Response of Holy Cross Fathers during the Pandemic on COVID 19 from March 2020-December 2020

As the world reality is, like all other countries of the world, our motherland is also being affected by the pandemic called COVID-19, beginning on 17 March 2020. Bangladesh is also paralyzed in different ways: our industries, markets, govt. and non-govt. offices, transportations, worshipping places, centers of entertainments, and all kinds of public gatherings. Observing the world situation and realizing the serious sufferings and great number of deaths every day, the government of Bangladesh ‘locked down’ everything in order to stop the spread of the virus. Consequently, the whole country, especially cities and towns were paralyzed; people could not go to their jobs, not even the daily laborers were able to go to work. Everything was controlled by the policemen and the army. Roads and highways were all vacant. The people suffered in many different ways. Many lost their jobs and daily earnings. The Government of Bangladesh, municipal offices, and some private firms took initiatives to help the starving people. But it was not possible for them to feed millions of people every day.

In this pandemic situation our Province tried to help our parishioners—both Christians and non-Christians—keeping in mind the following three dimensions:
1) Spiritual and moral sustainability
2) Material sustainability
3) Environmental sustainability.

Spiritual and moral sustainability: Our Province has four formation houses, three community houses, two pastoral and retreat centers, 16 parishes (10 tribal majorities and 6 Bengali majority), 2 colleges and 1 university. All the formation houses, community houses, parishes and institutions organized special prayers such as:
(a) Sacramental adoration, holy rosary, and Holy Eucharist to get rid of this pandemic virus. Special prayers were also offered for the quick recovery of the affected people and at the same time for the world scientists and experts so that they may develop a vaccine.
(b) Our Province members journeyed with the faithful in prayers and giving them moral support;
(c) We worked to build awareness among the people how to protect themselves by wearing mask and washing hands properly;
(d) We kept contact with the people by cell phone in order to know their present situation; and
(e) We, along with our neighbors, families, friends, parishioners, tried to discover new ways and means to adjust with this pandemic situation.

Material sustainability: Our Province took initiatives to help people materially to assist them on an emergency basis. We tried our best to give financial and logistic support to our parishioners—Christians and non-Christians. Our one university (NDUB) and two colleges (Notre Dame College in Dhaka and Notre Dame College Mymensingh) reached out to the diocesan parishes. They provided them with material goods, especially food items. Our Provincial took initiatives in the Dhaka city to reach out to the tribal and Bengali people to support them providing food, medicine and logistic materials. About 25,000 people from different tribes were directly benefited by our houses, parishes and institutions.

Environmental sustainability: Our community houses, formation houses, pastoral and retreat centers reduced their monthly budgets during this pandemic situation. All the parishes, who have land for cultivation, were encouraged to do some manual work in their lands in order to grow seasonal vegetables so that they don’t need to spend money to purchase these food items. Tree plantation took place at our parishes, and pastoral and retreat centers being inspired by the Holy Father’s encyclical letter “Laudato Si.”

Influence of COVID 19 among our Province Members: Because of COVID 19 we lost our two great men from our province. Most Rev. Moses M. Costa, CSC, Archbishop of Chattogram Archdiocese. is one of them, who died on July 13, 2020 at Square Hospital Pvt. Ltd. in the capital city Dhaka, Bangladesh. Another one is Rev. Eugene E. Homrich, CSC, a great missionary in Bangladesh, who fought for Garo people in Modhupur forest. He died on July 25, 2020 at Holy Cross House, Indiana. May God grant them eternal rest in peace! Besides them, Frs. Vincent Bimol Rozario, CSC, Placid Proshanto Rozario, CSC, and Hori Macario Das, CSC, were reported corona positive and they are working normally now in their apostolates.

Since the second wave of COVID 19 hit from the last week of October, some of the Province members from Mathis House and Moreau House were affected by it and reported as Corona positive. They are; Frs. Leonard Shankar Rozario, CSC, James C. Cruze, CSC, Adam Pereira, CSC, Joseph Peixotto, CSC, Thomas McDermott, CSC and Proshanto Cruze, CSC. Beside us, two of our staffs Mr. Ashim Mrong and Sojib Simsang also reported as positive.

Finally, we want to express our gratitude and sincere thanks to our donors on behalf of the Province who helped us to be with our brothers and sisters of all faiths (Christians, Muslims, Hindus, and Buddhists, etc) during this pandemic situation. We appreciate their generous contribution to promote our Apostolates. We also thank all the doctors, nurses, members of healthcare sectors from different hospitals, friends and faithful for their active participation and prayer. May the good Lord bless them abundantly in this pandemic situation and save them!

Let us pray for one another so that the world may be healed from this pandemic situation very soon!

Stay safe!


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