These days there can be a feeling
of impending doom, O Lord.
Help us to trust that you will not
abandon us, while suffering flows
around the world.
Good and Gracious God,
guide us to live in harmony
during this time of the coronavirus.
Please grant us strength and courage
to be flexible and adapt
to the necessary changes
for the health and well-being
of our friends, neighbors and families.
The total number of cases of coronavirus in Peru on 9/12/2020 was 722,832 with 50.7% in Lima and Callao, and 30,526 deaths. The curfew in Peru is from 10pm to 4am. Sundays have again been declared lockdown days. Family and other social gatherings have been banned as well as religious ceremonies.
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.
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