Vatican News Service
In his New Year reflection and wish for the year 2021, the Bishop of Port-Louis in Mauritius, Cardinal Maurice Piat invites all to work towards the common good, listening to the Word of God and promote solidarity.
A most trying time in our history
“Everyone’s future is at stake. We must be able to listen to each other, to think together, to seek the common good of the country and not only our interests, whether economic or political,” Cardinal Piat told the local diocesan weekly La Vie Catholique, over the weekend. The Cardinal stressed that Mauritius was undergoing “one of the most difficult times in its history,” partly because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Our economy is doing badly, and the outlook is not rosy,” he explained. “It seems urgent to me that women and men of experience and wisdom in this nation, from all walks of life and all communities, meet with the authorities to reflect seriously on how our country can recover,” said the Cardinal.
The solidarity needs to be sustained
Cardinal Piat indicated two ways out of the crisis facing the Island nation: In addition to collaboration between people and the authorities, the other is solidarity, which should be “spontaneous and generous,” but this “must not be as a passing flash”; something momentary, but rather lasting over time, he said.
To keep the solidarity impulse alive, the Cardinal suggests that the first thing to do is, “not to practise solidarity alone, but in a group, to support each other fraternally particularly when the inevitable difficulties arise; evaluating the path travelled and learning from it in order to start again in an increasingly suitable approach.”
Sharing the Gospel in small communities
The second method is that of “frequenting the Word of God, which invites us to contemplate how Jesus himself lived solidarity even in the midst of the worst of trials.” For this reason, the Bishop of Port-Louis invites Christians “to take up or resume the habit of reading the Gospel together, in small groups and communities of friends, neighbours or with colleagues.” This apparently “simple, unimportant” gesture is actually “a real source of courage to maintain strong ties,” despite the distances caused by the health emergency, he emphasised.
A new way of living for Mauritians
Looking at the pandemic itself, the Cardinal warned that the new year “will certainly not mark the end of this ordeal.” However, the lesson to be learnt from this dramatic experience is for us to have understood “the great vulnerability of our economy and the fragility of our sources of income.” Consequently, “to have (also) learnt to live more soberly and to experience at first hand that one can be happy with a simple life.” At the same time, Cardinal Piat expressed his appreciation for all the creativity demonstrated by parishes during the pandemic. He praised the close bonds cultivated among the faithful and the many solidarity initiatives, as if “the unexpected shock of Covid-19 had awakened the best in many people.”
The Bishop of Port-Louis hopes that all this “will not just be an isolated success, but the beginning of a new way of living,” among Mauritians strengthened by “a life of faith that is no longer satisfied with mere attendance at Sunday Mass. That faith needs to be nourished more by listening to the Word of God” and its essential resonance “in these difficult times,” Cardinal Piat said.