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People wearing protective face masks in Bangladesh People wearing protective face masks in Bangladesh 

Priests and religious in Bangladesh receive vital aid from ACN UK

The Pontifical Foundation "Aid to the Church in Need UK" sends PPE for priests and religious who are helping some of the poorest families in Bangladesh.

By Vatican News

The UK office of Aid to the Church in Need has announced a raft of initiatives to help the Church in its response to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Aiding the most vulnerable

One of those projects involves keeping priests and religious in Bangladesh’s Barisal Diocese safe from the disease as they go about their pastoral work tending to those hardest hit by the pandemic.

Speaking to ACN, Bishop Lawrence Subrato Howlader of the diocese of Barisal said, “As soon as the pandemic started, the Barisal Catholic Diocese tried to stand by the people so that they could control the spread of coronavirus.”

Bishop Howlader added, “With protective equipment (PPE), the parish priests feel secure to respond to sick calls and provide viaticum, go to funerals. The religious who are nurses feel confident to take care of patients with safety and without spreading the virus.”

COVID in Bangladesh

According to the Bishop, the diocese has been in consultation with medical experts and every parish will benefit from PPE and medicines.

As of July 22, Bangladesh reported 2,744 new COVID-19 cases, taking the total to 213,254. There have also been 2,751 deaths.

Earlier this month, Archbishop Moses Costa of Chittagong, in south-east Bangladesh, died in a hospital in the capital Dhaka, after suffering a series of strokes. He had recently recovered from COVID-19.

Many people in the country have suffered severe economic hardship as a result of the lockdown imposed to stem the spread of the disease. Bishop Howlader explained that people “cannot go for work and therefore, no salary is given to them. Farmers and small traders are also in trouble, as they cannot sell their products without transportation. Without any income families are starving.”

Other aid packages

Other projects ACN is supporting include: “subsistence aid for the Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus who are supporting poor communities in rural areas of Uganda during the pandemic, the formation of the novices at Argentina’s Abba Padre Monastery, and the renovation of the Greek Catholic church in Beius, Romania.”

22 July 2020, 13:51