed cases are probably only the tip of the iceberg.’
As with many other countries, Pakistan’s poorest citizens are facing increased hardship as lockdown causes loss of income and difficulty accessing essential supplies. In these areas, Missio’s partners and projects can make all the difference, ensuring basic necessities reach families who need them.
‘People are hungry’
Fr Peter continues:
‘The Church is receiving endless requests for help in this emergency from our own community and beyond. People are hungry. They cannot feed their children. After 3 weeks of lockdown most of the families are not accessing the essentials of day-to-day life. Most are left without any food as they are not getting any help besides the Church.’
The Church can help
The good news is that together we can make all the difference to our sisters and brothers in Pakistan. Fr Ryan Joseph, a seminary rector in Karachi says:
‘In these days we all live a limited life, we are in domestic confinement. There are many people in our own neighbourhoods who suffer from lack of food.
‘We told the faithful: look for the poor and needy, of any religion, in your neighbourhoods and help them; buy food for poor families and live the spirit of Easter with authentic charity. I invite each one to help at least two families facing financial difficulties during this lockdown due to COVID-19.’
Fr Joseph is also broadcasting Mass and Adoration online daily on Facebook. He says:
‘We have supported 150 needy families, especially those who work day by day and now do not earn because of the lockdown.’
Together we can help the Church reach more hungry people in lockdown. Please donate what you can today>>
Fr Arthur Charles, a parish priest in the Karachi Archdiocese also reports:
‘Our pastoral team is working to provide food packages containing 5kg of rice, 5kg of wheat flour, 3kg of sugar, 3kg of different types of lentils, and oil to 900 families in the parish who live below the poverty line.’
In the Archdiocese of Lahore, Archbishop Sebastian Francis Shaw donated 15,000 face masks for the poor and needy of the city, particularly to the city’s health workers. Archbishop Shaw said:
‘In these difficult times, we must stay close to our people. We are working hard to protect people from Coronavirus.’
We must keep going
Now more than ever, we are joined in prayer with our sisters and brothers around the world. Mass offerings help missionary priests in the poorest areas to maintain their parishes, and offer a chance for your intentions to be held in prayer at Mass. It’s a way of helping to support the new Church – and there is no better way than through celebrating the Mass.
Fr Peter gives thanks for the Mass offerings he has received for his parish and says:
‘The Mass Stipend will be helpful to assist some poor families and provide them food.’
Pope Francis Emergency fund
These are signs of real hope, but there are so many more people in need. Missio can help priests and seminaries reach out to their local communities and parishes with vital aid and support. But we can only do this with your help.
We can channel funds to missionaries in the poorest areas of Pakistan, where people have lost their income and turn to the Church in desperate need of help. Pope Francis asks each of us to donate whatever we can to the emergency COVID-19 fund. You can add your donation here>>
Information from our partners and Fides news service.
Some names have been changed.