STORIES OF COURAGE AND COMPASSION
The lockdown had halted the fishing business, and therefore many parishioners were facing financial difficulties, as it was their sole livelihood. The fisherfolk came together and visited the government authorities. The authorities heard the plea of the people, and were kind enough to permit fishing with guidelines. The fisherfolk were able to earn some money that would sustain them during the non-fishing and lockdown months.
During this lockdown, the people of our village were being sold grocery items at higher rates. When it came to the notice of the priest and the people in charge, they formed a team which went to the market and looked for suppliers of essential items at a cheaper rate. It was decided that the village Society would buy a few essential items from the selected sellers (e.g. rice, dal, sugar and oil) and sell it at the wholesale price. This was highly appreciated by the whole village. The Society has also ensured that each person gets the ration provided by the government. The Society distributed Arsenicum Album-30 tablets, recommended by the Health Ministry. Every month, till now, the village is striving to provide the benefits of government schemes for the poor (e.g. 5-15 kg rice, according to the needs of the people).
As you know, these villagers love attending daily Mass. But due to the pandemic, it is impossible to attend Mass. During Holy Week, the communities and the village Patil installed loudspeakers in each zone. This helped the community to have a solemn experience of the Holy Week, despite the lockdown. This was possible due to some active parishioners who went the extra mile in order to make people feel the presence of God in their homes, thus creating an atmosphere of hope in these difficult times. Then, with the help of two Parish Council members and the village Police Patil, we decided to live telecast daily Mass on YouTube. We have received a good response from the parishioners.
The SVP members have been asked to provide ration to poor families and ensure that no family starves. As there were a few cases of COVID-19 in our village, the Society and Nagar Sevika (local Corporator) decided to have a full checkup of the villagers for safety. The Church also provided some medical assistance to some parishioners. There was a fire incident which badly damaged the boat of a family; the parish provided some financial assistance to the family.
Fr Don John D’Souza
St Andrew Church Uttan Chowk