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Visit to Serampore, India (Brs)

From the 1st - 2nd October, Thomas Sukotriraharjo and Fernando Cordero visited the sscc community of Serampore, on the banks of the Ganges in the city of Calcutta. Their journey involved travelling some 45 kilometres from the sscc community of brothers who serve the Immaculate Conception Parish, that is blessed with a simple church and a multi-purpose hall that serves as a non-formal education centre. It is located in the rural village of Kunjaban and is linked to other villages in the same area.

In Kunjaban there are 14 Christian families living together in a Muslim environment. These Christians converted to the faith from ancestral tribal religions 25 years ago. So they are first generation Christians living in a poor rural environment. The visitors were greeted with a beautiful welcome on a mat next to the church, as rains a year ago had turned it into a real ruin. This welcome included an impressive foot washing. One of the Christians said: "We can feed ourselves with what we sow, but if we lack spiritual nourishment we cannot grow". They celebrate the Eucharist once a month and a catechist leads the Sunday liturgy in the villages. They are very grateful for the help received from the Secular Branch of Ireland-England and for the support of the Iberian Province. Thomas and Fernando visited some houses, a sick woman and the widow of the first Christian who converted to the Catholic faith in the village.

Besides the personal one-to-one’s with the brothers and a community meeting, the visitors celebrated the Sunday Eucharist in the Parish of the Immaculate Conception. They met Mary Michael Baxla, a Daughter of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul who serves in a home for the sick and elderly next to the parish. After the Eucharist, a cultural programme that included dancing was put on. The visitors encouraged the brothers to continue with the style of pastoral and missionary conversion they are developing and to care for the Christians in the villages, who need their support to continue to grow in faith.

Link to the photo gallery: https://bit.ly/3qGi0Cr