Cardinal Charles Maung Bo of Yangon expressed gratitude to the international community for the “global solidarity” as Myanmar continues to battle the coronavirus pandemic.
Myanmar’s coronavirus infections have rocketed from a few hundred in mid-August to more than 15,000 last week, with more than 400 deaths, triggering strict lockdowns.
In a statement released on October 3, Cardinal Bo said Myanmar is “gripped by a virulent surge of the virus” as the country’s health system is overwhelmed.
The prelate said the Catholic Church in the country is “upscaling” its response to the health crisis by implementing its own programs to help those most affected by the pandemic.
Cardinal Bo has urged Christian communities to support the feeding of at least 50 poor families in every parish to ensure food security starting with the 1,000 families for the next three months.
Church facilities, including churches and seminaries, are also being offered as quarantine areas in collaboration with government agencies.
The cardinal also stressed the need to raise funds to ensure that equipment and other needs are met while also establishing “online pastoral presence” and online counseling.
In recent months, the Catholic Church in Myanmar “has balanced safety with solidarity,” said Cardinal Bo.
During the first months of the pandemic from March to August, the Church responded to the needs of people by distributing food and health and protective equipment in poor communities.
“We continue to be grateful to our friends all over the world for your accompaniment with prayers and other supports,” said the prelate his statement.
He said the Catholic Church in Myanmar will continue to accompany the people “in this great challenge to their dignity and survival.”
A report prepared by church leaders noted that the pandemic has threatened the food security of the country and crashed “an already wobbly economy.”
It noted that despite best efforts of the government, “the spread is overwhelming to the frontline health professionals.
The church leaders warned that the situation might have political and economic impacts “that could sow instability and paralysis in the weeks ahead,” particularly in the context of the elections in November.
Cardinal Charles Bo has earlier urged the people of Myanmar to care for each other and make “compassion” as “common religion.”
“It is time to stop all conflicts,” he said in a homily last week. “Let the brotherhood of humanity assert itself,” he added.
He said that Despite the challenges brought about the pandemic, reaching out to those most affected is “the real test to our faith.”
“Let us become worthy of the Kingdom by looking after one another in whatever way we safely can, especially remembering the poor and the vulnerable,” said Cardinal Bo.