By: Bp José Luis IMC (Bishop of Manzini)
On 11 August 2021 we gathered at Good Shepherd Catholic Hospital (Siteki) I presented a donation from Pope Francis of COVID19 response equipment
Click HERE for photos of the event
Good Shepherd Catholic Mission Hospital – board chairperson
Lubombo Regional Health Officer
Good Shepherd Catholic Mission Hospital – CEO
Priests and deacon
Members of the media
Brothers and sisters in Christ,
We are gathered here today to present and thank Pope Francis’ donation to Good Shepherd Catholic Hospital.
From the very beginning of this pandemic affecting the whole world, Pope Francis took an active role and leadership:
- As soon as the first lock-downs were announced in Italy, he suspended all the public prayers and weekly audiences that were being held at St Peter’s square;
- He called the world to prayer and prayed for the whole world. I still recall a very intense and moving prayer held last year on March 27. Intense and moving 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;
- 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.
- “It’s an ethical choice, because you are playing with health, life, but you are also playing with the lives of others”
- “I don’t understand why some say, ‘No, vaccines are dangerous.’ If it is presented by doctors as a thing that can go well, that has no special dangers, why not take it? There is a suicidal denial that I wouldn’t know how to explain.”1
- This was followed by a call to universal access to vaccines: “I beg you not to forget the most vulnerable. In the midst of so much darkness and uncertainty, we lack light and hope. [We need] a spirit of justice that mobilizes us to ensure true universal access to the vaccine, and a temporary suspension of intellectual property rights.”2
- Prayer, vaccines, solidarity with the health systems around the world. We are deeply grateful to him 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 E 741.000
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” (Luke 10:37). Pope Francis’ leadership is not just for religious leaders but for all of us: as today’s “good Samaritans”, 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.
I pray for God’s blessing upon you all, and upon everyone working at this Catholic Hospital.
José Luis Ponce de León IMC
Bishop of Manzini
11 August 2021