Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Working through Illness in the Hills

Fr. Puthumai was in Tindharia, with 26 Sisters of the Missionaries of Charity (Mother Teresa), to share more knowledge with them on St. Paul's Letter to the Romans and also a brief input on the Eucharist. The training was from 22-25 Oct in the picturesque Tindharia on the Himalayas, closer to Kurseong, the beautiful hill town on the Darjeeling Hills. Then, from 26 - 29 Oct, he was in Darjeeling, in the Loreto Convent, to help the Sisters in the process of helping them refine their development works. The theme titled : "Redefining Development" was to help them plan in such a way that "faith does justice" in the whole process of working with and among the poor. 

The Darjeeling program was jointly done by Fr. I.P.Sarto and Puthumai A. Nazarene, with Sr. Sabrina and Sr. Monica of the Loreto organizing the training through the Mary Ward Development Centre. Mr. Roshan Rai, also supported part time as a resource person.

The Viral Attacks

Thousands of people all over West Bengal were affected by viral infections since the beginning of October. At least ten persons have died due to mysterious fever that has affected them. In Social Welfare Institute, Puthumai A. Nazarene, the Director himself was inflicted with the virus since 16 Oct, paralysing him for ten days from doing normal activitites. Now he is in better health and is able to take of most of the normal tasks. He wishes to thank all who supported him with prayers and wishes. 

Friday, October 17, 2008

In the South of India

I left Raiganj on 04th Oct evening and went to Madurai, and then to my village for the Festival of our Lady of Rosary. It was a wonderful opportunity to be among my own villagers, thousands of them gathered, spending over 500,000 rupees on the festival, with the massive video coverage of TV channels and the delicious Tamil food at every house....! Children have grown up. I could also meet most of my school day friends, as they all come once a year during the festival. It was all nostalgia. But with much less time in my hand I could not meet everyone personally. Even I missed some of my relatives.... I regret that.

However, I managed to visit my favourite other religious destinations : the Church of the Holy Cross at Manapad and the Our Lady of Sand near Periyathaalai. Back at Madurai, I spent some time in visiting my nieces and nephews, some sick persons in the Rajaji Government Hospital. It is something that I do everytime I visit Madurai. Hospital apostolate has not developed so much in North India in general, in West Bengal in particular. I could also enjoy kesari, idly, idiappam, keppai puttu, kudal curry... Oooh! The food was really too good. The most surprising part of the entire travels was, I could go to Pondicherry, to see Selvi, my niece, who is in the Novitiate of a religious congregation.  I returned on the mid-night of 13 Oct, after a long-delay on the railway tracks.... due to a derailment of a cargo train south of Malda town.

Spiritual Journey

The week from 27 Sept till 04 Oct was kept aside for the Spiritual Experience of all priests of the Diocese of Raiganj. All the priests of Social Welfare Institute, namely, Puthumai A. Nazarene, Markus Mardi and Herman Kindo joined the spiritual retreat held at the Bishop's House. The reflections were given by Fr. Bhyju, cmf, a priest from the Claretian Missionary Congregation. It was a profound experience to silence ourselves from within and to spend lot of time in reflection and prayer.... to rejuvenate the inner strength that needs to be the source of all human perfection.