04 May 2021
04 May 2021

Pandemic affects Dehonians in India

© photo credit: Shubhangee Vyas

A second wave of the coronavirus has seriously affected India, and has directly affected many Dehonians there. 

by  Tinu Thomas Padapurakkal

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Fr. Christy Peter, the Novice master of the Indian district was found unconscious in his room. It was later confirmed that he is affected with coronavirus. He is the 10th member of the district confirmed to have the virus and the number is still growing.

Fr. Joseph Benarji, a young priest, had difficulty breathing during the night and was taken immediately to the hospital. The vomiting worsened the situation and caused dehydration. Now he is receiving supplemental oxygen, to increase the amount in his lungs and blood. He requires the antibiotic injection Remdesivir, but due to shortages and great demand the medication is expensive. Fr. Benerji needs 6 of these injections, (at least two per day depending on his health condition) because his lungs are affected. We cannot even call for seven days to inquire about his health situation.

The district superior Fr. Rinu Jose, and 6 novices and 6 temporary professed members have been under self isolation. Their symptoms are very evident. There are more than 10 confirmed corona cases among the district’s priests and two are hospitalized (Fr. Christy Peter is recovering gradually and Fr. Joseph Benerarji is being stabilized). More than 15 members have been under quarantine.

The second wave of coronavirus in India has been led by a rise in the number of cases in the State of Maharashtra. The states of Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh in southern India complete the list of five worst-hit states in the last three months. Dehonians are present in three of those states. The growing number of cases is threatening in south India but the situation is worse in Maharashtra and Delhi, where people are dying from lack of oxygen supply and unavailability of medicine.

Vatican news quotes a Matters India report which says “The Catholic Church in India, which comprises the Latin Rite as well as the Eastern rite Syro-Malabar and Syro-Malankara Catholic Churches, is served by over 30,000 priests, both diocesan and religious.  The 14 who died over the past 3 days are among more than 20 priests the Church has lost to the virus over the past one month. The number of religious sisters who died due to coronavirus is more than 50 in India.”

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