By Larissa I. López

To help in the present coronavirus health emergency, in the past weeks Pope Francis has donated an additional 35 respirators to 13 different countries.

A note published by the Apostolic Almonry explained that with this aid the Holy Father “expresses concretely his closeness to the countries affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, especially those with more difficult health systems.”

The note also stated that the respirators were distributed through the respective Apostolic Nunciatures, as follows: 4 for Haiti, 2 for the Dominican Republic, 2 for Bolivia, 4 for Brazil, 3 for Colombia, 2 for Ecuador, 3 for Honduras, 3 for Mexico, 4 for Venezuela, 2 for Cameroon, 2 for Zimbabwe (through the local Episcopal Conference), 2 for Bangladesh and 2 for Ukraine.

The Holy Father’s Donations

This is yet another initiative of Pope Francis, of the many made in this time of pandemic. On April 23, his Name Day, Feast of Saint George, the Pontiff sent respirators and several devices for personal protection to hospitals of the diocese of Lecce, in the Italian region of Apulia.

In addition, five respirators were sent to the city of Suceava, in Rumania, and three more to Madrid, Spain, country to which the Pope had sent respirators in March.

The Emergency Fund of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches was created on April 18, and the Pontiff sent ten respirators to Syria and three to Saint Joseph’s Hospital in Jerusalem, thus contributing to the supply of diagnostic kits for Gaza and for Bethlehem’s Holy Family Hospital.

The Hospital of Bergamo, one of the Italian cities most affected by the pandemic, received 60,000 euros in early April, and sanitary material was sent to homes for the elderly in the middle of that month.

The Bishop of Rome also promoted the creation of an Emergency Fund in the Pontifical Missionary Societies, with an initial budget of US$750,000 allocated to mission countries.

In addition, through the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, the Pope donated recently 2,500 COVID-19 tests to the Ministry of Health of Gaza, as in this area it’s difficult to establish the number of those affected, given the lack of tests.

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