Dear confreres, friends, and members of the Arnoldus Family,
The peace of the Lord is with you!
We, along with the rest of the world, watch the 2019 Coronavirus (nCoV) with concern, anxiety, and vigilance. As of today, January 30, another 1,737 new cases were recorded in the past 24 hours for a total of 7,711 worldwide. This is a report from Chinese officials and the World Health Organization. The real number is likely to be higher.
The current situation has created alarm because there are still many unknowns surrounding like how dangerous it is and how easily it spreads between people. As we want to be close and pray for those affected by nCoV, our concern is focused on our confreres in affected areas.
I contacted the Provincial of China Province (SIN) recently to inquire about the situation of our confreres, apostolate, and mission in areas affected by the virus. I want to share with you the information the Provincial received from one of the confreres from Mainland China.
-Since the Coronavirus infection is still spreading, the government has taken strict measures to contain it. As a result, the entire country is in a locked-down situation with transportations limited and group activities prohibited.
-All the religious services have stopped, and the Lunar New Year holiday is extended.
-As for our confreres, so far, nobody is sick due to the virus. Almost everybody has to stay where they are now and wait for the situation to improve.
-All the planned SVD gatherings and activities have been canceled.
-Some of our Chinese confreres working abroad have been contacted to help purchase the urgently needed medical protective clothing and masks and send them to China.
-There is a collaboration with the local Jinde Charities to work together with Caritas Germany to do some disaster relief work.
Our confrere who relayed the information expressed the necessity to face the storm with strength while reaching out to those who need help and care. He asks the members of the Society worldwide to pray for China, pray for the Church in China and pray for our communities, and confreres there.
I exhort all of you, confreres and friends, to pray for China and all the other countries affected by the Coronavirus. In praying with all those brothers and sisters, confreres, and Sisters who are suffering, we bring up to God our longing for them to be restored to full health and to have peace of mind. We ask the intercession of St. Joseph Freinademetz to prevent the spread of nCoV so as not to result in a pandemic.
Yours in the Divine Word,
Father Paulus Budi Kleden, SVD