The Knights of Columbus have sent more than $200,000 in concentrated oxygen and personal oxygen concentrator devices to the Amazon regions of Brazil and Peru, where Indigenous populations have been hit hard by the COVID-19 virus.
Supreme Knight Carl Anderson began the process of delivering aid to the Amazon region after hearing Archbishop Leonardo Steiner’s desperate plea delivered via video in mid-January: “For the love of God, send us oxygen!”
“In solidarity with our brothers and sisters in the Amazon region, we could not fail to act,” Supreme Knight Anderson said.
Archbishop Steiner, who became the shepherd of Manaus’ 1.7 million Catholics just before the outbreak of the COVID pandemic, issued his plea as a new wave — and possible new strain — of COVID hit the area. Family members have stood in line for hours to refill oxygen tanks for loved ones struggling to stay alive at home due to a lack of hospital beds.
While planning aid for the Archdiocese of Manaus, the Knights learned of a similar need in another part of the Amazon. The Knights of Columbus are also delivering self-contained oxygen concentrators and oxygen tanks to the Territorial Prelature of Santiago Apóstol de Huancané in Peru.
Bishop Giovanni Cefai, in a message to the Knights, predicted that the results of this initiative would be “astonishing.” “Even if we save just one life it is worth it,” Bishop Cefai said. “Imagine that we will be saving hundreds of lives.”
Supreme Knight Anderson noted that the Knights of Columbus council have been exemplary in their rapid response to the COVID crisis through the Knights’ “Leave No Neighbor Behind” initiative. He added, “Now this help, on behalf of a remote and largely Indigenous people, speaks to the reality that, within the Body of Christ, ‘our neighbor’ stretches far beyond the borders of our own local communities.”
Edited by Maryssa Gordon, Senior Editor, Price of Business Digital Network