Church in Italy Partners with Swaziland’s Manzini Diocese in COVID-19 Intervention

Bishop Jose Luis with representatives of mission hospitals that will benefit from COVID-19 essentials courtesy of a donation by Italian Bishops Conference.

Catholic Church leaders in Italy have partnered with the people of God in Swaziland’s Diocese of Manzini, offering a financial subsidy that has facilitated the procurement of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for various health facilities as they fight against COVID-19 in the one-diocese Southern Africa nation, officially the Kingdom of Eswatini.

The partnership involves a cash donation of 754,497.70 Euros (US$851,040.00) from members of the Italian Bishops’ Conference (CEI) to the Diocese of Manzini.

Announcing the donation on Friday, June 12, Bishop José Luís Ponce de León of Manzini reported that “face masks, N95 masks, surgical gloves and sanitizers among others” had been procured and that beneficiaries of the consignment were the various health facilities in the diocese including “Good Shepherd Hospital, Our Lady of Sorrows, Regina Mundi, St. Mary’s, Florence, St. Theresa’s, St. Juliana, Hope House and St. Philip’s clinics.”

“Together with food and water security, the Catholic Church in the Kingdom of Eswatini identified the provision of PPE as one of our priorities addressing this pandemic,” Bishop José Luís said June 12 during the handover ceremony and added, “It is a sign of our support and commitment to you, health workers, to keep you safe and enable you to do your job.”

The Bishop of Manzini who, at the end of April, outlined “five priorities” for his diocese amid COVID-19 crisis and invited well-wishers to support the course has described the grant by CEI as “unique” considering the effects of the coronavirus in Italy.     


“It is “unique” because you might be aware that Italy has been going through very difficult times because of this pandemic. They had a very long quarantine and their economy has been badly affected. Many people died. Still, all this did not stop them from thinking of others in their need,” Bishop José Luís who is a member of the Consolata Missionaries said.

The partnership through the financial subsidy by the Bishops in Italy is a true testament that “Mercy has no borders. Mercy does not stop at the border of a country,” the 59-year-old Prelate said.

Making reference to the Gospel of Luke, Bishop José Luís likened the donation to the Parable of the Good Samaritan when Jesus asked the lawyer, “Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.””

“Go and do likewise seems to be the message of this donation,” the Argentinian Bishop said and implored that “we never close our eyes to the suffering of others and never feel our need is such that we are unable to care for others in a similar situation.”

Swaziland, which borders Mozambique and South Africa, has confirmed 472 COVID-19 cases, 246 recoveries and 3 related deaths.

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Addressing himself to healthcare workers during the June 12 ceremony, Bishop José Luís said, “Today I want to send a personal and sincere thank you to every health worker around the Kingdom of Eswatini and assure you all my prayers: all the frontline workers especially doctors, nurses, support staff and volunteers.”

He added, “You do a heroic job. We know that this crisis is putting a huge burden on you and your families. We know you are stretched to the limit.”

“May God bless you those who made this donation possible. May He bless all our health workers. May God bless you all,” Bishop José Luís concluded.