Cuddalore – GLM members gathered on August 19th at Don Guanella Boys Home for its second meeting which began with Adoration of Blessed Sacrament. Miss Anitha shared how our Founder spent his time in Adoration and his devotion to the Blessed Sacrament. Fr. Visuvasam quoted examples from the lives of the saints and re-emphasized the need for the same devotion in our own lives. It will make our life more successful. Then some ordination experiences were shared and planning for the founder’s feast day celebration was discussed. The meeting came to an end with a prayer.
My very recent mission exposure in the Northern part of India has refreshed my mind and heart and called forth the pastoral experience of Father Guanella in the remote mountain areas of his time. We have been working to plant our Charism in order to also reach out to the least of our brothers and sisters in the North. We have sent two of our Deacons namely Achariyam and Anil to prepare a seed ground and to have an immersion in the mission in learning the language and to study the ambience. After a few months of the experience, both have come back with a missionary zeal and great enthusiasm.
They were in the Ambikapur Diocese, Chhattisgarh state among the tribal converts and here, the missionaries are active among the tribal communities, Catholics are poor farmers, and one of the challenges is providing education because the local literacy rate is less than 50%. In fact, when I met the bishop, his interest is to offer educational possibilities to the poor children in order to eradicate illiteracy.
It is God’s providence that I was accompanied by one of my parishioners Fr. Aruldoss, a missionary priest, who has been working vibrantly in the Raipur Archdiocese for the past 23 years. Raipur is the capital of the state of Chhattisgarh, called the “Rice bowl of India” where the great Indian rivers run through this region. The Raipur Archdiocese is the largest diocese with a large territory in the state. The mission was started by the French missionaries of St. Francis de Sales. The priests and religious working here hail mostly from the southern India state of Kerala, Tamil Nadu and the neighboring tribal dioceses.
Missionaries engage themselves in the pastoral care of the migrant Catholics and work for the uplifting of the socio, economic and religious needs of the people. There are many religious congregations involved in running schools, dispensaries, and social welfare programs to all irrespective of faith.
I have visited many mission centers and institutions but they do not have homes for people with developmental disabilities and when I pronounced our congregation to them it was new. I had an appointment with the archbishop of Raipur and briefed him about our mission and he will discuss this with his priests’ council and give his reply to possibly start our mission.
As two of our soon-to-be priests were designated by Providence to have this beautiful experience and witnessing the people’s life style with simple faith, let us try to change our attitude and enhance the qualities of the missionary by “Speeding up and not let the worry of any earthly thing hold us back.” We hear many talks about the missions and attend exposure camps but our life experience is different sometimes in our communities.
Mission is mainly an affair of the heart! I heard from the missionary priests, “This is my diocese/congregation, I will die for this mission and people.” There is a natural attachment to the place and people. We tend to rely on the possibilities of a maximum life of comfort and updating the latest arrival of modern technology. Let us throw our mind and heart into our mission and the offer to us of accepting the challenge of the mission in the New Areopagi! My heartfelt wishes go to the 10 New Evangelizers from the Divine Providence Province who will be ordained on August 22, 2014!
Fr. Soosai Rathinam
Saigon – Every newborn child reveals that God still loves us, and the construction of a new church reveals that people are growing in their faith. Fr. Jerin attended the consecration of a new Church located on the top of the mountain amidst the ethnic people. The bishop of Buon Me Thout Diocese, Rev. Bishop Ban consecrated the Church. Fr. Hai, the Parish Priest, Hoa An Parish, faced many difficulties from the officials to construct the church, but he realized the importance of the church in that location. He put all his effort and trust in God. Through the support of the Bishop and brother priests he was able to finish what he started. He is really a missionary in his own country.