Christian faithful in India are committed to serving the nation in this moment of crisis created by the Coronavirus pandemic. “In India, the lockdown of almost a month represents a challenge: on a social, economic and medical level. The situation is more serious for the poor, the homeless, the tribals, the Dalits and Religious minority groups whose lives, even in normal times, are difficult. At the moment, no specific guidelines or economic packages have been announced to guarantee survival,” says the Evangelical Fellowship of India [EFI], an organization that brings together 65 thousand Christian communities across India, in a message sent to Agenzia Fides, the Vatican’s Mission news source. “Many migrant workers have been blocked in their workplaces. There is no transport home, no wages to buy food and no shelter,” notes the organization, making an appeal to the authorities to “act with empathy.”
Today this Christian community in India “takes on the responsibility of guiding the nation in hope and spiritual strength in the fight against the threats of Covid-19. The coincidence of this crisis with the Lent season is an opportunity to unite forces with the authorities in this common struggle.” On March 29, 2020, the faithful experienced a special day of prayer and fasting for India. “History tells us that the Church has been at the forefront of serving society during the pandemic. Alongside our prayers there is a commitment to be promoters of hope and to alleviate the suffering that surrounds us, both for material and psychological needs.”
Many members of the Christian communities have “taken care” of the poor and needy in the communities: young people contact the elderly and people who need help, near their homes, helping them to get the necessary food and materials. Numerous Christian-run institutions such as schools, colleges, hostels, seminaries and Churches in various cities are making the premises available as places of refuge for migrant workers or people in need, while all Christian hospitals and clinics are already offering a valuable contribution in the care of the sick. “We are confident that local city authorities will appreciate this help,” notes EFI.
Also, on a food safety level, some Christian communities and associations intend to prepare food and pack it in disposable containers, distributing it to the homeless or needy people.
Finally, “the lockdown can also be a blessed moment for families, to strengthen the human and spiritual bond within each family,” EFI says. “We welcome this time as a gift from God in the awareness that even if the building of worship is closed, the Church can never be closed: wherever we are, we are the Church of God,” concludes the organization.