On Sunday, March 22, 2020, I sent an e-mail to Fr. Michael Perry, OFM. I reported the current situation in our Province and the Foundation of Timor Leste concerning the massive spread of the new Coronavirus. At the same day, the Minister General responded to my e-mail and greeted all the brothers in the Province of St. Michael the Archangel, Indonesia and those brothers in the Foundation of St. Antonio de Lisboa, Timor Leste. Please kindly read his e-mail below:
Michael A. Perry
My dear Brother Michael, dear friars of the Province of St. Michael in Indonesia,
May the Lord give you peace!
Thank you very much for your email in which you describe the current situation in the region of your Province. I am sure that you much like all of us here in Rome are still struggling to try to understand how such a virus could spread so quickly, infecting so many people, and leading to many unfortunate deaths. This past week in Washington, DC, the first OFM victim, Bro. John-Sebastian, who had recently transferred from the Custody of the Holy Land to the Province of the Immaculate Conception in New York. While most of our friars have to date been spared infection by the virus, there are many other religious congregations and Orders that are beginning to deal with serious infection rates among their religious members.
It is most prudent that you have instructed the friars to remain close to home, not to welcome or engage with people from the outside, respect government norms, and practice the type of personal hygiene required to fight the new Coronavirus. Undoubtedly, as the days and weeks drag on, it will become more difficult to respect these necessary norms and restrictions but I hope that the friars will have the courage to do so. Your suggestion to the friars – indeed to all of us in the Order – to take more time to pray for other friars, for all victims, and for protection of those not infected is an excellent idea. On a personal note, I have increased my personal prayer time, a necessary and good step for all of us.
May God continue to bless and keep safe all of the friars in the Province and also in the Foundation in Timor Leste. You are all in my prayers. With the grace of God and the well-guided efforts of the medical and research communities, a vaccine will be developed. In the meantime, taking all necessary precautions for maintaining social distance and avoiding all unnecessary movement outside of our fraternities will help reduce the possibility for spread of the virus.
God bless and protect you all in His loving mercy!
Bro. Michael Perry, OFM
Minister General and Servant