OMI logo
Translate this page:

Recent News

News Feed

News Archives

Latest Video & Audio

More video & audio >

News Archives » COVID-19

OMI JPIC – Most Viewed Stories in 2020 January 19th, 2021

Want to know which stories received the most attention on OMI JPIC’s website and Facebook page in 2020? Click the link for the list and happy reading! in a new tab)

Living Out the OMI Charism: Fr. Ray Cook Participates in Pfizer Vaccine Trial December 30th, 2020

By Fr. Raymond Cook, OMI

As COVID-19 furiously attacked in the early months of the outbreak, the world was experiencing uncertainly, life changes and economic hardships. Rice University was, and still is, a microcosm of the world in which we live. Having our first confirmed case in February in the research lab, one of our Catholic community members contracted the virus and spent over two months recovering. The way in which her body reacted to the virus was severe, but it also was such that she was unable to develop antibodies against the virus even after being COVID free. Today every Rice student, faculty member, staff and visitors receive weekly COVID tests (nasal swabs) and masks are required as ALL times and no one can eat indoors in groups. Their success rate is a model for all universities. As of today, the positivity rate is far below 1% .

In May of 2020 a Rice Alumnus, who works for the Texas Drug and Development Center, put out a call to get volunteers to try the new RNA-based vaccine for Pfizer Phase II/III study. Because it was hitting so close to home, and my call as an Oblate compelled me to live out Constitution 2, I decided to sign up as a volunteer to participate in the double-blind study. Double blind essentially means that neither the participant nor the doctors know of you are receiving the vaccine or the placebo. I am patient 77 in this trial.  In late July I received the call to make an appointment. I discussed it with friends and family and most advised against it because I am asthmatic. But after much time in prayer and guidance from our Lord Jesus, I decided to proceed.

In August I arrived and the appointment lasted four hours as they went through my complete medical history, medications I take, as well as any vitamins or minerals right down to Tart Cherry Extract that I take daily. They had to make sure, they said, if I reacted to the vaccine it was clear what may have caused the reaction. Thirty minutes before I left the clinic, I received the first of 2 doses. I sat there to wait for any severe reactions. Everything seemed fine. They sent me home with emergency contact cards, a COVID test kit (that they would retrieve at any hour of the day or night should I come down with symptoms), a thermometer, a gauge to measure the injection site, and an app to record daily updates. The next day I was scheduled to give blood and was informed that I would be unable to give blood for two years so they could determine how this vaccine affected the bloodstream.  Needless to say, this was all a bit nerve-racking as I entered into an unknown study that will continue until August of 2022.

After the first round there were very little side effects except for some swelling and pain at the injection site. I presumed I may have received the placebo. A few weeks later I received the second injection during a two-hour appointment. A few days later I could hardly move as I was so exhausted – but the next day I was fine. “Maybe” I thought, “I received the real vaccine” but I could have also just been exhausted. Now some time has passed, and we have received the good news that the Pfizer Vaccine has a 95% success rate! I also learned that I will be “unblinded” soon and should I have received the placebo; I will be invited to receive the actual vaccine soon. Still, I will make quarterly visits, they will monitor my blood for 2 years as I am still in the trial phase and will continue to live as if I received a placebo to protect those around me.

Of course, I will continue to pray that the poor in our world will have access to the new vaccines. I also give thanks to God for creating minds that are able to protect the world through science.


UN & ECOSOC face a historic challenge: Fr. Daniel LeBlanc, OMI reports July 20th, 2020

Report by Fr. Daniel LeBlanc, Missionary Oblates – US Province, Representative to the United Nations

(The High-level Political Forum, is the United Nations’ central platform for follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals).

On Tuesday July 7th, the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) began with the intervention of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) President Mona Juul of Norway. The title and subtitle of her speech brought us into line with what had been the first week of the forum. The title was: “Launching a decade of action in times of crisis: putting the focus on the SDGs while combating COVID-19“. Read more about the the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF):

Fr. Daniel LeBlanc, OMI

This year’s version of the HLPF was designed to re-launch 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals following last year’s review, and to mark the 75th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations (UN). At the end of last year’s meeting and until January 2020, everything sounded like a new impulse for the Agenda and a renewal of structures, both of the UN and of the ECOSOC. We cannot say that COVID-19 has stopped the impulses of renewal, but it has slowed down the momentum. The HLPF is being carried out, almost entirely, through virtual meetings. This new modality, although it represents the unequivocal decision to move forward, does not cease to represent a lesser degree of intensity than in previous years when the dialogues were face-to-face.

The review of the progress of the SDG of Agenda 2030 has been carried out this year from the perspective of COVID-19; that is, asking how the Coronavirus is and will be influencing the achievement of each objective. The analyses have been coincidental: much of what had been achieved, with much effort, in the fight against social inequality, is going to be affected very negatively. Children and adolescents have had to stop going to school; millions of jobs, formal and informal, have been lost; there is a health crisis with hundreds of thousands of deaths by COVID-19 infections; incipient and “coming” famines, etc. I could go on listing each and every of the 17 goals of SDG2030; all have been affected. This is a global tragedy that is happening in every country and impacting every person.

In the face of this catastrophic situation, the dialogues, presentations and seminars held during this week responded in a unified manner: the path to overcome this world crisis comes from what is contained in the Agenda2030. The challenge is global, and the response must be global, as is the Agenda itself. Having said this, there is a second point that can be found in SDG Goals 10 and 17: it is necessary to act decisively against the inequalities within each country and between countries and, for this, international collaboration is necessary. Multilateralism emerges, once again, as the only viable path; but multilateralism is not based on the will of each country to build it and shape it effectively.

We finished the first week and started the second week. The second period of meetings focused on the voluntary reports of each country – Voluntary National Review (VNR) – on the implementation of the Agenda; beginning with those corresponding to Armenia, Samoa, Ecuador, Honduras and Slovenia.

We will wait, as every year, for the conclusions of the HLPF-VNR, but this year we will have to wait for something more. The whole world, by country and area, is in the midst of the shock caused by COVID-19. Until the confusion caused by this public health war is dispelled, we will not know how the world is truly reorganized as we are in the midst of the fog, climbing a great mountain. I trust that the much worked out Agenda 2030 and the UN’s own multilateralism will be the answer we find at the top.


Covid-19 Awareness & Food Relief at Oblate Mission in Lokhipur, Bangladesh July 10th, 2020

Fr. Valentine Talang, OMI pours out hand sanitizer
Food Relief work at Immaculate Conception Parish, Lokhipur, Bangladesh

Aucayacu, PERU: We are building space dedicated exclusively for the treatment of Covid 19 patients June 19th, 2020

by Radio Amistad June 19, 2020

The community which is organized in a Committee from different sectors have come together to support the Aucayacu’s Health Community Center to fight Covid-19. Soon they will deliver to the Health Community Center all the different items they obtained that will help them in the treatment of Covid-19 patients.

Everything is going according to the schedule previously approved and published.  The Committee that was created to support Aucayacu’s Health Community Center to fight Covid-19 has begun phase 3 of its plan. The transportation of the different items that were bought was completed thanks to the services of Transportes Céspedes Cargo. Most of the things that were bought are already in the city of Aucayacu, Peru. They arrived yesterday afternoon and were transported to Aucayacu’s Heath Community Center.

The items that were bought are essentials items to help patients to fight Covid-19. Items such as: clinical beds, transport stretchers, pulse oximeter, cabinets, multi-purpose car, serum holders, oxygen concentrator, nebulizers and personal protective equipment for health workers, among others things for the new room that is being built to treat patient with Covid-19. 

For the members of the committee that support Aucayacu’s Health Community Center it is a priority to build a new room to treat patients sick of Covid-19.  This new room will be 250 mts 2 (2690.9 ft2), this will be located among the corner of street San Martín and Mariscal Cáceres in the city of Aucayacu.

This new room will have a perimeter fence, floor, roof, bathroom, and gardens that will provide a better quality of services to the people of Alto Huallaga. It is important to have in mind that Aucayacu’ Community Health Center also serves people of nearby districts like José Crespo and Castillo. Also, that means people from districts such as La Morada, Pucayacu, Santo Domingo de Anda and Pueblo Nuevo might also come to ask for services.

The multi-district committee is going to give a press conference where they will make the official donation of the items and will offer a detail account of what was bought and explain how the money was spent. The committee thanks everyone that was involved: people of good heart, families, friends, small business owners, entrepreneurs, local authorities, and church entities. We hope to continue receiving more support to reach our goal. Let us remember that the money that we gathered in Selvatón 2020 was about 106 thousand soles [31 thousand and 800 hundred dollars].  Thanks to that donation we are building this new room that will have what is necessary to treat patients affected of Covid-19 during this global pandemic.

Covid-19 won’t go away soon, and we need to learn to live with it. Once we have overcome this global pandemic it is hoped that in the future this room will be used for treatment of senior people and vaccination of children. That is the decision we have reached as a multi-district committee.

Return to Top