23 Apr when the rug was pulled out from under our feet/USA
At the Oasis Católico of Athens (Georgia – USA) where a Handmaids community have been involved in for 17 years and are willing to continue for as long as possible we are we are just wondering how our ministries will evolve post pandemic… As many of you know already we live in a converted trailer next to another group of (210) trailers where only immigrants are living (95% are immigrant families).
The main Project of Oasis of daily tutoring about 100 children by university students (over 200 registered each semester) is in jeopardy. It all depends on how soon the University resumes the “in person” classes otherwise our program would not be able to re-start tutoring when the elementary schools re-open their doors. However, we have the classrooms ready to start, though probably the system will have to be readjusted to “the new normal” of post coronavirus life so that the children can continue to be empowered to excel in school.
The weekly Holy Hour of Adoration and the individual visits to our porch-chapel have been suspended for the public following the Diocesan mandate to close the doors of all the churches in the Archdiocese…. So, we have started to bring Jesus to the adoration of all via the free Facebook live streaming for those who might be able to join us through their telephones!
Oasis more than ever is functioning as a bridge between those who wish to help people in need with those who need to receive thus, we can live out the “obras de misericordia” thanks to so many generous people and the wonderful comadres (neighbors) who help out with the distributions.
Some comadres who know how to sew, took the initiative to make face masks with some remnants they had at home and distribute them to the people coming to Oasis for food. So, our collaboration has been purchasing more materials for them to be able to produce more “tapabocas” (masks). It is beautiful to see people reaching out in whatever way they can.
Face to face personal interactions have diminished significantly, but texting and WhatsApp communications are constant since people more than ever need reassurance and counseling.
Also, more than ever we are cooperating with the Health Department and the College of Medicine of the University facilitating the Coronavirus testing in the neighborhood.
Moreover, the ministry of advocacy and collaboration in the city of Athens has expanded participating in many committees and sub-committees via Zoom virtual meetings. Representatives of various entities such as the University, Hospitals, schools, non-profits, etc. and members of the government like our Mayor and our State Commissioner participate in these virtual gatherings.
What we are living now brings to our hearts what Saint Rafaela lived with her family during the plague in Spain reaching out to the people of Pedro Abad…
All that happens at Oasis is thanks to so many connections and tremendous generosity of so many people reaching out to the immigrants in times of extreme need, uncertainty, and instability. Much Reparation work to be done!
Margarita Martín, aci