The world is experiencing the worst of the pandemics in the living memory. Literally every human being on earth is affected by it – directly or indirectly. We are all affected by it psychologically, emotionally, physically and economically. More than 1.3 million people have been tested positive while, perhaps, another million are positive, but not yet tested. So far we have witnessed more than 76,500 deaths worldwide. So far Australia has seen 48 deaths out of the 5,908 positive cases and India has recorded 137 deaths out of the 4,908 known positive cases. The figures are changing by the hour.
We have been a blessed community thus far and no one has fallen ill from among our parish community by God’s mercy. His Word reminds us,
“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze” (Is. 43:2)
We continue to trust in him and do what we can to ease the pain and misery of people around us. We are protected by the precious blood of Jesus Christ at home and at our work places because we have never ceased to call upon His Holy Name. “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14). Ever since the movement restrictions have been imposed by the government, we have increased the hours of prayer at our church and more and more people are finding time to join these prayers via Zoom. Our prayers are being answered and the numbers are going down with God’s mercy and, doubtlessly, human efforts. “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Is 41:10).
The Parish Council has recently formed a response team to offer assistance to anyone suffering because of Covid -19 situation. The team has identified certain areas where we can help the needy as a community. As you are aware, some people have lost their jobs, some have unexpected emergencies at home and some have lost their rental home. We have been approached for help by some people in the parish. The team is planning to offer help in the following areas:
- Assist with immediate needs of food and utilities
- Offer a helping hand with small amounts of cash for short term relief and survival
- Emotional and medical support through counselling and medicines
- Providing temporary accommodation in extreme necessities
As you are aware the parish doesn’t have a contingent fund that could be utilised for such eventualities. We are reminded of Jesus’ words “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did it for me” (Mt 25:40). During this most Holy Week of the year, if the Spirit of the Lord inspires you to contribute an amount to reduce the pain and misery of those affected by Covid -19 and its consequences, please be generous in giving to the fund that will be utilised right here within the boundaries of the parish to the most deserving of those who approach us. We will make sure that every dollar that you contribute will go to the right hands and any surplus that will be collected will be kept in the parish relief fund for any similar future necessities.
We foresee a surge in requests for help in the months of May and June as many other organisations are currently offering help to those in need. We should stand in readiness to help when their resources dry up and people will turn to us for help. Our first priority is to help families and individuals from our parish community and then, if fund allows, anyone from our extended Kerala community living in and around Brisbane. Please forward any request for help related to Covid -19 to the response team through me or your ward representative as soon as you come across them.
We have a separate bank account for charitable purposes in our parish. If you wish to make a contribution to this cause, please make a bank transfer to the below parish account:
Account Name: St.Thomas Relief Fund
BSB Number: 064 786
Account Number: 524160102
Please consider to reach out to anyone in need in your own little ways from the abundance of grace that you have graciously received from the good Lord. This is the hour of action and if not now, when? This tiny virus has reminded us all how fragile we are and how worthless the material possessions can be when our life is in danger. Trust in His promise, “For with God nothing shall be impossible” (Lk 1:37) and “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus” (Phil 4:19). He declares, “My people will be filled with my bounty” (Jer 31:14). The source of all that we have is our good and merciful Lord.
Wishing you all the grace of the Holy Week and the joy of the upcoming Easter, I remain.
Kind regards and thanks for your generosity,
Fr. Abraham Kazhunady
St Thomas the Apostle Parish, Brisbane South
8th April 2020