Oblates Always With the Needy

Bangladesh

By Mike Viola

(Reported by By Fr. Valentine Talang, OMI)

Fr. Talang providing supplies to a local

Father Valentine Talang, OMI is a missionary in rural areas of Bangladesh.  Here he writes about the impact of Covid-19 on the villages where he ministers.

“The horrific consequences of Covid-19 affects thousands of people and families here.  They lost their jobs and businesses.  Many of our people could not continue their daily work.  They also have to pay higher prices for their everyday goods.  They have to spend extra money to buy hand sanitizers, masks, soap and follow the austere lockdown requirements.”

“The positive lesson of Covid-19 is to be closer and surrender to God and nature.  It gives us the opportunity to stand and have concern for our fellow brothers and sisters.  As Oblates we have the privilege to be with the poor with their many faces.  We are united in prayer.  We stand and accompany our people through different awareness programs and relief activities with the support of our Oblate friends and donors.”

“So far we distributed food to nearly 1,000 families during the Covid-19 period.  We have given food to our needy Christian, Hindu and Muslim famie Holy Cross Sisters and other religious collaborate in our relief activities.  We also visit our people regularly and give them proper medical instructions.” 

Local people heading home with supplies

“Most of our faithful are indigenous people.  They live in the punjees (Khasi villages in the hills) and on tea estates.  They are the unprivileged communities in Bangladesh.  As we came to know about this virus we started to give them awareness of Covid-19.  In order to protect them we educated them to use masks, wash hands with soap, keep social distance, avoid public gatherings and follow government and medical instructions.”

“Father Joseph Gomes, O.M.I. is very dedicated, courageous and works on the frontlines.  He ventures fearlessly helping in these awareness programs in the villages.”

Fr. Talang offers hand sanitizer to a student

We also gave our St. Eugene Human Formation Development Center to be used as a quarantine center for our people.  The people at our quarantine center are using it for quarantine periods since there are no other quarantine houses in the surrounding communities.  The people appreciate our Oblate community for our concern for their needs.”

“Covid-19 taught me to be closer to our people and be their good shepherd always.  May Mother Mary be with the Oblates and all others who are trying to be of help to the most needy at this moment.”