The missions we support in Colombia, Kenya and elsewhere are being impacted by COVID-19 in similar ways we are seeing here in the United States. We reached out to the mission leaders of the Basilian Mission in Cali, Colombia, and Our Lady of Grace School in Kisumu, Kenya, and the Basilian Mission in Medellin, Colombia, and here are excerpts of what they shared this month.
Basilian Mission in Cali, Colombia
We are pretty much still on lock down! [It ends soon], but I would not be at all surprised if it is extended, seeing that Cali is second only to Bogota, the capital, with the number of infected individuals and deaths!
We have not been in classes since March 13, and shortly after that, all Masses were suspended! So we have been pretty much confined to our Basilian residence for the past 2 months.
In the parish, the only movement is people coming for food, and this has been a big problem! We have received some donations for food and have been able to distribute large quantities, but this may go on for weeks if not months yet. Since so many of our people no longer have a job, others are quarantined, it´s a difficult time for the poor!
I know that the situation in the U.S. is not much better, though I think that you may have more expertise and health benefits available there. Please keep us in your prayers and know that we appreciate your support and care for us!
– Father Frank Amico and the Basilian Fathers in Cali, Colombia
Our Lady of Grace School in Kisumu, Kenya
Thank you so much for reaching out and asking about Our Lady of Grace School.
Yes, things are hard in Kenya as well. All schools are officially closed in Kenya, like here in the U.S., except unfortunately they have no resources for electronic learning. Maria, the director, is very stressed about how to feed the children as the school is the source of each students 2 meals a day. She is working with an NGO and the government, who gave them a small grant of funds to use to feed the students, and she is working with the local village authorities on how to do that with the social distancing restrictions.
They had concerns about if they invited students to come to the gate to gather food bags… how the security and crowd rush would pan out…. When people are hungry, there is less to no crowd control…. And the vulnerable already will get pushed aside or thugs rob our kids… so that is the struggle …. how to minister to our vulnerable kids. Thank you so much for reaching out and your care/concern.
We are all in this together. Be blessed, stay well.
– Sister Mary Brenda
Basilian Mission in Medellin, Colombia
Greetings and blessings in these strange times.
Everything has changed. My contact with Medellín continues, but no one as of yet is working in the [job skills training workshop]. It was a complete shut down given that the young people were all of high school age. At this point in Colombia the schools are not to be reopened until the 31st of May. But that may change and be extended….
Last Sunday the four priests here went to four different barrios and gave Communion to those who wanted to receive in their doorways. It was a beautiful experience…. I was out for four hours and came home exhausted!!!! We will do that each Sunday taking all the necessary precautions.
In Medellín they are serving meals two days a week for 1,100 people. Here we have opted for giving out a weekly bag of groceries which we have been able to do from donations. Also in Taganga I have been helping with groceries for the poor….We walk trusting in the Lord that this too will pass….
May God continue to bless you and sustain you. Thanks for all your efforts to help us through St. Basil Coffee and the sale of the crosses during the past year.
Peace and goodness,
– Fr. Bob Seguin
We can help lift these communities out of crisis. Saint Basil Coffee mailed one grant yesterday for $2,500 to the Basilian Mission in Cali, and we are working with the school in Kenya and the other Colombian missions to help with the food and humanitarian situations they are facing. Can you help us make an even bigger impact?