As of 27th March 2020
Today in Indonesia the Hindu community, mainly in Bali celebrate Nyepi – New Year. It is a day of silence, fasting and meditation for the Balinese. The main restrictions are no lighting fires; no working; no entertainment or pleasure and no traveling. All stay at home. The effect of these prohibitions is that Bali's usually bustling streets and roads are empty. The only people to be seen outdoors are the Pecalang, traditional security men who patrol the streets to ensure the prohibitions are being followed, the medical staff and the cleaning service. However, this year, with the Coronavirus, Nyepi is not only celebrated in Bali but in the whole country and in the whole world. Initially, we had a lockdown for two weeks but it is extended for another week and perhaps will be extended even further. All precautions are taken to prevent the spread of the virus. Borders closed, train and flight services stopped, those who have just arrived in Indonesia are quarantined.
The information as I write this to you is that Indonesia has had so far 686 total cases - 601 active, 55 dead, 30 recovered. The rscj are not in these numbers, thank God for our Society where we are assured of medical care, food, and each other. While our work outside community has come to a halt our work in community continues. The pre-postulants, postulants, and novices now have class only with their formators and communities, as opposed to going out for courses and having lay people help us with their formation. Eucharistic celebrations, classes, finance and administration transactions are online.
Social-distancing for Indonesians is difficult. Covid-19 challenges our culture of togetherness - to not go to Church or the Mosque together is unheard of, to not visit each other, not go to the cemetery together, and not to meet regularly in cafes and malls is ‘disrespect’. With deep faith and prayer, we are all trying in these trying times.
Together we pray for our world!