Prayers for India from afar

Published: May. 3, 2021 at 2:56 PM CDT|Updated: May. 3, 2021 at 4:47 PM CDT
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DE PERE, Wis. (WBAY) - One of the hardest hit countries in the world right now by COVID-19 is India. Monday, the country reported nearly 370,000 new positive cases and 3,400 deaths.

A local priest is keeping close tabs on what’s happening in India. That’s where he’s from, and members of his family are battling the coronavirus right now.

Norbertine priest Father Christian Raj heard some good news Monday during an online chat with his brother.

“My brother was admitted at the hospital and he was discharged yesterday, and then he was asked to take rest for 10 days at home,” says Father Raj, who’s lived at the abbey in De Pere for nearly three years.

Of deep concern, though, his sister-in-law and nephew remain hospitalized with COVID-19, such a common occurrence right now in India, where two variants are raging across the country.

“That spread all over India, and it is really contagious and many people have been affected, and I see and hear the news nearly 3,500 people are dying every day,” explains Father Raj.

Whether it’s walking the peaceful Abbey grounds with fellow priests from his home country or preparing to celebrate mass, Father Raj is relying on his faith from afar.

“It’s kind of hard for me, yeah, but I’m praying to God every day that God may bless them and heal them sooner, and all the people in India and across the world,” says Father Raj.

Until recently, Father Raj was scheduled to travel to India in June to see his family.

“Recently we had a meeting at the Diocese of Green Bay for all the international priests, and we were advised and told not to travel to India right now because things are really going bad there,” says Father Raj.

So for now, he’s continue to rely on technology, grateful to stay connected to those he loves.

“I Facetime them, I talk to them through WhatsApp or Facebook, so the technology helps me to contact them and keep me updated with what’s going on there,” says Father Raj.

Father Raj says at least seven Norbertine priests in India have recently contracted COVID-19 and all are recovering.

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