The name Wuhan notoriously came into the limelight in late 2019. It was about a disease that was affecting the populace in that part of China. It was for us a story in faraway China. We went into Christmas and the New Year with funfair. We were seriously preparing for the Easter when the obvious dawned on us that it was not just a Chinese problem, European or American problem, but a reality among us even in Nigeria. It became a global pandemic. One of the problems created by this pandemic was cessation of all gatherings including religious worship. It was unimaginable to think of the lockdown of Churches, but it happened. It was strange watching Pope Francis in St Peter’s Basilica; His Grace at the Holy Cross Cathedral celebrating Mass in an empty Cathedral. Strange as this reality is to the parishioners, they were also dazed with the idea of spiritual communion. Phone calls to explain more on spiritual communion has not ended till date. COVID-19 introduced lockdown in almost all the countries of the world. Death was the greatest blow that the pandemic dealt on humanity; because death is irreversible. The COVID-19 lockdown brought families together as parents and children were forced to be indoors. However, this brought about boredom and that was not all, because, no sooner had the lockdown begun than people started complaining of hunger which some called “Corona Hunger”. According to Economists, food, clothing and shelter are the basic economic needs of humanity. This implies that one needs to be clothed, sheltered in a home and fed; but that is the “ought to be”. This could not be truer today than is seen in the reality of COVID-19 lockdown. The reality today, is that some have no food to eat. If the lockdown was for a day or two, it would have been manageable, but it went on for weeks and people’s stock of food ran out.
The Beauty of Catholic Church
The Catholic Church has always been at the service of God and humanity. Her social teachings and most importantly her preferential option for the poor were not only preached from the pulpit but practically demonstrated. The Justice Development and Peace Commission (JDPC) and the Society of St. Vincent de Paul were at the forefront of this service. They were able to reach out to the poor who were in dire need of assistance. Good Shepherd Catholic Church Owode where I pastor was not left out. Parishioners were encouraged to support the Society of St. Vincent De Paul by donating in cash and other consumables for our less privileged brothers and sisters. The Society of St. Vincent de Paul was meticulous and organized in reaching out to the needy, that the beauty of the Catholic Church as a caring Church, was on the lips of many. Their impressive records were so strong that a non-Catholic joined force with them and bought food stuffs which he handed over to the Society of St. Vincent De Pau to share to the less privilege. Our parish is made up of simple people whose hearts are full of generosity. I was pleasantly surprised receiving an alert of the sum of two hundred Naira to the account of St. Vincent De Paul society. This money was given by a family I consider to be in need also. However, that amount was for me like two million (2,000,000) Naira. When I shared this with my assistant Parish Priest he said “Giving is from the heart”. I am deeply impressed at what I hear also from other parishes in Ikorodu. We still remain greatly indebted to His Grace, Archbishop Adewale Martins, for his financial and material assistance that facilitated our reach out to the poor. I am proud to be a Catholic. Okoro Onyewuchi Basil CM, Parish priest Good Shepherd Catholic Church Owode