Dear brothers and sisters,
Is this pandemic not an opportunity for the Family Church of God of the Africa to reveal itself explicitly, through its doings and gestures, in its prophetic dimension?
Is it sufficient as a Church to limit itself to repeating the prescriptions of the State to fight against this pandemic and to timidly encourage Christians to pray at home? Would it not be appropriate to ask everyone to put themselves at the audacious service of others who are suffering from this pandemic at the risk of their lives?
Can the Church be confined ??? But who is the Church ??? To put it simply, the Church is not only formed by Deacons, Priests, Bishops, Cardinals; but it is also and above all each brother and each sister; all together.
What would Jesus have done during a pandemic of this magnitude in my country, in my province, in my village, in my neighborhood? This is the leitmotif which should guide our action as a Church and not only be content to imitate others and above all not to give in to fear and panic.
Certainly, Jesus, as a man, before death, he had wept. However, death had not stopped him from continuing his mission. In our place, surely, Jesus would go out with his apostles to announce the Good News in concrete terms and therefore to give the joy of living.
It seems to me necessary, as the Church in its protective and social role, that each of us should be attentive to others and especially to those who suffer, from far or near, from this pandemic and above all not to hesitate to go out to pray, help others through the service of volunteering in different hospitals or in the places where people who need our presence and service are found. The Church while not preaching martyrdom, It should, in my humble opinion, especially encourage young people not to be afraid, to give themselves for others even if that would go as far as martyrdom.Should not the priests, more during this time, make Jesus Host present everywhere and accompany the sick? Offer their sustained attention to the patients of this pandemic at the risk of losing their lives? What are the pastoral creativity to reach the heart of the desperate man? Is the broadcast of the mass through TV channels sufficient for our faithful?How long will this situation continue without us playing our part as convinced Christians who show the way under the action of the Holy Spirit? Would there be a pastoral plan after lockdown? Would our faithful have grown in their faith, their charity?May the Lord, through Mary Help of Christians, take us in grace and bless us.
Fr. Joachim Shamukeke, Salesian of Don Bosco National Youth Chaplain in DR Congo and national chaplain of MIEC RD Congo