Spanish priests are donating part of their salary to the economic victims of COVID-19, saying “God wants us to get closer to his people”.
– “Closeness to those who in this pandemic will remain in the socio-economic ditches”
The archdiocese of Burgos, in the region of Castile and León, said in a press release April 3 that it had decided to create “a solidarity fund to help to alleviate the economic consequences” of the coronavirus pandemic.
Explaining that the clergy of Burgos will “voluntarily give up part of their monthly support to allocate it to the diocesan Caritas”, the archdiocese said that the solidarity fund will begin to hand out financial helps “in the coming weeks and months, when economic problems begin to exacerbate the situation of the most vulnerable families caught in the coronavirus crisis”.
The priests’ money for precarious families is “a humble gesture… to contribute towards facing up to so much pain and so much need” in the face of the virus outbreak, the local Church added.
In the words of Jesús Castilla, Episcopal Vicar for the Clergy, the initiative is “an expression of dedication and closeness to those most in need” and a sign of “being next to those who suffer so much pain”.
Castilla added that the donation of the clergy is motivated by “our being priests and deacons”.
It is designed as a response “to the action of God, who wants to take us as instruments to get closer and closer to his beloved people”, the Church official said.
The initiative was the brainchild of several of the priests themselves and has since been endorsed “by a vast majority” of the clergy of Burgos, the archdiocese added.
The local Church stressed that the money collected from the priests is a gesture of closeness “to those who in this pandemic will remain in the socio-economic ditches”.
– Bishops call for “an alliance between the public and private sectors” to overcome the COVID-19 recession
The solidarity of the priests and deacons of Burgos isn’t the only glimmer of hope coming out these days from the Church in Spain, where despite 130,000 COVID-19 infections and 13,000 deaths as of this Monday, authorities are managing to gradully “flatten the curve”.
Also in the diocese of Burgos, a young woman from Morocco obliged to come to Spain for work has been delivered of a baby in the diocesan seminary, where she was forced to shelter as Spain’s coronavirus lockdown came into force three weeks ago.
The birth came as a diocese close to that of Burgos – Osma-Soria – announced that it would make available €125,000 to help small businesses in difficulty and workers laid off as a result of the COVID-19 downturn.
Also last week, the Spanish bishops called for “an alliance between the public and private sectors” to overcome the coronavirus crisis, demanding as well that the government in Madrid redouble its efforts to provide healthcare workers with the protective equipment that has been lacking in some places during the pandemic thus far.
“We offer our human and material resources to face this challenge”, said Spanish Bishops’ President Cardinal Juan José Omella.
Under Omella’s leadership, the Spanish dioceses have launched more than 300 initiatives to attend to the COVID-19 sick, as well as to the pastoral, spiritual, social, welfare, educational and entertainment needs caused by the confinement of the population in general.