(Welcome to Pune on May 27, 2021)
Greetings from the Home of Love!
I hope and pray that all of you are keeping in good health. We all hoped that Easter 2021 would bring an end to the Covid 19 pandemic. It was not to be. During this pandemic, the battle between life and death has continued; and many victims have succumbed to the sting of death. The entire pandemic situation across the world is deadly. But, as Christians with deep faith in Our Lord’s resurrection, we are invited to revisit our mission of saving people either from the clutches of the evil one or from calamities. For us, the challenge is how to help people to save their lives from this pandemic. ‘Saving life’ by observing Covid 19 protocols is the mission of the government. We must and shall remain obliged to the Covid 19 protocols stipulated by the government.
Amidst these ups and downs, life must go on. Thus, after our staff meeting held on March 24, 2021, we prepared a tentative timetable for reopening our seminary, as follows:
· On 27th May 2021 – Arrival to Papal Seminary (except for the IV-year theologians).
· On arrival itself, 7-day quarantine.
· On 28th May 2021 – Brief orientation in different groups.
· From 29th (evening) to 5th May (June) – Six-day retreat (separate for philosophers and separate retreat for theologians).
· On 6th June – Orientation.
· On 7th June – JD reopens its academic year.
Please note that this is a tentative timetable. Depending on the pandemic situation in Pune, the timetable may be revisited and you shall be informed accordingly. As of now, we are very hopeful to begin our academic year with our in-house formation. Please pray earnestly that the pandemic situation across the world comes under control and the normal life begins. Of course, vaccines are available and the plans for distributing the vaccines to different age groups have been rolled out. However, at the moment the vaccines do not replace the standard social distancing, wearing masks, sanitization and forming or visiting crowded places.
On 14th April, the Maharashtra State government has announced a set of new guidelines for the current lockdown which is already in force since April 14th (night) and it will go on up to May 1st, 2021. Therefore, I request you not to book your tickets, till the further communication from Papal Seminary. In our good faith, we hope to reopen our seminary on 27th May. In case of another lockdown in May, then we may postpone our reopening by a week or two. It absolutely depends on the pandemic situation at that time. Therefore, as a precaution, in order not to lose money by cancellation of tickets, we suggest not to book your tickets right now, but to wait until May 1st, 2021. We are of course very hopeful to reopen our Seminary as scheduled. We need to intensify our prayers.
I am sure that all of you are aware of the current pandemic situation in Maharashtra, especially in Pune through the print and social media. However, I thought of putting the certain facts together for your prayer and reflection:
1. According to yesterday's (14.4.21) report of the National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune, the 361 Covid-19 samples taken for genome sequencing from the laboratories in Maharashtra from January to March had shown double mutation of the virus. However, the given sample number cannot determine the spread of the mutated virus.
2. Many doctors claim that the virus is back; and this time the second wave has surfaced with more vigour, tactics and camouflage.
3. Symptoms are very deceptive: one may neither cough nor have fever, but might have pain in the joints, weakness, loss of appetite and Covid pneumonia.
4. This time the death rate is higher than the last year; it takes less time to get to the extreme.
5. The strain directly affects the lungs, which means window periods are shortened.
6. It is observed that the nasal swab is often negative for Covid 19 and there are more and more false pharyngeal nasal tests, which means that the virus spreads directly to the lungs, leading to acute respiratory distress, more fatal!
7. The current pandemic state in Pune is very critical and of great concern in many ways.
8. Pune is now the world's most affected city by pandemic with over 100K active cases of Covid-19.
9. According to some doctors, in the next 15 days, the number of Covid cases could run into lakhs.
10. There will be a huge mismatch between the number of Covid patients and the beds available in the hospitals for the treatment. Currently, some patients are being treated in the corridors.
11. In his speech on 14th April, the Chief Minister of Maharashtra acknowledged that the state will not have sufficient medical staff (Doctors, Nurses and health workers) to treat Covid patients because the number will be very huge. Moreover, he said that the state is training Asha workers, Aganwadi Teachers and some personnel from police and military force to offer basic medical assistance to Covid patients.
12. In the coming two-three weeks’ time the pandemic situation in Pune is expected to be much worse – beyond our imagination.
13. These days, the number of deaths caused by the Covid is surging on a big scale. For cremation, the corpses are lying in the queue for hours and days together.
Dear brothers, I am sharing with you the current pandemic situation in Pune, so that you pray to God, asking God to intervene in this pandemic situation immediately and restore human life back to normal as early as possible. You know that the information about Covid 19, which is shared by different scientists based on their data and studies, is very alarming and deadly. Whatever reason/s may be there behind the origins and spread of the coronavirus, the number of deaths and the funerals / burials is saddening. This is certainly the time to put our hearts and heads together and plead our Creator to save His creation from this pandemic. Let us all rededicate ourselves to our Mission of Saving Life. I end this sharing with an assurance of my prayers for each of you and for your parents.
· Please share this information or forward this information to the newcomers from your respective dioceses.
· This email is marked to Your Archbishops and Bishops for information.