All of us involved in the response tried to protect ourselves fully, tried to prevent the virus spreading, tried to help those affected, offered our services in various ways. Our responses could be grouped under spiritual, psycho-social, health care, intellectual and material.
1.Precautions and Prayers to Respond to Corona Virus – English:
i) We prepared this document spelling out the precautions needed to protect oneself and the family and community and also prevent from spread of this virus.
ii)We identified the following people for whom we need to pray: All those who are affected; • All those who died; • All those who are serving the affected; • All the families, communities and countries struggling with this; • Not to spread further; • Healing touch of Lord Jesus Christ on all His Creation.
iii)We also taking the model provided by Udupi diocese, prepared Directives for the Celebration of Word of God and Spiritual Communion in the absence of a Priest or Worships Wherever possible.
2.Precautions and Prayers to Respond to Corona Virus – Hindi: The above document was translated into Hindi for the sake of the lay faithful.
This was sent to many dioceses and religious communities and congregation from where it was flashed and used by many Catholic families, parishes and religious communities.
3. Prayer to Our Lady of Perpetual Help to Save us all from Corona Virus
Holy and Loving Mother Mary You are our Perpetual Help, You are the one who saved the dignity of the family at Cana wedding, You are the one who followed your Son in his passion and death, You are the one who saves us from all fears and dangers, Save us we pray from this corona virus, We implore you to plead with your Son so that this virus may not spread among us, among our families, communities, countries and the entire creation, Mother of all the Christians and the Universe, kindly plead with your Son for us. Amen! Hail Mary…
The above prayer was prepared and sent to many dioceses and religious communities and congregation from where it was flashed and used by many Catholic families, parishes and religious communities.
The same was translated into Hindi and sent to the above mentioned sources.
4.Information about the Plenary Indulgences of the Holy Father was given to all the faithful, religious and parishes.
Translation of what Plenary Indulgences’ means was done and sent to different sources so that the faithful participate with full knowledge of this and benefit out of it.
5.Daily Mass Readings in Hindi were communicated to the people so that they can pray in their homes.
6.The method to make confession in the Holy Week was communicated in Hindi so that people prepare themselves to enter in to the Holy Tridum.
7.Taking stock of the situation: Meanwhile we were in touch with each other to take stock of the situation and to see where the Church can make an entry and be of service to those who are neglected and needy.
8.Seeking permission from the Administration: Realising the fact that the lockdown will affect the poor, the vulnerable, the marginalized in an unprecedented way, we sought the permission of the district administration first and foremost in Varanasi district. To make our request for permission concrete, we submitted a Letter of Offer by the Diocese of Varanasi to work with the District Administration to respond to the crisis due to coronavirus. Following 3 areas were mentioned then:
- Provide Sanitary and Food Provisions: With your permission, we also want to provide some sanitary and food provisions to the most needy and vulnerable families in parts of the town. We hope to provide basic relief to over 1,000 families.
- St. Mary’s Hospital, Korauta, Varanasi: This hospital has over 60 beds; Doctors 3 – general physicians, 3 staff nurses + 5 nurses, ward boys, pharmacist. We need protective gears so that we can be of service.
- Schools for Transit Points and or Isolation Wards: In Varanasi town we can offer the space for transit points and or isolation wards to be prepared in advance in case if need arises in the following schools of ours: St. John’s School, DLW; St. John’s School, Marhauli; St. John’s School, Ledhupur; St. John’s School, Lohata.
- Coronavirus Responses by the Diocese: Having obtained the necessary permissions, we planned and executed the following:
9.1 This is the group of people we decided to provide support:
1) Daily wage earners like the Rickshaw pullers, construction workers, etc.
2) Women headed households or widows managed families
3) Only one wage earner
4) People who used to work outside but lost their jobs and have come back to village
5) Families where there are senior citizens and the economic condition of that family is not good.
9.2 Family Package
|4||Wheat flour||5 kg|
|6||Cooking oil||1 liter|
9.3 Parish Level Responses: The parishes were asked to identify and respond to the following:
- People of other faith
9.4 Varanasi District Response:
We planned to respond to 2,000 families keeping the above criterion. As we proceeded, we tried to identify those in high risk situation among the poor and the vulnerable. These were: domestic workers, women headed households, widows, leprosy colony, rickshaw pullers, vendors, people with disability, sex workers, brickkiln workers who are mostly from Jharkhand and Chattigarh, street children, migrant labourers who were camped in government schools, Muslims who were not getting support from any source, snake charmers, etc.
We also provided drinking water and biscuits to the police personnel who were ensuring law and order situation. Among them we provided more support to women police who could not move around freely.