“To all those infected by COVID-19, we express our solidarity with you”: Bishops in Africa

Catholic Bishops in Africa have, in their New Year message, expressed their solidarity with the people of God infected with the COVID-19 and offered their condolences to the bereaved.

“To all those infected by COVID-19, we express our solidarity with you and offer our condolences to the families that have lost loved ones,” members of the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM) say in their collective New Year message circulated Thursday, January 14.

Addressing themselves to “those suffering one kind of depravity or the other,” the Bishops in Africa allude to the Book of Habakkuk saying, “'courage' brothers and sisters; do not give in to despair; continue to pray and wait for God's time.”

“Be assured that the Church-Family of God in Africa accompanies you in her daily prayers and addresses supplications to Jesus, the Incarnate Word for you to live in peace and in good health,” they add in their message signed by SECAM’s President, Philippe Cardinal Ouédraogo.

For the people of God in Africa to be able to survive the “rough, tough, cruel, and puzzling moment” occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has infected at least 3 million people, the Bishops call for solidarity and fraternity.


“In this New Year 2021, therefore, let each one of us commit himself/herself to true brotherhood/sisterhood, fraternity, solidarity, and care for one another everywhere on the continent and Islands; after all these are values common in every African traditional society,” the Catholic Bishops the world’s second largest continent say in their message obtained by ACI Africa.

Making reference to Pope Francis' most recent Encyclical Letter Fratelli Tutti, they say, “The global health emergency experienced during the Year 2020 has demonstrated that ‘no one can face life in isolation’ and that the time has truly come to dream 'as a single human family’ in which we are all 'brothers and sisters.'”

Still referencing the Holy Father’s October 3 Encyclical Letter, the Bishops further note that a better kind of politics “is a valuable form of charity and at the service of the common good, it recognizes the importance of people and protects jobs.”

Committing themselves to a "better kind of politics," the Bishops reiteratate, political leaders in Africa can help achieve peace and development on the continent.

Fostering the Holy Father’s message, the members of SECAM call on political leaders in Africa “to build better health systems and infrastructure, including the introduction of insurance health care coverage for all the people; and to ensure that the COVID-19 vaccines to be used in Africa and the Islands are safe and effective.”

More in Africa

They also remind the politicians of Pope Francis’ Address on the 52nd World Day of Peace, in which he declared: “Blessed be the politician who works for the common good and not his or her own interest'.”

They further remind the political class of the Holy Father’s 54th World Day of Peace Message, in which he proposed to Heads of State and Government, leaders of International Organizations, spiritual leaders and followers of the different religions, and all men and women of goodwill to focus on "A Culture of Care as a Path to Peace."

“We reiterate our call on all perpetrators of violent conflicts and terrorist attacks everywhere on the continent and beyond to lay down their arms and seek to resolve all conflicts through mutual dialogue,” the Bishops say and declare, “The Year 2021 should be one of peace.”

To the people God in Africa, the members of the Ghana-based Symposium urge, “Let us heed the exhortation of the book of Proverbs not to ‘put any faith in our own perception but trust wholeheartedly in the Lord our God; in every course we take in 2021; let us keep in mind that he will see that our paths are smooth.'”

“May the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God and the Queen of Africa, whose Solemnity Catholic Christians celebrate on the first day of the New Year, ensure maternal protection for her children in Africa, the Islands and everywhere,” the Catholic Bishops in Africa implore in their New Year message.