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A Missionary thought for the 11th of the month

By Fr. Alfred Maravilla, SDB
General Councillor for Missions

Rome, 10 July 2020 -- Dear friends,

We are still reeling under the effect of COVID-19. In the northern hemisphere July is the busy summer month when everyone takes time to enjoy with one’s family and friends. In the southern hemisphere it is the middle of the school year when schools take a mid-year break from their hectic activities. In the tropics schools are just opening the academic year with the new school year ahead. Wherever we find ourselves, this July will certainly be not like those we have known in the past.

As lockdowns are lifted and loosened, policymakers and experts are debating how to avoid a new surge in cases of Coronavirus. Can we return to schools, restaurants and the office while keeping the virus at bay? World leaders and scientists are placing much hope on finding a vaccine for COVID-19, although this is still unlikely until well into 2021. Some countries have re-imposed lockdowns that had been lifted due to the dreaded second wave of Coronavirus. Experts warn that we may have to continue to live at least partially isolated existences for many months to come. We will still be discouraged from touching our friends and in some cases even our family. Face masks, hand sanitizer and other personal protective equipment will be with us for a while.

Many call this the ‘new normal’. No one is really clear yet what this might look like. This ‘new normal’ will depend on several unknowns as the world as we know it is dissolving. But behind it comes a new world, the formation of which we can at least imagine. In fact, we need to ask why would we even want to return to the pre-COVID-19 world. I would like to think that the ‘new normal’ would imply moving from social inequalities, environmental degradation and economic greed to something better. I would like to think our own ‘new normal’ would be deeply imbued with Don Bosco’s missionary spirit: abandon the complacent attitude that says: ‘We have always done it this way’; rethink boldly and creatively our goals, structures, style and methods of evangelisation; journey together as partners, networking, coordination; foster educative-pastoral discernment (Evangelii Gaudium, 33). May being aflame with missionary zeal be our ‘new normal’!

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