• Wartakanlah Injil kepada segala makhluk.
    Mrk 16:15

  • 你们往普天下去, 向一切受造物宣传福音
    谷 16:15

  • Everything is possible by the power of the Holy Spirit’s Grace.
    St Arnold Janssen

  • Segala sesuatu menjadi mungkin dalam kekuatan karunia Roh Kudus.
    St. Arnold Janssen

  • 我当传教士不是为主牺牲,而是上主给我的最大恩赐
    圣福若瑟神父

  • Với sức mạnh Ân Huệ của Chúa Thánh Thần, Mọi việc đều có thể được.
    St Arnoldus Janssen

  • Preach the Gospel to the whole creation./Anh em hãy đi khắp tứ phương thiên hạ, loan báo Tin Mừng cho mọi loài thọ tạo
    Mk 16:15

  • There are many different gifts, but it is always the same Spirit.
    1 Cor 12:4

  • And the Word became flesh and lived among us.
    Jn 1:14

  • Let the word of Christ, in all its richness, find a home with you.
    Col 3:16

  • To proclaim the Good News is the first and greatest act of love of neighbour.
    St Arnold Janssen

  • 传扬天国福音是第一且最大的爱近人行动
    圣杨生•爱诺德神父

  • Có nhiều đặc sủng khác nhau, nhưng chỉ có một Thần Khí/
    1 Cor. 14:4

  • 圣言成了血肉,寄居在我们中间
    若 1:14

  • Ada rupa-rupa karunia, tetapi Roh satu
    1 Kor 12:4

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Tuesday, 29 September 2020 12:29

First-hand view of India's pandemic crisis for Fr Raja

 

Raja Farewell Mass 550When Fr Rajaskhar Reddy SVD, found himself stranded at home in India during the COVID border closures, he saw first-hand how hard-hit the Indian people were by the impacts of the virus.

Fr Raja was in India for three months’ home-leave at the beginning of this year and was due to return to his parish in Thailand in March, but just a week before his departure, Thailand announced it was closing its borders.

“I was hoping to be back in Thailand before Holy Week to have my last Easter celebrations with my parishioners before I left for higher studies in June,” he says.

Instead, it wasn’t until July 30 that he was able to return to Thailand.

Fr Raja was staying with his family in the southern part of India in the state of Andhra Pradesh.

He says the local people in the rural area were heavily affected by the restrictions necessitated to control the coronavirus, which has so far infected more than six million people and resulted in 95, 500 deaths across India.

“It was a terrifying experience for the people to be told to stay at home and not to do their daily duties,” he says.

“Social distancing was a big problem and not using masks was another problem. Asking people to be at home was another tough thing, as people need to earn their daily food.

“The virus hit at harvest time, so the farmers needed to get out of the house to earn their daily bread. People here don’t get money from the government as people in Australia do from CentreLink.”

Raja with nuns CaptureFr Raja says he was in regular contact with the Embassy of Thailand regarding the cancellation of his flight tickets.

“I was also taking care of five religious sisters who came to India from Thailand for English studies,” he says.

“There were lots of arrangements to be made to try to get them back to Thailand and through the quarantine process.

“Meanwhile, the churches were closed and transport was affected. For a while, I was able to help out in offering Masses for the people in the village, but when the churches closed, I had an opportunity to stay in the minor seminary and help out there.”

Fr Raja says his return to Thailand was complicated by immigration issues and when he did get back, he entered quarantine for 16 days before returning to the SVD community house. The local bishop allowed him to return to ministry after 45 days back in Thailand.

“Finally, I went to say a farewell Mass with my parishioners who I had left behind eight months ago,” he says.

“Right now I am preparing myself to go for higher studies beginning in November and I am back at the SVD community house, helping out in in SVD parishes.”

Fr Raja says his experience in India during the pandemic has taught him some lessons about life.

“This pandemic has taught me a lot personally – to live life meaningfully, to care more for the people when families are distancing themselves, and to use my time properly and fruitfully,” he says.

Fr Raja also thanked the SVD AUS Province and Provincial, who allowed him to return to Thailand to undertake his studies.

PHOTOS

TOP RIGHT: Fr Raja is pictured at the Farewell Mass with his parishioners in Thailand, which was delayed for several months while he was stranded in India.

BOTTOM LEFT: Fr Raja with the Thai nuns he was helping during the pandemic crisis. They were in India learning English.