The Response of St Dominic Savio Parish in COVID-19 Times
STORIES OF COURAGE AND COMPASSION
St Dominic Savio Parish is a cosy parish on the “other side of the railway lines” in Wadala East. Perhaps because of this our people who come from various strata of society are a happy and holy people, close to God and close to each other. As we declare in our Vision Statement, “We are a Parish Rooted in Christ, and Living our Faith in Loving Service. Becoming Missionary Disciples we make Jesus know to All.”
The lock down took us by surprise, but our parishioners and our Parish Team responded wonderfully and generously. The most relevant response of our parishioners was with regard to helping the poorer families of our parish. More than half of our parishioners live in chawls and humbler dwellings. Families survive on daily or weekly wages and most do not have any financial backup. The start of the lockdown meant an end to the family income. Within a short time there was no ration in many homes and no food on many a table. Payment of medical bills, gas, house rent etc gave rise to extreme stress and worry to many of our families. As in most cases such a situation demands a response from our people. A sincere plea from the Parish Priest was all it took. Money began to flow in, and each cheque was accompanied with a prayer for our poorer families. All donations to the Church (despite the fact that there was no Sunday Collection) was diverted for Covid19 Relief Operations. With the help of the SCC Animators a list was made of all the families in need of food. Utilizing the money collected, rations were ordered and with the help of the youth, a food ration kit was prepared which would support a family of four for about a month. Around 250 Catholic families were helped with rations once a month, for the last four months of the lockdown. Antop Hill is also home to many migrant workers. With the help and support from the Centre of Social Action, 100 Non-Christian families received a similar foot ration kit twice during the lockdown.
It was amazing to see all our parishioners rallying together from their homes. Contributions flowed in. The SCC animators made innumerable phone calls. The priests worked together for this purpose. The end result was that our people felt cared for and could tangibly experience the presence of the Lord in their lives despite our parish being in the centre of the ‘red zone’ of the pandemic. The darkest hours of our existence bring to the fore the light of Christ and his Love that burns deep within our hearts. These lockdown days have helped us to come closer to teach other and closer to God. Our leaders have led by example. SCC animators enabled the hand of the Church to reach out to all corners of our parish. And the love of Christ of a people who are Rooted in Christ has made available money and love to feed many a poor family of our parish. “Tough times never last, but tough people do.” (Robert H. Schuller) Thank you Lord for helping your Church, especially St. Dominic Savio Parish sail through these troubled times.
Fr. Savio D’souza sdb and Team.