The lessons of the COVID-19 pandemic are the focus of Pope Francis Message for the World Day of Peace 2023. Its title is No One Can Be Saved Alone. Combatting COVID-19 Together, Embarking Together on Paths of Peace.
The Holy Father encourages us to remain hopeful and focussed on what is good and just in the midst of dark times like the COVID-19 pandemic. He noted the many ways in which the pandemic exposed our fragility. Not only did it result in many deaths globally, but it threatened the mental health of many and increased loneliness in the community. It also presented significant economic challenges with many job losses and increased job insecurity and business failures.
The Pope tells us that the key lesson we should learn from the pandemic is that we have a shared humanity and that those values which encourage and promote togetherness and solidarity will help us to follow paths which promote greater justice and peace rather than more conflict and insecurity.
However, as a vaccine and other public health measures began to have an effect and allowed us to hope that we had emerged from the worst of the crisis, the world was plunged into another crisis -the war in Ukraine. The Pope reminds us that, apart from the serious impact on those directly involved in this conflict, all of us have experienced challenges because of it, e.g., food shortages and increasing fuel prices.
In the face of these crises, the Pope says we need to let go of the tendency to focus on ourselves and, instead, to value the common good.
In our own context here in Australia, are there some things that you could do to foster a greater sense of human solidarity in your own circles as well as in the spere of public policy? Perhaps, as you read the Pope’s message by yourself and with others, this question could be a starting point for your reflection.
The Pope’s message can be found at: