VATICAN (SE): Agenzia Fides, the information service of the Pontifical Mission Societies, announced that Pope Francis “established an emergency fund at the Pontifical Mission Societies” Vatican News reported on May 19. The revenue contributed to the fund will go to the “aid of those people and communities who are being tragically impacted by the spread of Covid-19.”
The May 18 statement went on to say that the money would go directly to mission countries through the Church’s “structures and institutions.”
Archbishop Giovanni Pietro Dal Toso, the president of the Pontifical Mission Societies, explained, “This fund is aimed at supporting the presence of the Church in mission territories, which also suffers the consequences of the Covid-19 coronavirus.”
He noted that “through the Church’s activity of preaching the gospel and of practical aid through our vast network, we can show that no one is alone in this crisis. In this sense, the Church’s institutions and ministers play a vital role.”
Luis Cardinal Tagle, the prefect of the Congregation for the Evangeliszation of Peoples, said, “In her task of evangelisation, the Church is often on the front lines of major threats to human well-being.”
He noted, “In Africa alone, there are over 74,000 religious sisters and over 46,000 priests operating 7,274 hospitals and clinics, 2,346 homes for elderly and the vulnerable, and educating over 19 million children in 45,088 primary schools. In many rural areas they are the only providers of healthcare and education. The Holy Father is calling upon the Church’s entire vast network to face the challenges ahead.”
Pope Francis was also the first to make a contribution, putting in US$750,000 ($5.8 million). He appealed to all “Church entities” and individuals who “are able and desirous to help, to contribute to this fund through the Pontifical Mission Societies in each country”.
Archbishop Dal Toso said, “This is the Holy Father’s intention in establishing this fund. While so many are suffering, we remember and reach out to those who may have no one to care for them, thus showing forth the love of God the Father.”
He said, “I call upon our network of Pontifical Mission Societies, present in every diocese around the world, to do what they can to support this important initiative of the Holy Father.”
Through the Pontifical Mission Societies, the pope is able to support more than 1,110 dioceses. They are located for the most part in Asia, Africa, Oceania and part of the Amazon region.
Contributions can be made via bank wire transfer to: IT84F0200805075000102456047 (SWIFT UNCRITMM) for: Amministrazione Pontificie Opere Missionarie. Endorsed to: Fund Corona-Virus