India, a missionary among the Mundari tribals to bring the spirit of Advent.
Dec. 17, 2013
This is a journey through jungles and dirty roads traversable only on foot, to bring the Gospel and the spirit of Advent to remote villages in Jharkhand, which have neither electricity nor running water. This was the goal of Fr. Lino Fernandes SFX, a missionary from Pilar who administers the Parish of Blessed Mother Teresa Siadih (Diocese of Jamsehdpur), composed mostly of tribal Mundari. The mission includes a total of 45 families scattered among 25 villages, 10 of which are up to 15-20 km away from the church. It was to these isolated nuclei that the priest wished to launch his “Advent tour” from 29 November to 11 December.
Fr. Fernandes belongs to the Society of the Missionaries of St. Francis Xavier- commonly called the “Society of Pillar”- founded in Goa in 1887. During the trip, he told AsiaNews, “Our days began at dawn, due to the remoteness and poor road conditions. After driving on rough tracks, we usually had to walk for almost an hour and a half to reach each village.
However, the effort was rewarded “by these people’s thirst for the Word of God and the sacraments. These people live in forests, in thatched huts with no running water, no electricity. They suffer because of this isolation, so we wanted to bring them a little Christmas spirit.”
Each day was dedicated to a different village. “We read the Gospel-says Fr. Fernandes-prayed and held catechism classes with some people. The interesting thing is that all the people who participated. We took confessions of those who wished to confess, and then we had lunch together. In the afternoon, we had a moment of open exchange, in which old and young shared with us their joys, suffering, worries and challenges. The day ended with the Mass.”
“The Advent tour”, the missionary told AsiaNews, it was an adventure that I embarked on following the encouragement of Pope Francis, who challenged us pastors of the Church to be more missionary.”
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