By Marina Droujinina

The Emergency Fund established by Pope Francis, thanks to the Pontifical Mission Societies, to help individuals and communities affected by the spread of COVID-19, is helping the poorest dioceses of Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Ecuador, and Bolivia, reported the Vatican agency Fides on July 9, 2020.

Nigerian dioceses requested aid from the Emergency Fund to support the country’s parishes in face of the pandemic.

Poor children and vulnerable individuals have suffered most in the Archdiocese of Kaduna. They seek refuge in the parishes, but the priests don’t have the means to help them, as in the absence of Masses celebrated with the people, they have not received the necessary offerings for their daily subsistence. The aid sent by the Fund will help to support pastoral workers as well as the acquisition of the necessary health protection kits to address the pandemic.

In the diocese of Maiduguri, which has suffered great damage over the last years given the attacks of the Boko Haram terrorist groups, the Fund’s aid is being allocated to widows, orphans, and evacuees. The diocesan staff, the medical team, and the priests that assist the communities in the most remote areas are also in need of aid.

In the diocese of Ilorin, where Catholics are scarcely 4% of the population, the Fund will help to ensure the subsistence of pastoral workers.

In the Archdiocese of Freetown in Sierra Leone, it is schools run by the Church that are particularly in need of support; they play an important part in the formation and education of young people.

In Latin America, the Emergency Fund has sent aid to the Apostolic Vicariate of Puyo in Ecuador, to support the health service for the Amazonian peoples, and the Apostolic Vicariate of Beni in Bolivia, one of the areas most affected by the coronavirus. The Church is distributing groceries and medications to the neediest families and sharing moments of prayer with them.

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