FREETOWN, DECEMBER, 16, 2014, (CISA) – Cardinal Peter Turkson, President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace is set for a trip to Sierra Leone and Liberia, two of the three countries most affected with the Ebola Virus Disease.
Cardinal Turkson will depart for Sierra Leone on December, 16 and then proceed to Liberia on December18 to bring “a message of solidarity and hope to the Church, health workers and the general populations,” reported CAN.
Cardinal Turkson who will be accompanied by Monsignor Robert J. Vitillo, Special Advisor on Health for Caritas Internationalis said observed that the impact of this epidemic goes far beyond the health sector.
“The closing of businesses and other places of employment has raised havoc with an already fragile economy. Ebola orphans often are rejected by their extended family members even when they have been confirmed as ‘Ebola free’.”
Cardinal Turkson also recognized “the need to help priests and other pastoral care workers attend to the spiritual needs of those living with the infection and of their loved ones.”
“Even though there is a ‘no touch’ policy in these countries, it is possible for pastoral care workers to pray with from a safe distance, to counsel them, to bless them, and to officiate at their funeral rites, which must be coordinated by specialized burial teams,” he added.
“On several occasions, the Holy Father has expressed his deep concern for the people living with and affected by Ebola. I hope to give expression to the solidarity of the Pope and the entire Church.”
During his General Audience on 24 October 2014, Pope Francis said, “In the face of the worsening Ebola epidemic, I would like to express my deep concern about this relentless disease that is spreading on the African continent, especially among the more disadvantaged groups. I invite you to pray for them and for those who have lost their lives.”