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Members of the Legion of Mary attending Church in the Kebera slum of Nairobi 26 July 2020 Members of the Legion of Mary attending Church in the Kebera slum of Nairobi 26 July 2020  (AFP or licensors)

Built on a Rock: survey on Living the Faith during Covid-19

The Pontifical Urbaniana University conducts a survey in Africa, Asia and Oceania seeking to “understand how people lived the faith and reacted to the closure of churches.”

By Sr Bernadette Mary Reis, fsp

The Pontifical Urbaniana University’s Code of Canon Law Faculty is conducting a survey called “Living the Faith during Covid-19 Pandemic.” The scope of the survey extends to Africa, Asia and Oceania during the dates 29 June to 15 August.

Drastic change in Church life

Father Elias Frank, Director of IUS Missionale, the journal in which the survey results will appear, launched the survey with a cover letter. “We Catholics have been so used to attending Sunday Eucharist, going to Confession and other ritual practices, but Covid-19 brought that faith-life to a grinding halt in many a nation, without any forewarning,” that cover letter begins.

Using the storm imagery introduced by Pope Francis in the Extraordinary Moment of Prayer, Father Frank writes that “the Church is the ‘throbbing body of Christ’ “. That Church, “built on a rock…will overcome any storm.” However, in the meantime, “the faithful…do feel the storm, just like the apostles caught up in the storm (Mt 8, 25; Mk 4,38; Lk 8,24).”

Survey to analyze affects on Catholics

Due to measures enforced to stem the spread of the virus, Churches have been closed, and the faithful have been deprived of the sacraments. Given this new situation being lived by Catholics around the world, the Pontifical Urbaniana University “hopes to understand how people lived the faith and reacted to the closure of churches.”

To that end, they have launched a survey directed to the continents of Africa, Asia and Oceania. The choice is motivated by the fact that both the Urbaniana and dioceses on these continents fall under the jurisdiction of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples.

The survey covers how the laity, ordained ministers and men and women religious lived and continue to live their faith under such changed circumstances.

Multiple questions propose basic questions such as restriction measures taken by the government, consequences of the measures and the overall attitudes that characterized people’s cooperation with the measures.

The next section focuses on the Church’s response and the sacramental life of the faithful under lockdown. Several questions are specifically directed to the lay faithful, a few others to priests, and one is directed to men and women religious.

Respondents are also encouraged to upload photos or videos portraying a specific event or work undertaken to address the coronavirus pandemic.

Survey results to be published

Survey results will be published in the annual journal Ius Missionale published by the Urbaniana’s Canon Law Faculty. The identity of survey participants will not be revealed. Father Frank, the journal’s Director, hopes that through this survey “what is meant by ‘being Church’ “ will emerge.

Anyone living in Africa, Asia, or Oceania is invited to participate in the survey by clicking here.

07 August 2020, 11:19