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Pope Francis Donates Medical Equipment to Catholic Hospital Battling COVID-19 in Eswatini

Bishop José Luis Ponce de León handing over the Pope's donation to the administration of the Good Shepherd Catholic Mission Hospital of Eswatini’s lone Diocese, Manzini. Credit: Manzini Diocese/Facebook

Pope Francis has donated medical equipment to the Good Shepherd Catholic Mission Hospital of Eswatini’s lone Diocese, Manzini, to help in the fight against COVID-19 pandemic.

Speaking during the handing over of equipment to the administration of the Catholic hospital Wednesday, August 11, the Local Ordinary of Manzini Diocese gave a list of the items donated and expressed gratitude to the Holy Father for taking “an active role and leadership.”

“We are deeply grateful to Pope Francis as we receive the donation of two portable ventilators with stands, ten boxes of surgical masks, 10 boxes of N95 masks and pulse monitors – for a value of E741,000,” Bishop José Luis Ponce de León said.

Bishop Ponce de León noted that “from the very beginning of this pandemic affecting the whole world, Pope Francis took an active role and leadership.”

The member of the Consolata Missionaries further said, in reference to Pope Francis, “As soon as the first lockdowns were announced in Italy, he suspended all the public prayers and weekly audiences that were being held at St. Peter’s square.”

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The Holy Father, Bishop Ponce de León went on to recall, “called the world to prayer and prayed for the whole world.”

The Bishop shared, “I still recall a very intense and moving prayer held last year on March 27.”

The prayer was intense and moving, he explained, “because Pope Francis chose to do it at St Peter’s square, like many other times. The difference, though, is that he was there all alone. It was the image of a world experiencing lockdowns but at the same time the image of a shepherd that remains close to the sheep.”

He went on to highlight the leadership qualities of the Holy Father saying, “When vaccines became available, he immediately got vaccinated and called the world to do the same calling it a lifesaving, an ethical obligation and the refusal to do so – suicidal.”

“This was followed by a call to universal access to vaccines,” the native of Argentina further said about his compatriot. 

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Eswatini has reported at least 33,565 COVID-19 cases, including 24,763 recoveries and 896 related deaths.

Addressing the hospital staff during the August 11 event, Bishop Ponce de León said, “Pope Francis’ leadership is not just for religious leaders but for all of us: as today’s good Samaritans.”

“At this point I believe we are reminded of Jesus’ words at the end of the parable of the Good Samaritan: Go, and do the same yourself,” he further said, and added, “We are called to prayer, to respect COVID19 protocols, to be vaccinated, to encourage others to do the same and to support those in need.”