NewsYour mask protects me

Your mask protects me

By Fr Ambrose Pereira sdb, SIGNIS Member in Papua New Guinea.

COVID-19 has brought with it a virus that has caused worldwide destruction and death. The discovery of the vaccine and its rollout in Papua New Guinea has not been accepted in the country. As herd immunity is a long way off, the basic protocols must be practised.

Fr Edward Revilla sdb, is a missionary priest and has spent several years in Papua New Guinea. He has been in Rabaul, Kumgi and is presently at Boroko in Port Moresby. His assignment includes ministering to the Catholic faithful at the Shrine of Mary Help of Christians, Boroko. He spends time with students listening to them, counselling them, and hearing their confessions. On Saturdays, he is occasionally invited to spend the afternoon listening to confessions at St Joseph’s Parish, Boroko. The entire Sunday morning is spent at the Shrine of Mary Help of Christians, Boroko. He commences his ministry at 6.30 am and leaves the shrine at 12.30 pm for his lunch. During this time, he is constantly in contact with people, listening to their confessions, counselling them, praying for their needs, and imparting the blessing of Mary Help of Christians on them.

As one who is in close contact with people in prayer, and the celebration of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, he feels that it is his personal responsibility to follow the COVID-19 protocols. “The wearing of the mask is important. It is very uncomfortable to wear a mask for a long time. But it is very necessary. I must protect myself and I must protect others”, he said. 

“I am in the front lines and am entrusted with offering a service to our people. The penitents wear the mask when they come to meet me. I am comfortable with this arrangement”, he continued.

Fr Revilla aged 84 years has taken the first dose of the vaccine and will be taking the second dose shortly. “I believe that the vaccine is for the good of every person”, he said. He is concerned that many people do not keep to the protocols and with the virus mutating, it can be a very dangerous situation for everyone in the country.

The COVID-19 delta variant was discovered in India. It has spread around the world and is now present in around 80 countries. In the month of May, WHO stated that the delta variant is of great concern. There are other variants that influence its transmissibility, but “more studies are needed to fully understand the mutations,” said Van Kerkhove.

Papua New Guinea has been protected by God, but every citizen must do his or her part to ensure that they not only protect themselves but also ensure that they protect their loved ones, family members and all those they meet. The Nuipela passin needs to be followed by every person in the country so that the country will not have the spike in numbers that India, Indonesia, Fiji and several other countries have experienced.

Let’s never forget, ‘Your mask protects me, my mask protects you’. Stay safe.


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