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Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate  United States Province

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Companies Urged to Keep COVID-19 Drugs Affordable Amid Pandemic May 8th, 2020

Now that the Food and Drug Administration has authorized remdesivir for emergency use in seriously ill COVID-19 patients, the experimental drug is another step closer to full approval. That’s when most drugs get price tags.

Gilead Sciences, which makes remdesivir, is donating its initial supply of 1.5 million doses, but the company has signaled it will need to start charging for the drug to make production sustainable. It’s unclear when that decision might be made.  Read the full article at NPR.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels

In early April investor members of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR) sent letters to the CEOs of fourteen pharmaceutical companies calling for a collaborative approach in the development of health technologies, including diagnostics, treatments and a vaccine in the global fight against Covid-19. 

The letter was sent to AbbVie (ABBV); Amgen (AMGN); Biogen (BIIB); Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY); Gilead (GILD); GlaxoSmithKline (GSK); Eli Lilly (LLY); Johnson & Johnson (JNJ); Merck (MRK); Pfizer (PFE); Novartis (NVS); Roche (RHHBY); Sanofi (SNY) and; Vertex (VRTX). Read more.

As companies go virtual with Annual General Meetings, shareholders are finding ways to still participate in the process and convey concerns. ICCR has launched #AskTheCEO, a campaign to capture shareholders’ questions at these virtual meetings.

Visit ICCR’s website to read more about their #AskTheCEO campaign and watch shareholder videos.


Fr. Joseph Gomes, OMI Reports on Covid-19 Efforts in Bangladesh May 6th, 2020

Inspired by the spirit, knowing the outreach geographical location of the villages, illiteracy and the ignorance of our people, I felt the desire to do something immediately. With me were the Indigenous Leaders, Rt. Rev. Bejoy N. D’Cruze, OMI, Oblate Fathers and few other organizations. Therefore, we called for an urgent meeting with some of the local leaders at IPDS office in Kulaura, Moulvibazar on the 8th of March 2020.

The Strategic Plan that we have undertaken as safety nets and protective measures:

1. During the spread of COVID-19 we decided to be present with our peoples; to deepen their spiritual and moral strength, to give them proper orientation about Coronavirus Covid-19, to continue the sacramental and pastoral care with proper precaution and protection, to mentally prepare the leaders to face the worst case scenario; to distribute sanitary materials and to look for possible food assistance for the poor from different sources.

2. We thought of printing safety net measure leaflets according to the directions of the World Health Organization (WHO) both in Bangla and Khasi languages and distribute them to each village as quickly as possible. It was decided that Mr. Ross Pohtam would do the Khasi translation and the office of the Indigenous Peoples Development Services (IPDS) would prepare the Bangla version. Accordingly, it was done; printed and distributed into the villages.

3. The above mentioned persons had formed small teams and carried out Awareness Campaign in twenty- two (22) villages namely: Lokhipur village, Bongaon village, Marina Tea Estate, Gazipur Tea Estate, Meghatila punji, New Rangi punji, Balarma punji, Amoli punji, Purancholta punji, Jhimai punji, Singur punji, Islachora punji, Amchori punji, Balukoona punji, Puthicherra punji, Nooncherra punji, Ichachora punji, Panai punji, Kukijuri punji, Lutijuri punji, Muroicherra punji and Ewlachora punji. And I was present in most of the villages during this campaign.

  1. The following areas were covered during the campaign:
  • Distribution of leaflets: read out and explained to the people present.
  • Proper orientation was given on what is Covid- 19 and some Precautionary Measures:
  • Importance of the washing of hands for 20/30 seconds before entering into the house.
  • Avoid coughing and sneezing in front of others.
  • Importance of maintaining social distancing in order to avoid infection.
  • Keeping a separate room available to isolate a person found with positive case.
  • Quarantine for fourteen days for anyone coming into the village from a distant place.
  • Restricting movements as much as possible to avoid community transmission.
  • Importance of cleanliness: inside the house and around the village.
  • Money handling: always wash hands thoroughly after every money transaction.
  • Restricting vendors and business people coming into the villages during the lockdown.

  1. Collaborative initiatives/ measures undertaken:

It was providential to meet with some of the generous institutions to organize collaborative initiatives to help out our peoples affected and victimized by Covid-19 in four districts under the jurisdiction of The Sylhet Catholic Diocese. Among them The Sylhet Catholic Diocese, the Oblate Delegation in Bangladesh, the Caritas Bangladesh, KUBORAJ Inter-Punjee Development Association, the Government Agencies, Indigenous Peoples Development Services and the Missionaries of Charity Sisters are worth mentioning.

Click here to read the full report.


Earth Day at 50/Laudato Si’ at 5 April 21st, 2020

Photo courtesy of Gerd Altmann, Pixabay

The urgent challenge to protect our common home includes a concern to bring the whole human family together to seek a sustainable and integral development…Humanity still has the ability to work together in building our common home. Young people demand change. They wonder how anyone can claim to be building a better future without thinking of the environmental crisis and the sufferings of the excluded. (Laudato Si’ 13)

On April 22 the world commemorates the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, which is more important now than ever. This year the COVID-19 pandemic takes precedence, and presents a challenge with huge economic and social consequences.

Learn more about what groups around the world are doing to mark this observance:

Catholic Climate Movement

Catholic Climate Covenant 

United Nations 


International Organizations Amplify Indigenous Peoples’ Demands in Response to Coronavirus Pandemic April 21st, 2020

(Photo by Etienne Delorieux on Unsplash)

COVID-19 poses a mortal threat to Amazonian indigenous peoples. The cases of the disease and death in the region are surging and there is the expectation that those numbers are likely to explode in the coming weeks. Now is the time to take action to prevent more deaths.

In solidarity, Indigenous Organizations of the Amazon Basin (COICA) has expressed deep concern about the impending threat of COVID-19 in their ancestral territories and communities and issued a statement. Among the demands, indigenous peoples are calling for an Amazon-wide moratorium on all extractive activity on their territories.

Read the full statement here.

Visit Amazon Watch’s website to learn more.


The Mission of Jubilee USA Network Remains Critical April 15th, 2020

As the world’s major trade blocs and financial institutions convene over the next few days to deal with the growing coronavirus crisis, many of the largest religious institutions are urging them to protect the world’s poor by providing debt relief and additional resources.

In recent days,  OMI JPIC joined 80 national religious institutions, congregations and partners in a letter organized by Jubilee USA Network to confront the coronavirus crisis. The letter was delivered to the White House, G20 and IMF.

Signers of the letter join calls from Pope Francis, the US Catholic Bishops and 165 world leaders encouraging additional resources, aid and debt relief to ensure all countries can withstand the crisis.

On a positive front, earlier this week the International Monetary Fund approved $500 million to cancel six months of debt payments for 25 of the world’s most impoverished countries: Afghanistan, Benin, Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Nepal, Niger, Rwanda, São Tomé and Príncipe, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Tajikistan, Togo and Yemen.

While applauding this move, Eric LeCompte, executive director of Jubilee USA Network is pushing for an expansion of this list to include more countries where people live in extreme poverty.

Also reacting to this week’s events, Fr. Séamus Finn, OMI, Missionary Oblates JPIC director remarked, “the chains of financial indebtedness have imprisoned millions around the world for too many years. We need to continue to press on this critical issue which we have dodged consistently over the decades.” “This crisis may be providing us with ‘no other choice’ scenario as we recognize that we are all in this together,” he  adds.

The Missionary Oblates were founders of Jubilee USA and have been active members over the years.

Read more about Jubilee USA Network’s recent actions by visiting their website

OMI JPIC Among Investors Urging Businesses to Protect Workers Amid the Coronavirus Crisis March 31st, 2020

As the social and economic ramifications of the coronavirus pandemic are quickly becoming clear, including a looming recession, growing unemployment and significant operational and supply chain interruptions, the well-being of millions of workers hangs in the balance.

While it is clear that social isolation is crucial to protect workers and to control the spread of the virus, widespread layoffs by companies will only exacerbate the current economic turmoil and further destabilize markets, say the investors. 

As a result, investors are taking action. 

On March 26th, a group of nearly 200 investors led by Domini Impact Investments, ICCR and the New York City Comptroller’s Office issued a 5-point plan for businesses to protect workers amid the crisis. Key points include:

  • provide paid leave,
  • prioritize health and safety,
  • maintain employment,
  • keep supplier/customer relationships, and
  • fiscal prudence.

Read the full statement and see the list of signatories here. 


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