We cannot turn our eyes away from the pain of many
Dear brothers and sisters,
In the month of May, Macau is happily moving towards a full recovery. At the same time, we clearly know that the Novel Coronavirus has had a far-reaching impact on the world. At least 200,000 families worldwide have experienced the death of their loved ones.
Lockdowns have caused economic activity in many places to grind to a halt. Businesses are in dire straits. Foreign workers have no work to return to, or have lost their jobs overseas but cannot return home. Street vendors have no business, even beggars cannot beg, and a food crisis is gradually emerging. The pandemic has suddenly made many people poor, not only financially, but also mentally, because of the loneliness caused by social distance, or being discriminated against, forgotten, or even isolated. Even in Macau, many Macau residents and foreign workers have experienced economic difficulties such as unpaid leave, unemployment, and difficulty in paying rent or repaying loans.
Faced with the pain of others, can we merely say that they are really pitiful and then just turn away? The Pope reminded us in a thought-provoking article that no one can be left alone. The Holy Spirit calls us to discern well and participate in his actions. We must use the antibody of unity to deal with the outbreak.
A paper entitled “Pandemic and Universal Brotherhood” published on March 30 by the Pontifical Academy for Life has repeatedly encouraged people to show special care for the most vulnerable, especially the elderly and those with special needs. Every form of care, all manner of kindness, is the victory of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus.
To this end, we must learn to look at the people and situation around us and pay attention to whether there are those facing economic or mental poverty. These persons can be family members, friends, colleagues, or a domestic helper in your household, the security guards, the cleaners you see every day, people in the neighborhood who are living alone, people with disabilities or the elderly, foreign workers who have no jobs in Macau, street sleepers and so on. Remind yourself that you also teach your children to care for others, give generously from their treasures, time and talent, practice love, and share what they have with those in need.
In Macau, the government has distributed MOP 10,000 (6,000 for non-permanent residents) – in addition to the wealth-sharing scheme – to all its citizens to help tide them over economic difficulties. Businesses benefit from this economic revitalization measure, and for many families, it is indeed a sweetener to relieve the burden of life. One can use the money to purchase daily necessities or provide for some family needs. When we receive this consumption voucher, we must be grateful, make good use of it, and employ it generously. For example, In the spirit of tithing, we can use some of the money in the above scheme to purchase some things for the poor to address their daily or health protection needs or donate a certain amount of funds to assist countries hit hard by the pandemic.
I invite all the faithful to pray for those who are experiencing poverty in Macau and around the world. I also encourage you to use various ways to help people in need. We can learn from the example of the poor widow who gave her all at the Temple, the kind-hearted Samaritan, and other models such as Mother Teresa. Jesus told us: “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me” (Matthew 25:40). Each of our individual actions is by no means irrelevant. Whether it be for better or worse, all our actions bring repercussions. We all share in the writing of a common history and thus should work together to deal with these scourges that affect the world.
The Diocese of Macau, through Caritas Macau, has provided various levels of support and assistance to Macau society and the international community during the fight against the pandemic. Caritas International was the first group that joined the Coronavirus Outbreak Committee established by the Pope and jointly established the CRF (COVID-19 Response Fund) with the Apostolic Ministry for the Promotion of Human Development to help those countries that were it hard by the coronavirus pandemic. In addition, St. Joseph’s University has set up a special aid fund for students in need, providing immediate financial assistance to international students who have lost their aid due to the new global virus pandemic.
Here, I particularly call on everyone to put into practice the Old Testament spirit of tithing in this difficult time. May we care for those residents of Macau who are greatly affected by the pandemic and also “blue card” workers living in Macau whose jobs have been terminated and cannot return to their country. I encourage everyone to contribute some daily necessities and donations to the collection point of Caritas in Macau as a sign of solidarity and cooperation. Please refer to the attachment for instructions.
I wish you all good health and the grace of God.
+Bishop Stephen Lee
Catholic Diocese of Macau
1 May 2020
Feast of St Joseph the Worker
A. UPDATE ON THE WORK OF CARITAS MACAU
At present, Caritas Macau, in addition to providing support for various institutions, is also striving to provide for those who lack access to regular meals or who lack anti-pandemic materials, thanks to the help of kind-hearted people and through Caritas funding:
Distributed 1,056 relief packages for Macau families
Distributed a total of MOP 250,000 for 120 families in need
Raised RMB 200,000 for the Mainland
Remitted 24,000 Euros each for Italy, Portugal and Iran
Remitted 5,873 Euros to feed young children in Venezuela
Gathered donations and sent money to the Caritas International Covid-19 Response Fund
For FOREIGN DOMESTIC HELPERS IN MACAU, as of April 30, Caritas Macau has provided the following support:
Assistance in handling different cases: 109 people (including dismissal, financial difficulties, health problems, stranded in Macau, etc.)
Distribution of relief materials: 175 people
Donated materials for forwarding: 1,283 people
Cash assistance: 15 people, with a total of MOP 22,000, and another MOP 38,000 to be issued, mainly due to unemployment (living expenses in Macau) and health problems or pregnancy (monetary assistance to see a doctor).
B. HOW TO DONATE
Address for receiving donations: 1-A, Largo de Santo Agostinho
Macau Donations are received Monday to Saturday from 9 am to 6 pm
Phone: 2893 3255
Fax: 2828 3332
WhatsApp: 6632 2522
The updated information can be found at www.caritas.org.mo
C. FOR THE EMERGENCY SUPPORT FUND (“USJ HARDSHIP FUND”) OF UNIVERSITY OF SAINT JOSEPH