An update from Columban Fr. Ed O’Connell about the pandemic situation in Peru:
Most merciful and Triune God,
We come to you in our weakness.
We come to you in our fear.
We come to you with trust.
For you alone are our hope.
We place before you the disease present in our world.
We turn to you in our time of need.
The Coronavirus pandemic crept up on us like a lion through tall grass. Nobody saw it coming, nor could we have foreseen what a change it would make to our lives. I had only arrived in the parish of Saint Matthias in the middle of March and was just beginning to get to know the parishioners and familiarize myself with the layout of the parish in the poor suburb of Bajos de Mena in Puente Alto when first curfew, then a hard lockdown, were imposed upon us all.
On Holy Thursday Night, April 9, Fr. John Greene, our Columban Associate priest from Dublin, and I celebrated our last public mass so far in 2020 in the parish of Saint Matthias in the Chapel of Our Lady of Hope (Nuestra Senora de la Esperanza) in Chile. That very night the Chilean Government officially imposed a state of strict quarantine for the whole metropolitan region of Santiago, an area of over 7 million people.
Towards the middle of March, when the entire island of Luzon in the Philippines was declared under community quarantine to control the spread of COVID-19, Columban Fr. Andrei Paz was in his hometown, a small municipality in northern Luzon. The people there were experiencing a lot of anxiety in the face of uncertainty about the impact of the virus on their lives, their families and their community. Most of the people, including Fr. Andrei, stayed at home.
Warmi Huasi is a small NGO I set up with other Columbans and three professional women in 2003 to accompany families in poverty and especially children at risk. Over the years, one of the main problems faced by the women in San Benito was that, whilst they worked, their children were at risk. Warmi Huasi set up, with the help of the community, 4 homework clubs so that the children and adolescents have a safe place in which to be, in the afternoons, as well as receive help with their homework. Warmi Huasi also has a reading club in their Centre in San Benito on Saturday afternoons and had built a library and reading club in the local State primary and secondary school so each student has reading time in school.
Taiwan is an island in the southeast of China. The population is about 24 million inhabitants. Due to its proximity and business, many Taiwanese people live in China, so it was thought that COVID 19 would strongly affect the Island. Prevention measures have been immeasurable since ...
Since laborers from the Indian subcontinent started coming to Fiji under the colonial indenture system (1879-1914), the small number of Catholics among them brought a strong devotion to the Italian Saint Anthony, a Franscican friar of the twelfth century.
As I write this article, I am safely sheltered in the U.S. Columban headquarters in Bellevue, Nebraska. Since I am approaching the celebration of fifty years as a missionary priest, I decided to leave Chile for a few months and do a sabbatical program at the Oblate School of Theology in San Antonio, Texas. Unfortunately, the program was interrupted because of the coronavirus pandemic.
As a humanity. we thought that we had reached a point of development or a point that we could control all situations with economics or the power of our governments. However, this year something that is still out of our control happened. Its a thing that we cannot see or touch but is there bringing to us a lot of uncertainty or destabilizing our lifestyles, That thing has a name, Covid-19. This small virus is causing events that not even the most expert economist in the world could have predicted. The reason why I have started this article with these lines is because the ones who will suffer the most when we overcome this crisis are the poor and the oppressed, which are a priority in our church.