Corona-Virus 19 and Doing Alright (Volume 2)

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Preface

Human experience is paramount in my practice of looking inwards, which I call “Self distancing.”The same human experience is important in sharing with you from a distance (Social Distancing). The goal is to share with you the spirit that enlightens this 2″“ Volume of CORONA VIRUS and DOING ALRIGHT
It was on 7th June, 2020, the 1st Sunday after the lifting of the lockdown order on places of worship by the State government. I was in the sacristy taking off my vestments after the Holy Mass. An elderly woman came with bulging raffia bag full offresh corn and asked me to bless it for her at a distance. I readily obliged her. In the next few minutes I was done with the Sunday matters and headed for the Rectory. By the gate I met the same woman coming out from the rectory. Beaming with a smile she told me, “Msgr. I have left the corn in the kitchen for the priests!” “Ah! Mma Mma!” I exclaimed with the attitude of gratitude. “May God bless you for us oh?

Keep safe and healthy!” I concluded and wished her a safe journey home. In the kitchen I discovered it was not only corn that the Mma Mma brought. She added pears suggesting the type of delicacy the house-help should prepare for the priests.
Between me and the woman, the feeling of gratitude to God was mutual. But beyond a wholesome gratitude to Almighty God, within me I was humbled by the spirit of care that the woman represents within St. Paul’s Parish at this time of Corona Virus pandemic. This woman is only one of the many parishioners who have taught me the meaning of the gospel injunction of “giving even a cup of cold water to … these little ones to drink”(Matt. 10:42). The gospel injunction is a metaphor for the Spirit of: solicitude, caring, solidarity, sacrificial living, selfiessness, and togetherness. That Spirit is also called “UBUNTU!” It is a word that expresses the wisdom of “I AM BECAUSE WE ARE!” It reminds us of the basic logic of existence, namely, interconnectedness. It is the Spirit of Ubuntu that guides and animates the pages of this little book:
1. Ubuntu reveals the deep connection with the reality of Covid ~ 19 and why the sense of our common humanity must be restored;

2. it shows the extent of the change occasioned by the new economic, social, cultural, political and religious realities that have taken place not only in individuals but in nations worldwide; it calls for global
togetherness;

3. it expresses thc losses and gains from the new reality in all honesty and childlike simplicity and proposes the way forward with the motto — we are happier when we are happy together;

4. it demonstrates a great sense of determination not to
give in to evil but to have the courage to name the evil in order to overcome the evil; together we can overcome evil even the evil called Emperor Covide 19;

5. it inspires the reader, who might have been broken down like the author to embrace Governor Udom
Emmanuel’s philosophy of DAKKADA (get up) and do something for humanity, the environment and creation
against hunger and exploitation; do something for unity, for the Church and with humility embrace the
signs of our times;

6. the Spirit of Ubuntu awakens humanity to reconnect the scientific world with the world of Faith through Reason.
I wish you a meaningful time with the 2nd volume of Corona Virus and D0ing Alright.

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Michael Otto Ekpenyong is a Catholic Priest who holds a Masters Degree in Philosophy and Doctorate Degree in Systematic Theology from Duquesne University Pittsburg, U.S.A. At the Catholic Secretariate of Nigeria, he served at the Secretary General for a couple of years. In September 2012, he was appointed Papal Chamberline (Chaplain to the Holy Father) by his Holiness Pope Benedict XVI. He is the author of Story telling Imagination and God-Talk (2002) and Beware of gods (2005), The John and the Paul in John Paul II (2010) and much more which can be accessed here.

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