The Catholic Church in Bangladesh launches a special fund to help alleviate the suffering of people affected by the Covid-19 emergency and the consequent lockdown. “The Covid-19 pandemic has affected the lives of ordinary people. The current situation could worsen in the coming days, as a result, many people in our community will suffer from lack of food, medicine, and other means of subsistence. The most affected people will be children, the sick and the elderly, day laborers, the migrant community in the city of Dhaka, and those who do not have a permanent job but depend on daily work for livelihood. Many will suffer from hunger and may even die. It is our Christian responsibility to respond to this difficult situation through our sincere prayer, sacrifices, and financial support”, says Cardinal Patrick D’Rozario, in a letter sent to Agenzia Fides.
In the letter, Cardinal D’Rozario, Archbishop of Dhaka and president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Bangladesh (CBCB), asks parish priests, superiors, headmasters and heads of Christian institutions and organizations, individual faithful, and other potential donors to contribute to the special Fund created by the Bengali Church, called “Corona Charity Fund”. Giving notice of the creation of the “Charity Fund”, we inform you that it will offer financial and medical support to the needy. The Cardinal urges all parish priests to identify the poorest and most destitute families, with the help of the Society of San Vincenza de Paoli and of their Pastoral Councils.
“We have already handed over to 650 Catholic families in need a sum of 3,000 Bengali taka (equal to 33 euros) to buy food”, says Jyoti Gomes, one of the operators in charge of managing the Corona Charity Fund, to Agenzia Fides. And she continues: “We aim to reach 1,500 Catholic families in the archdiocese of Dhaka, which has 26 parishes”. Jyoti Gomes, who is also director of Caritas Dhaka, informs that “due to the lockdown, many needy Catholics who are day workers, the sick, the elderly and internal migrants are in a state of need”. The laity and Catholic organizations have donated money “with an open heart”: “We got a good response – she reports – after the Cardinal’s appeal”.
“I have not been able to work this month due to the coronavirus, so I have not been able to earn anything. Fortunately and by God’s grace, I have received a contribution from my parish priest. Now I can feed my children. This is a great support from the Church. I express deep gratitude to Cardinal Patrick D’Rozario for taking this initiative”, says Manik Gomes, a day laborer in the Tejgaon area of Dhaka, to Fides. In Bangladesh, on March 8, the first three positive Convid-19 cases were registered. More than 2,500 are currently infected.