The Dicastery met on Wednesday, July 14 by videoconference with representatives of the Brazilian Bishops' Conference (CNBB) regarding the health emergency caused by the COVID-19.
Mgr. Joel Portella Amado, Auxiliary Bishop of Rio de Janeiro and Secretary of the CNBB, gave a general overview of the pandemic situation in the country, one of the most affected in the world.
Card. Odilo Pedro Scherer, Archbishop of São Paulo, spoke about the health challenges faced by his city, and Mgr. Leonardo Steiner, Archbishop of Manaus, about the problems related to indigenous peoples and the Amazon.
While Mgr. Roberto Francisco Ferreria Paz, Bishop of Campos and in charge of the healthcare ministry at the CNBB, and Mgr. Paulo Celso Dias Do Nascimento, Auxiliary Bishop of Rio de Janeiro and in charge of the healthcare ministry in the same city, addressed the work of doctors and health workers, as well as hospitals and the healthcare system engaged in the fight against the emergency.
During the meeting - after a dialogue on the health dimension of the phenomenon and on the economic consequences that it is having and will still have on the population - the commitment of the local Church to help those who live in situations of suffering, especially the sick, the poor and the newly unemployed due to the crisis, was highlighted. The structures of the Church, in this sense, have immediately promoted among the faithful the measures of security and distancing foreseen; but above all they have increased their own service of charity, also demonstrating pastoral creativity. The services relating to the distribution of food and listening to people with the tools made available by digital technologies have been strengthened.
The bishops then presented some programmes and projects developed for particular situations, such as assistance to the nomadic populations and Venezuelan migrants present in the country; or the use of Catholic radio channels and other broadcasters that have made themselves available to tell personal stories, provide constant guidance for the prevention of the virus and propose liturgical celebrations and moments of prayer.
In the course of the meeting with the CNBB, the problems relating to the economic sustenance which the Church will also be able to face in the persistence of a situation of difficulty emerged.
For the Dicastery Card. Peter K.A. Turkson, Prefect, Mons. Bruno Marie Duffé, Secretary, and Fr. Augusto Zampini, Adjunct Secretary, in addition to the Officials of the Area in charge of healthcare pastoral. Card. Turkson and Mgr. Duffé stressed the commitment of the Dicastery and the Holy See through the Vatican Commission for COVID-19, wanted by the Pope, in particular in promoting measures for the protection of life and charitable and solidarity initiatives, and in producing ideas and analyses that can be useful to improve the political, economic and social system: that is, as Pope Francis said, to "prepare the future".
(photo in the small box taken from Ansa.it)