Thursday, April 11, 2013

Setting the stage for the Archbishop's visit

Volunteers use an assembly-line approach to remove excess dirt from the
construction site.
It's been an exciting week at Holy Family Mission! The formal announcement about Archbishop Prakash Mallavarapu coming on May 8th to celebrate the first Confirmations here in ten years happened at Fr. Varghese's Sunday Masses. By the next day, volunteers were gathered at the mission compound to start preparing for the big event. Men and women wielded sledgehammers to break up an old concrete stage on the property (See photos here). They stood barefooted or in sandals, digging through rubble with bare hands. 

On Tuesday, a parishioner who just started his own business brought a large digging machine. In thanks for prayers answered, he volunteered his labor, and the machine dug out an area for a new stage.   (See Fr. Varghese's post.)

Volunteers returned the next day to remove excess dirt. Piles of dirt, pebbles and larger chunks of rock grew as children joined in the work, sifting dirt by hand through strainers.
Most Holy Family parishioners are day laborers called "coolies." They
lack formal education and literacy, but are generous in giving time
and energy to the church. Here, volunteers construct frames to be placed
on gravel before cement for the stage is poured.
Paid laborers were needed today for more technical aspects of the work, says Fr. Varghese, but "tomorrow we need more volunteers for pillaring." Soon we'll see photos of those new pillars for the stage, rising into the sky...
This old stage, a project begun 13 years ago by a previous pastor but
never completed, is now history. By God's grace and the people's hard work,
the crumbling, uneven foundation will soon be replaced by
a sturdy new structure.
The mission is buzzing with activity as parishioners pour volunteer
time and labor into preparing a space for their landmark
Confirmation ceremony.
Funds are urgently needed to complete this project! The Archdiocese of Visakhapatnam is a mission diocese with no funds to contribute to Holy Family's upcoming Confirmation. When Fr. Varghese approached the five nuns at the local Catholic high school, they offered their service and prayers, but said, "Father, we have no money to give. Our mother house was unable to send us any funding this year."

So, please keep Holy Family Mission, Fr. Varghese and all his people, in your prayers. And consider showing your support in a practical way by sending a much-needed donation through paypal. The "donation" button at right is a secure and easy method.

God bless you for your love and concern for India's missionaries and the faithful they serve.

Text by Marianna Bartholomew
Photos by Fr. Varghese

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