SCC stories

SCC stories

 
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TRUE STORIES FROM THE REGIONS

 

 
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BIHAR REGION

 

Bhagalpur Diocese; Giridih Parish

THE BUILDER-PRIEST BECOME ANIMATOR OF PEOPLE:

Fr. Gregory Kootickal of Bhagalpur Diocese was a great builder. The Bishop always chose him when a Church or school or any other structure is to be built in a place. He proved himself to be a great builder. Since he was confirmed in this even by authorities, he always went about building structures and not much work to build people. Wherever he went he found some construction work. He had to do it and he found satisfaction in it. When people came with their problems he tried to send his assistant or a catechist to that village. When he had to go for any Sacramental service he did it fast and tried to return home. The problems of people were not his real concern. When SCCs were introduced in the diocese and even the bishop took it as a pastoral priority of the diocese. Fr. Gregory did not consider it so important and did not introduce it in his Parish. He said that it was not practical to introduce it among the poor and illiterate people of his Parish. Then a sister who came to the Parish spoke about SCCs to him. He wasn’t too excited about it and told the Sister that she can try it if she wants it. After the initial visits she invited Fr. Gregory to meet the people who were interested in SCCs. The village where it was being introduced was a place where people always revolted against the Priest and created problems for them. Being with this people and seeing the change in them made Fr. Gregory to re-think about his pastoral approach. Gradually he became a full-time animator for SCCs. He said that out of the 38 years of his priestly service 32 years he was a builder of structures and in the last 6 years he was a builder of people and that during these past 6 years he has not put one brick on another. The last 6 years of ministry was far more satisfying and sanctifying than the previous 32 years’ ministry, as he testified. He has come to love his poor people and they, him

As shared by Fr. Gregory himself

 

TODAY'S MIRACLE

Giridih parish is in Bhagalpur diocese. Giridih parish has 2000 people, 4000 families in 300 houses. People are poor and illiterate except for a few who are working as teachers and in Govt. offices. The farthest village is 52 Km away from the Parish house and people have to spend a minimum of Rs. 80/- for coming to attend the Sunday Mass, which is too much for them. Anything beyond Rs. 5/- is a big amount. The parish is spread out into 13 blocks.

Father Gregory Kuttickal, Parish priest organized a retreat from 26th to 28th March 2014 as preparation for Easter. He had no means to finance the program as he was expecting a big number of people for retreat. He took the Scripture passages John 2:1 ff “The Wedding at Cana” and Mark 6:30-44 “Jesus Feeds the five Thousand” for SCC meetings. People were inspired by the Word of God. To Father Gregory’s surprise on 23rd March one lady who is a teacher (she wants to keep her name unknown) came with 2qunitel rice, 10 kilo sugar. The next day came another with 25 kg rice, 10 kg dal, and more people came with things, some with Rs. 500/-, 100/-, 50/- etc. The retreat was successful.

Fr. Gregory is overwhelmed with the experience of the Power of the Word of God and is once again determined to promote SCCs in his parish. Fr. Gregory says, “SCC is the only way to renew the parish. All the bishop conferences and people of the parishes, when they understood this, express their joy and desire to establish SCCs. This is the voice of the Holy Spirit. In the golden jubilee year of the diocese I do not see any other means better than SCC, which is centered on the Eucharist and the Word of God, for the renewal of the Church in the locality.”

shared by Father Gregory Kuttickal

Buxur Diocese

SCC IN MASAURHA VILLAGE

Masaurha is a village, 15km away from Durgawati parish of Buxur diocese. 5 years ago, when SCC was started in the parish, there were only five Christian families there. There was a strong feeling of caste and untouchability. When these five families came together for any prayer or meeting, people belonging to other castes made fun of them. But the people kept coming together to listen to the Word of God and for sharing with one another their faith experience. In their meetings, they read the Word of God, reflect on it and then discuss what could be done in the light of the Word of God they heard. As a result the Lord added to their number and they have 18 Christian families now. The untouchability is wiped out. People who never even took water from them now share common meals with them. The whole village, irrespective of caste and creed, shares their joys and sorrows like birth of a new born, death, marriage, success etc. They come together to celebrate birthdays and anniversaries.

 

These were people who wanted the parish or the priest to do everything for them. But now, with the new understanding of ‘shared responsibility’, there is a marked difference in people’s attitude. One of the ladies, called Kumari Kuwar, gave half a khatta (2 and 1/2 decimal) of her land to build a center for the common good of the village. The SCC members contributed money and built a small center where all catholic families gather everyday in the evening for praying together. They sing Kirthans, thank God for the gifts received during the day, read the Bible and share their faith and pray.

 

Sr. Christin, along with Fr. Bhaskar,  went to visit the SCC in Mausarha. Usually the people in the village go to sleep at 8.30 pm. The team was supposed to meet them at 5pm. Due to some unavoidable reasons on the way they reached at 7.45pm with no hope of meeting anyone. But to the surprise of the team, the people (men, Women, youth and children) waited more than two and a half hours singing kirtans and reading the Word of God. The people greeted the team with great joy and love without a word of complaint or demanding to know the reason for their late arrival. The team members were touched by the patience, love and welcome they received in spite of being so late to reach them.


The members of SCCs shared:
“We now can share a common meal sitting together without a sense of caste and creed unlike in earlier times”
“We now come together every day for prayer”
“Church is a community and this community is here where we live”.
“The Word of God guides us”
“Our priests now come here oftener; it was not so before”.
“We are growing in faith”

 

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JHARKHAND REGION

Dumka Dioces; Madhpur Parish


 Chechali is a Santhal village in Madhupur parish of Dumka Diocese in Madhpur (Dt), Jharkhand.  The people in the village (50 families) were living in total misery and starvation. They had no means of livelihood except farming and cultivation. They had no forest nearby to collect the fruits, seeds and other means of income, and there were no factories to get a job. There was problem of water for cultivation and they had no means of irrigation. If they were fortunate they got rain once a year during monsoon. They depended on this rain for farming and cultivation. People fought among themselves out of jealousy, superstitions and hatred.

 
In the month of May, 2008, Madhpur Parish arranged a  Small Christian Community (SCC  or BCC) awareness programme for the people of the parish. 20 Catholic families from this village attended the program. They were inspired by the exercises and the Word of God, especially, Isaiah 55: 10 -12 "For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return there without watering the earth and making it bear and sprout, and furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater; so will My Word be which goes forth from My mouth; it will not return to Me empty, without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.  For you will go out with joy and be led forth with peace; the mountains and the hills will break forth into shouts of joy before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.…”  Inspired and empowered by the Word of God, they decided to change their situation in the village.

 
They began SCC in their village and named it St. Monica SCC. Their regular meeting and Gospel sharing brought unity among them and bound them as a community. In the month of June 2008, in their Gospel sharing they were challenged by the Word of God, "

 
I have come in order that you might have life - life in all its fullness.” John 10/10. They asked themselves if the Lord came to give us fullness of life why are we starving and living in poverty and misery.  So far they were cultivating their land individually. They spent their time protecting it from animals and other people. So they decided to do farming collectively and help widows and other helpless people to cultivate their land. They welcomed whole heartedly this idea which emerged from among them.

 
Challenged by the Word of God the SCC members started collective farming. When an NGO called Lok Jagriti Kendra heard about the collective farming, they offered the SCC members a pump set free to help them for irrigating their farm. This made their work easier.

 
In the next SCC meeting they were informed by one of the members that there is a fund available called “Mukhya fund” for the people who do collective farming in the village and they could have instruction for farming and better seeds for cultivation from the Block. The SCC members decided to go together to the Block Development Officer to request for these helps available. To their great joy they were rewarded and help was made available.  Now the SCC members included all 50 families of the village saying. “We the SCC (the neighbourhood Church) will see that we have no one in our village, going to bed hungry.”

 
Mr. Jerome Tudu the animator says, “I am reminded of the multiplication of 5 loaves and 2 fishes. The Lord has done miracles in our village with the power of His word.”
 
Another villager says. “the Word of God instills confidence within us”.
 
Mariam Handsak says, “ We need not buy anything from the market now except oil and Masala”
 
John Murmu says, “ The Lord rewarded us in abundance for the little work we have done”

           

 

 The unity and love among the members of SCC instilled confidence in Shanti Devi, a Hindu widow. She approached them for help in the unjust treatment she was getting from some people in the village.  Shanti Devi was accused of being a witch and was put out of the village because some powerful people of the village wanted to grab her property. The SCC members of the parish took up her cause. They called for a village meeting.  During the meeting the SCC members made the Hindu brothers and sisters understand that it was not right to put the poor, helpless widow out of the village. They made it clear to the villagers that injustice to a poor voiceless woman is a great crime. They even quoted from the Hindu scriptures to show that it was a sin to deprive the woman of her property and throw her out in the street to die. The SCC members then, with the help of others, built a house for the poor widow and sheltered her in her own land. The SCC families took care of her needs till her death in the year 2014.
 

The most significant changes the peopleexperienced in the village:
 
Growth in their faith and trust in God
Growth in faith in the Power of the Word of God
Love for the Word of God
A sense of being Church in the Neighbourhood
Growth in Self Confidence and in a sense of Dignity
Unity and oneness among them
Growth in the sense of belonging to one another
Growth in the sense of belonging to the human family
Ability to rise above one’s caste, creed; with a sense of universal oneness
Growth in leadership qualities
Better knowledge of farming
Better standard of living
Eradication of poverty from the villag
e

 

Narrated by  Mr. Jerome Tudu, SCC Animator

 

LEARNING TO BE CO-RESPONSIBLE THE DIOCESE OF DUMKA, 2016

Dumka Diocese is one among the eight Catholic Dioceses in the State of Jharkhand. At present the Diocese of Dumka is blessed with fifty (50) Parishes and Quasi Parishes. Small Christian Communities (SCCs) were born here in the year 2004. The first Parish where the SCCs started is Shikaripara. The following year, 2005, the SCCs extended in five more Parishes. Thus, by 2010 thirty three Parishes got SCCs in the Diocese. In the recent years 2011 – 2016 in the period of five years again nine more Parishes embraced the SCCs. Thus, at present in the Diocese of Dumka forty two Parishes are with SCCs, with a total of 430 units.


Generally the style of function in SCCs is same in all the units. The units gather once or twice in a month, the venue rotating to different families; a passage from Holy Bible is read and the "seven steps ‘Gospel Sharing’(GS) method" is followed. At this exercise an ‘Action Plan’ (AP) is made, which usually consists of seeking solution to a family problem or some activity for the benefit of the entire village or parish.


When we plan to do something good collectively the Spirit of the Lord strengthens us. This was our experience in a parish called Shikaripara where the SCCs started in the year 2004. The parish is at the outskirt of Dumka about 30 K.M. to the East. There are at present 54 SCCs all over the parish. Mr. Albert Hansdak is the head animator there. He is associated with SCCs in the Diocese of Dumka right from 2004. He is in-fact the SCC member of his village called Jambad. Members of SCCs there come for GS meeting once or twice a month. From the beginning people have seen that all come for GS meeting, but they had no interest for the AP work. Only a few were doing the AP work and the rest of them were always absent from it. It went on this way for six months and more.
In one particular GS meeting all of them expressed their mind about the present situation of SCCs, whether their SCCs were going on well or not? Some, especially those who were not interested in AP, raised the question whether they should make AP, or do they really need to do work together. At this point some asked “if they do not keep the AP what sort of SCCs would that be called? ” After discussing for a long time everyone said sincerely, “Without AP our SCC is incomplete; and it will be called only a ‘Prayer Group’. Therefore, if we are deciding for SCCs to continue in our place, in the name of the whole group each one of us will sacrifice our personal time and come for common purpose”. They also said that if all of them were ready for it, only then they would call for GS meeting. All of them agreed to that and till today their SCC units are going on well. By now many APs have been carried out. Some of them are as follows:


1.      In the Summer season, digging ditches on the side of the fields to avail water for cattle to  drink.
2.      Making exit drainage in the village for the waste water from hand pump.
3.      Reaching out to the sick and suffering people in the neighborhood.
4.      Repairing the houses of others.
5.      Paddy transplantation and the harvest work doing in the group.
6.      Repairing the village road, etc.

In the month of May, 2016, the SCCs members helped a boy to get married. He was a poor orphan boy from the village called Jambad. His name is Jeshil Marandi, and belongs to a family of eight children, five boys and three girls. He is the forth boy in the family. Both the parents passed away when he was young. The boy married a girl who is also an orphan from a village called Dhopahar of the same Parish. The name of the girl is Elshi Soren. She has only a brother younger to her. The SCCs in the village of Jeshil is known as St. Abert’s Unit. The members of St. Albert’s unit arranged everything and took care of the whole marriage programme for them. First of all they helped him to repair his house. They did the white washing; contributed thatch for the roof; helped in cleaning the surroundings, organized reception of the relatives on the day of celebration, and arranged whatever was required for the marriage, including two witnesses from both sides, for the bride and groom. All the members of St. Albert’s unit contributed as they could. Thus, their marriage celebration was carried out smoothly. Neither of the bride or groom felt the lack of their parents who had died long go.


Now, both the couples are living very happily. They have become active and regular members at the SCCs meetings. Their faith in the Lord too has grown stronger after their marriage because they found that in the Church there are people, or rather neighbors, who would always stand in support of them in the time of difficulties.
                                                                                                     
Here is another example of how the SCCs awakened in the people the awareness that they are the Church.

 

Shikaripara village chapel was broken down and was neglected for three to four years. The people thought it was the duty of Bishop and Parish priest to repair it. In the month of May 2013, the SCC leaders of Shikaripara were taken to Bokaro steel city Parish for a training cum live in experience with SCCs of Bokaro. The one week program changed the attitude of SCC leaders from Shikaripara. The experience in Bokaro made them aware,  as Mr. Raphael put it, “we realized that we are the Church and we need a place to gather for worship.” They came back determined to repair and rebuild their village chapel. The broken down chapel was built and blessed solemnly.


In May 2013 all the SCC members of Shikaripara gathered to meet Sr. Christin (representative of  NST in Jharkhand) who paid a visit to the SCCs at the grass roots. At the Gospel sharing meeting they discussed with her their fearful situation in the village. There was the news of land grabbing by the DVC company. Hundreds of people would be displaced. One of the SCC members  who informed the villagers about this plan for land grabbing being made by DVC, was arrested. There were tears in their eyes, fear in their face, anger and helplessness in their voice. Together with Sr. Christin the SCC members decided to join hands with other people of the villages which would be affected and with the NGOs who are working for the welfare of the people.
They held meetings with all the villagers, met the NGOs as decided. With the help of the experienced NGOs they wrote a letter to the President of India about their situation. After that so far the villagers are not approached for land again. (names of persons are not mentioned for security reasons.)

Narrated by Fr. Christopher Hembrom

 

KHUNTI DIOCESE

Kamanta is a village in Khunti where there are 18 Catholic families who live together with Protestants and Sarna brethren. These 18 families are very regular in Gospel sharing and helping others. Last year they helped each other in transplantation of the paddy fields. In early days this was the custom in all the tribal villages to help each other in transplantation, weeding and harvesting. But for quite a few years in the past it has disappeared. People face a lot of difficulties for lack of money and lack of laborers. Last year the Catholic families together transplanted paddy in the fields of five families in five days. At an appointed time all used to go to the fields and joyfully finished all the work in no time. The better off families gave food, some gave money and others didn’t give anything but all were happy that they had worked together. This year they have planned to do the same.


Just recently they helped to repair two old buildings and worked together to build a new house of a neighbour. Some carried bricks, others sand and still others helped carrying water etc. These activities could not remain unnoticed by the neighbours. Three Sarna families are deeply touched and expressed their desire to join the Catholic Church.This is good news but the head man of the village wants to know that it is a genuine case, so he has advised them to go to church regularly on Sundays for six months. Only after that they will be given proper religion classes and Baptism. This I feel is a very positive effect of the SCC in Kamanta.



The second example is that of Amritpur. There a retired couple had started building a small grotto of Our Lady in their courtyard. They had difficulty in collecting small stones. After the Gospel sharing they expressed their frustration of not being able to complete the grotto for the month of May .The SCC group decided to help. Whoever found one stone or two brought it to their house. Soon after, their little grotto was completed and blessed .This event filled them with joy and gratitude. Those who contributed stones are also very happy and the little grotto belongs to everybody in the village. It faces the common path through which they pass.

This year on 20th May we lost one of our most important members of the team.  Mrs. Grace Bhengra had an accidental fall in the well. She was deeply injured and expired by evening. This is a great loss for our team.  She was the backbone of our team. May she rest in peace.

 

Narrated by Sister Roshni Baxla OSU.

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BENGAL REGION

Asansol Diocese

A SISTER ANIMATOR OF RARE COURAGE

Sr. Rosita, SCCG



Kubajpur is a Santal village 3km away from Kurmun parish of Asansol diocese. It is in Burdwan district. The SCC in this village has 30 families. Sr. Rosita, SCCG is their animator. The women came regularly for meeting but not many men. Sr. Rosita began to look for the men of the SCC families. She then found them out in a place gathered around liquor bottles, while their women were gathered around the Word of God. She was also aware of the situation in the village. Every evening the men came home drunk and picked up fight with their wives.  People who passed by could hear the abusive language they used while fighting. Sister Rosita took a decision to change the situation.

When the women gathered for SCC meeting, Sr. Rosita asked them to sit and pray while she went to bring the men from their drinking place. Sr. Rosita then went and sat with the men who were gathered around the liquor bottles. The men initially felt embarrassed and tried to hide their bottles. Then one of the men said, “why should we feel ashamed. Sister is also a Santal.” Sister Rosita was patient and told them not to hide their bottles. She asked them to finish the drink they had with them. She said she was in no hurry and she would return only with them. She waited and when they finished drinking, she accompanied the drunken men to the SCC meeting. There she asked all the men and women to sing and dance to their content as the men were drunk. This continued for a few months.

Gradually, as a result of the Sister's effort and the women’s prayerful support, the situation changed. Now there is peace in the families. 5 broken marriages were restored.  Men have reduced their drinking and have come out of their habitual drinking. On the days of the SCC meetings, the men abstain completely from drinking and attend the meetings faithfully.

SCC DAY CELEBRATION AT ST. MARTIN’S CHURCH SAHEBDANGA
 ON 23RD JAN 2017

 

Preparation for SCC day celebration begn with SCC input session every three months in the the villages.  For this we we invited  SCC animators from the diocese and from the region as resource persons. It was like one day celebration with the community members. Along with Bishop Cyprian Monis of Asansol, we fixed the date 23rd Jan 2017. We called for planning meeting in which we were aware of the poor parish finance condition. We could not expect any financial help from the parish. The people responded posistively saying,  “don’t worry this is our program and we will do it”. We estimated 600 parcticipants for the SCC day celebration. The parish has only five SCCs. We divided the responsibility among ourselves according to our strength and capacity. With the support of friends and well wishers we bought needed rice and chicken. The rest of the items  such as vegetables, spice, fire wood, sound systems, tent, labour and other required things was managed by the five SCC units. There was no collection of money, but only the required things.  


On 23rd January 2017 the parish SCC day was celebrated solemnly. The day began with Bible veneration at 8:30 am and concluded at 4:30 pm by closing of the Bible. The participants were more than our expectation. We expected around 600 people and prepared the food, but there were more than 800 people as the food distributors informed us. Miraculously everyone was fed and were well pleased with the food and program. The neghibouring parish members also witnessed the day’s program.

 



 We could say the Lord worked miracle and made the celebration possible. The generosity of the people was blessed by the Lord.

 

Darjeeling Diocese

Maria Busty Parish came into existence when the British donated some land to the French MEP Fathers in 1891. In 1999 Small Christian Communities sprouted after a seminar given by Fr. Jagdish Parmar SJ.

 
Maria Busty is a remote place and in olden times one could reach it only by walk. One had to walk from the forest of Tanderbong to Dukka Pr. School and children going to the school had to walk this path every day.
 
They had written many times to the BDO of Algarah Block as well as to the SDO of Kalimpong sun division but nothing was done.
 
 Something had to be done to solve the problem of the road so that their children could go to the school easily as well as the villagers too can take their produce of the land easily to the market. 
 
In their monthly meeting of the Animators of 18 SCCs, this problem was discussed often. Once the reading was taken from Epistle of St. James, 2/14-18, Faith and work. Along with the Parish Priest, Fr. Paul Sitling, they decided to write again to the BDO at Algarha in Kalimpong sub division but to no avail. So they decided to do themselves the building of the road. The distance is about 3 K.M.
 
They decided to ask the help of the Hindu Samaj, Buddhist Samaj, Sai Mandali, Radhswami samaj of Maria Busty, Duka, Kagey and Tanderbong. M.A.R.G. NGO too came to help with some eatables, juice and cash of Rs. 7000/-
 
They started working on 24th November. The work was done on the third Saturday of each month from morning to evening with implements brought from home. The work was complete in the month of May. it took 16 Saturdays to finish the work.
 
The work was done from November 2007 to May 2008. The  road was inaugurated on 26th May in the presence of  SDO, Kalimpong II, the BDO, Algarah,  CMO,  Pedong Hospital, President of the Local political party, Director of M.A.R.G., Journalists from The Statesman and the Himalay Darpan Newspapers and staff of local TV Chanel.  Rt. Rev. Stephen Lepcha, Bishop of Darjeeling blessed the road.
 
What is the most significant change the SCC members experienced?
 
They realized that the Word of God is powerful. It inspired them to do something they thought was impossible. The Lord inspired them to be generous with their time, money and energy. The same Lord inspired the people of good will from other religions too to give them a helping hand. Through this experience the people’s faith was strengthened.
 
Secondly, it also brought unity and harmony in the Parish with all people of various faiths. Some people were inspired to have faith in Jesus and became part of their SCCs.
 
Students too were happy to walk that way to the school and the percentage of drop out was less.
 
 
Narrated by Fr. Jagdish Parmar SJ.
 
SCCs support the suffering people during 3 month strike in Darjeeling

The SCCs in Darjeeling diocese gave witness to genuine Charity by providing timely relief to the suffering people in Darjeeling district last three months.  The SCC units of the Immaculate Conception parish of Darjeeling Cathedral collected rice, vegetables and other essentials from their members to assist more than 1500 poor people in the interior tea gardens of Darjeeling hills.

Our Catholics gave relief to all the needy in the villages and tea-gardens who had no chance of going to any shop to buy for their needs, nor did they have money to travel, said Fr. Samuel Lepcha, Parish priest of the Cathedral. “Most of the tea garden workers, we helped are Hindus and Buddhists”, added Fr. Lepcha narrating the generosity of SCC groups who collected the food materials and went to the villages to provide relief.

A letter from Bishop Stephen Lepcha of Darjeeling diocese to all the Parishes and institutions in the diocese to identify people who are suffering  and those who are lonely and to support them also motivated the Catholics to go out of their way to help the suffering during the 104 days of Strike in Darjeeling hills. During those days shops were closed, ATMs were shut, schools and offices were closed and the movement of vehicles were restricted

Some people brought cooked food, meat and vegetable to the presbytery for the priests to eat during the strike, said Fr. Samuel Lepcha. Ï had more than what I needed due to the generous support of the parishioners, added Fr. Lepcha. There are 24 SCCs in the Cathedral parish which has 300 families.  During the 104 days strike in Darjeeling and Kalimpong districts the SCCs had regular meetings to pray for peace and to plan to help those who are hungry and needy.
The SCC units in Kalimpong deanery collaborated with other NGOs to assist the needy during the strike. They extended help to daily labourers. About 700 people were fed everyday in Kalimpong town with the donations collected by the SCCs and other denomination Church groups in the area.

The SCC groups also arranged courageously for ambulance to carry the sick to the hospital and to get medicines for them, said Mrs. Cenora Namchu, one of the active parishioners of St. Theresa’s Parish in Kalimpong.  14 Catholic youth of the parish worked with “Who Cares”, a NGO of Kalimpong to help the suffering and the sick during the strike, said Mrs. Namchu who is full time involved in Social work and also an active SCC animator of St Jude SCC unit.

The students were affected very much due to strike, said Mr. Tarsis Tamang, a parishioner of Kalimpong.  Now the teachers are having overtime to teach the children every Saturdays too to cover the syllabus.

We, the priests at Gianoree Home ( residence for sick and elderly clergy of Darjeeling diocese), Kalimpong got tasty food every day from different families during the strike days, said Fr. Pius Marcus, SCC a resident at Gianoree and Coordinator of Darjeeling.

Our SCC unit helped eight poor families of our neighbourhood during the strike, said Mrs. Anita Brahmin, animator of St. Francis Xavier SCC of St. Anthony’s Parish, Kalimpong. WE met them personally to identify their needs and helped them with food, clothing and medicines, said Mr. Alphonse Brahmin, her husband.
 
From I.P. Sarto
 
 
 
ST. PAUL THE APOSTLE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH
5TH MILE, TADONG, EAST DISTRICT, SIKKIM, INDIA
 
 
Mahendra Gurung
 
Works initiated by the SCCs : a report

St. Paul the Apostle Roman Catholic Church is one of the parish which falls under the Roman Catholic Diocese of Darjeeling-Sikkim of West Bengal and Sikkim region. The parish has eight SCCs group. They are : St. Peter SCC, St. Teresa of Kolkata SCC, St. Lawrence SCC, St. Mary SCC, St. Veronica SCC, St. Francis Xavier SCC, St. Joseph SCC and St. Monica SCC. There many work which has been carried out by the SCCs regularly. Here are the some of the notable works.

ONE DAY ONE RUPEE FUND
There are many marginalized and poor families in the parish who needs financial support time to time. But, individually it was not possible to help them in the time of their need. Sometime in the emergency situation the other parishioners also need financial assistance mainly during the medical treatment and for the higher education of the children. Keeping the problems in mind, Rev. Fr. Gyan Stephan Rai, Parish Priest came out with the idea of ONE DAY ONE RUPEE contributory fund. This was discussed with in the SCCs and all the members agreed and the programme was launched on the Feast of Holy Family. Till date a good amount has been collected which will be used for the welfare of the parishioners.


 
LET US CLEAN PROGRAMME
After the lunch of Clean India Mission (Swachh Bharat Abhiyan) by Shri Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India we also decided to carry out the cleanliness drive around vicinity of our Church. Some of the members suggested cleaning the places outside our Church area as we regularly clean our premises. It was discussed in the SCCs and most of the members were agreed. As our Church is situated on the side of the NH 10 and large residential area falls in the both sides of the Highway. As the news spread in the areas the other organizations of the area also decided to join our work. With the representative 33 organizations, educational institutions, business houses and local bodies a Joint Action Committee was formed and named as LET US CLEAN joint action committee. The area from the Central Referral Hospital and Swarasati Mandir 5th mile to Sikkim University 7th mile and the residential areas falling both side o
f the Highway was covered during the cleanliness drive. Now this event has become a regular event.

 
BLOOD DONATION PROGRAMME
Our parish is near to the Central Referral Hospital popularly known as Manipal Hospital. In association with the Manipal Hospital, Blood Donation Programme is organized annually on the Holy Thursday (a day before Good Friday). The motto is Jesus has saved us by shading his blood and by donating our blood we also can someone‘s life. Every year we collect more than fifty unit of blood and the hospital authority gives us a card. Whosoever needs the blood, they come to us, we issue the card to them and the hospital authority issued blood to them.


  
 
 
GORKHALAND RELIEF PROGRAMME
Recently, the hilly area of Darjeeling and Kalimpong District of West Bengal were on strike for 105 days to press their demand for separate state of Gorkhaland. During this period the people of these areas suffered a lot. In this time of need our members of SCCs came out with a suggestion for organizing a relief programme and distributing food items to the needy family of the strike affected area. We carried out the relief distribution in two phases. More than 100 quintals of food items were distributed and the reliefs were provided to more than 700 hundred families.

PRISH FEAST DAY
The Parish Feast Day is one of the big occasion for the parish. We celebrate the occasion with different programmes. But in 2016 the members of the SCCs decided to honour and felicitate all the senior priest of the Diocese of Darjeeling – Sikkim and senior catechist of the North East Sikkim Deanery and South West Deanery. The programme was organized on 17th of July, 2016. All together eight senior priest and 15 senior catechist who has crossed the age 60 was felicited.Shri K. N. Rai, Hon’ble Speaker, Sikkim Legislative Assembly was the Chief Guest and His Lordship Rt. Rev. Stephan Lepcha, DD, was the Guest of Honour.

    Besides these activities we organize pilgrimage tour for Mother’s Organization, Father’s Organization, Youth Organization and Holy Childhood group. Sports Activities for youth is also an annual activities.




 
 

NORTHERN REGION  

Mr. Joginder Masih is from Patiala Parish and he lives in Bank Colony. He is a daily laborer and lives with his three children and wife. He is a very cool catholic and not very much interested in the Church activities.  However the Parish Priest convinced him to attend SCC seminar which was being held at St. Thomas Church Rajpura. From the beginning of the seminar he was sitting very quiet and not speaking much. At the end of the seminar there was a session on the importance of WORD OF GOD in the FAMILY LIFE. After this  session, Mr. Joginder Masih came forward and confessed that he was a sinner  and was  leading a kind of sinful life. He was determined change his life.  He said,  "Today I have come to Know about the value of Word of God for my personal life and Family. Today onwards I am a new person and my Family will walk according to the Word of God. As the head of my family I will make sure that we all will walk by the Word of God and obey the word of God."

The impact:
1. Personal Conversion
2. Awareness about the WORD OF GOD
3. Personal decision to live by the word of God
4. Profession of his faith in the Word of God in front of all.
5. Taking up the responsibility as head of the family to lead the family in the light of the Word of God.
6. Asking everyone present for the same to obey the Lord and read the Word of God always by seeting an example.

Narratec by Fr. Robin Sahaya

                                                                         

 
(North East) Marbisu Parish- Testimony of Mr. Osmond Valerian Sun:

I am Mr. Osmond Valerian Sun, husband of Mrs. Sweety Kharkongor, son of Mrs. Resina Sun and (Late) R. Habubit Suting. My place is from Laitpynter Synrangkaban Parish U Khrist Jingshai Marbisu. I have 2 children.

The testimony I wanted to share with you all is that how God healed me through the prayers of the SCC members from Mawphlang Village of Marbisu Parish under the leadership of the local church lay leader and Mrs. Wiat Rapthap. This group came to pray for me when I met with a very serious accident in GS Road as I was travelling down to Guwahati. Together with me there were other three friends but only me and the driver were injured. The accident took place on July 26, 2009 at 2.00pm., where in this accident; all my bones and muscles of the right hand and left leg were broken.

As they rushed me to the Nazareth Hospital in Shillong on the same day, the operation took place from 4.15pm to 11.45pm Thursday night. Dr. Phanbuh who operated me said, it takes not less than 8 hours to complete the operation. I was unconscious from 29th onwards till Friday July 31st. I was conscious again only at 3.00 pm July 31st as the above SCC members as I mentioned came to me with the recitation of the Chaplet of Divine Mercy which took place at 3 oclock sharp. After the prayers they   massaged me with some holy oil. Immediately after this I came to my consciousness, I gained the power to get up and sat down; I started to talk and to eat. From that day onwards till today I am again normal as usual, I am able to walk and to continue my duty as it used to be. I thank the SCC members of Mawphlang Village, and I praised and thank Jesus for He worked wonders in my life through this simple community.

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ASSAM REGION

SCC Transforms the whole village   

In the month of October, 2013, four SCC units were started in the village called Jugibari, of Biswanath district in Assam. One of the units by name St. Monica SCC group was very illiterate. There was lack of leadership, except one lady by name Martha. In her leadership the simple people faithfully continued to live the SCC way for two months, and all other units were paralyzed. One fine day as usual the St. Monica group gathered together for SCC meeting. One of them informed all the other members that in a certain unit, there was an old lady called Mrs. Teresa Bhuyan, who was at the point of death. The members of St. Monica unit said “we will go to the house of the lady and pray”. The same evening the group went to the house and seeing her condition all said, she is going to die soon. So they all prayed together and surrender her to the Lord. Everyone went away very sad. But to every one’s surprise the very next morning Mrs. Monica Horo, got up and she went outside the house to tie the goats. Seeing this miracle the other SCC units were inspired to re-start their Gospel sharing. Now she is a fervent member of SCC.

The important points to be noted

  • People from disinterested they became Interested in SCC
  •  Teresa Bhuyan There was disunity but now there is unity
  • Unfaithfulness to faithfulness in SCC

 

Fr. Edward Kujur

Diocese of Tezpur

Sonitpur, Assam              

 

 

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TAMIL NADU REGION

SCCs work together to eradicate hunger in the kanyakumari Town

Pope Francis declared the year of mercy open on 8th December 2015. The effect of the year of mercy was very well felt throughout the Indian Church, especially in each SCCs.

On October 2nd, 2016 kanyakumari Parish of Tamilnadu arranged for a ‘Get together’ for the elderly people of the parish observing the ‘world Day for the Elderly’. At the closure of the event during his felicitation talk Fr. Nazarene, the parish priest (Now the present Bishop of the Diocese of Kottar) casually asked the elderly people present in that auditorium ‘how many of you are really not fed well by your family members?”  

For that question 26 elderly people raised their hands in reply saying that they are not really taken care of by their family members and they are really starving.

That was a shock and an eye opener to the parish priest and for the people who were present in the event.

Then the following day the parish priest called for the SCC animators meeting and shared the experience he got the last day and asked for suggestions. And the SCC animators showed eagerness to provide lunch to the hungry every day. Since there were 95 SCCs in kanyakumari parish each SCC took responsibility for one day.

And Fr. Nazarene made an announcement in the church about the initiative of the SCC animators and invited all the hungry to get food every day.

Initially each SCC prepared food on their turn. Then the local people also joined hands with them for the noble cause that, whatever function took place in that surrounding people started preparing additional food for those people in need and  handed that over to the SCC animators and they distributed the food to the needy.

And the service continues till today and every day 35-50 people are fed and food bags are distributed even in the main junction of the town where sick and old people are sitting.

Like the little boy who shared his five barley loaves and two fish that fed thousands of people according to the Gospel of John chapter 6, people of Kanyakumari experience the same miracle every day through their generous act through SCCs.

This noble act of feeding the poor has inspired many people in that locality and they also try to do something in their given situation.  And this incident is really proving that God is acting through us even today.

  • Fr. Arockia Anto, Diocese of Kottar

 

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ODISHA  REGION

Diocese-Cuttack-Bhubaneswar


St. Francis SCC group re-stablished the relationship of two families

December 2018

Sotomi Street, Parish pokari, Diocese Cuttack Bhubaneswar, Odisha

Mr. Morgo Pradhan the village catechist, St Francis’s SCC group, Mr Dushasan Pradhan and Mr. Thomas Pradhan.

Sotomi is one of the streets of Pokari Parish in the diocese of Cuttack Bhubaneswar, Odisha. It is situated in the interior place of Kandhmal District of Odisha. There are thirty Christian families and three families belong to SATSANGH, a part of Hinduism. They are tribal, called Kond. They earn their livelihood by cultivation and daily wage. 

In the month of September 2017 in the evening St. Francis’s SCC group had a SCC meeting as usual once in a week at 6 pm in the house of Mr Thomas. On that day, Mt 18:15-17 was taken for the gospel sharing, “If your brother or sister sins go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.” Mr. Thomas was touched by this message and shared with the group as he had experienced the same in his life.

In his sharing he was in tears, elaborated the event which took place before three months. On 14th of June 2017, early in the morning his nephew Mr Dushasan Pradhan went to plough the paddy field of their undivided ancestral land. It was in dispute in previous year, not to cultivate the land by Dushasan but in spite of this decision he went to plough. As a result there was a furious fight between uncle and nephew. From that day on wards they were not in talking terms, having feelings of hatred towards each other but in between Mr. Thomas realised and felt guilty of that fight so he tried three to four times to ask pardon from Mr Dushasan and twice, he went with his wife to him for reconciliation but it was in vain. So according to the Bible passage of the day and taking an account of sharing of Mr Thomas the group members decided to bring reconciliation among them and re-establish unity between these two families.

According to the decision all the group members along with the parish priest, Rev. Fr. Bimal Nayak went to the family of Mr Dushasan on following day. After gathering in the house of Mr Dushasan one of the members read out the letter of St. Paul to the Colo. 3:13, “Bearing with one another and if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.” The one of the members made a prayer of reconciliation. One by one, they tried their best to make him understand and reconcile with his uncle. After almost one hour of counselling Mr. Dushasan agreed to reconcile with his uncle. Then after, he and other family members started to come to SCC meetings after three months regularly. 

The most significant change, the beneficiaries experienced

Growth in experience the forgiving God of living

The bond of love between two families is strengthened

They experienced the joy in forgiveness

The other members are inspired by the witness values of forgiveness and love of those families

They grow in unity and love

They are ever ready to help those who in need of any help

  

Fr. Aswin Kumar Singh

Parish- Pokari

Diocese-Cuttack-Bhubaneswar

 

TELUGU REGION 

 

Story Took Place in: Suraram Village, Suraram Parish of Hyderabad Archdiocese of Telangana State.

The Story Involved: Mr. Devakumar (32 Years), BCC Animator, BCC Groups and Mr. Marianna’s Family (Affected by Heavy Rains)

The incident

In Suraram Village of Hyderabad Archdiocese there was heavy rain that drowned Mr. Marianna’s Family into a miserable condition. Due to heavy rain the water entered into their house almost 4 to 6 ft., so the family left everything in the house and rushed out to themselves. There were four members in the family (Father, Mother and two Girls). They came to the Church Premises to save from heavy rain and to take shelter.

Mr. Devakumar, BCC Animator saw them and experienced compassion for them. He made them sit in the church premises and gave some food to eat. Later he called upon all the BCC group Lay Leaders and explained them about the situation that led them to leave everything and come out to save their lives.

All the BCC group Leaders felt compassion for them and came forward to help them. Ms. J.C. Mary Christina the BCC Leader of Sacred Heart Group took them to her house and asked them to stay with her until the rain stopped. Other group leaders bought clothes and gave them for immediate use. In the evening during the Bible Sharing  Meeting they (BCC Leaders) read the Bible Words taken from Acts:2:42-47 and took the decision to take care of the family until their house got repaired.

Mr. Devakumar went to the Local Corporator Mr. Suresh Reddy and asked for Contribution. With the help of SCC group volunteers their house got repaired. Now Mr. Marianna’s family is actively involved in all the SCC activities. They also contribute for self sufficiency of the church.

Significant change the beneficiaries experienced:       

  • Growth in their faith and trust in God
  • Trust in BCC Groups
  • A Sense of Helping Nature and unity among one another

 

Report by

Mr. Johannes Danthika

SCC Media Desk Member

Telugu Region

 

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KARNATAKA REGION

 

New hope

July 2014

HAL Area in Bangalore

Hindustan Aeronautical Limited area in Bangalore where extremely rich and poor live. It is regarding family of Mr. Anthony & Mary. And SCC group.

In one of the poor areas HAL Bangalore there lived a very happy contend family consisting of Father Mother, two daughters and a son. The father was a vegetable vendor, the mother a house wife and the children were studying.  They were regular church goers and not attending SCC gathering.

One fine morning when Mr. Anthony was going to market, met with an accident and taken to hospital. This shattered the family as he became crippled and bed ridden for nearly 6 months. Meanwhile they lost all their saving due to hospital expenses. Loss of daily income forced the children to leave the school and were all in the house not coming outside and stopped even going to church.

One of the neighbourhood SCC units (St. Theresa) came to know the problem of the family and invited them to join the SCC gathering. They started coming regularly for SCC. Later on during the month of July Mr Anthony died due his sickness. It made the family hopeless. Mrs. Mary became a hysteria patient and stopped attending SCC gathering. This was the time when SCC members 2 by 2 started visiting the house regularly. And on Saturdays special prayers were held at their house.

The SCC members put the eldest girl in Front office job and the son for car washing work in the morning and they saw that he attended the school also. The SCC members saw that some source of income came to that family.  Slowly  Mrs. Mary started to come to normalcy.  It was in the month of Oct 2014, the eldest daughter revealed that  SCC gave new lease of life to her mother as she had developed the tendency to commit suicide.

Members of SCC gave the family new hope. This incident made 6 new families to join the SCC unit.

  • SCC brought new hope in their life.
  • SCC helped them to stand on their feet.
  • SCC helped the children to settle down.
  • It also became hope for other families.
  • Faith and unity of the SCC members strengthened.
  • Supporting each other enhanced.
  • SCC became bridge among people of different faith.

 

----Mr Francis V M, Bangalore.