Pope urges Catholics to pray in May for end to Covid-19 pandemic

By Devin Watkins (Vatican News)

Pope Francis recites the Rosary on 30 May 2020 in the Vatican's Lourdes GrottoPope Francis invites Catholics and Marian Shrines around the world to dedicate the month of May to a marathon of prayer for an end to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Catholics across the globe are encouraged to dedicate the Marian month of May to praying for an end to the pandemic. The initiative, behind which the Pope has thrown his support, involves 30 Marian Shrines from various parts of the world. The Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization announced the news with a press release on Wednesday afternoon. It takes place under the theme “The whole Church was fervently praying to God,” which recalls a verse in the Book of Acts (12:5).

Prayer initiative

“The initiative will involve all the Shrines of the world in a special way, so that they might encourage the faithful, families, and communities to recite the Rosary to pray for an end to the pandemic,” read the statement. Pope Francis will open the Marian month of prayer on 1 May with a Rosary broadcast across Vatican Media’s platforms. Each day will see Vatican News broadcast the recitation of the Rosary at 6 PM Rome time from the various Shines taking part in the initiative. The Pope will also close the initiative on 31 May with another specially-broadcast Rosary.

End to the pandemic

This year’s dedication of May to pandemic-related prayer recalls a similar occurrence during the first wave in March 2020. Pope Francis led the world in prayer during that confusing and difficult time, celebrating a live-streamed, daily Mass in the Casa Santa Marta. After more than a year, and with the world still in the grips of the pandemic, the Pope and the Church around the world are once again leading the way in imploring God for an end to the suffering which so many people are forced to bear.

Source: Vatican News




Cabo Delgado: tragedy and hope

by Bishop Jose Luis IMC

Though a neighbouring country to South Africa and the Kingdom of Eswatini, little is known about what happens in Cabo Delgado Province in Northern Mozambique. For the last three years violence has killed 2000 people and displaced half a million people.

Pope Francis mentioned the humanitarian crisis in the area during the “Urbi et Orbi” blessing on Easter Sunday. Later on, he surprised Bishop Luiz Fernando Lisboa (Bishop of Pemba) with a phone call:

Today, August 19, 2020, at 11 pm, to my surprise and joy, I received a call from His Holiness, Pope Francis who comforted me greatly. He said he is very close to the Bishop and all the people of Cabo Delgado and is following the situation experienced in our province with great concern and has been praying for us.

At least twice this year, the Bishops’ Conference of Mozambique (CEM) raised their concerns about the situation in the area, assuring their prayers, supporting the local bishop and calling for an end to the conflict:

Having heard the testimony of the situation of great tribulation in which our brothers and fellow citizens of Cabo Delgado are immersed, we want to assure our prayers for all the victims and to express our empathy, communion and solidarity with our brother Bishop, Luiz Lisboa, and to appreciate the witness of pastoral concern that he has boldly and tirelessly given (13 June 2020)We express our fraternal closeness to the brothers and fellow citizens of Cabo Delgado and assure them of our constant prayer in the hope of finding paths of dialogue that will facilitate the end of the terrible conflict and the humanitarian drama (14 November 2020)


The Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference (SACBC) then decided on a two-day solidarity visit to the Bishop of Pemba and the people of Cabo Delgado. Through the Dennis Hurley Peace Institute (DHPI)Bishop Victor Phalana (Diocese of Klerksdorp), Sr Tshifiwa Munzhedzi OP (SACBC Associate Secretary General), Johan Viljoen (DHPI Director) and myself left for Pemba on December 2.

What did we see?

  • we saw a human tragedy still possible in our days and in our part of the world: the reality of people who had to leave everything behind without thinking twice about it to be able to save their lives and the lives of their families. Attacked in the early hours of the morning, the choices were escaping, dying or – maybe – being taken;
  • we saw the tragedy of children who separated from their families as they ran away in different directions. In other cases parents were in the fields and neighbours protected the children by taking them. As the bishop of Pemba shared with us: “one day 35 children arrived in Pemba. They arrived together without their parents”. Everywhere we met displaced people, these stories were part of their sharing;
  • we saw refugee camps organised by the government to care for the displaced. In one place we were told that: “After the attacks in September, 14.000 people arrived in the area and they were organised in two camps”. Pemba, with a population of 200.000 people has received 150.000 displaced;
  • we saw what it means to have to leave everything behind with the awareness that they may never be able to go back. Government is allocating land to these families so that they can rebuild their lives in a new place as it is clear that there is no chance – in the foreseable future – they will be able to go back.
We were also able to see the amazing work being done by Caritas Pemba. One of our first visits was to a place where 390 families would receive food parcels. The list of families is provided by government who does the registration. Caritas, as an internationally trusted organisation, receives donations from funders from all over the world.
COVID19 regulations are followed at the food distribution. Masks, for example, were given to every person who attended the gathering.
Together with food for a month, Caritas works towards offering them tools that would allow them to build their future: seeds for planting (as the rainy season should have started by now), sewing machines, tools for carpentry…
An interesting detail we saw was a box where people can report any kind of abuse. These are vulnerable people at risk of experiencing more violence and abuse; therefore a way is offered to them to anonymously share any type of abuse.


We also saw the “good shepherd” heart of the Bishop of Pemba. “We now need to rethink completely our pastoral work in the diocese” he shared during the visits.

At his initiative, priests, who now live in Pemba after their churches and homes have been destroyed, gathered during the week people arriving from a certain area to pray together or for the celebration of the Mass. In this way, they meet again, they update each other on missing relatives, and plan for their future.

We also witness the spirit of the people who do not give up and put the best of themselves to rebuild their future and the one of their families.

The visit was particularly intense and the more we talked and visited, the more we remained with unanswered questions: why so much silence? Not many seem to know about the tragedy affecting our neighbouring country. Who is behind this war? Any war makes us all poorer but someone clearly is benefiting from it. One fears that easy answers are offered to avoid going deeper in the causes… In the meantime hundred of thousands of families have lost everything and many more will experience the same fate unless something is done.

 Click HERE for photos of our visit






CFC Mission in Eswatini

by Innocent Maziya

VISION: “Families in the Holy Spirit Renewing the Face of the Earth”
MISSION: “Building the Church of the Home and the Church of the Poor”

CFC Mission in Eswatini 8 – 12 August 2019

As Couples For Christ (CFC) Eswatini we are pleased to announce that we will be hosting Couples For Christ Missionaries from the United Arab Emirates from the 8th to the 12th August 2019.

During this time the visiting team will hold sessions with both Couples and Singles.
Continue reading “CFC Mission in Eswatini”

Baptised and sent

By Bishop José Luis IMC

In just two weeks’ time we will be gathering at “Santissima Annunziata” (Our Lady of the Anunciation) for our annual Diocesan Pilgrimage.

The theme of this year is: “Baptised and sent” following Pope Francis’ call to the Church all over the world to celebrate an “Extraordinary Mission Month” next October 2019.

Our Diocese has chosen to celebrate more than a month. Next October we will be launching an “Extraordinary Mission Year” which will last until October 2020.

A novena of preparation to the pilgrimage is now available and can be downloaded in three versions by clicking HERE. Continue reading “Baptised and sent”

World day of Peace 2019

Good Politics is at the Service of Peace
by Pope Francis

Pope Francis © Vatican Media

1. “Peace be to this house!”
In sending his disciples forth on mission, Jesus told them: “Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace be to this house!’ And if a son of peace is there, your peace shall rest upon him; but if not, it shall return to you” (Lk 10:5-6).

Bringing peace is central to the mission of Christ’s disciples. That peace is offered to all those men and women who long for peace amid the tragedies and violence that mark human history.[1] The “house” of which Jesus speaks is every family, community, country and continent, in all their diversity and history. It is first and foremost each individual person, without distinction or discrimination. But it is also our “common home”: the world in which God has placed us and which we are called to care for and cultivate.

So let this be my greeting at the beginning of the New Year: “Peace be to this house!” Continue reading “World day of Peace 2019”

Tribute to a Faithful Priest: Fr Larry McDonnell SDB

by Ambrose Mandvulo Dlamini
Prime Minister of Eswatini


So often we hear of scandals and bad examples within the priesthood. In reality, these priests constitute but a small percentage of the priesthood. Rarely do we hear about one of God’s faithful servants who (like the large majority of priests) day in and day out fulfills his ministry in quiet fidelity and love. In this issue of the Crusade for Priests we want to bring to your attention the life of one such faithful priest. The following are remarks to be shared in a memorial service of Fr. Larry – Inyoni (as he was fondly called by most of us who were his students) who faithfully fulfilled his ministry up until the last few months of his life, when ill-health finally overcame him. He was well known and loved by us students and the entire Eswatini nation. Father Larry was an extra ordinary person. His accomplishments and impact in the country will be felt by many generations to come. Fr. Larry was not the sort of a priest who gave brilliant homilies from the pulpit. Nevertheless, he gave an inspiring witness of his love for God and self-sacrificing service in his priestly ministry.

Continue reading “Tribute to a Faithful Priest: Fr Larry McDonnell SDB”