The Franciscan Spirit of Spreading Hope to Others
The pandemic of COVID-19 is not end yet. The damaged is already huge and disaster. Many people lost their loved ones, plenty people in the hospital, huge number of people losing their job and countless people searching for food from generous people. In order to respond this situation and part of our solidarity with those who suffer greatly in this moment, the St. Michael Archangel of OFM Indonesia Province held some charity activities. This program firstly focused on those people who are living nearby our school in Jakarta where the case of COVID-19 is very high and effected to the lives of people in our place. The activities began with the offer of some food packages from the Provincial of OFM Indonesia, Br. Michael Peruhe OFM to the representatives of people who affected with this COVID-19. There are 200 families who received these packages and from different religious. They are a group of people from non-online motorbike driver, garbage man, homeless, small seller at the street side, patch worker, beggar, and street cleaner. Those people received the food packages by group to avoid the spread of COVID-19 by coming in the big number to the school and some of them received directly from the friar who went around to their place since they could not come to our school due to some reasons.
After this first program, the head of Franciscan School Foundation in Jakarta, Br. Mateus Batubara OFM with the help of OFM Parish nearby and the St. Carolus Hospital decided to turn the school building into the “Domus Isoman” which is the place where the COVID-19 patients can stay (self-isolation) and get treatment by the doctor. This “Domus Isoman” place is open to everyone who get covid 19 and all is free. They will get medicine, place to stay, daily food, treatment from medical team and also fully spiritual support from the friars who are staying in the same compound with the patients. The friars will take care of their daily needs. Soo far there is one OFM friar who get COVID-19 and stay in this place for some couple of weeks. Recently he already gets cured and back to his place of ministry outside the city of Jakarta. Until now the school building is still used as “Domus Isoman” since the school activities in Jakarta not yet officially open by local government for offline program and only for online teaching. This “Domus Isoman” place is really great help for people who get positive case of COVID-19 and difficutl to find the safety place for their medical treatment and their daily needs since in Jakarta very often is difficult to find this kind of place because of high number of patients COVID-19 and the hospitals already over capacity.
Based in these two activities which is really helping the suffering people due to COVID-19, then the staff of the school combined with the OFM friars who are working in this school decided to continue with other charity program which is to offer free one meal for those suffering and hungry people who came to school on Thursday afternoon. The staff school prepared some food which is ready to consume and offer to people who really need the food. This program only held once a week and only for lunch time since the fund is not enough yet to offer for many more people and for their complete daily meals. We just hope that in the future we can offer more free food for people who really suffer due to the COVID-19. This program really helps those who are in great difficult to get food during this pandemic. The OFM Friars in the school and the school team member is promised and have commitment to continue this program whether the pandemic will end soon or not. They hope also to give free meals not only once a week but if it is possible to extend for two or three times a week. The number of people who can get free food hopefully become more and more in the future. Until now the program is going very well at St. Francis Assisi School in central Jakarta which is the center of city of Jakarta. Next to this school is the main building of one of biggest Muslim group in Indonesia, that is Gerakan Pemuda ANSOR (part of Nahdlatul Ulama, the name of the Muslim organization group in Indonesia). The friars very often working together with this organization and they are now planning to have some program regarding of the next charity program for those who affected by this COVID-19 especially in Jakarta.
The biggest and important message from these activities which is bring hope for us is that the people began more and more initiative to take care one another especially during this pandemic. They never stop to share what they have to others people even though they also in difficult time. Without plenty words and kindly speech from the authorities, the people take initiative to help others. This really happened with our charity works in this Franciscan School. Since in the beginning when we opened and turned the school class room into the “Domus Isoman”, the people began to offer daily food and some donations for this place. All these things are free give from them and brought directly to our school. Later on, when people see us provides food for the hungry people, then the parents and the children from the school itself take initiative to cook and prepare the food for those who came to school on Thursday afternoon. Slowly by slowly the number of people who joint this charity works is increase and they are so happy to do this works. They joint with us to spread the hope and love to other during this pandemic. We as Franciscan should learn from them that the COVID-19 never stop them to helping others in this difficult time. They bring hope and smile for those who are hungry, suffer and has a hard time during this pandemic. We do believe that they also afraid and knowing very well with the great danger of this COVID-19 but they more afraid and hopeless if they cannot do small thing with great love for those who are suffer greatly in this pandemic. As Franciscan we inspire by their love caring, hospitality, spirit, persevere, faith and spreading of hope to others without counting the cost from their service to others. In the same line and spirit with their unconditional love we do believe that our caring to those in needs in this moment is the only way to ‘stop’ the terror, hopeless and losing of faith among people because of COVID-19. Together with others we can bring back hope and faith of people who really suffer due to the COVID-19.
Beside these programs, some of OFM Parishes in Jakarta dan Depok (outside Jakarta) also offer free vaccination for people (from different background, religion, tribe) who stay nearby parish, monthly financial support and food packages for the families in the parish who affected by this covid 19. This program is still going on and part of our support and contribution to the government to stop the spread of COVID-19 in Indonesia.
At the end as Brother Francis teach us that we should always and all the time pray and hope to God in every moment of our lives especially during this time. We hope that this simple charity works will invites many more people to help others who suffer greatly in this pandemic time and as Franciscan we never lost our hope in God to overcome this pandemic.
Contributor: Br. Peter Beto, OFM
Assistance Master for Temporary Professed Friars in Jakarta, Indonesia
Here are some photos from the charity works and program.