Easter in India this year has been very different from usual. But despite the hardship created by a countrywide lockdown, we’re hearing some truly inspiring stories from our partners in India.

India has a large Christian population, particularly in four of the north-eastern states. Easter celebrations couldn’t continue as usual, but rather than seeing this as a barrier, Conrad K. Sangma, the Chief Minister of Meghalaya, saw an opportunity to involve the whole nation.

Sharing Easter with the nation

Broadcasting live via social media and television, Mr Sangma invited the nation to join the people of Meghalaya and spread a message of hope on Easter Sunday. He highlighted the power of Easter, saying:

‘As we fight COVID-19, which has endangered human life and upset the global economy, we can draw inspiration from the life of Jesus Christ, from his agony on the cross and from the power of his Resurrection which is our living hope.’

Inspiring unity

Well known artists from Meghalaya joined the online service to sing hymns. Several sports, culture and entertainment personalities also participated. Chief Minister Sangma said:

‘This is truly a blessing for all of us as it has brought people from different states and from different parts of the world together to pray for our nation and the world.’

A breath of fresh air

Meanwhile, the impact of the lockdown on the environment has been quite astonishing in cities like Delhi.

Delhi’s pollution levels were previously twenty times higher than the World Health Organisation (WHO) safe levels. Long before the Coronavirus lockdown, schools had closed and people were wearing masks.

Now the air is clearing rapidly. The grey sky is clear blue, and the Himalayas are visible from the city after decades of obscuring fog. Scientists report that 85 other cities in India have experienced similar improvements.

While we cannot ignore the human suffering caused by the lockdown, particularly for the world’s poorest people, we can hope and work fora greener, fairer and healthier world when this global crisis ends.

Messages from our partners

Fr Ambrose, Missio’s national Director in India, echoed these sentiments of hope in his recent Easter greetings. He wrote:

‘The experience of early Christians (micro-church/home-church) is being lived now. I do firmly believe that our Blessed Lord, who conquered the evil forces and death, is truly Risen. He is with us and He will neither leave us nor forsake us. I take this opportunity to wish you, family members and all Missio supporters a grace-filled Easter in the joy and peace of the Risen Lord. ALLELUIA!’

Together we can come through this

Fr Marreddy, Rector of St John’s Regional Seminary, also sent Easter greetings. He shared that ‘the seminarians were supposed to go for summer vacation from April 1, but are staying in the seminary due to the lockdown situation. They are offering special prayers for all the affected people in the world and in India that the Lord deliver them from this pandemic virus.’

He continued:

‘I thank you and all who support the training of future priests in England and Wales for the marvellous work you are doing in the formation of priests. We pray that God shower his abundant blessings on your mission.’

A new togetherness

It’s easy to lose hope in bleak times. But in this time of lockdown and fear, we have an opportunity to reach out, form new bonds of friendship and love and find new ways to share and spread the light and love of the Risen Christ with all people.

How we can help

We invite all our supporters in England and Wales to send us your prayer intentions so we can remember them at Mass. You can comment on Facebook or Twitter, or email us at prayers@missio.org.uk.

Please pray with us for all those affected by the Coronavirus and for all those key workers and missionaries around the world who are helping them. Pray>>

Pope Francis has set up an emergency fund, through Missio, to help mission dioceses cope with the impacts of COVID-19. Please give what you can>>

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