Some religious in Jakarta, including our friars, have done some preventive actions against the spread of COVID-19. Friars of St. Paschal Parish in Cempaka Putih, Jakarta joined the action on Saturday, March 21, led by Fr. Jimmy Tnomat, OFM, who cooperated with Camat (the local district government), Koramil (the military headquarters at the district level), Wakapolsek (the police deputy chief), and the head of the public health centre. Together they sprayed disinfectant liquid in the church’s interior, the surrounding areas, and the parish house. The parish has already been preparing hand sanitizers, disinfectant liquid, and food for those in need.
Sanitizing works were held in St. Paul parish church in Depok, West Java, St. Joseph Orphanage and Mary the Angels parish in Cipanas, West Java. Fr. Anton Widarto, OFM in Depok and Fr. Widiyaryoso, OFM in Cipanas were involved in these actions. They were working in collaboration with some institutions. Friars in Cipanas Parish worked hand in hand with TNI (the Indonesian National Army) members and Polri (the Indonesian Police Department) members to monitor the sanitizing actions against COVID-19.
The Franciscan friars in Lampung Barat (West Lampung), in the Sumatra Island, were conducting the same actions on Sunday, March 22. Dandim (the commander of the local army unit) and Kapolres (the chief of the local police department) of Lampung Barat made visits to some worship places, including St. Theodore Parish, in Liwa. They appreciated the efforts made by our friars in response to the spread of COVID-19.
The friars’ involvement in this current situation in the local community have demonstrated their concern with the common wellbeing amid the soaring numbers of tested positive people for COVID-19. Referring to Kompas newspaper (March, 23), the government’s spokesperson for special case of COVID-19, Mr. Achmad Yurianto, released an update of the increasing numbers of positive tested people for COVID-19 that hit 579 cases. “There are 65 new cases of COVID-19, adding to the total number of nationwide infected people becomes 579 to date,” said Yuri in the press conference at Graha BNPB, on Monday evening. Based on the data per 12:00 am, Monday, Jakarta contributes 353 cases to the total number of the victims. This number is an increase of 44 cases compared to 309 cases per 12:00 am, on Sunday, March 22. Meanwhile, the appeal to work from home and doing social distancing have been shouted out by the authorities.
The Franciscan communities in Jakarta, such as Provincial house and two formation houses, St. Francis monastery in Kramat and St. Anthony of Padua monastery in Rawasari, ran sanitizing actions against COVID-19 by spraying disinfectant liquid to the houses.
These efforts done by the friars demonstrated their concern and critical response to the current situation. In some extent, the letter from the Minister Provincial has encouraged them to do all preventive efforts to protect themselves and other people from this infectious virus. Citing from the Minister General’s letter on March 12, 2020, the friars remember that, “…for those of us living in countries that are to date disproportionately affected, I wish to encourage you to remain strong in your faith. For those living in countries experiencing fewer infections, remain vigilant in all things…”
Pace e Bene
Translated by Br Vincent & Br. Titus