Speaking at a Mass streamed lived from Delhi to the UK, director of Caritas India FATHER PAUL MOONJELY has given this very moving account of the Covid crisis in his homeland…
My dear sisters and brothers in Christ Jesus, it is indeed such a gratifying and graceful moment for me to be among the Catholic fraternity of the United Kingdom. On behalf of the people of India, with a humbling heart, I express my sincere gratitude for your benevolent support you have rendered during our ailing times.
I was indeed humbled when I recently received the message from Christine, CEO of CAFOD, who empathised with the alarming situation in India, and for her kind gesture and to impress you to pray for our country together with all of you as we partake in the celebration of Holy Mass.
I was deeply touched by the continuous care and concern of the CAFOD family and thank them profusely for their close accompaniment in our efforts to bring comfort and care to the COVID affected and infected brothers and sisters in our country.
These past few days there has been an overwhelming ambience of pain, anguish, remorse and mourning that I am unable to fathom. Our country has been struggling to breathe, we have lost and are still losing our loved ones, family members, friends that we know. Not a single day goes without hearing the loss of someone known to us, engulfing us further into the world of uncertainty. The outcry for life is so deafening that it shudders my heart to the core.Director of Caritas India, Father Paul Moonjely
These past few days there has been an overwhelming ambiance of pain, anguish, remorse and mourning that I am unable to fathom. Our country has been struggling to breathe, we have lost and are still losing our loved ones, family members, friends that we know. Not a single day goes without hearing the loss of someone known to us, engulfing us further into the world of uncertainty. The outcry for life is so deafening that it shudders my heart to the core.
It is in these crucial moments that I am reminded of St Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, a gentle father and the God of all consolation, who comforts us in all our sorrows, so that we can offer others in their sorrows, the consolation that we have received from God ourselves”. (2 Corinthians 3-4)
The Holy Father Pope Francis, in one of his letters “gives the expression of a heart that sees, the heart that will always remain in pursuit to where love is needed and identified God’s call to appreciate human life as a sacred and inviolable gift”. I see a heart that sees in all of you.
As the second wave of COVID-19 has been enraging our country, the only mandate of Caritas India has been to witness humanity from the lens of heart within India to save lives.
Caritas India, through the church fraternity, is now intervening to supplement and compliment the health system of the country, by making available our church-based facilities and infrastructure with an extension unit of treatment centres in collaboration with the different medical facilities.
With a surge in patients and with the lack of beds, life-saving equipment, oxygen, as well as human resources, we shall be facilitating in making centres available for COVID positive patients, to be treated and protected through the presence of volunteer care givers. We have focused our interventions in those states that are declared by the government as hotspots.
Our intervention primarily involves setting up first level treatment centres that will provide institutionalised care and treatment of mind or asymptomatic Covid-positive patients and reforming and strengthening the second level treatment facilities to protect the lives of the most critical patients, linking them to the COVID hospitals. This will be a great panacea and assurance for the patients as well as the health care providers.
As humanity suffers, we also realise that suffering is part of human existence. It is an inescapable destiny of human life. It may be hard to contemplate the why of suffering and it’s therefore quite essential to look up to the revelation of divine love that Jesus invites us to enter into the mystery and to discover the essence and its true meaning.
Love is the purest and the most complete answer to understanding suffering. We all, as followers of Christ, need to take part through one’s suffering in this work of saving the world, the salvation achieved through one’s suffering.
The pandemic calls for a coming together of humanity and care for thy neighbour. There is a strong urgency to reach out to the strained and stranded population that has been dispossessed and isolated.
In the face of the challenge of illness and emotional and spiritual difficulties associated with pain, we must necessarily know how to speak a word of comfort, drawn from the compassion of Jesus on the Cross. It’s full of hope, a sincere hope, like Christ on the Cross, capable of facing the moment of trial and the challenge of death.
We grumbled and fumbled and experienced rather unpleasant aspects of our humanity and of others, particularly in the last few days, in the midst of destruction, disruption and disorientation.
We have come across the moments of hope through individuals and organisations. Amid all these, the comforting words of Jesus, “Take courage, it is I. Do not be afraid”, is a great solace for Caritas to move forward and reach out.
Prince Charles’ touching statement, “As India has helped others, so now must we help India,” comes aptly as a call to love thy neighbour. Pope Francis’ expression of solidarity and assurance of prayers for the people of India, strengthens our vocation for the love and care of another, brings with it the rewards of eternity. “For I was sick and you visited me. Every time you did it for the least ones, for a suffering brother or sister, you did it for me.”
My dear sisters and brothers, let us pause for a while and seek God’s grace:
Loving Father, we need your healing and your grace. We need hope restored. We need to be reminded that you work on behalf of those you love. Forgive us for trying to fix our situations on our own and for running in all directions and spinning our wheels to find help, when true help and healing is found in you and you alone.
We come to you and bring you the moments we are hurting, you know our pain. We thank you for your mighty power and we reach out to you and know that you are restoring and redeeming every difficulty and every battle in this time of crisis. Help us Lord, to believe in your revelation.
You will wipe away every tear from their eyes, there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed. Amen.