On Monday, it was announced that Pope Francis has “established an emergency fund at the Pontifical Mission Societies”. The revenue contributed to this fund is destined to aid “aid of those people and communities who are being tragically impacted by the spread of COVID-19”.
The statement issued on Monday by Agenzia Fides, the Information Service of the Pontifical Mission Societies, went on to say that the money will directly go to “mission countries” through the Church’s “structures and institutions”.
Cardinal Tagle, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, had this to say about the creation of this fund:
“In her task of evangelization, the Church is often on the front lines of major threats to human well-being. 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 makes first contribution
Pope Francis has not only opened the fund, he is also the first to contribute to it. The initial contribution made by the Pope is 750,000 USD. He appeals to all “Church entities” and individual who “are able and desirous to help, to contribute to this fund through the Pontifical Mission Societies in each country”.
In explaining the aim of the fund, the President of the Pontifical Mission Societies,
The fund’s purpose
Archbishop Dal Toso, said:
“This fund has the aim of supporting the presence of the Church in mission territories, which also suffers the consequences of Corona Virus. 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. 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.
“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.”
The Pontifical Mission Societies
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.