Let us pray, "Father, Make This Cup Pass": Bishop Henry D'Souza

The following is the full text of Bishop Henry D’Souza’s circular dated 4 March 2020:
01. Request to join the nation in solidarity
As announced by the Prime Minister of India, we request all our parish priests, heads of institutions and religious communities to join in solidarity with the people of India by lighting lamps or candles at 9.00 PM on Palm Sunday, April 5, conducting prayer, preferably Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament in all our churches and chapels, without people being present, praying for early deliverance from the Covid-19. We urge all the Catholic families to light lamps at their family altars and to join the live streaming of the prayer from the Bishop’s House, or pray on their own as a family.

02. Celebration of Holy Week Liturgy
As announced in the last circular dated 26.03.2020, we urge all our priests to celebrate the 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.

That the Holy Week liturgies be celebrated in the parish churches and in suitable places, informing the faithful 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 may be used. 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.

03. Live Streaming of Holy Week Liturgy
Holy Week ceremonies presided by the Bishop shall be live streamed for the benefit of our people. Please encourage the faithful to access it at
Palm Sunday : 7.30 AM and 9.00 PM
H.W. Monday : 7.00 AM and 7.30 PM
H.W. Tuesday : 7.00 AM and 7.30 PM
H.W. Wednesday : 7.00 AM and 7.30 PM
Holy Thursday : 5.30 PM
Good Friday : 3.30 PM
Easter Vigil : 7.30 PM
Easter Sunday : 7.30 AM & 7.30 PM

04. Appeal to priests
We request all parish priests to postpone baptisms (unless in emergency) and nuptials until the nationwide restriction is lifted. Funerals be held in compliance with the regulations. We urge all priests to reside in their respective places throughout the Holy Week and be available for people. 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.

It’s an excellent opportunity to make our catholic homes mini-churches. Therefore, family heads and adults in the families should be encouraged to explain to the other members, especially the little ones the religious meaning 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).

05. 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 us 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

BDDS Director has been authorized to mobilize resources in cash and kind from all institutions and individuals to provide relief to those infected and affected by Covid-19. Please cooperate generously and joyfully.

06. Diocesan response today
• Through our charitable institutions care for the aged and the orphans is continued.

• Fully complying with the civil restrictions, all liturgical services, retreats, novenas, conventions and animation programmes have been suspended in all churches until further orders.

• Priests have been requested to celebrate the daily Mass in their respective churches without the presence of the people. Priests and the religious continue to conduct Adoration of the Bl. Sacrament, Prayer of the Church, the Way of the Cross and other devotions, without people attending.

• Daily live streaming of Morning Prayer and Holy Mass in the morning and recitation of rosary and Adoration of Bl. Sacrament is done from the Bishop’s House.

• Help-lines to assist people in need - medical and social are put in place.

• Kept ready isolated wards in St. Mary's Hospital for any emergency cases.

• Obtained NGO empanelment of the Diocese and BDDS with the district administration to assist in relief work.

• Offered to the Govt. some of our facilities to accommodate the migrants, the shelterless and needy during the Covid-19 pandemic.

• Support is being given to the youth to run a modest food distribution to the poor at St Martin's Home.

• Urged all parish communities, institutions, religious communities and lay associations to help the needy as far as possible, seeking support from people of goodwill. But any public relief activity should be done with prior permission from the district administration.

• All priests, the religious and lay faithful are insisted to restrict their travels and participation in large gatherings, always complying with the regulations prescribed by the Govt. regarding lockdown, social distancing etc.

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