Hyderabad: John (name changed), a resident of Secunderabad, had made all plans to sell off his age-old house after his wife tested positive.

John was worried that he would have to spend lakhs of rupees at a private hospital to save his wife. The only option left for him was to sell off his house.

Enter a group of Roman Catholics, who counseled and assured him that healthcare won’t come at the cost of his roof.

This seven-member group of Roman Catholics has been serving the community since mid-August. The nameless ‘saviors’ have been counseling and guiding Roman Catholics in the city to get a better hand at Covid-19.

Soon after the pandemic began, a stigma and unanswered concerns padded in. Like other people, Catholics were helpless.

Enter Malcom Taylor, who created a counseling body with six other members to help the people in distress. “We only wanted to build a body, without any hierarchy, that can guide and counsel families affected by Covid-19. We offer medical and spiritual counseling to those in need,” Malcom said. The group includes Malcolm, John Bosco, William Alexander, Edwin Hubert David, Leo Lewis , Angelo, and Mario Francis.

The group began operations last week and has since been offering solutions to all Covid-19 related issues. From giving free consultation to providing medicines to those under home quarantine, the group is working round the clock to ensure mental stability among Catholic patients during a ravaging pandemic.

“When COVID positive and symptomatic people come to us, we first consult a doctor. The doctor then suggests if they should go to a hospital or stay under home quarantine. The patients are also advised which hospital to visit. All the consultation takes place for free,” said Malcom.

The group also offers solutions for COVID burials. “We had priests who shied away from performing burial ceremonies, thinking that the body was COVID positive despite showing them death certificates. To deal with the stigma, we now offer suggestions as to where bodies can be buried,” he said

The group also offers last rites ceremonies for the deceased and ensures that they get a decent burial. Malcom said since the burial spaces are perishing in the city, MLA LV Stevenson has arranged one acre of land at Balapur. This land is being shared by Roman Catholics and Protestants.

Come Sunday, the group will be circulating pamphlets in all the churches of the city so that needy people do not have face any difficulty.

Priyali Dhingra

Priyali Dhingra is a post graduate in Communication Studies from Hyderabad Central University. She has previously worked as a photojournalist, editorial, and graphic design intern in The Indian Express, Newslaundry, and NDTV. Reigning from Delhi, she has an avid interest in photojournalism, and all things visual. She has also represented India as a delegate in the JENESYS 2019 Student Exchange Program with the Government of Japan. Having pursued her graduation in history from Delhi University, she was also a part of her college's theatre society. Her primary interests include: photography, poetry & politics.

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