POPE Francis (above) has established an emergency fund in response to the Coronavirus crisis to support ongoing missionary work throughout the world.
The Holy Father set up the special fund via the Pontifical Mission Societies—his official charity for overseas mission—of which Missio Scotland is the Scottish branch. The funds will be directed to communities who have been hit hardest by the global pandemic.
The Emergency Fund will be used to accompany impacted communities in mission countries and territories via Church structures and institutions.
“Coronavirus is affecting the whole world especially those countries least able to deal with it,” Fr Vincent Lockhart, Missio Scotland’s National Director, said. “This is particularly the case in many parts of African and Asia where the Church is, in many places, the only source of healthcare and education. Through this new initiative, Pope Francis reminds us that despite the coronavirus we still remain one family and should make even more of an effort to support our brothers and sisters who are very much in need. That way they will not feel forgotten, alone or isolated. Love unites and this is what the Holy Father’s appeal is all about.”
Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, the Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples, elaborated on the need to support our brothers and sisters around the world at this troubling time, especially those who depend on Church structures and institutions.
“In her task of evangelisation, the Church is often on the front lines of major threats to human well-being,” Cardinal Tagle said. “In Africa alone, there are over 74,000 religious sisters and over 46,000 priests operating 7274 hospitals and clinics, 2346 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 Holy Father is calling upon the Church’s entire vast network to face the challenges ahead.”
The Pope has allocated an initial US $750,000 (approximately £600,000) to the fund and has asked that those Church entities that are able and keen to help, to contribute to this fund through the Pontifical Mission Societies in each country, which here, as previously mentioned, is Missio Scotland.
Archbishop Giampietro Dal Toso, the President of the Pontifical Mission Societies—which will administer the fund—says the missionary aspect of humanitarian support, which combines pastoral and practical outreach, is essential in this uncertain climate.
“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,” Archbishop Dal Toso said. “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 is the Holy Father’s official channel of support for more than 1110 dioceses mostly in Asia, Africa, Oceania and parts of Latin and South America.
Contributions using the reference COVID-19 can be made to:
Account No. 14036020
Sort Code 83-17-13
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