KOCHI: Setting a laudable example in these troubled times, a Catholic church in Edathua in Kerala’s Alappuzha district opened its gates for the cremation of a Covid victim who was not a member of the parish.
K Srinivas (86), who passed away due to Covid on Tuesday, was cremated at the cemetery of St George Forane Church, Edathua. With many regions in the locality inundated by heavy rains, the late Srinivas’s relatives were worried about how they would cremate his body. This was when the parish stepped in to lend a helping hand.
Srinivas was undergoing treatment for Covid at Alappuzha medical college hospital. The 86-year-old from Tamil Nadu worked at a textile shop in Edathua.
“His family along with his wife were also infected with Covid. They were staying on rent here for a long time. The premises of the house and nearby regions were inundated. Since the number of Covid deaths was also rising, there was no point in keeping the body in the mortuary for long. Therefore, the relatives along with panchayat officials approached the Church,” said Rosamma Antony, former panchayat member of Edathua panchayat.
The cremation took place at around 7 pm in the Church’s cemetery.
“When the panchayat members and relatives of the family approached us seeking a place to conduct the last rites, arrangements were made after consulting the parish council. It is a pandemic time and the Church is always happy to help anyone in need and those approach us. It is sheer humanity,” said Father Mathew Chooravady, vicar of St George Church, Edathua.
The seven-member family of Srinivas has now recovered from Covid-19 and is under quarantine.
Srinivas, a Hindu at birth, switched to the Pentecostal faith a few years ago.
“We recovered from the illness last week. We were not able to shift the body to the crematorium because of the floods. Therefore, the suggestion was made to cremate the body in the Church and they have allowed it. We are also churchgoers. It has been three years since we converted to Pentecostal Church. Except for my mother, all others went to Church including my father,” said Manju Suresh, daughter of Srinivas.