“We Will Rise With Faith, Not Fear!”: Bishop Henry D’Souza

The following is the full text of the circular of Bishop Henry D'Souza, Bishop of Bellary.

01. "Fight Corona united, through solidarity": Pope Francis
"In these trying days, while humanity trembles due to the threat of the pandemic, I would like to propose to all Christians that together we lift our voices towards Heaven," appeals Pope Francis. "Let us remain united. Let us make our closeness felt toward those persons who are the most lonely and tried", adds Pope. The only way to survive this situation, he says, is by sticking together. Pope Francis invites us to live this moment "with penance, compassion and hope", showing solidarity with those who suffer.

The Pope emphasizes the importance of prayer, recalling how the Apostles turn to Jesus to save them during the storm (Mark 4:35-41). "It is the cry of those who are sinking, who feel they are in danger and alone. And in a difficult, desperate situation, it is important to know that the Lord is there to cling to". "Prayer helps us understand our vulnerability", he says.

Pope Francis also addresses the consequences of the corona virus pandemic for our future. The current crisis will help to remind us “once and for all, that humanity is a single community", he says. It will teach us that "universal kinship” is important and critical. "It will no longer be 'them'. It will be 'us', because we can only come out of this situation together".

02. Appeal to assist those affected by Covid-19
We earnestly appeal to all our priests, the religious, individuals and institutions to assist all the needy – neglected, migrants, labourers, and elderly etc. who are affected by Covid-19 or by the nation-wide shut down. Let strive our best to ensure that no one suffers due to neglect, deprivation and isolation. The following are the diocesan help lines:

- Medical assistance : 9886282745 (St. Mary's Hospital)
- Other assistance : 8296392049 (BDDS)
- Karnataka State Emergency services: 104
- Ballari: 08392-277100, WhatsApp: 8277888866,
- Koppal: 08539-221303 & Raichur: 08532-226020

03. Live Streaming of Sunday Mass and Holy Week Liturgy
A team is working on live streaming of Sunday Mass and the Holy Week ceremonies from the Deeksha Bhavan chapel. Pl access:
Please encourage the faithful to use the already available broadcasts.

04. Holy Week Liturgies
In compliance with the strict nation-wide shut-down regulations imposed by the Government because of the corona virus pandemic and in accordance with the guidelines given by the Holy See, the liturgies of Holy Week and Easter will be celebrated as stated below.

"By the mandate of the supreme pontiff for the year 2020 only", the Pontifical Congregation for Sacraments and Worship, issued guidelines for celebrating the Triduum and Easter liturgies with very limited or without the presence of the faithful.

"Easter is at the heart of the entire liturgical year and is not simply one feast among others. The Easter Triduum is celebrated over the arc of three days, which is preceded by Lent and crowned by Pentecost and, therefore, cannot be transferred to another time," says the “Decree in the Time of COVID-19.”

Where public Masses have been cancelled, the decree says, the bishops, in agreement with their bishops' conference, should ensure that the Holy Week liturgies are celebrated in the parish churches and in suitable places. The faithful should be advised of the times for the celebrations, so that they can pray at home at the same time.

"Live, not recorded, tele-visual or internet broadcasts are helpful," the decree says. Therefore, pastors shall celebrate Holy Week liturgies in their respective churches with those in the campus or without the people. The chaplains may celebrate the Holy Week liturgies in their respective communities. The priests residing within the parish boundaries may join the worship in the parish church.

4.1 Chrism Mass
The Chrism Mass will be celebrated at 5.30 PM on Thursday, April 2, 2020 as announced in the last circular. However, it will be celebrated in the chapel of Deeksha Bhavan, not in the cathedral church. Similarly, Bishop will be celebrating the Holy Week ceremonies in the chapel of Deeksha Bhavan.

4.2. Palm Sunday - The Commemoration of the Lord's Entrance into Jerusalem is to be celebrated within sacred buildings; in parish churches and in other places the third form in the Roman Missal is to be used.

4.2. Holy Thursday - The Mass of the Lord’s Supper should be celebrated in the parish churches with the faithful in the campus or even without the faithful present. "The faculty to celebrate this Mass in a suitable place, without the people, avoiding concelebration and omitting the sign of peace, is granted in an exceptional manner to all priests” this year decree says. "The washing of feet, which is already optional, is to be omitted," when there are no faithful present, it says. The traditional procession with the Blessed Sacrament at the end of the Mass also is omitted, and the Eucharist is placed directly in the tabernacle.

4.3. Good Friday - If there is any way to do so, the decree says, the Liturgy of the Lord's Passion should be celebrated and, among the formal prayers of petition, there should be "a special intention for the sick, the dead, for those who feel lost or dismayed." The kissing of the cross be done only by the celebrant and all others venerate the cross by genuflection or profound bow.

4.4. Easter Vigil is celebrated without the faithful present, the preparation and lighting of the fire is omitted, but the Easter candle is still lit and the "Exultet" Easter proclamation is sung or recited. The Easter Vigil may be anticipated to 7.30 PM.

05. Appeal to pastors
We urge all pastors to reside in their respective places throughout the Holy Week and be available for pastoral care. We appeal to all pastors and chaplains to FULLY abide by the restrictions imposed by the civil authorities in their movements, gatherings and celebrations. The regulation on maintaining social distance should be complied strictly in all places. Also, we urge all parish priests and community leaders to arrange and disseminate relevant information to their faithful through the means of social media, so that "they can prayerfully unite themselves in their homes" via live broadcast or streaming, wherever possible. Family heads and adults in the families should be encouraged to explain to the other members, especially the little ones the religious significance of the rites that under normal conditions would be celebrated in the church with the assembly present.

The Catholic families should be urged to read the suitable passages from the Holy Scriptures, to follow the liturgical worship on the social media disseminated at real time, to conduct the devotions to the family members, and to conduct family and personal prayer, when they cannot attend the community liturgical celebrations. On Good Friday, Catholics are encouraged to gather around a crucifix, read the Passion (John 18-19) and conduct the Way of the Cross. On the evening of Paschal Vigil, families are also invited to light a lamp/candle, sing traditional songs, and read the Gospel of the Resurrection (John 20).

6.1. Health tips – Doctor's simple self-monitoring method
Take a deep breath in a fresh air environment and hold your breath for at least 10 seconds. If you can do it successfully without coughing and without chest tightness, it shows that you do not have fibrosis and generally indicate no chest infection. Drinking warm water or other fluids often helps to wash down the virus into the stomach, preventing it from entering the lungs. Let us keep away Covid-19 and fear. Christ is risen, Halleluiah!

6.2. W.H.O. tips to stay healthy:

1. Eat healthy and nutritious diet enhances immune system.
2. Limit alcohol consumption and avoid sugary drinks.
3. Don’t smoke, it only worsens the virus infection.
4. Do physical exercise daily - 30 min. for adults or 60 min. for children.
5. If you are working from home, make sure you don’t sit in the same position for long periods. Get up and take a 3 min. break every 30 min.
6. Look after your mental health: It is normal to feel stressed, confused and scared during a crisis. Talking to people you know and trust can help.
7. Keep a safe distance from others. Supporting other people in your community helps you as much as it does them.
8. Check on neighbours, family and friends. Compassion is a medicine.
9. Listen to music, read a book, or play a game, and try not to read or watch too much news if it makes you anxious.
10. Covid-19 is taking so much from us; but it's also giving us something special - the opportunity to come together as one humanity - to work together, to learn together and to grow together!


Wishing all of you
A grace filled Holy Week and
A Glorious Easter!

With best wishes and prayers,

+ Henry D'Souza
Bishop of Bellary

Our Patron
St Anthony of Padua