Brazil – which has the second-highest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the world – is set to benefit from an emergency aid package just approved by a leading Catholic charity.
As part of its campaign to support priests and religious working with the weak and vulnerable in areas affected by COVID-19, Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) has announced 11 new projects in Brazil.
Brazil’s health authorities stopped issuing figures of COVD-19 cases on Saturday (6th June) but, according to latest reports, there could be more than 692,000 people with the virus.
ACN’s aid for Brazil will provide support for 169 priests, 141 Sisters, 31 seminarians, and 56 lay missionaries helping their local communities during the pandemic.
This includes priests in the state of Ceará, north-east Brazil, where, as of today (8th June), there were 63,957 confirmed cases and 3,981 had died of the virus.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, a number of parishes have collected food and other essential supplies to help the most needy.
Some parishes are providing poor families with an evening meal each day – but the money is running out.
Itapipoca diocesan treasurer Father Francisco Danízio Silva told ACN that he is counting on the kindness of the ordinary people.
He said: “During these times we are going through, the support of every individual is very important. With the little that we have we can still help many people.
“Our Church is poor and in need, but it is rich in the grace of God and in kind and generous people.”
He explained how with no public Masses – and no collections – the income from the faithful has fallen by around 60 percent, adding “what resources we did have are now becoming exhausted”.
Father Danizio said: “Recently we have made great efforts to raise funds, but it is now getting very difficult, since the people themselves have next to nothing.”
The priest expressed his gratitude to ACN.
He said: “You, the benefactors of ACN, have helped us greatly.
“During this time, your support is directly linked to the help we can give to these brothers and sisters of ours who need so much… who need our compassion, our attention, and our loving support as well.
“I pray to God, through the intercession of his most holy Mother Mary, that he may bless each and every one of you, and that your generosity will be the source of your salvation.
“May we never forget that helping our neighbor is one of the most effective ways of imitating our Lord Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd.”
The Brazilian Catholic television broadcaster “Aparecida” has started broadcasting its documentary series again, including the “Archive A” program, reported Fides News Agency. Since last Thursday, June 4, the program has been addressing the Church during the Pandemic period and reporting on how Catholic communities have adapted to maintaining contact with believers during the period of social distancing.
One of the journalists of the very popular Catholic broadcaster, Eduardo Miranda, interviewed the main leaders of the Catholic community in Brazil. The President of the Bishops’ Conference of Brazil, Mgr. Walmor Azevedo, President of the episcopal commission for social communications of the CNBB, Mgr. Joaquim Mol, the President of Caritas of Brazil, the rector of the National Shrine of Aparecida, Father Eduardo Catalfo were among the first to be interviewed.
In addition to the testimonies, issues that involved the population in this critical period of the country were addressed, such as the solidarity of the Church towards the most needy and vulnerable. In addition, the work of many missionaries was highlighted, who in the face of this health emergency have been assisting many elderly people and families who could not count on the bare minimum to survive.
- ACN’s John Newton and Daniela Almeida contributed to this story.