As the Coronavirus pandemic reaches further around the world, we’re in touch with our partners overseas to help and support in any way we can.
The Catholic Church in the Philippines, working with Missio worldwide, provides ‘a compass in a time of disorientation’, Missio’s National Director in Manila tells us.
Monsignor Esteban Lo has shared that, thanks to the Pope’s Emergency Fund, the local church in the Philippines can provide ‘an essential point of reference, both at a spiritual consolation level, and in assisting needy communities and local Churches’.
Father Lo said:
‘This crisis could offer the great temptation to be more inward-looking and less oriented towards the mission. But, thank God, it is also an alarm bell to put us in touch with each other as we go through the same storm.
‘The Pope’s special COVID-19 Emergency Fund, established to meet the needs of the local Churches, shows this closeness’.
Everyone is doing what they can
It’s so encouraging to see the entire Church respond to Pope Francis’ call for support. Just as the Missio family here in England and Wales have been giving what they can, so have our sisters and brothers around the world, reaching out to those in need. Fr Lo explains:
‘We initially sent 5,000 US dollars to the Emergency Fund, to reach the victims of the virus in communities that are particularly in need all over the world.
‘Mutual charity is the key in these times. In the Philippines too, there are initiatives for families in extreme need to be provided the essentials. It’s only with the help of the Church that they can survive.’
Together we can make a huge difference in areas where the local Church is supporting people through COVID-19. Please join us and give what you can today>>
A grass-roots response from the Church
The show of support and care from the community has been truly inspiring, the Director says. And it has come from parishioners at a local level, as well as internationally.
‘In general, in our country we see a generous and charitable response towards poor people, even towards those who do not know each other personally.
‘Now, people are donating money, food and essential goods for daily life. Numerous Catholic institutions and schools, parishes and other organisations have made rooms and facilities available for homeless and marginalised people, while doctors and nurses are at the forefront with regards to medical aid.
‘Volunteering also plays an important role: young parishioners volunteer to help distribute food parcels and to prepare spaces to accommodate different groups’.
Making hope viral
On a spiritual level too, the Church is offering widespread support. This is at least partly possible through technology.
‘In many communities, prayers and Masses are nourishing and strengthening the faith of the baptised. The Word of God fills social media. Numerous messages with words of the Gospel or spiritual thoughts run through the internet like a chain. They’re forwarded from one user to another, acting as inspiration and consolation.
‘Faith is a true help in this difficult time, and we continue to trust in God,’ Father Lo concluded.
Together we can…
The Coronavirus crisis has turned everything upside down. But when we all do our small part, we can ignite God’s love in even the darkest times.
As part of the global Missio family, we’re able to reach out to vulnerable and needy communities around the world. The Church is a beacon and cornerstone of many of these places, and now, through the tireless work of missionary Priests and Sisters, and the generosity of congregations, we can come through this crisis, offering protection to those most at risk and to those who care for them.