Bareilly diocese led by Fr Ignatius D'Souza does exemplary work to help migrants


Daijiworld Media Network
With Inputs from Media Release

Bareilly, Jun 1: At a time when thousands of migrants across the country are struggling to reach their homes safely and access even basic requirements like food and shelter owing to the lockdown, diocese of Bareilly led by bishop Ignatius D'Souza has been doing commendable work to lend them a helping hand.

One early morning bishop Ignatius D’Souza called some priests and religious sisters and told them that it was necessary to go to the poor in the city and help the poor and the migrants, even though there was total lockdown and coronavirus-positive cases were on the rise in the city. By evening the bishop had sent a circular to the diocese, in which he said, “During the outbreak of COVID-19, tens of thousands of impoverished migrant workers are on the move across India, walking on highways and railway tracks or riding in trucks, buses and crowded trains in the blazing heat. Some are accompanied by pregnant wives and young children, braving threats from the coronavirus pandemic. We have to shoulder some relief work.”

Next day the bishop himself led a group of priests to distribute groceries to poor people in the slums of Bareilly city, who were deprived of food. The deed was carried out all over the diocese which included 55 stations and its sub-stations situated in nine districts comprising three in Uttar Pradesh (Bareilly, Shahjahanpur and Pilibhit) and six in Uttarakhand (Almorah, Bhageshwar, Champawat, Nainital, Pithoragarh and Udham Singh Nagar), thanks to the clergy, religious and lay faithful.

The help was carried out in collaboration with the diocesan schools and Suchetna Social Service Society, working under the Catholic diocese of Bareilly. “Each grocery kit should last a family of five for a week and contains a combination of basic staples such as wheat flour, rice, two kinds of pulses, oil, tea powder, soaps, sugar, dal and masks,” said Fr John Bharat.

The diocesan Social Service Society used its funds to provide safety kits, consisting of gloves, masks, soaps and sanitizers, a month’s supply of essentials, like grains, pulses, oil, sugar, and tea. “It was necessary because most workers are daily wagers,” says Fr Derick Pinto, the director of Suchetana, Diocesan Social Service Centre. “Most of the places where these workers were engaged are shut due to the ongoing lockdown. Most likely the workers will be deprived of their salary, which has made their income highly uncertain over the past few weeks,” said Sr Preethi, one of the animators.

“I cannot imagine the pathetic and unimaginable situation of the people. With the government lockdown order and inadequate state provisions for food distribution, several families are sleeping hungry in their homes, stranded at bus stands, railway stations or state borders. Under the bishop’s leadership and persistence we were able to spread the gospel of compassion to thousands of people.” said Fr Harold D’Cunha, the vicar general of the diocese. According to Sunil, “Daily, we identify localities where people are hungry and distribute the grocery kits there.”

The bishop managed to rope in several other well-wishers to this mission. His initiative, ability to appraise and take charge of the situation inspired others. Several religious sisters, youth, seminarians, novices, lay faithful and other NGOs soon joined hands. “Our bishop is the one who could move others and motivate us to action,” says Sr Elsa Grace.

The most terrible sight during the lockdown was the plight of the migrant labourers who were walking hundreds of miles to reach their homes. We could see among those walking there were, mothers, pregnant women, sick people, and children. Lakhs of migrant workers were heading towards their home. Thus the second phase of support was carried out for these migrant workers at Fatehganj Toll Plaza on Bareilly-Delhi Highway.

Migrant labourers were moving in large numbers to their native places in buses, trucks, bicycle, tri-cart and two-wheeler. Bishop Ignatius D’Souza along with priests, religious and youth of the diocese, provided the migrant labourers packaged food, water, biscuits, fruits, clothes, energy drinks and footwear. They were also provided masks to protect themselves from this infectious virus. Some of our school buildings were made available to the local administration as shelters for the migrants.

During the entire period of assistance to the needy, we had an inspiring and memorable experience. A family with mother, father and two kids were on a journey in a tri-cart from Punjab to Hardoi in UP. They expressed gratitude towards the people of Bareilly who were helping the migrants as they could not find any such thing on their journey. The head of the family said, “We have crossed other states, nowhere did we get anything. Here we find good people helping us.” He and his family thanked and blessed the whole group who were doing this act of charity.

Another boy working in Lucknow was going to Ghaziabad on a bicycle, almost a ride of 300 km. His cycle got punctured and could not be repaired. He was grateful when we provided him with food and made arrangements for his trip to Ghaziabad free of cost in a mini truck which was going towards Delhi.

Another beautiful gesture of blessings was showered by a 78-year-old mother being taken by her son on a motorbike from Haridwar to West Bengal who thanked all the providers for their empathetic wave of brotherhood.

These are just some of the many incredible stories of people who defeated all odds, overcame the obstacles, to reach their native places. They will never cease to amaze us.

On the one hand, we see the lockdown as a curse as we see the struggles of the poor but on the other hand, we see it as an opportunity to serve the humanity as we ourselves felt a sort of self-satisfaction by helping these unknown brothers and sisters of us.

When daijiworld contacted bishop Ignatius, he said, "Wherever in the society, a need arises, we must be there. Our service was merely a drop in the ocean. May the Lord be glorified."


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Comment on this article

  • Al Dsouza, Canada

    Mon, Jun 1 2020

    Great job. Such gestures will be remembered by these poor who will never forget by this favour. Hunger and suffering makes human to forget religion and makes them good human and begins new chapter of thier lives. Politician and rich should learn from these missionaries how to help the poor

    DisAgree [1] Agree [24] Reply Report Abuse

  • Elwyn Goveas, Valencia

    Mon, Jun 1 2020

    Real life HERO.You deserve standing ovation.Thank you from the bottom of my heart.Congrats for your compassion and kindness to the poor.God bless you , helping these poor migrants during difficult times.

    DisAgree Agree [31] Reply Report Abuse

  • Jossey Saldanha, Mumbai

    Mon, Jun 1 2020

    Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me. - Mathew 25:40 ...

    DisAgree [1] Agree [44] Reply Report Abuse

  • Veer, Nagpur

    Mon, Jun 1 2020

    India's poor and down trodden are taken care by only religious institutes and NGOs. Shame on Modi and Yogi govt. BJP doesn't help nor let others to help either. Hope in this gathering PM CARES Fund begging bowl doesn't make a appearance.

    DisAgree [4] Agree [46] Reply Report Abuse

  • El En Tea, Mangalore

    Mon, Jun 1 2020

    Thank you Father Ignatius Dsouza and Nuns teams
    GODs Blessings on your services that we believe.

    DisAgree [2] Agree [37] Reply Report Abuse

  • William Rodrigues, Milagres, Mangalore

    Mon, Jun 1 2020

    Great humanity shown to fellow human beings. God bless you Bishop, Nuns and all those who joined in this noble cause.

    DisAgree [1] Agree [28] Reply Report Abuse

  • Aloysius, Bejai

    Mon, Jun 1 2020

    Great vision and mission,
    God Bless you all abundantly.

    DisAgree [1] Agree [29] Reply Report Abuse

  • Sahil, Mangaluru

    Mon, Jun 1 2020

    Thank you father....

    DisAgree [2] Agree [37] Reply Report Abuse


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