The Episcopal Conference of Malawi (ECM) has asked the Catholic faithful to form pastoral networks in parishes that should give hope and comfort to those affected and infected by Covid-19.
The bishops’ call comes through a pastoral statement issued on Tuesday with the title: “Need for Pastoral Solidarity During the Covid-19 Pandemic.”
The statement comes after some reports that some priests who tested positive to Covid 19 were left alone in hospital and without food. Some have already died.
The bishops say it is dehumanizing to see how those suffering from Covid-19 are suffering in isolation and worse their burial which is without dignity.
“The invisible enemy is causing to some of us “fever and to be sick in bed” like Simon Peter’s mother in law; our houses are potential “infirmaries” as our hospitals cannot take in all those who are Covid-19 positive.
“What hope is there for those down with “a fever and in bed?” What word of comfort is there for them at this time? As parishes and small Christian Communities, we cannot enter these houses as Jesus did because the risk of infection is very high,” reads the statement which has been signed by Malawi’s six Catholic bishops and two diocesan administrators.
These include Archbishop Thomas Msusa of Blantyre archdiocese and President of the ECM, Bishop Martin Mtumbuka of Karonga diocese and vice president of the ECM, Peter Musikuwa of Chikwawa diocese, Montfort Stima of Mangochi diocese, George Tambala of Zomba diocese, John Ryan of Mzuzu diocese and administrators John Chithonje and Patrick Thawale of Dedza and Lilongwe dioceses respectively.
The bishops further cry: “Those like Simon Peter’s mother in law are now in bed alone and in isolation. How can we allow the Lord to visit and heal them?
“Can we in our parishes form a network of solidarity with those who are infected, affected and those grieving? We cannot let then alone. Covid deaths are dehumanizing in many ways; the isolation and loneliness of those infected feel and the burials that do not allow for a signified funeral and burial service.”
The bishops say the church feels grieved when burying her sons and daughters in painful ways.
The bishops further urge the parishes to avoid discriminating against those infected by Covid-19.
“Let us avoid making Covid-19 infected and affected members in our society from reliving the experience lepers used to undergo among the Jews in the Old Testament when they were discriminated against,” the statement reads.
The bishops also lament the burying of its priests and nuns and others in a hurry and without any dignity when such pastors helped others to have dignified funerals and burials.
“A pastoral Solidarity network at this time is much needed. It is time to feel concerned with those who are suffering and tell them that they are not alone. .. Praying and offering sacrifices daily for the sick, may our parishes form a network of solidarity in supporting these people. This is the only way that those who are sick are comforted and healed,” reads the statement.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :