By Fr. Benedict Mayaki, SJ
The Archbishop of Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, Cardinal Philippe Ouedraogo, who was hospitalized at the end of March for Covid-19, has written a message calling for solidarity with people suffering from coronavirus.
The letter, titled “Message from a Cardinal sick from Coronavirus,” was published on 5 April, on the occasion of Palm Sunday.
“I would like, from the bottom of my heart as a pastor, to launch a great cry for a profound impulse of solidarity at the local, regional and international level for those sick with Covid-19,” stated the Cardinal.
Cardinal Ouedraogo, 75, is the President of the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM). He is the first African Cardinal to have tested positive to the Covid-19 virus.
The Cardinal expressed his gratitude to those who had reached out to him in solidarity after his hospitalization. In his message, he thanked religious leaders, his close collaborators, the presbyterium, the Bishops of the Episcopal Conference of Burkina Faso and Niger, the Nunciature and the religious among others.
Cardinal Ouedraogo also indicated that he is receiving good health care. He thanked the medical professionals who “with self-denial and professionalism” are taking care of him.
Collaboration against coronavirus
The Burkinabe Prelate noted that Covid-19 has “multifaceted health, socio-economic, cultural and spiritual consequences for all.” In the light of this, Cardinal Ouedraogo called for collaboration in the fight against coronavirus as “one finger alone cannot pick up flour.”
“Let us unite to drive this dreadful scourge with its unfortunate consequences out of our country and out of the world,” says the Cardinal.
The West African country of Burkina Faso presently has 384 coronavirus cases with 19 deaths and 127 recoveries. Africa now has more than 10,000 confirmed cases spread over 52 countries.
The Cardinal indicated that he would be offering “this time of trial” praying for “anyone who is ill with Covid-19 or affected by other illnesses, for an end to all killings of innocent people by forces of evil, and for reconciliation, justice and peace in Burkina Faso.
In the face of the challenges brought about by the coronavirus pandemic, Cardinal Ouedraogo invited everyone to be inspired by the act of trust of Peter. As disciples of Christ, we are to repeat Peter’s words “Lord to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life! (Jn 6: 68).”
Concluding his message, the Cardinal noted that this time of Lent marked with the Covid-19 pandemic becomes a time of humility, total trust and abandonment to God. “With Him we will attain victory! Since He died and rose again and is alive, Alleluia! Let us remain constant in humble and fervent prayer!”