New normal at place of worship - By Dr Preethi Keerthi D’Souza


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


By Dr Preethi Keerthi D’Souza

Jun 30: It’s a fact, we are living in the new normal. Everyone is taking that extra effort to see that we can collectively fight the pandemic COVID-19. Educating self and being cautious is the prime way to keep ourselves and our families safe during these vulnerable times.

While some people state that ‘life cannot be the same like before’ some have walked ahead and say, ‘this is the new normal and we need to carry on with life and our routine work’. But yes, safety cannot be compromised.

A gentle reminder, I would like to mention as to how COVID-19 spreads. Individuals catch COVID-19 from other people who have the virus. The disease spreads primarily from one person to another through small droplets from the nose or mouth, which are expelled when a person with COVID-19 coughs, sneezes or speaks. But we also need to know that these droplets are relatively heavy and so do not travel far and quickly sink to the ground. We can catch COVID-19 if we breathe in these droplets from a person infected with the virus. Hence it is mandatory to keep social distance of at least one meter from others. The droplets do land on the objects and surfaces. We can be infected by touching the surfaces and objects and then touching our eyes, nose or mouth. This is why it is very important to wash our hands regularly with soap and water or use alcohol-based hand rub. Wearing mask at all times when in near contact with people should never be compromised.

Many of us elders have started to resume work, businesses and other activities that are needed to economically support our families. Not everyone has the option of work from home, hence we do travel and carry on with our work at the workplace. Even when we are in the new normal, we cannot forget the basic safety needs that we must follow. At our workplaces, there are many safety measures that are followed. Remarkably, safety measures are followed at the places of worship too. In this article of mine I am not debating if going to the place of worship is needed in these times, because it has various view points, but I am going on to the next level as to what safety measures are taken at the place of worship.

At St Lawrence Church, Bondel, Mangaluru, India, many precautionary measures are taken in the new normal. The measures are taken as per the directions of the government and also as per the guidelines of the bishop of Mangalore diocese.

A COVID safety committee is formed in every church and at St Lawrence Church too, this committee puts in remarkable efforts to curb the pandemic. Many changes in the physical setting inside and outside the church are implemented.

Let me brief in sequence with the help of pictures, the changes that are implemented.

The resetting of furniture inside the church is done taking in mind the concept of social distancing. Safe distance is kept between each bench and a ribbon is tried in the middle to see that only two people are accommodated in a single bench at every point of time and the social distance between individuals is maintained during the entire Mass.

Complete cleaning of the church is done to maintain hygiene always. The COVID safety committee has made all the necessary arrangements with the help of the priests of the parish.

In the vicinity of the church, there are changes made to ensure safety of all. Every statue at the church is fenced to ensure that no one touches them and the spread of COVID is curbed.

Instructions are exhibited and every person is following these without exceptions. If anyone forgets to get a mask, the same are available in the church for a nominal price.

For the mass services, children below 10 and elders above 65 are discouraged to participate and only individuals who are healthy are encouraged to come. The procedure to enter the church is as follows.

Doors of the church of only one side are kept open so that no one can skip the process of entry. Every person needs to sanitise their hands first. Even hand wash facility is made available. Every person uses the equipment by pressing the pedal using their leg and the sanitiser is collected in their hands. Both the hands are sanitised by them.

The subsequent process is the scanning of temperature using infrared thermometer. If the temperature is above normal, then the person is requested not to attend mass and is requested to take rest at their residences. Only individuals who have a normal temperature can move to the next process.

Information of every person entering the church is recorded. Their name, place of residence and phone number is taken as a record for every Mass. This helps us to build a data if any need arises in the future.

Volunteers and youth of the church are involved in this selfless service and they help to make the process very smooth. Nearly four counters are in place for every Mass. This process is practices for all Masses on all days. Thus, the motto of prevention is better than cure is followed in the place of worship.

Every person has to wear the mask for the entire Mass ceremony and once a person occupies a place they are restricted to move around until the entire Mass is over.

One of the ceremonies where social distancing to be followed is difficult is the distribution of the Holy Communion. The following picture will tell you why the social distancing cannot be maintained in the real sense.

However, solution to the same is found out in an innovative way. It is said that a pessimist sees a difficulty in every opportunity and an optimist finds an opportunity in every difficulty. In the new normal, the priest or religious nuns bring the Holy Communion to every person at the place where they are sitting. This is like ‘A well filled with water comes all the way to the person who is thirsty’.

This innovative practice takes care of social distance being maintained at all times.

At the end of every Mass the doors of the other side of the church are opened and people leave one by one, following social distancing. After people have left the church premises, sanitisation of the entire church is done. This ensures that the church is ready for the next service and is completely sanitised.

Thus, this is the new normal at the place of worship. This process shall be continued and this may be the future practice for a long time to come. If corona has given us restrictions to participate in our religious practices, innovative ways are being figured out by individuals. However, time has to tell us what more is needed to be done to ensure the safety of every person in the society.

Let us have faith that the power of prayers work and COVID- 19 becomes a history soon.


Dr Preethi Keerthi D’Souza is an assistant professor in the department of Commerce, Mangalore University.



  

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Comment on this article

  • Preethi Keerthi Dsouza, Dakshina Kannada

    Wed, Jul 1 2020

    Greetings, At the outset I thank each one for the igniting insightful conversations.
    I had put a comment of mine yesterday night, but somehow my error, it was not uploaded, and today morning there are more thoughts being poured out.
    Thanks once again for the discussions and conversations. I call them discussions and not arguments for the right reason that arguments create water tight compartments as to who is right, where as discussions create an ambiance to spread more light than only heat.
    Great viewpoints have come out in the discussions. But as knowledge seekers and disseminators, directing ourselves to the unambiguous viewpoint would add more value.
    Thanks once again for your time and effort. Let me put my viewpoint now.
    My article title was ‘The new normal at place of worship’. Hence I was referring to the new practices that were not there earlier and the reasoning was, how long will these new practices be needed and will there be any thing new practices coming in. The broader perspective of mine was to know as to whether every place of worship, of every religion follows something similar, or are there any new measures being followed. I had no other endorsement to be done.
    Yes about the elderly, children and even us, safety concerns are more and care has to be taken.
    At an extreme measure, there can be a situation where the places of worship could be converted to mini clinics, to combat COVID 19, as space is available there and social distancing could be maintained.
    About the comment of eating fish, I must say being only a Doctorate in commerce my knowledge is limited. Still ill try to research and get back as I am already doing a Major research on fisherwomen and fish consumption which is funded by ICSSR, new Delhi.
    My only appeal is, with the blessing of the almighty lord who is omnipotent and benevolent, (Lord Jesus or lord Krsihna- based on our deep belief) we need to win the fight against the pandemic and not only win arguments.

    DisAgree Agree [1] Reply Report Abuse

  • John B. Monteiro, Bondel Mangalore

    Wed, Jul 1 2020

    Dear Dr. Preethi: Congratulations and thank you for presenting a timely, comprehensive and action-provoking article which has already attracted 17 responses. Your article falls into two parts; Action and information. For the action part, well-supported by telling visuals, I should thank the Covid Safety Committee, which apparently includes you as seen in the visuals, and obviously the parish Fathers led by Fr. Andrew D’Souza – who perhaps preferred to be in the background in your published visuals,.
    However, time has come for you and your associates to go beyond show-casing your work in Bondel. You can’t light a candle and put it under Bondel bushel. You and your associates should become anti-Corona evangelists to ensure that your message reaches beyond Bondel. (I, at 82, am advised not to be adventurous)
    What I, as a communications professional, would suggest is to broadcast/publish the message beyond Bondel and Daiji which of course has a vast reach and is ever ready to support deserving causes and is sure to back-up your enlightened venture.
    As we know most parishes and religious institutions in Mangalore and Udupi dioceses have their own bulletins and some even websites. I suggest you work with these to reach wider audiences. Mangaloe Bishop’s House may be helpful.
    You can also go beyond and reach secular audiences via commercial websites and newspapers/magazines – Including by translating your text into Kannada. Committed as they are to combat Corona through their media reach, you can also perhaps arrange exclusive interviews with parish Fathers and those in the forefront – including you - of this laudable initiative.
    Good luck.

    DisAgree Agree [1] Reply Report Abuse

  • Anonymous, Mangalore

    Wed, Jul 1 2020

    Very nicely written ma'am .

    DisAgree Agree Reply Report Abuse

  • Alex, Mangalore

    Wed, Jul 1 2020

    God doesnt dwell in heart of a sinner. Only Grace will let God to come in your heart.
    By faith alone you cannot attain salvation. Faith and Grace is a must to attain.
    Righteousness of a person in Faith will get the gift of Grace. Grace is a gift from God to a righteous person. Grace is a not a right.
    "God so loved the world that he sent his only Begotten Son that who does believe MIGHT NOT(conditional) Perish, but Might Have Eternal Life" The sentence says it all, it is MIGHT NOT and it is not SHALL NOT or WILL NOT.
    The conditions set in Bible as lot many for a righteous life. They are many specified in all 4 Gospels by Jesus, specially in detail in St. John's.
    One of the Main ones is " Unless you eat the flesh of Son of Man and Drink his blood, you will not have Eternal Life". This is only can be received during the Holy Mass and the Eucharist.
    Jesus dwells in Body Soul Spirit and Divinity in Eucharist, that is the difference makes in the Real presence of God and Spiritual presence of God.
    And Just last week's Gospel says clearly, Jesus says, the path to perdition(damnation) is so wide and so Many take it, while path to Eternal Life is very narrow and A FEW take it.
    How can we measure A FEW even in 10 people. Surely it is not more than 3.
    That sums up everything, how difficult it is to attain Eternal Life.
    Who ever teaches other than what Jesus has already told, are the AntiChrist. Jesus told in straight forward manner, he did not add "Footnotes" for his teachings.

    DisAgree Agree [1] Reply Report Abuse

  • Cynthia, Kirem

    Tue, Jun 30 2020

    Madam, I have one clarification....aged people/sick people (with different ailments)/people with common viral fever /children below ten years have to stay at home. Only healthier ones should attend the church. In this case, those healthier ones.. will not carry symptoms at home and give to those who are aged/sick/ children.... ?? These healthier people may be asymptomaic ..and may use different mode of transport.... All may not have private vehicles. Among the masses it's not easy to recognise through thermal screening or some may even hide their sickness to attend the religious places... It's widely spreading everywhere.... How to protect our aged people?

    DisAgree Agree [9] Reply Report Abuse

  • John, Mangalore

    Wed, Jul 1 2020

    Anyone fearful, need to recite Psalm 91 and 51 daily if possible morning and evening.

    DisAgree [2] Agree [1] Reply Report Abuse

  • Cynthia, Kirem

    Wed, Jul 1 2020

    John sir, its not the question of fear.....its the question of pandemic. In our house (almost every ones house) right from my childhood recite these Psalms during rosary...Again sone of us who go out say this psalm 91 and go to our work...Everyoneing especially to eradicate covid. All people started praying from December itself...Tell me why its spreading more and more ? I hope, you are not fearing. Say these Psalms and go out and mingle..All are praying not just few like you. Doctors pray..they wear their kits and still they are infected....can you stop spreading just by praying ? I asked clarification John. We too are in prayers. But not showing to the world..when you pray close the door, put oil on your head and pray to your father. What your right hand does let left hand not know.... Today one young guy died (RIP). Asymptomatic people don't carry virus to home... ? No one can escape from death'...its gods wish. Just praying sitting at Home is not the solution...must use god given wisdom and act accordingly...

    DisAgree Agree [1] Reply Report Abuse

  • John, Mangalore

    Wed, Jul 1 2020

    Simple God's judgements are going on. Whoever God wants He will keep (may be for remaining all of us purgatory is not over yet). That means not all dead are sinners, if one has done good during his life, he will enjoy eternal life if not eternal damnation. If all die together who will pray for the dead?

    Btw virus or viral means definitely it will affect most. Experts say, of those affected 80% will have mild infection or no symptoms, 15% will have pneumonia, 4% severe infections and 1% death rate.

    Since it is viral whatever precautions one takes it needs to pass and go or people need put PPE suite for 24x7 for one month to avoid it. There comes the prayers factor atleast with Divine intervention one wouldn't get it or get a milder infection.

    Psalm 91 needs to prayed from heart slowly and meditatingly. Verse 6 and 7 God's promises clear about plagues and pestilences.

    Lockdowns maybe communist agenda to bring down world economy, to show their economic supremacy over all. When open up again infections spread and so on. It will repeat till everyone has antibodies for it.

    Vaccination how effective, God only knows. So prayers are only choice for mankind as God already showed mankind how vulnerable they are by allowing this tiny virus. And with prayers definitely there will be better medication for it or more survivals or virus itself may vanish soon.

    But these communists are behind more viruses. They need a lot of prayers to come out of their wicked plans of world control.

    DisAgree [1] Agree [4] Report Abuse

  • Alwin, Mangalore

    Tue, Jun 30 2020

    We have distanced from God
    Spirituality in the church and leaders of church became
    The other corner stone became main worship.
    Our pastor became deacon.
    In the name of social service and commercial activities churc I s perishing.
    The online services of eucharistic started and confessions also can be done
    Still priest and Christian community has not started repent whole heartedly
    Even all our quite against the word of God
    Economic and social activities distanced our community
    The present system shows we have no faith and our hands not working
    So we have to follow Bible as st Francis of Assisi

    DisAgree [1] Agree [6] Reply Report Abuse

  • John, Mangalore

    Tue, Jun 30 2020

    You are correct,
    Jesus promises special graces brave priest and faithful in a message to John Leary on June 11th.

    Jesus said: “My people, I realize how difficult it is for some priests to be brave enough to open their churches, even for a smaller number of people. My faithful, who seek out My Mass, are also to be commended for their efforts. For these brave priests and faithful, I will send My special graces to strengthen these people against the devil’s temptations. I will also send My angels to encourage these faithful and all Christians to come closer to Me so they can endure this pre-tribulation and the tribulation of the Antichrist to come. Keep praying your daily prayers and coming to at least monthly Confession.”

    DisAgree [2] Agree [7] Reply Report Abuse

  • Ajay Rebello, Kallianpur

    Wed, Jul 1 2020

    Those messages are directed towards persecution and not viral pandemic.

    DisAgree Agree [2] Reply Report Abuse

  • Stephen Quadros Permude, Permude/ Kaikamba

    Tue, Jun 30 2020

    Very studies, realistic article. Useful. Not a rhetoric but an actual.

    DisAgree [3] Agree Reply Report Abuse

  • Maria Sequiera, Shirva - Udupi

    Tue, Jun 30 2020

    An avoidable death trap and hell hole!!!

    DisAgree [5] Agree [6] Reply Report Abuse

  • John, Mangalore

    Tue, Jun 30 2020

    A church is a heaven on earth. For fearful everything is hell. Need to worry about eternal hell so says the following Divine Eternal Word in the Bible

    "Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell". Matthew 10:28

    DisAgree [5] Agree [9] Reply Report Abuse

  • Mario Almeida, Falnir / Mangalore

    Tue, Jun 30 2020

    Lord Christ and Lord Krishna will sit at home and tell, "I told YOOOOOU"!!!
    Now die and die alone!!!

    DisAgree [2] Agree [5] Reply Report Abuse

  • R.Bhandarkar, Mangaluru

    Tue, Jun 30 2020

    Did they tell you that they would be at your bed side at your beck and call?
    What do you know about them?
    Come alone... Go alone... OK?
    Play your role whether you like it or not in between....
    In that gap between coming and going is your chance to know something ! If you think and holler like this it's your own doing !

    DisAgree [4] Agree Reply Report Abuse

  • John, Mangalore

    Tue, Jun 30 2020

    Jesus said other way around in a message to John Leary on June 11th.

    Jesus said: “My people, anything that keeps you from coming to Sunday Mass is definitely evil. The devil is using your fear of death to keep you from coming to Mass in person. With distancing and masks, your people should be able to come to Mass in church. Use your new third stage opening to encourage your priests to have Mass, and stop keeping you from receiving My Eucharist. Keep praying to open your churches, and pray for grace for your priests to open your churches for Mass and Holy Communion.”...

    DisAgree [1] Agree [8] Reply Report Abuse

  • John, Mangalore

    Tue, Jun 30 2020

    Communists (Chinese & Russian) had managed to close all religious institutions by this weapon grade virus and fear associated with it, because with prayers they are unable to do further damage as prayers enable Angels to fight against these demons.

    This is what Our Lady had warned prior to communism in Russia and WW1 that Heaven need many prayers to stop Russia spreading her errors throughout the world.

    After the collapse of Berlin Wall and Soviet Union communism has spread silently. Mostly in Canada, Italy, Franc, Spain..having liberal left leaning coalition in place also church in Rome has been infiltrated by some communist clergy. In US left leaning Democrats fighting tooth and nail using race card, Blm, antifa to bring their godless rule.

    China with this virus trying to control Asia and Russia slowly using Iran and North Korea to start war with US for total communist control of the world

    This is what our lady warned back then. We need prayers and masses without which hell will break loose on earth.

    Jesus said I am the Resurrection and Life in John 11.25. Fear comes from evil but faith comes from God. By following safety measures prayers and masses need to go on to stop this virus, avoid another virus or more economic chaos, despair, godless communist controlling the world or to bring their New World Order.

    And most importantly need to pray for our country and military so to effectively stop this communist chinese threatening and bloody incursions.

    DisAgree [1] Agree [10] Reply Report Abuse

  • Kiran, udupi

    Tue, Jun 30 2020

    Very nice initiatives for the people who cannot have peace of mid without visiting places of worship.

    However, we need to remember that whatever means you can to avoid infection, practice them.
    Worship is something that can done at home only. You can read the daily gospel, say the rosary/novena from home itself. Even weekly masses are broadcast on local channels. I also request channels to broadcast daily morning masses.

    It is true people have begun travelling, going to work,etc but those are unavoidable and there is no alternative. People are avoiding eating from restaurants, going to public places, travelling by public transport as much as possible.

    In such a scenario it is wise for the church to not conduct daily/weekly masses.

    The church has taken the correct decision to not have prayer services for the time being which is something that has to be applauded and appreciated.

    COVID's end does not seem to be happening soon. Also severity of cases is going to keep increasing once the healthcare infrastructure limit is reached. Even a mild case can turn severe without access to proper healthcare. This may seem far fetched, but it is the looming reality which we cannot shun away from.

    Masses have to be only conducted for important occasions like baptism, wedding, funeral,etc with limited attendees.

    The NEW NORMAL will be to pray from home and not visiting churches and putting your life at risk. You dont want to be putting additional strain on the healthcare infrastructure of the country by being another corona patient.

    DisAgree [7] Agree [7] Reply Report Abuse

  • Mary, Mangalore

    Tue, Jun 30 2020

    Thank you Madam, It was a very good information. Everyone should adopt to new normal in their daily life. They can save their life and also others life.

    DisAgree [3] Agree [4] Reply Report Abuse

  • John, Mangalore

    Tue, Jun 30 2020

    Jesus promises more graces to neighborhood when attended in person in a message to John Leary dated 11th June

    "My people, right now your priests are streaming Masses on the internet. You are missing Holy Communion, and there are more graces given out when the people are attending Mass with the priest. It is this extra grace that is being blocked and people cannot receive Me in person. When you restore open Masses, you will be sending out more graces to all of your neighborhoods..."

    DisAgree [5] Agree [15] Reply Report Abuse

  • Vincent D'Souza, Belthangady

    Tue, Jun 30 2020

    Dear Doctor - Is it safe to eat Fish? What is the cleaning process? Could you please highlight? Thanks

    DisAgree [4] Agree [2] Reply Report Abuse

  • R.Bhandarkar, Mangaluru...

    Tue, Jun 30 2020

    See my observation ok...
    Our physche is such and so imbibed and cultivated that most feel that we MUST visit places of WORSHIP to be in " God' s Safe Hands "...
    Very firm rooted that belief.... !
    However our religious scriptures, stories are otherwise where the Suprene, Lord... whom you actually believe, have full faith in, comes down from his own abode, manisfests himself in front of the True seeker !
    The supreme ' Bhakti song ' of a greatest saint keeps ringing in the ears these times...
    ಭಕ್ತ ಜನ ಮುಂದೆ
    ನಿನವರ ಹಿಂದೇ....
    Meaning the devotees are in the front and you follow them... This addressing the Lord....
    How meaningful to ponder...

    DisAgree [7] Agree [5] Reply Report Abuse

  • Jossey Saldanha, Mumbai

    Tue, Jun 30 2020

    Just remember "God is Dwelling in your Heart" ...

    DisAgree [2] Agree [21] Reply Report Abuse

  • Alex, Mangalore

    Wed, Jul 1 2020

    God doesnt dwell in heart of a sinner. Only Grace will let God to come in your heart.
    By faith alone you cannot attain salvation. Faith and Grace is a must to attain.
    Righteousness of a person in Faith will get the gift of Grace. Grace is a gift from God to a righteous person. Grace is a not a right.
    "God so loved the world that he sent his only Begotten Son that who does believe MIGHT NOT(conditional) Perish, but Might Have Eternal Life" The sentence says it all, it is MIGHT NOT and it is not SHALL NOT or WILL NOT.
    The conditions set in Bible as lot many for a righteous life. They are many specified in all 4 Gospels by Jesus, specially in detail in St. John's.
    One of the Main ones is " Unless you eat the flesh of Son of Man and Drink his blood, you will not have Eternal Life". This is only can be received during the Holy Mass and the Eucharist.
    Jesus dwells in Body Soul Spirit and Divinity in Eucharist, that is the difference makes in the Real presence of God and Spiritual presence of God.
    And Just last week's Gospel says clearly, Jesus says, the path to perdition(damnation) is so wide and so Many take it, while path to Eternal Life is very narrow and A FEW take it.
    How can we measure A FEW even in 10 people. Surely it is not more than 3.
    That sums up everything, how difficult it is to attain Eternal Life.
    Who ever teaches other than what Jesus has already told, are the Anti-Christ. Jesus told in straight forward manner, he did not add "Footnotes" for his teachings.

    DisAgree [1] Agree [1] Reply Report Abuse

  • John, MANGALORE

    Tue, Jun 30 2020

    It would be wiser to delay masses by few more weeks in interest of public health

    DisAgree [13] Agree [15] Reply Report Abuse


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Title : New normal at place of worship - By Dr Preethi Keerthi D’Souza


 
 
 
 

 
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