Saris, the traditional robes of Indian women, stretched as far as the eye could see, as Holy Family faithful laid a sari carpet through Yeleswaram for their Palm Sunday procession.
|Just as crowds laid their cloaks in the |
road for Jesus, his people
welcomed Christ by laying
their garments in the road, explained
Walking three miles from Holy Family Mission to the town of Yeleswaram, and then winding their way through the busy streets, the people held palms, prayed and sang, proclaiming their love of Christ to others in this only 3% Christian region.
|Altar boys led the walk along |
the sari carpet.
|Proclaiming the Gospel via rickshaw |
sound system. Fr. Varghese walks
behind as "Persona Christi" -- another
Besides the procession, Fr. Varghese celebrated Mass at Holy Family Mission and at Our Lady of Help Mission in the village of Yerravarram. Before he left for Mass in the village, he found his motorcycle tire punctured by a nail. He ran to find a parishioner who could loan him a motorbike to take him to his next mission.
Varghese means "George" and St. George is traditionally depicted slaying a "dragon." Palm Sunday took on a whole new dimension for Fr. Varghese when he had to slay a serpent -- a cobra -- on his mission compound (photos below).
|Palm Sunday Mass at Holy Family |
He says he has killed around 50 poisonous snakes in his lifetime! A girl at the mission saw this ten-foot one (below) slithering into the mission's plantain grove. Fr. went searching for it and parishioners came to help, but found no snake. They finally discovered him in a storage room at the mission.
"I saw the foldings of him under a pot," explains the priest, who positioned villagers with sticks around the room, since there was no telling what the snake might do if provoked. When the pot was removed the snake was very agressive, "bussing and weaving," says Fr. Varghese. He finally dispatched the creature with a blow to the head.
All in the day of a missionary priest!
|The ten-foot cobra Fr. had to battle on his |