The Covid Warriors! Funeral Undertakers during Burials of Covid-19 Victims Felicitated

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The Covid Warriors! Funeral Undertakers falling Under Diocese of Mangaluru during Burials of Covid-19 Victims Felicitated by the Diocesan Lay Faithful Commission of diocese of Mangaluru on Sunday, 27 February 2022 at the Sambhrama Hall, St Anthony Ashram, Jeppu, Mangaluru

Mangaluru: As the COVID-19 pandemic continued throughout the world, including India, and when thousands of people died of this virus, the involvement of the Funeral Undertakers was a responsible but risky job and the issues involved in this pandemic were immense. There was literally no area of the death services industry that could maintain without severe adjustments to the way things were done. These funeral undertakers had to find new ways to meet grieving families’ needs while honouring the deceased. They had to do some creative thinking in order to accommodate traditions. Social distancing and concerns about spreading the illness had made changing the way that these funeral undertakers functioned to be a necessity.

No doubt, Funeral services are a necessary part of society. That’s never been more clear than it was during the course of a pandemic when so many families lost their loved ones. While the pandemic also made catering to clients exceptionally difficult, these Covid Warriors tried their best and put their efforts to handle one of the risky jobs, handling the Covid-19 victims’ burial process- but they all did it, with no fear, with dedication and commitment- and they were the true Frontline workers during the pandemic. For these workers who help to prepare the body, there was a need for upgraded care in using protective gear, especially in cases where the deceased needed to be extubated prior to preparation. And also for these funeral undertakers, their calling of comforting the families and honouring the person who has passed had always been a top priority.

And in Mangaluru, as a gesture and gratitude to a bunch of Funeral Undertakers under the Diocese of Mangaluru, the Diocesan Lay Faithful Commission of the Mangaluru Diocese came up with an initiative put forth by Fr J B Crasta of the Commission to invite these Funeral Undertakers and felicitate them for their daring and committed service during the pandemic. During a felicitation programme arranged at Sambhrama Hall, St Antony Ashram on 27 February, nearly 22 Funeral Undertakers were honoured, which was appreciated as a kind gesture of the diocesan Lay Faithful Commission.

Speaking on the occasion, Fr J B Crasta of the Commission, and also the Designated Director of St Anthony Ashram said, “This a gratitude function. When we had fear and apprehension of the burial of Covid-19 deaths we thought of bringing together our funeral undertakers of the Mangaluru diocese. Accordingly, we called a meeting of FU at the Bishop’s House. We prepared a liturgy of burial and gave them instructions. And today, we have called them to express our gratitude to these Funeral Undertakers, who toiled hard and risked their lives handling Covid-19 deaths burials. May God bless them for their generous and selfless service during the pandemic crisis”.

Fr Joseph Martis, the Secretary of Priests Council appreciated the good work done by these frontline workers, handling burials during the pandemic. (Listen to Fr Martis’ speech on the video below). Navil Noronha of Noronha’s St Joseph’s Funeral Undertakers said that their intention was not to make money but to help out in the burial during the pandemic, and we feel that we did our best in such a crisis by risking our lives and doing the needful. Fr Onil D’Souza- the director of St Anthony Ashram said the opening prayers prior to the formal function, and Fr Larry Pinto-the assistant director at the ashram rendered the vote of thanks. A sumptuous lunch with Mangalorean Sunday Dukra mass and other delicacies made everyone happy.

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