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Pope Francis sends video message to Venezuela for crisis and pandemic

As the pandemic aggravates the already serious crisis in Venezuela, the local Church stands firmly by people in their suffering.

Venezuelan bishops and priests organized a virtual meeting to analyze pastoral practices during this period.

Pope Francis sent a video message in which he identifies two virtues necessary to guarantee the growth of the Church: love of neighbor and service.

“Keeping in mind the difficulties that weigh down many of our brothers and sisters in Venezuela and around the world, this is an opportunity to share, in a spirit of ministerial fraternity, their priestly experiences, their weariness, their uncertainties, as well as their desires and their conviction in advancing the Church's work, which is the Lord's work.”

The pope expressed gratitude for the witness of service and love toward Venezuelans, impelled by the Church during the pandemic and demonstrated in the attention and support given to the sick, doctors, paramedics and volunteers who treat patients.

Pope Francis highlighted the diligence shown in aiding the poor, the excluded and those lacking the essentials needed to survive and lead dignified lives.

“We cannot act alone, isolated, self-sufficiently, with hidden agendas. It's indispensable to always return to Jesus, to join together in sacramental fraternity, to tell Him and one another “all that we have done and taught,” with the conviction that it is not our work, but God's work. He is the one who saves us. We are simply instruments in His hands.”

The pope reminded Venezuelan bishops that being shepherds of the Church in the current context makes unity even more important.

“Do not become fractured, brothers. Do not become divided. There is always a possibility to be united, just as there is always a possibility to become isolated and foster in one's heart an attitude of division, removed from the unity of the Church. May the Lord bless you and accompany you, and please, I ask you to pray for me.”

In 2019 the United Nations estimated that 6.5 million people would leave Venezuela by 2020. It's a situation sparked by the political, economic and social crisis, aggravated by the pandemic in the last months.

Daniel Díaz Vizzi
Translation: CT