“The pandemic has questioned the mission in its very nature: the mission, in fact, involves sending, going out to meet your neighbor. However, right now, faced with this situation of isolation, in almost all social strata there is the possibility of promoting evangelization through the media and, above all, social networks. After all, the goal is always to transmit the life of God”. This is what Fr. Antonio de Jesùs Mascorro Tristàn, MG, National Director of the Pontifical Mission Societies (PMS) in Mexico said in a conversation with Agenzia Fides and shares his missionary experience in this period of health emergency.
“It is also an opportunity to strengthen our ties as a community, to be a reflection of God’s mercy, and to practice charity towards others without taking into consideration nationality or creed. Many have awakened the desire to help according to their situation.”
The Mexican Church has adopted some particular initiatives during this period, such as the “Families without hunger” campaign promoted by the Episcopal Commission for Social Pastoral Care (Caritas), and the Protocol for spiritual care for the faithful during the health emergency of Covid-19 published by the Episcopal Conference. “The Eucharist is celebrated daily at the PMS in Mexico, praying for the sick and the dead – explains Fr. Antonio de Jesùs -. Through a phone number and Facebook, people can send their prayer requests and share them during mass. A daily prayer is sent to members of Missionary Childhood and Adolescence to do with their family. This prayer is spread through digital platforms and social networks, reaching children and adolescents not only in Mexico but in all the Americas.”
Among the concrete experiences that highlight the link between evangelization and charity, the National Director of the PMS cites the work of some priests who bring the Eucharist and the sacrament of Reconciliation to the sick, praying with them and offering comfort. Many doctors, nurses, and health personnel who are believers, in addition to keeping in mind their responsibility as employees, give themselves to others with love, prolonging the shifts of their service more than they should, knowing that with their testimony they are evangelizing.
There are also several youth initiatives mentioned by Fr. Antonio de Jesùs Mascorro Tristàn, such as the realization of live broadcasts and/or recordings with reflections on the Easter Triduum and other topics that are then sent to mission places during Holy Week. During the octave of Easter other initiatives of accompaniment and missionary formation were born always through social networks, so that young people remain active and help others become aware of the mission of the Church. Other concrete actions are praying the Holy Rosary with relatives, outside hospitals, collecting food for needy families, supporting canteens and public dispensaries, etc.
“Regarding the PMS emergency fund wanted by Pope Francis, the invitation was made through our social networks and the official PMS website – underlines Fr. Antonio de Jesùs Mascorro Tristàn -, making one of our bank accounts available, but the response has been scarce so far. We must consider the situation of many infected, the loss of jobs, the increase in poverty and the situation of several dioceses, which are collecting funds to support those in need”.