Thursday, May 23, 2013

Countdown to Confirmations on June 2nd...

Holy Family girls prepare a welcoming dance
for their Archbishop, for when he visits the mission June 2.
Confirmations at Holy Family Mission in Yelleswaram, India, are just 10 days away. Helpers from the Archdiocese of Visakhapatnam have visited to prepare the people spiritually, catechism classes continue, Fr. Varghese and parishioners are still going door-to-door to raise needed funds for the event, and Fr. and his volunteers have been preparing the mission daily. Construction of a sturdy new concrete stage is nearing completion. The stage was also a dream of a previous pastor 12 years ago, who saw the need to have a dignified setting for special Masses and events. The new stage will serve the mission for years to come, as a special extension of the little church. Renting the stage to the surrounding community will generate some income for the struggling mission.
Fr. Varghese led prayers to start out the final day of cement
pouring for Holy Family Mission's new stage.
Because their church is too tiny to hold the some 2,000 people expected for Confirmation day, a rented tent and sound system are also needed. Water and a simple meal will be provided, to keep people well in the 100-plus degree temperatures. An itemized list of needs are outlined in the "Fundly" campaign shown in the box at right. Click on the title to donate or to support the Fundly campaign for free. 
If the stage's new concrete roof is not moistened by 
9 AM each morning, it will crack as it cures.
Drawing water from the mission's bore well.
Watching the progress of a bucket as it's hoisted
up to the roof by a rope.
On May 24th, temperatures reached 116.6-degrees F. around
the Kakinada region. Fr. Varghese and his young
volunteers sifted sand from gravel, preparing for
workers who would arrive later that evening.
Getting a roof on the stage was a grueling process that took a huge team effort in mid-summer heat.
With no fancy construction equipment, workers
have to use ingenuity and determination to
get the job done.

The head becomes a useful carrying tool and a plaintain
leaf shelters a worker from the intense sun.
Little ones are curious about all the activity.
Workers take a welcome chai break.

Manually lifting concrete to the roof and pouring it,
 is tough and time-consuming.
Workers have to watch their step. One fell 15
feet off the stage roof last week and Fr. Varghese
ran to do first aid. 
Parishioners were thrilled to receive the donation
of 10 bags of cement.
Fr. Varghese has been overseeing and working side by side with
his people every day since Easter, to beautify their mission.
Here, he takes a rest near the Marian shrine he and volunteers
constructed out of stones from a nearby river.
Laying the final cement in a project that will bless
Holy Family Mission for years to come.

Soon to be complete...

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