Economy

Divine help for a community starved of small-denomination notes

V Sajeev Kumar Kochi | Updated on January 15, 2018 Published on November 14, 2016

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A church in suburban Kochi opens its offertory to parishioners to help them tide over the currency crunch

Since time immemorial, man has turned to religion to tide over difficulties of all nature. Be it protection from persecution by tyrants, or personal problems of a temporal nature, believers have turned expectantly to their religious figures for succour.

With large swathes of the country passing through a liquidity crisis following demonetisation of high-value notes by the Centre, the time was perhaps ripe for a spiritual/ secular intervention.

In an unusual and remarkable development, a church in Kerala has come to the rescue of its parishioners, who were hit hard by the demonetisation drive. The church opened its offering box, or offertory, containing small-denomination currency to the parishoners to help them tide over the currency crunch.

When believers turned up for Holy Mass on Sunday morning at St Martin Syro Malabar Church in Thevakkal in suburban Kochi, they were greeted with an announcement inviting them to take money from the offertory kept near the altar to meet their daily needs.

“We allowed parishioners to collect change from the hundis on the assurance that they would deposit back the amount as and when they receive cash from banks,” said Fr Jimmy Poochakatt, the parish priest.

Within minutes, the two offertories with small-denomination currencies were emptied, leaving aside the old ₹500 and ₹1,000 currencies, untouched.

And Fr Poochakattis very confident that the money will be returned to the church once the believers receive sufficient funds from banks. “I am sure they will return the money soon,” he added.

“Most of the people are from the low strata of society and the currency demonetisation has affected them badly due to the shortage of small denomination currencies,” the parish priest explained.

The church’s action can be seen as a reciprocal gesture of giving the donated money back to the believers during an emergency situation.

Published on November 14, 2016
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