Thanks to daily briefings, news conferences, radio reports, and online articles, we are all acutely aware of the efforts being made in our country to fight the COVID19 pandemic. We are very grateful for the incredible work being done in our hospitals and research facilities. All involved -- from administrators and medical staff to scientists and maintenance people - are working together to care for our sick, comfort our dying, and race towards a reliable test and vaccine.
As people of faith, we "shelter in prayer" -- holding fast to the idea that God will see us through, knowing that each day brings us closer to the answers we seek.
My prayers for the health and safety of my own family are constant.
So, too, are my prayers and concern for our Mission Family. Though not related by blood, these people have become kin to me. Many of them are at a much greater risk to the virus than my children. "Social distancing" is a luxury for people who work together to gather firewood and raise their own food. And, imagine being told that washing your hands is a necessity when you must walk miles to get the water with no guarantee that it is clean! Health care is limited throughout much of the mission world.
And yet, the indominable spirit of their faith in God comes through in every message received from the missions.
Sister Stan Therese Mumuni runs the Nazareth Home for God's Children in the Diocese of Yendi, Ghana. It is home to almost one hundred children who have some form of physical or mental challenge. Currently, Sister, the children, and staff are under lockdown. In her video greeting to our counterparts in Australia, Sister shared, "We know we do not pray alone." We are always with you, wherever you are. Please be with us, too."
As Pope Francis stood in an empty Saint Peter's Square recently to speak to the world and give us his blessing, it seemed that even the sky was crying for the people of our planet. As the rain poured down, the Holy Father compared the COVID19 pandemic to a storm that can only be weathered by coming together. "We have realized that we are on the same boat, all of us fragile and disoriented, but at the same time important and needed, all of us called to row together," he said.
Let us heed these pleas for solidarity. Please pray for the missions. And, if you are able, help us row together and give at www.propfaithboston.org.
- Maureen Crowley Heil is Director of Programs and Development for the Pontifical Mission Societies, Boston.
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