Pope Francis has established the COVID-19 Commission to assist those affected by pandemic caused by the coronavirus. PHOTO/VATICAN
By MERCY MAINA
Catholic journalists in Africa have been urged to support the COVID-19 Commission, which Pope Francis established mid-April, by volunteering their journalistic skills and platforms to help achieve its goals.
The appeal is contained in a press release by the Union of the African Catholic Press (UCAP), the Vatican-recognized organization that brings together Catholic journalists in both Church and secular media across Africa.
“As Catholic journalists, we should heed this call by supporting the Commission on this noble cause by volunteering our journalistic skills and platforms by identifying and highlighting the real needs of our local churches – especially those in poor areas as per the Papal appeal,” UCAP President, George Sunguh said in a statement on behalf of the body’s Executive Council.
Expected to work in partnership with the Roman Curia and particularly the Peter Cardinal Turkson-led Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development.
COVID-19 Commission was established; “to express the concern and love of the Church for the whole human family in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, above all through the analysis and reflection on the socio-economic and cultural challenges of the future and the proposal of guidelines to face them.”
Other members of the Commission include the Secretary to the Vatican-based Dicastery Archbishop Bruno-Marie Duffé, and Fr. Augusto Zampini who is the new Deputy Secretary. They will submit their reports directly to Pope Francis.
The Union of the African Catholic Press (UCAP) President George Sunguh with American civil rights activist Rev Jesse Jackson during a past event. PHOTO/FACEBOOK.
By supporting the Commission, the leadership of UCAP reflected in its April 27 letter, Catholic journalists in Africa will be expressing their solidarity with Pope Francis.
“We appreciate what the church is already doing to alleviate the pain the vulnerable people are already going through following the lockdowns and curfews imposed by various countries,” Mr Sungu said.
UCAP President urged the public not to forget the plight of the vulnerable groups such as prisoners, widows, orphans and street families, who are all going through very difficult moments due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
To further support the activities of the Pope’s Commission, UCAP has called upon the members of the association with expertise in science and health “to volunteer their expertise where necessary for the success of this mission.”
“We should continue to pray for care and healing of our brothers and sisters as we carry out our duty as journalists guided by the church teachings,” Kenyan-born President of UCAP, Mr Sunguh said.
COVID-19 Commission comprises five working groups with the first group working with Caritas Internationalis to respond to the crisis, Cardinal Turkson has been quoted as saying in an interview with Vatican News, adding that this group has “set up mechanisms to listen to the local Churches to identify real needs and assist in the development of effective and adequate responses.”
The second group “has the task of night watch, like the sentry, to perceive the dawn” and is working in close collaboration with the Pontifical Academy of Life, the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences to research and study the pandemic.
The third group, Cardinal Turkson disclosed, is responsible for the Commission’s communication through awareness creation. The group will use the modern means of communication to foster renewed commitment in the COVID-19 interventions to support those in need.
According to the Ghanaian-born Cardinal, the fourth group “will deal with all possible initiatives regarding the relationship with States or multilateral relations. It will be coordinated by the Secretariat of State. In this area, there is also a need for concrete action and prophecy.”
The fifth group will be responsible for soliciting necessary funds, in a transparent manner, by promoting a virtuous movement of wealth.
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