Roha’s Extra Genes for Love in Service During COVID-19
STORIES OF COURAGE AND COMPASSION
The authenticity of Christianity is love-impregnated faith that incarnates in service. While the worst pandemic of the century instilled the fear of death and helplessness in people, we stood up in hope and reached out in service, demonstrating the extra genes for love in service which we receive in Baptism. Sacred Heart Church, Roha in Raigad district, is a small parish of 75 families; however, the light spread through our COVID-19 outreach programmes shows that we are like tiny mustard seeds which can shelter many.
Families from our SCCs were so generous, in spite of the economic crisis that they faced due to both COVID-19 and Nisarga cyclone (early June). They contributed Rs 1,01,000/- towards the dry ration for the vulnerable families. Mr P.P. Bardeshkar, a parishioner who owns a company, has kept 400 families’ jobs alive. He also reached out to villages in distributing dry ration and Vitamin C tablets to 1000 families. While Sacred Heart Church, Roha distributed 1255 dry ration kits, Jeevandhara (DHMs) distributed 1660 kits, and Snehavardhini (ACI Sisters) distributed 4300 kits respectively (7215 kits in all).
They, together with the families of Roha SCCs, reached out to nearly 100 tribal villages, parishioners and migrant communities at Koletty. The parish and the centres worked in collaboration with Govt. administration, hospitals, police and local politicians that helped us witness to our synchronised citizenship - as people of God and responsible citizens of India. They helped 900 migrants to reunite with their families and assisted more than 1150 families for a sustainable livelihood. They have distributed health kits worth Rs 4,00,000/- Our priests and nuns set a model of service as they reached out to support the needy, in the face of the danger of coronavirus.
It was a moving experience when 26-year-old Maxwell D’Souza passed away during this COVID time. The families from the SCC reached out to the mourning family, to assist them in all the requirements of the funeral, and later on to console the widowed mother and family. It showed that the compassion and bonds of our Christian vocation go beyond any barriers. It is an experience where every family is celebrated as a “domestic church”. We convey our gratitude to every generous person who helped us to be the face of God, especially to those who are on the peripheries.
Sr Brigit Viji ACI
Sacred Heart Church