Posted October 23rd 2020
Sister Florence, chaplain of the African Catholic Community, Archdiocese of Philadelphia, tries to provide support for different needs. Read more.
” There are families from about 21 African countries who live and worship within the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. The majority of these families believe in Catholic education; as a result, they send their children to Catholic schools up to a high school. They are active and proud of their Catholic faith, committed to instilling their faith and their African cultural values in their children.”
“Life cannot be the same, for many, after this crisis of Coronavirus,” Florence continues. “When we were told to work from home, it seemed a good thing to do. Since I recently had knee surgery, not having to drive 35 to 40 minutes each way seemed beneficial. However, as “the work-from-home” idea began to prolong beyond expectations, the reality also began to sink in – that ending of the COVID-19 is not seen on the horizon. It’s only the beginning of what is yet to follow .
“Without known efforts, a new way of living emerged to embrace the new circumstance that is our reality. With the restrictions, many parents are no longer working. Food is being rationed as days pass by. Children eat more when they’re at home 24/7. And when food is rationed in a family of five kids or more, I leave you to draw the conclusion.
“With Sr. Gertrude, Director for Office of Pastoral Care for Migrants & Refugees (PCMR), we started organizing packaged food donations and pick-ups for the PCMR Communities. From my home office in the basement of our community, I am able to organize and call different families, ten or twelve of them, to pick up their food packages on either Mondays or Fridays at a local parish.
“For community outreach, I have set up a ZOOM Meeting Room, where some African Catholics gather to pray the Rosary on Wednesdays and Fridays. It is also a forum where we share what’s happening in our lives and in the lives of our families. Providing different information and updates is crucial at this time – making available the Internet links for different Live-Stream Masses”
At difficult times it is important for people to be able to come together to share their experiences. A zoom conference was arranged at which people could reflect on how they were coping and speak freely on these questions:
What are your feelings about the Covid virus across the racial divide?
How do you cope with them?
How can we find healing?
Although it was not possible to come together as before, people found strength in this shared reflection. They also connected with friends and prayed together.
Having your say has always been part of the community, connecting with friends, and for young people, using their baking skills with their friends.
Florence comments: ” COVID-19, surely has touched the lives of many, if not all, in our global community, in so many good and challenging ways. It has led many to their knees, reaching out to God for help and many cry out in anguish, “Where’s God in all this suffering?” But for those who trust God, there is always the flicker of light at the end of the tunnel.”
Call to prayer
Please join the African Catholic Community of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia for a virtual Rosary prayer every Wednesday and Friday at 9:00 pm ET (New York Time). Pope Francis has called Christians and non-Christians to pray for an end to this COVID-19 pandemic. As Catholics, we pray the Rosary, asking our Blessed Mother Mary to intercede for us. Please join us in praying the Rosary.
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