Thursday, April 3, 2014

A Grotto for Yerraverram?

Fr. Varghese showed villagers a couple sample
 grottos for inspiration.
As storm clouds gathered and winds increased during the 2013 monsoon season, villagers at Fr. Varghese Kalapurakudy's mission outpost in Yerraverram gathered outside the windows of their little church to look through and pray to Our Lady of Help to save them. The church is kept locked when not in use to protect it from vandals and thieves.
After some homes were damaged and destroyed by monsoons but lives spared, the faithful asked Fr. Varghese to help them build a grotto to honor the Blessed Mother. He encouraged them, and they began a door-to-door campaign to raise funds for the grotto structure, and gathered sand and river rock to construct its base. A family in America provided funds for the statue, so Fr. Varghese suggested choosing Our Lady of Guadalupe for the grotto, to honor the help and prayers that come from what Fr. Varghese calls his "friendly circle" in the U.S.
River rock helps provide a solid foundation.

Village life as seen from Our Lady of Help Mission
in Yerraverram.
Such makeshift homes in Yerraverram provide little
shelter from monsoons.

In front of the mission compound,
saris dry in the sun.
Some kutcha huts are roofed with dried
 coconut leaves.

A new feature like a Marian grotto is a big improvement
 at a mission that struggles with basic upkeep.
Seen here is Our Lady of Help's front entry step
into the compound.
Volunteers gather to begin work on their new grotto.

Prayer with Fr. Varghese launches
the grotto project.

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