BIS #6178 Dakor 'Pandemic Chronicle'

by Father Ajay Shelke for BISMumbai

From March onwards, times changed here in India with COVID-19 spreading from other countries and reaching us. Here at Dakor, we also felt the effects of the lockdown. Still our parish did what we could during these times.


Because of COVID-19 and the lockdown announced by the government it was not possible to organize any religious activity in this critical condition. So, Father Bastin planned a 24-hours chain prayer in the Dakor Parish. It began on 29 March at 08.00 am and ended on 04 April. To each family one hour was given for prayer. Rajubhai followed up the chain prayer. Day and night, he gave reminders ten minutes before, to the head of the family to be ready for prayer. When the family had completed the prayer, they immediately send photos/videos in the village whatsapp group. There was a good response from the parishioners. All the parishioners from ten villages enthusiastically took part. At night also, they took part with their full family.

RELIEF WORK - 03 May 2020:

The cases of Covid–19 is increasing in the Gujarat state day by day. In this difficult situation of rising cases and lockdown, people were locked in their houses and were not able to come out according to the rules and regulations of the Gujarat Government.

In the first phase of the lock down of COVID-19, the Dakor Salesian Society was unable to reach out to the villages. In the second phase, the Dakor Salesian Society took the initiative to reach out to those who are in need. Hence free ration by the Dakor Salesian Society was distributed on 3rd May 2020 to the poor and needy families, especially the widows of the 11 villages of Dakor area. They were given 42 kits of 5 kg rice, 1.5 kg dal and one Dettol-soap.

ONLINE MASS: From June we started the online Mass everyday morning at 07.30 am. According to the monthly planner, Daily Masses are celebrated each week, by the different Priests of the community.

HOLY COMMUNION SERVICE: The corona virus was increasing day by day in Gujarat. We had to obey and follow the Government & Ahmedabad Diocese rules. It was not possible to celebrate the Holy Eucharist in the villages. On the other side, some people are very faithful. They were asking for Holy Communion, and so Father Bastin started giving Holy Communion to the sick and the old. Later, he started giving Holy Communion to the whole family, keeping in mind that the corona virus will take more time to go away.

RELIEF WORK: 10 August 2020. In the second round, Father Bastin and Raju Parmar surveyed the parish and found out the neediest families. We found 60 families who were very poor and had lost their jobs during lockdown. 60 kits were distributed to the poor families in the 10 villages of Dakor parish. These ration kits were sponsored by the Bombay Province. We continue to pray for them and support them in their present crisis.

Every 2nd Saturday of the month there was Healing Adoration at 07.00 pm.

ONLINE HEALING ADORATION: Added to that, on other Sundays also, online Healing Adoration was conducted in the centre at 07.00 pm by Fathers Bastin Thomas & Matthew Kattara on different themes.

ONLINE MOTHER MARY NOVENA: 30 August – 07 September

During the Novena of Mother Mary, the soft copy of the Novena was sent to the parishioners on WhatsApp group. There was online Novena Mass from 30 August to 07 September at 07.00 pm on the occasion of the Nativity of Mother Mary. The sermons were on the apparitions and the shrines of our Lady during the Novena Mass.

ONLINE FEAST MASS : 08 September - Nativity of Mother Mary

Father Ashwin Macwan was the main celebrant at the Feast Day Mass at 07.00 pm. He garlanded the statue of Mother Mary. and then celebrated the online feast Mass for the parishioners. He gave the homily on God's plan for Mary. He spoke about the four parts of human life - Physical, Mental, Spiritual and Social. He nicely explained these parts and tried to increase faith in Mother Mary. Finally Father Bastin thanked him, on behalf of the fathers and sisters of the parish.

Though people are unsettled with what is happening, efforts are made to keep the faith alive and to continue drawing people close to God. Waiting eagerly for the good old days to come back, for God will make everything well ‘in His time'.

[Article published as received]