WHAT IS GOD DOING THROUGH THE CORONAVIRUS?     

Tirupattur, Sacred Heart College, organizes Fr. Joseph Carreno Memorial Lecture.

            On 9th October 2020, Department of Life Education, Sacred Heart College (Autonomous), Tirupattur, organized Fr. Joseph Carreno Memorial Lecture on the topic: “WHAT IS GOD DOING THROUGH THE CORONAVIRUS?” The lecture was delivered by Fr. John Alexander SDB, Rector & Secretary of the college. This was a fitting tribute to Fr. Joseph Carreno, the founder of Sacred Heart College and who is also remembered for his song, ‘Cor Jesu Sacraissimum, tuere Provinciam tuam’ (Sacred Heart of Jesus, defend your province).

            Fr. John Alexander reflected on the current pandemic situation and how Christians should respond to this crisis. He said, “In every way, the coronavirus pandemic is God’s call to overcome fear and self-pity, and respond in love with courageous good work-from taking care of the sick and vulnerable groups to finding the vaccine and improving our health systems to offering spiritual nourishment. It is an invitation to turn from a preoccupied, inward-looking ‘self’ and ‘church’ to a deeper relationship with God and fellow humans.”

            Drawing examples from the early Christians and the saints he noted that a crisis of this kind is an opportunity to reach out to the vulnerable and the needy. For example, St. Catherine of Siena (1347-1380) and her followers plunged themselves into active ministry to the poor, the sick and the dying when a wave of the plague struck their hometown in 1374. In the 19th century, St. John Bosco (1815-1888), popularly known as “Don Bosco”, trained 40 of his young boys in the oratory to assist the victims of cholera epidemic that struck Turin hard in 1854. St. Charles Borromeo (1538-1584), then the Archbishop of Milan, Italy played a major role, during the famine and plague outbreak of 1576-1578.

            Responding to Fr. John Alexander’s lecture, Fr. Stanislaus Swamikannu SDB, from Jerusalem, said that this pandemic should change every human being to imbibe the spirit of caring and sharing. He asked, “Has the pandemic brought us closer to God and His people? Has pandemic made us to move towards serenity amidst adversity? ” He concluded saying, “We never know how strong we are until being strengthened by faith is our only choice!”

            Fr. Daniel Ambrose SDB shared his own experience of being a COVID-19 traveller. He said that this experience made him understand the experience of being an ‘untouchable’. He could therefore sympathize with those who are discriminated in society.  Sr. Jayaceli FMA, Fr. Edwin George SDB, Fr. Alphonse Philip SDB, and others shared their own reflection and experience. 

            Earlier on, Fr. Maria Antonyraj SDB, Principal, welcomed the participants who were present for the Fr. Joseph Carreno Memorial Lecture and he also highlighted the role played by Fr. Carreno in the Province of Chennai as Provincial and the founder of Sacred Heart College, Tirupattur. Fr. Carreno was a zealous Missionary and a devoted Salesian. The memorial lecture concluded with the Eucharistic adoration for healing and protection animated by Fr. Alexander Thomas. There were 80 participants from Salesian family, while over 1200 were connected through online in YouTube live streaming.