Catholic Help the Poorest in Pakistan During Pandemic

‘We are taking a step forward to help those in need, in great difficulty in this pandemic crisis’

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“In these days we all live a limited life, we are in domestic confinement. We have enough food, but there are many people in the neighborhood, in our own neighborhoods who are not in the same situation: they suffer from lack of food. We are taking a step forward to help those in need, in great difficulty in this pandemic crisis”: says Father Ryan Joseph, Rector of the Saint Pius X Seminary in Karachi to Agenzia Fides. Fr. Ryan Joseph also says: “We told the faithful: look for the poor and needy, of any religion, in your neighborhoods and help them; buy food for poor families and live the spirit of Easter with authentic charity. I invite each one to help at least two families facing financial difficulties during this lockdown due to Covid-19”.

Fr. Joseph, who is also broadcasting mass and adoration online daily on Facebook, informs: “On our behalf, we have supported 150 needy families, especially those who work day by day and now do not earn because of the lockdown. And we are trying to increase the number of families who need help”.

Fr. Arthur Charles, parish priest of the church of Sant’Antonio of the Archdiocese of Karachi, speaking with Fides, reports: “Our pastoral team is working to provide food packages containing 5 kg of rice, 5 kg of wheat flour, 3 kg of sugar, 3 kg of different types of lentils, oil to 900 families in the parish who live below the poverty line”.

Robin Patras, a Christian, together with his team from Aaron Inc. is committed to helping 300 families in the suburbs of Karachi. Robin tells Fides: “Together with my friends I have taken this initiative to help these needy people. We see the joy that these people have after receiving food aid”. And he continues: “We are contacting the people who asked us for help; in families where you live with day labor you suffer a lot. I think that the aid, intended for families of different faiths, represents a sign of hope”.

In the Archdiocese of Lahore, Archbishop Sebastian Francis Shaw donated 15,000 face masks for the poor and needy of the city, particularly to the city’s health workers. Archbishop Sebastian Shaw told Fides: “In these difficult times, we must stay close to our people. We are working hard to protect people from coronavirus. We are with our government and will make every effort to combat Covid-19”.

Fr. Ashraf Gill, priest at the head of the Parish of St. James in the Archdiocese of Lahore brings bags of food supplies and face masks to various areas of the parish every day. He tells Fides: “We believe it is our responsibility to reach out to people, especially 950 needy families who live in the parish, with food and face masks”.

With the help of his pastoral group, Fr. James Castellino, Rector of St. Francis Xavier Cathedral in Hyderabad, distributed food rations to 150 families in his parish. The priest declares to Fides: “I am grateful to God for the contribution of our parishioners, who helped us collect 225,000 Pakistani rupees (about 1,250 euros) to support the families of those who work with daily wages”.

Alongside the commitment of the parishes, there is the coordinated action of Caritas Pakistan which has distributed 250 safety kits to Caritas staff, volunteers and field workers to protect them during operations in the area.

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