As the COVID-19 death toll in India rises to more than 215,000, Catholic volunteers in the Bangalore Archdiocese are helping poor people who cannot afford to bury their dead. Source: UCA News.
The Mercy Angels, a 65-member team of volunteers, is helping to bury people in the Indian Christian Cemetery, a common cemetery for all denominations in Bengaluru (formerly Bangalore).
“We have buried more than 250 bodies of COVID-19 patients in less than 15 days in our archdiocese,” said Fr Santosh Royan.
On each day over the past fortnight, they have buried an average of 15 bodies.
Fr Royan said they do not discriminate against “anyone based on their denomination or anything like that. We bury each body with respect”.
“Our mission is to accord a dignified Christian burial to all those who die of COVID -19 infections as they cannot afford to get a dignified burial because of restrictions,” Fr Royan said.
Church officials say the poor cannot arrange money for the sudden expenses and may leave bodies in hospitals to be cremated in government facilities without any funeral prayers.
Among the 250 burials so far, 25 were Hindus, while close to 100 were Catholics and the rest Christians from other denominations, the priest said.
Hindus are buried in the Christian cemetery because their families wanted it as they had no other place for burial.
The volunteer team includes Muslim and Hindu members. However, the team has not buried a Muslim body so far because the Muslim community takes care of burials of the poor among them.