Liberian priest: Spread of Ebola leaving people trapped

By Catholic News Service on Thursday, 9 October 2014

A Liberian priest has said the spread of Ebola in the country has left citizens isolated, meaning they “can’t even go to church”.

Fr McDonald Nah, a priest of the Archdiocese of Monrovia, Liberia, is currently studying Catholic education administration at St Louis University in the US. Fr Nah, along with and fellow Liberian priest Fr Urey Patrick Mark, is expected to return to Liberia next summer after he completes his studies.

Fr Nah said that people in Liberia have been isolated because of the severity of the virus, especially those who have been in close proximity to someone who has died from the illness.

People “can’t even go to church,” he told the St Louis Review, the newspaper of the St Louis Archdiocese. “Usually in Liberia, when someone is sick … they go around to visit with the sick. But they can’t visit them at all. It has created something they have never seen before. I was in Liberia during the war, and apart from people dying, we could visit. You could go places. But with this situation, you can’t at all.”

A priest for 11 years, Fr Nah has served in two Liberian parishes, Sacred Heart Cathedral in Monrovia and St Peter Claver Church.

Fr Mark, who started a collection of supplies to be sent to the church in Liberia, said he’s thankful for the US government and others who have stepped in to try an “restore humanity” in his country.

To date the US government has committed more than $175 million toward the effort to thwart the Ebola epidemic. The US recently announced it will deploy 3,000 troops to help transport medical equipment, supplies and personnel.

Catholic Relief Services, the US bishops’ overseas relief and development agency, has increased its support in affected countries and has allocated more than $376,000 toward efforts such as training volunteers and religious leaders, providing hygiene kits and making household visits in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Ghana.

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