Society Matters | Volume 30 No. 2 | Winter 2020

Volume 30 No. 2 | Winter 2020 6 Pandemic does not stop us from being truly missionaries The COVID-19 pandemic has put our faith to the test as we’ve witnessed enormous loss of life, collapse of healthcare systems, lockdowns leading to breakdown of normal life and stumbling of economies, but Easter brings a hope which inspires us to persevere and impels us to serve in solidarity, says SVD Superior-General, Fr Budi Kleden. “This time of pandemic teaches us how important it is to have hope,” Fr Budi said in his Easter video message. “Amidst the uncertainty and fear of the unknown we experience hope in the work of the front-liners, nurses and doctors, scientists, and those who continue to work to provide us with what we need for daily life. Our concerted and consistent efforts to follow physical distancing and staying at home, speak of hope. “We feel strengthened by the initiatives of many to organise special prayers and to help those who suffer. They radiate the message that what matters most is to care for one another and to turn to the Lord and embrace him.” Fr Budi said the Risen Lord unites everything and everyone. “This pandemic shows that everyone is important. We depend on everyone to protect others and ourselves. Pope Francis reminds us that no one can save oneself. We need each other, we are dependent on one another and we are dependent on God,” he said. “In this time of crisis we have a new experience of being united as the human family and being united with nature as our common home. “I am grateful that this pandemic does not stop us from being truly missionaries. We are signs of hope for each other and for others, especially for the poor and marginalised. Hope enables us to explore creative ways of being closer to people and to share with them the hope that sustains us.” Fr Budi recalled that during Pope Francis’ meditation before the Urbi et Orbi blessing on Friday, March 27, he said God asks us now, in the midst of the tempest to reawaken and put into practice that solidarity of hope capable of giving strength, support, and meaning to these hours when everything seems to be crumbling. “I am honoured and proud to say that our confreres and lay mission partners worldwide are expressing this solidarity and strengthening hope in many and varied ways,” Fr Budi said. “Some have made available their structures for the use of healthcare staff. And others have provided protective equipment for the medical staff or shelter and food for the homeless. Many of our parishioners and lay partners are aided by our online liturgical services or reflections as they place their faith in God in this time of tempest.” Fr Budi said Easter makes us pilgrims of hope. “Easter impels and empowers us to continue all these initiatives as the signs of hope expressing our love and faith in God who does not abandon us,” he said. “Dear confreres, sisters, lay mission partners, benefactors, friends and families, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed our lives and will continue to alter life. Our life and work may henceforth be different. However, the experience of these days and weeks gives us hope that together as a family, we can weather the challenges and face any new situation. Immense challenges will continue to be dealt with but also we have a lot of potential to discover. “I hope and pray that all of us, together with our sisters, lay mission partners, families and friends continue to face the challenges of the days ahead with hope.”