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COVID-19 aid being distributed in India (© Aid to the Church in Need)
A bishop in India has said that failure to put in place proper COVID-19 restrictions caused the current crisis – which has seen new cases exceeding 300,000 daily. Archbishop Anil Couto of Delhi told Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) that lax COVID-19 safety earlier this year was to blame for the second wave.

Archbishop Couto said: “I would say we actually triggered the infections because we did not take enough precautions.
“We took it easy. Therefore, I think we are paying the price for it now.”
The Archbishop of Delhi highlighted how practically no steps were taken to prevent the spread of the virus during political campaigning last month.

After Madras High Court reportedly said last week that the Election Commission of India (ECI) had not ensured COVID-19 guidance was followed during assembly electoral campaigns, the ECI hit back, saying this was the responsibility of state authorities.

Archbishop Couto also regretted that there had been no compulsory safety precautions for up to 50 million Hindu pilgrims visiting Haridwar, Uttarakhand last month.
He said: “A religious gathering called the Kumbh Mela, which attracts pilgrims in millions, was also allowed and COVID protocols were not enforced.”
The archbishop described how three religious Sisters had died in his diocese, as well as a number of active lay people.

He also said that Holy Family Hospital – which is run by the Archdiocese of Delhi – has been confronted with an “overwhelming number of cases” and faces a constant shortage of oxygen.
Archbishop Couto said: “We don’t know how the next day will unfold.  It is only our faith that keeps us going.”
ACN has provided more than £320,000 in support of 27 projects providing subsistence aid for priests and Sisters to help them continue caring for those hit by the COVID-19 crisis.
 
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Pakistan Appeal
Our little angel is home again

AGED just 12, Christian girl Farah Shaheen was kidnapped, shackled hand and foot, attached to a chain and was forced to do slave labour in a cattle yard. Read our latest Pakistan Report here.
ACN Events
Standing up for religious freedom: What it looks like and why we should fight for it
Wednesday 19th May at 6pm
Religious freedom is often described as an “orphaned right”. Be it the place of religious faith in the public square, the right to express views informed by religious beliefs, the right to convert or even freedom of worship, there is a growing awareness that this liberty, central to a free society, is under-recognised and frequently trampled on. More needs to be done to stand up for faith and freedom.
ACN is joining forces with Catholic Voices (CV) to host a webinar on Wednesday, 19th May at 6pm – a unique opportunity to frame the question of religious freedom in the context of current events which have made the issue increasingly topical – growing religious persecution in countries such as China and Nigeria, international relations, COVID restrictions and digital media. Guest speakers include Archbishop John Wilson of Southwark, Baroness Helena Kennedy QC of the Shaws, Professor Lord David Alton of Liverpool and Seminary rector Father Habila Daboh, of Kaduna, Nigeria, who will give testimony following the abduction of four of his students, the youngest of whom, Michael Nnadi, was killed at just 18 years old.
Click HERE to register your interest
ACN Shop
Rosary Card and Olive Wood Rosary
In this Marian month of May why not pray the Rosary, using our pocket-sized, step-by-step guide (here), with this simple yet significantly profound handcrafted olive wood rosary made by Christian families in the Holy Land (here). Help support these families who depend on these sales for their livelihood.
Fatima The 13th Day – A Story of Hope
Or reflect on the wonders of the events of May to October 1917 by watching this remarkable re-telling of the story of Fatima. Shot on location in Portugal and the UK, it draws on the memoirs of Sister Maria Lucia de Jesus dos Santos and other eyewitness accounts to bring these events alive. These apparitions have a special significance for Aid to the Church in Need, as the charity is consecrated to Our Lady of Fatima. Buy it here.
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