Mangaluru, March 26, 2020: Mangaluru Diocese Bishop, Rev. Fr. Peter Paul Saldanha appealed to all the priests and the diocesean members to extend all possible help to people in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
"As Christians we are called to respond to the pandemic of the corona virus with the universality of prayer, of compassion and tenderness. We need to stay safe but at the same time keep spreading kindness through the spiritual and corporal acts of mercy.
It is said: “God can write straight on a crooked line.” Every act of calamity and disaster becomes an opportunity to bring out the best in us – our humanity. Through this humanity, we express our spirituality. As diocese, we need to extend our solidarity with our brothers and sisters who are severely affected by the pandemic of covid-19 because of their poverty, old age, sickness, loneliness and various other factors.
Parishes are a part of the diocese, which is the local church. Through the parishes, we would be able to reach out to others more effectively and efficiently in planning and carrying out various initiatives to help the needy beyond all boundaries. I am pleased to note that some parishes have already taken up initiatives of service to the poor and the homebound. Members of Parish Pastoral Councils and Parish Associations have been bringing groceries and essential commodities to the shut-ins, the poor and those who cannot travel to get them. It is my earnest prayer that we spread kindness and love in a productive viral way while combating against the destructive spread of covid-19.
I direct every Parish Priest to plan and coordinate assistance programmes and initiatives in their parishes through the collaboration of parish councils, associations, and people of good will. Individuals and teams of like-minded people should reach out to see who are in need of what essential services, and find out ways and means to satisfy those needs. If, by taking into account the safety precautions, the volunteers, associations, and the parish council members can supply to the basic needs of the poor and the needy, then there will not be a needy person in the community (cf. Acts 4:34). We will show we are Christians by our love.
Parishes may start support groups through social media. Look for the helpers in this worry-filled time — they’re out there. Have a Parish Assistance Team. Reach out to the neighbours; communicate regularly with any needy and at-risk family, friends, and neighbours to ensure they have groceries, medicines, and essential chores done. Handling the vast majority of needs at the local level is obviously the most efficient response. Kindly keep us informed about the assistance programmes you are carrying out to spread kindness and love during these difficult times of covid-19."