Some news from Magascar at the time of the Covid-19 pandemic. From 21 March until September 2020, no monthly meetings could be held. This is the result of a decision taken by the country’s authorities to avoid the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic. This decision is respected because Jesus teaches us to follow the law. So, as a team, we call each other to share and hear from him. We question each other on how each of us is living out the commitments made, in the face of the closure of churches and especially the economic crisis created by Covid-19.
Since October, on the first Saturday of the month, we have resumed our usual meetings, respecting the barrier gestures. Each member expresses his or her experiences, his or her slumps. Everyone feels the importance of these fraternal exchanges and contacts which generate joy, laughter from the heart… As a result, the life of the group is becoming more dynamic. Thus, the perfume of friendship, through the effective presence of the members and their speaking out, spreads. Each meeting is an opportunity to learn about the life of Pierre de Clorivière and that of Saint Ignatius. These two Jesuits are the source of our charism.
Read also: Teaming up at the time of Covid-19
Pierre de Clorivière teaches us to seek God in every trial. During the sharing of life, we comfort each other and pray together for the scientists to find the vaccine against the Covid-19 pandemic. We seek together to find God’s will through our commitments in society. We try to see God in all things and all things in God in the present situation. We have to support each other, to bring a bit of hope to save the world. In the Gospel of St. John, it is written that God says that He puts us in the middle of the world. He does not take us out of it. Each meeting ends with a fraternal agape.
People have lived through a very restrictive period in the measure. They had to change their habits. From 21 March 2020 to the end of June, there was total containment, only the military could circulate. From June to September 2020, only one person per family could go out to buy supplies, wearing a mask and barrier gestures were mandatory. To help each family, the World Bank and the IMF, through the State, distributed one bag of rice for each family. In mid-July 2020, the state decreed minimum work for some private and public sectors. Vulnerable people still had to stay at home.
In September 2020, the churches in the city centres were able to reopen in compliance with the barrier gestures. Currently, the gathering of 200 people is allowed. The churches have limited the number of parishioners they can accommodate. Also, the work rooms of some churches are freed to celebrate mass. Private Catholic radio and television stations broadcast live (unabridged) Mass every Sunday.
During this long lockdown, insecurity and trafficking in precious woods increased and a resurgence of rape was noted throughout the island. As a result, the National Assembly proposed a new law: surgical intervention to remove the rapist’s genitalia.