Pope at Audience launches new catechesis series on healing the world
In a catechesis live-streamed from the Apostolic Library on Wednesday morning, Pope Francis assures Christians that despite the Covid-19 pandemic continuing to infect and kill people, with many, especially the poor, going through uncertain times because of socio-economic problems, God’s Kingdom of healing and of salvation is present, as Jesus assures us in Luke’s Gospel.
This Kingdom of justice and peace, manifested through works of charity, he says, increases and strengthens faith. Through faith, hope and charity, the Holy Spirit not only heals us but also make us healers. These virtues “open us to new horizons, even while we are navigating the difficult waters of our time”.
A renewed contact with the “Gospel of faith, of hope and of love”, the Pope says, will enable us “to transform the roots of our physical infirmity and the destructive practices that separate us from each other, threatening the human family and our planet”.
In his numerous miracles, the Holy Father notes, Jesus “heals not only the physical evil but the entire person”. By restoring “the person back to the community, He liberates the person from isolation”.
Covid-19: The Church in South Africa in service of the vulnerable
As South Africa becomes the fifth worst-hit country for coronavirus cases, Bishop Sithembele Sipuka of Umtata highlights the Church’s response to challenges brought about by the health crisis.
In the face of the nation's spiking infection curve, Bishop Sithembele Sipuka of Umtata, President of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference (SACBC) spoke to Vatican News on the Church’s response to the health emergency situation in the country.
Bishop Sipuka highlighted that the Church is playing a role in supporting the government’s efforts, as well as being an agent of hope in these challenging times. He explained that the Church is following the “advice of scientific information to the people of South Africa” regarding Covid-19 safety regulations. For that reason, “we have carefully opened churches under very strict regulations,” he said.
Explaining that the Catholic Church is a minority in the country, Bishop Sipuka stressed the importance of collaborating with other Christian denominations in the fight against Covid-19. “We work with ministers of other churches in order to identify people who are negatively affected by this in our area regardless of which church they belong to, so that we can access means of helping them."
Due to the economic hardships caused by the pandemic, many people have lost their jobs. They consequently find it difficult to get food. The Church is responding to that need by concentrating its efforts on that front.
Bishop Sipuka said that among other things, the Church is also providing counseling services to those in need and participating in awareness campaigns to educate people about the Covid-19 virus.
Pope finances 168 projects in Latin American and Caribbean
The Pope’s charitable initiatives in Latin America and the Caribbean are carried out largely through the Populorum Progressio Foundation for Latin America and the Caribbean, operating under the Vatican’s Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development.
During the annual meeting held online, July 29-30, the board of directors of the Populorum Progressio Foundation selected 138 social development projects from among the numerous proposals, developed by the Latin American and Caribean communities and regions most in need.
In addition to these, another 30 food aid projects already in operation, were approved earlier by the board of directors in June. This was in response to a request by Pope Francis, as a collaboration between the Foundation and the Vatican Covid-19 Commission, which the Pontiff established in March in the Dicastery, in collaboration with other dicasteries of the Roman Curia and other agencies. The 168 projects in 23 countries express the Church's concern and love for the entire human family in the face of the ongoing pandemic.
In collaboration with the Italian Church, the Foundation aims at promoting the integral human development of farmers’ communities (campesinos), indigenous peoples and African Americans of Latin America and the Caribbean.