|This picture says it all -- gratitude. Fr. Varghese |
(hand on chest) and Archbishop Prakash
Mallavarapu exchange glances at the event.
Days of deadly temperatures reaching up to 116-degrees F. and a stage construction project that encountered weeks of tough challenges, did not stop the historic June 2nd Confirmations in Yelleswaram. The Holy Spirit descended upon 212 Confirmandis at Holy Family Mission at the first Confirmations held there in 10 years, thanks to a rainstorm that dropped temperatures to what Fr. Varghese described as "pleasant," heroic labors of volunteers, and funds that arrived anonymously in the nick of time. Parishioners painted, cleaned and arranged up until the last moment, finishing just half an hour before adoration began on June 2. Results were miraculous.
|Incense rises toward heaven like prayers |
as the entrance procession forms.
|Blessing the faithful with holy water.|
Fr. Varghese is left of the Archbishop.
|The Archbishop cuts the ceremonial ribbon and blesses the new |
stage before the Mass and Confirmation ceremony.
|The stage, just one day before Confirmations...|
|As many as 2,000 people attended, traveling in |
from scattered villages. In the background is Fr. Varghese's
newly-whitewashed little presbytery (rectory).
|The Confirmation ceremony took place within the Holy Mass.|
|In his homily, Archbishop Prakash Mallavarapu |
praised the faithful for their zeal and energy
in living their faith. He spoke of people's need of the
Holy Spirit, and encouraged Confirmandis
to embrace their new life.
|Confirmandis attended classes for weeks, preparing themselves |
to receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
|The devotion of the Confirmandis showed clearly |
in their reverence.
The Archbishop was "excited to see the piety of the people in a remote village" and he praised the "discipline" of the crowd, said Fr. Varghese. After his homily, the Archbishop read out names of Confirmation candidates. After the Confirmation ceremony, he announced names of donors who had made the event possible, praying for them in a special way.
|Altar boys shared the honor of caring for the |
|A rented sound system helped the vast crowd hear the Mass.|
|Girls from the mission performed a welcoming |
dance for the Archbishop, and then presented him with a gift.
|The Archbishop thanked those of all ages who volunteered |
many hours toward constructing the new stage
and beautifying their mission.
Elders honored Archbishop Mallavarapu by presenting
him with special shawls and flowers.