This is to express my deep sense of gratitude to all those who have responded positively to the news of my visit to the St. Paul’s mission fields in Chittoor, A.P. I really appreciate those comments of support and encouragement. I thank them also for their prayers for our work in as many as 14 states of India. I thought I would also share some of my experience in Chittoor. I attended two prayer meetings in the houses of two of our new members. In the humble households (both houses were like tiny huts) I experienced the fullest expression of faith! I was really moved.
The holy qurbana I celebrated with them in our church in Chittoor was an unforgettable experience in my life. On my way to the church, we collected a disabled lady. Our friends helped her board the vehicle. When the driver started the vehicle, she asked the driver to stop for a second. Then she told the missionary that she forgot to take the Bible. Our missionary, Stephen went back and brought her Bible.
Later I learned that this was a lady who could not read and write. Yet she wanted to hold the Bible in her hands becaused she trully believed in the power of the Word of God.Do we have such strong faith? I said the ecucharistic liturgy in Malayalam. But to my plesant surprise, the entire congregation said the responses and sang the songs in Telugu, without any problem or delay. I felt as if I was doing the liturgy in their own language. Such was the smoothness of the liturgy. I could feel the movement of the Holy Spirit in the entire service.
I was deeply touched by the earnestness of the congregation in having learned our church’s liturgy, prayers and songs in such a short time. The most rewarding aspect of the liturgy was that the entire congregation, except the few ones who are waiting to be baptized took holy communion. In how many of our congregations, does this happen? After the service, there was ‘nercha sadya’ which was ‘sponsored’ by one of the beleivers. It was simple rice and sambar. Every one took part in it. For me, it was a true offering to God. It is in such simple , yet profound expressions of faith of the poor, Dalits and Adivasis that you get the fullest satisfaction of worshipping God. I had a similar experience when I celebrated Holy Qurbana at our mission chapel in Ulluhalli in Karnataka when I was a priest.
I am sharing this with all of you just to let you know that our church is indeed growing both in quantity (number) and in quality through the mission work of St. Paul’s Mission. Mission, let us remember, is the life line of any Church and let us support it. Please do continue to uphold the work of St. Paul’s mission and its missionaries in your prayer.
God bless and Have a blessed Holy Week