You may remember this story from April, about a priest in the U.S. peddling from house to house to visit his flock.

Well, the idea has caught on: 

 A Catholic priest in eastern India is winning hearts, not for any major achievement but for his simplicity.

Father Vinod Kannatt, priest of Rajkot’s Junagadh Parish in Gujarat, cycles to the homes of his flock amid the coronavirus pandemic to care for the sick and elderly as he believes it is the ideal time to be with his people when no one is around.

“If I lock myself in my room fearing the virus outbreak, my ordination as a missionary priest is useless. Now is the time I need to be with my people to comfort them,” Father Kannatt — popularly known as the cycling priest — told UCA News.

“We are alive now because of the care and support of Father Kannatt,” said John D’Souza, the father of two mentally disabled daughters aged 29 and 31.

One of them has been bedridden from birth and the other cannot stand and walk properly. Both of them cannot do anything without support from others.

D’Souza, a 58-year-old former employee of the state road transport corporation, managed to run the family with help of his wife, Espirancia, until three years ago. Since then she too is bedridden as she suffered a spinal injury following a fall.

Knowing the condition of the family, some neighbors and other well-wishers in the parish offered food and other support following the initiative of Father Kannatt.

But with the outbreak of Covid-19 in India, the neighbors’ support stopped, leaving D’Souza disillusioned as he did not know how to manage his family with his 2,500-rupee (US$34) monthly pension.

“The money my husband gets is not enough for my medicine alone,” said Espirancia.

Father Kannatt, however, rose to the occasion and found additional resources to help them.

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