The pandemic does not stop the missionary spirit of children and young people of Missionary Childhood

“In this time of pandemic, we have joyfully found that the presence of the other, the relationship with the other, proximity and sharing is important and essential to everyone’s life. We have been forced into relationships lived in a different way, we have made a sort of purification also in ordinary thoughts and gestures. At all times, faith in the risen Christ and the gift of the Holy Spirit revive hope in us and we can thank the Lord by looking at how much children and young people, in various parts of the world, have lived and achieved with a missionary spirit and according to the charism of Holy Childhood”. This is what Sister Roberta Tremarelli, Secretary General of the Pontifical Society of Missionary Childhood (POSI), writes in the editorial of the new issue of the bulletin of the Society, number 5 of June 2020, published these days and disseminated in different languages through the national Directions of the PMS from all continents and available on the Website.

The Covid-19 pandemic that has affected the whole world has heavily influenced the lives of every person, every family, every community, changing activities, projects, relationships, even in the ecclesial field. The POSI missionary information bulletin presents an overview of how this time was lived by children and young people, who did not certainly lose courage, did not stop, but with the help of their animators and parents, on the contrary, intensified their commitment, in the spirit of the Society.

The two opening contributions of the bulletin are dedicated to the great theme of friendship, so important especially for teenagers (and not only) as confirmed by the lockdown, and to the mission of the Church in this field: reflections were offered by Don Odonya Henry Juma, of the Diocese of Eldoret, Kenya, and Sister Gabriella Maria Ianieri, cssf, Assistant of the Faculty of Philosophy at Felician University in New Jersey, USA.

The “Covid-19 Special” therefore gives a broad overview of the activities carried out during this period in Madagascar, Mozambique, England and Wales, Poland, Argentina, Honduras, Bolivia, Italy and India. If isolation stopped group activities, the children and young people of POSI certainly did not stop their spiritual commitment, becoming “missionaries in their own home”, using social networks to stay connected with each other and also involving families. They thus lived Lent, Easter time and the Marian month in the missionary dimension, guided by the aids that their animators proposed, always connected with the whole world in a great chain of prayer and universal solidarity that the coronavirus was unable to interrupt .

In this issue of the POSI Bulletin, the news of the events celebrated before the isolation decreed for the pandemic are also documented: the celebration of Missionary Childhood and Epiphany Day in Malawi; the enthusiasm of the missionary children of the diocese of Chilaw, in Sri Lanka, “who speak of Jesus without embarrassment or artificiality”; the Missionary Childhood of Rajshahi, Bangladesh, which is working hard for the formation of animators and tribal communities.
To these are added: the “Friendship Camp” of the diocese of Pala, in Chad, created to give children a place of learning and sharing of evangelical, intellectual, human and pastoral values; the missionary commitment promoted in the Catholic schools of the diocese of Goroka, in Papua New Guinea, also shared by the children of other Christian Churches and other denominations who attend the same schools; workshops for children on acceptance and love for those who do not know, on globalization and on the xenophobic mentality, organized in the diocese of Aliway, in South Africa; the great feast of Missionary Childhood Day celebrated in the cathedral of the diocese of Mongomo, in Equatorial Guinea, with more than 1,500 children, accompanied by many families.

To close this issue of the POSI Bulletin the “Children’s Prayer to God against the spread of the Coronavirus”, prepared by the children of Tanzania: “we, your children, present ourselves to you with great humility and we ask you to save us from this extremely contagious pandemic caused by the coronavirus. With deep faith we join the world in imploring Your mercy …”. (SL) (Agenzia Fides, 6/6/2020)