Bishop of Jalpaiguri Secretary
Chairman of SCC Regional Service Team (RST) SCC Regional Service Team (RST)
The vision of the Church in the spirit of Vatican II has been taking root in the hearts and minds of our people in this Region, in progressive stages. West Bengal- Sikkim Region seems to be alive with an enthusiasm that reflects the renewing action of the Spirit of God for the New Way of Being Church. With the diverse understandings that people had of it, Basic Christian Communities (BCCs) or as some call it, Small Christian Communities (SCCs) had existed with varying degrees of success in the eight dioceses of the region. The greatest difficulty in relation to BCCs/SCCs had been the lack of understanding by priests, religious and lay people, about the new way of being the Church in the modern world today.
Fr. Arul Rosario and Fr. Michael Pandian CMF, BCC/SCC Coordinators of Krishnanagar and Asansol dioceses respectively along with Sr. Christin H.C., National Service Team (NST) member, often reflected on the challenges and the need for a coordinated effort in the Region for promoting BCCs/SCCs in the Region. They also shared their dream with others who encouraged them to take the initiative to form a Regional Team.
Based on their experiences in the dioceses of West Bengal Sikkim Region, Fr. Reginald Fernandes, Calcutta Archdiocesan coordinator for the different Commissions and Sr. Christin, H.C. along with other members of BCC Team of Calcutta Archdiocese approached the then Archbishop Lucas Sirkar, SDB, on September, 2007, with the proposal to form a Regional Council to have a coordinated effort to promote BCCs/SCCs in the Region.
With the whole hearted support from the Archbishop, Fr. Reginald and Sr. Christin invited four members (a priest, a sister, a lay man, a lay woman) from each diocese of the Region and especially those who are interested and involved in BCC movement to deliberate on the status of BCCs/ SCCs and how to plan for the future. During this three-day meeting (5th to 7th October 2007) great enthusiasm and togetherness was experienced. All the participants were enthusiastic and were full of the experience of being one, in spite of the differences of age, culture, ethnicity, language and way of life.
Based on this first meeting and the experiences in the dioceses, the Bishops of the region and the then existing SCC Coordinators of the Region decided to form, to promote, to animate and to train SCCs/BCCs leaders as a priority in the Region and to enable net working in the Region. So a Regional Council was formed with members from all the eight dioceses. From October 2007 to March 2010 nine Regional Council meetings were held to share our stories of struggles, to evaluate, and to plan our regular programmes both at the Diocesan level and at the Regional level. This brought great enthusiasm and new life in the SCCs/BCCs of the Region.
A meeting of the newly appointed Regional Service Team was called on November 16, 2007. In this meeting the Service Team with its first Chairperson Archbishop Lucas Sirkar formulated a Vision -mission statement and the objectives for the BCCs/SCCs of our Region.
VISION FOR SCC:
All Christians in West Bengal and Sikkim region be rooted in the Faith and the Word of God for witnessing to the Gospel.
MISSION FOR SCC:
Establishment of vibrant SCCs in every parish in the region as the New Way of Being Church by invigorating suitable animators at the parish level
To proclaim and make the Word of God the CENTRE of our life and of every family
To make every diocese a communion of communities wherein the laity, religious and priests live as sisters and brothers in the Church
To Sustain SCCs through deeper faith in God among all Christians to proclaim the love of Christ
To Coordinate all the Commissions in the dioceses through SCC to form a New Way of Being Church in the region
To form SCC resource team in every diocese and empower them for sustainability of SCC in every parish
To facilitate the laity to be aware that they are the part of the Body of Christ by training them for various ministries within the Church
To make SCCs the main operational structure of the parish and the Diocesan Pastoral Council
To enable SCCs to be agents of social change in society through proactive values
To empower the SCCs to be agents for Evangelization
To strengthen SCCs to reach out to the people of other faiths by forming Basic Neighbourhood Humane Communities
Rev. I.P. Sarto, Regional Secretary, 2012
Changes made in the formation of Regional Council:
At the Regional Council meeting held in Matigarha, Bagdogra on August 2008, in the presence of Archbishop Lucas Sirkar SDB, Bishop Clement Tirkey, Bishop Thomas DSouza and Bishop Stephen Lepcha, it was decided to increase the membership of the Council. This team will now consist of six representatives from each diocese: (One priest, one religious, one lay man, one lay woman, one young boy and a young girl). The decision was also made that these members, except the diocesan Coordinators, will remain for two years and then new members will take their place in the Council.
With the starting of BCCs/SCCs in the dioceses of the Region a remarkable change is seen in the attendance of Sunday Eucharist in the parishes where the movement has taken roots. The people like to take active participation rather than being just passive observers. The responsibility for organizing the Eucharistic celebration on Sundays is shared by the different BCCs/SCCs throughout the year. There is a growing sense of fellowship as the faithful participate in the body and blood of Christ. An awareness of being united as brothers and sisters in the Eucharistic Lord is brought about by the participation in the Liturgy. After the Sunday Eucharist instead of hurrying back home as earlier, now the faithful like to meet one another, exchange information and share about the happenings in their BCCs/SCCs meetings. BCCs/SCCs also organize Eucharistic adoration in their parishes to promote devotion to the Eucharist.
|Diocese||Total parishes||SCC active parishes||Total SCCs||Gospel Sharing (GS) groups||Parish Animation Teams|
1. A group of young people from Kripa Nagar parish (name changed) were angry with Fr. Prithi Lal (Name changed), the parish priest for alleged partiality and favoritism shown in the parish. The young people thought of him as an unjust, snobbish and domineering priest. So they decided to beat him up and teach him a lesson. They were looking for an opportunity. But God had other plans for them. Some of them from the group happened to attend a Regional program facilitated by Sr. Christin, H.C. During the training program for the youth, the Word of God touched them and healed them and gave them the strength to forgive the priest. They who never used to touch the Bible started reading the Word of God and are now enthusiastic to promote BCC, the Word centered Community.
2. In one of the Regional programs a priest who had no experience of BCCs/SCCs raised an objection for the use of languages other than Bengali. He was of the opinion that in West Bengal only Bengali should be spoken and people from other parts of the country specially South Indians should not be in West Bengal. To his objection one of the lady participants responded in tears:
We know only one Body of Christ, the Church, of which we are all part. Please do not cut the Body of Christ in to pieces based on the languages and culture.
Another participant responded to the Priest, He spoke to me in Nepali and I understood. I spoke to him in Bengali and he understood. We are experiencing Pentecost here. Please do not deny us the God experience.
All the participants from all the eight dioceses of West Bengal- Sikkim in one voice said; Do not divide us. We are one. Thus the cry of Christ I thirst to see us as one, Father they may be one (Jn.17:21) is being fulfilled in BCC/SCC.
3.Two families in Prem Nagar parish were fighting for four generations. The Word of God entered into their families and lives through BCC/SCC. And they received the grace of reconciliation. These two families have become very close to one another that they find it difficult to spend even one day without seeing and talking to one another.
Message from Bishop Monis Cyprian
"As far as I understand, BCCs/SCCs is very useful in our Diocese. It is working very well in our country and in our Region. The Basic Christian Communities have brought about a lot of changes in the parishes and in our diocese. It has done marvelous works to unite and build up Community and beyond Community to build up Human Neighbourhood Community based on Gospel Values. Therefore let us strive in our Region to build this “Communion of Communities” so that God may receive all praise and glory in and through our New Way of being Church in West Bengal. I am glad that many of our laity, religious and priests have taken active part in forming and sustaining BCCs/SCCs in our parishes."
FR. ARBIND TIRKEY
Diocesan animator: Sr. Deepa, DSA
Number of persons in the Diocesan Service Team (DST): 10 Persons.
|Diocese||Total parishes||SCC active parishes||Total SCCs||GS groups||Parish Animation Teams|
SCC Consultation program for Priests and Sisters of the Diocese
Earn and live exposure for youth in the SCC villages
Relief work during natural calamities
Village leaders to promote Peace through SCCs
A group of village leaders from 10 parishes of Asansol diocese decided to be messengers of peace in their villagers through SCCs. While attending a workshop on Small Christian Communities at Chetana Pastoral Centre, Burdwan Sept 20 to 23, 2016 they decided to promote reconciliation, unity and peace among the families through SCCs.
Frs. Michael Pandian, CMF, former SCC Coordinator of Asansol diocese, I.P.Sarto, Regional SCC Coordinator; Srs. Roshita, SCCG and Sushma , CSST, SCC animators in the diocese facilitated the sessions. 52 village leaders and a few Catechists attended the sessions on the Word of God, the Jubilee year of Mercy, the importance of SCCs in the parishes, the four marks of SCCs and the Seven steps Gospel sharing. Fr. Pandian spoke in details about the history of SCCs and the impact of SCCs in the parishes.
Through attending the Gospel sharing everyday, they learnt a lot about the Seven steps Gospel sharing. Frs. Arvind Tirkey, Michael Pandian and Sarto celebrated Eucharist for them everyday and motivated them to work for the promotion of SCCs in their parishes. They decided to start SCCs in their villages wherever it has not been started.
The sessions on the Jubilee Year of Mercy motivated them to be messengers of reconciliation, peace and unity in their villages. Frs. Joseph, OMI, Regional SCC animator and Deepak Digal of Asansol diocese and SR. Veronica, SSAM also assisted the participants during the sessions by moderating the group works.
Dhitpur celebrates Christ the King feast with Reconciliation
The parishioners of Dhitpur mission of Asansol diocese celebrated the Solemnity of the Christ the King on Nov. 20, 2016 with special reconciliation service. The day started with praise and worship before the Blessed Sacrament prepared by SCC members. Then the Eucharistic Procession went through the village roads of Dhitpur.
The women of the SCC groups cleansed the village road earlier for the Eucharistic Procession. After reaching the Community centre of Dhitpur, Fr. Bernard Murmu, SJ, Professor of Morning Star Regional Seminary, Barrackpore exhorted the people for contrition, metanoia and forgiveness.
At the beginning of the Eucharist, Fr. I.P.Sarto, Regional SCC Coordinator led a meaningful Reconciliation service for the families. The husbands knelt down and asked pardon from their wives and children, the wives in turn prayed for their husbands. Then the wives knelt down asking pardon while the husbands prayed for them. The children knelt down before their parents asking pardon for their failure to obey parents and the parents blessed them compassionately. Then the parents knelt before the children asking pardon for their failure to understand their longing for love, while the children prayed for their parents with devotion.
Fr. Anthony Raj, Priest in Charge, DSA Sisters Sarala, Archana and Sunita made all arrangements for the Eucharistic procession and the Liturgy. The youth led the choir and SCC women led welcome dance.
The people of other faiths watched with veneration the Eucharistic procession. The tribals of the parish also concluded the Jubilee year with prayer for Reconciliation and solemn Eucharist presided by Fr. Bernard Murmu, SJ assisted by Frs. Sarto and Anthony Raj.
The Dhipur mission started in 1958 by Fr. Charles Poncelet, SJ of Calcutta Province is the mother for six parishes and quasi- parishes : Kalna, Sahanagar, Pandua, Dakbangla (Katwa), Barwa and Talbona. All these parishes have started SCCs.
From I.P. Sarto
Name of the Bishop: Bishop Vincent Aind
Diocesan Coordinator: Fr. Pathic Lakra
Fr. Pathic Lakra
Number of persons in the Diocesan Service Team (DST):
|Diocese||Total parishes||SCC active parishes||Total SCCs||GS groups||Parish animation Teams|
Bible procession through the villages
Message from Bishop Salvadore Lobo:
Basic Christian Community, sometimes called Small Christian Community, gives us a taste of the apostolic church. After the Ascension of Our Lord Jesus Christ, "The whole body of believers was united in heart and soul. Not a man of them claimed any of his possessions as his own but everything was held in common, while the Apostles bore witness with great power to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus." Sharing of the Word of God in small communities brings in a transformation in the commitment and faith-life of the people; families become more loving and forgiving. I invite more and more people to participate in it to make the church more credible and visible.
+ Salvadore Lobo
Bishop of Baruipur
Diocesan Coordinator: Fr. Sauman Mallick
Number of persons in the Diocesan Service Team (DST): 12
|Diocese||Total Parishes||SCC active parishes||Total SCCs||GS groups||Parish animation teams|
BCC Celebrates Clergy day:
Youth at the service of BCC during the Council meeting.
Archbishop Thomas D'Souza
"It is Gods work and we cannot block it
I am glad that the SCCs have taken root in the Region. The SCCs are the primary church where people share life and fellowship. St. Paul established the early Christian communities along his missionary journey in Corinth, Ephesus, Antioch, Thessalonica and Galatia centered around the Word of God and the breaking of the Bread in the families. Todays SCCs are the one visualized by St. Paul 19 centuries ago.
I am glad that many lay people have taken active part in SCC animation programmes. With the facilitation of Priests and religious the Small Christian Communities, I am sure, will lead the parishes into vibrant witnessing ones proclaiming the Gospel values to all. Like St. Paul we need to be missionaries in our thoughts, words and actions. The SCCs will help the laity to become Missionaries."
(Extract from the talk given by Bishop Thomas at Matigara on Aug. 30, 2008)
Diocesan Coordinator: Fr. Dominic Gomes
Diocesan animators: Srs. Gracemary, SMI & Gulabi, MSMHC
Number of persons in the Diocesan Service Team (DST): 27
|Diocese||Total Parishes||SCC active parishes||Total SCCs||GS groups||Parish Animation Teams||Name of the Coordinator||Name of the Bishop|
|Calcutta||60||50||481||3||12||Fr. Dominic Gomes, Vicar General||Archbishop Thomas D'Souza|
TOTAL SCC UNITS IN ARCHDIOCESE OF CALCUTTA
|DEANERY||No. OF UNITS|
|Howrah/ Hooghly Deanery||108|
|North 24 Parganas Deanery||086|
|TOTAL SCC UNITS||481|
SCC ACTIVITY REPORTS
PANDUA: SCC –A MEANS OF EVANGELIZATION
Jisu Ashram Church has been using SCC as one of the important tools of faith formation in villages. It has also become a means of evangelization for the people of other faiths. Bible sharing and praying together in small groups has benefitted the faithful and new catechumens. SCC has helped many families come to the church.
We have regrouped SCC into 32 units that cover entire parish. Each unit has a leader to conduct Gospel sharing every month. We have formed an SCC monitoring committee to train and teach people about SCC. Sr. Juliana Scc and the parish catechists have been trained to help in animating SCC in rural villages. To strengthen and support unit leaders, a one-day leadership training was organized at Pandua on 16 April 2016 in collaboration with the Archdiocesan SCC team comprising Sr. Gracemary SMI and Sr. Gulab Marandi MSMHC who conducted the training in Bengali and Santali. 64 people participated in the training. The training began with a Bible procession. After that Fr. John SJ, Priest-in-Charge gave a brief introduction about the dynamics of training. The training mainly focused on two aspects, first how to conduct the SCC meetings in villages and secondly how SCC helps to build a happy family life. The training comprised some group dynamic activities and action songs.
Fr. John Kerketta SJ
Jisu Ashram, Pandua
Sacred Heart Church
24 North Parganas
West Bengal, 743123
Brief History of SCC
Initially BCC/ SCC started in 2007 under the guidance of TOR Fathers in Kowgachi. There were 16 groups of 5 to 6 families each. The animators of the group along with FMM sisters accompanied them and encouraged them to continue the good work in groups. Some were very regular while others were not so regular.
Each family was given the Holy Bible and encouraged to make an altar for the bible and pray. The enthronement of the Bible was done in the parish by Bishop Lucas Sarkar through a very meaningful Liturgy. It was a very great event for Sacred Heart Church.
During the “Year of the Family” SCC groups celebrated the Liturgy very meaningfully highlighting the importance of the family in the church and society. The groups enacted on different themes on Bible and they also displayed charts with bible quotations. Each family sat together for Eucharistic celebration. It indeed was a memorable day in the life of our parish.
Gradually there was a slump in the SCC units and they have become weak in their prayer meetings.
In June 2012 Fr. Varghese took over Kowgachi Parish from Fr. Theodore Baa. Fr. Varghese has taken a keen interest to rearrange the SCC groups into six units as follows:
Still there are families who need to be formed. We do face the problems since the distance from each house is far it is not very feasible. FMM sisters visit and attend to these families. Whenever there was meeting or an input session at deanery level the representatives from parish and FMM sisters attended it very diligently. Sometimes the information on these Deanery meetings was not given to us so we were also absent from the meetings.
The Role and Function of SCC Units
Each Sunday one of the SCC units takes the Responsibility to prepare and conduct a meaningful liturgy. The entire group cooperates and the congregation actively participates in it.
Every Saturday without fail one of the SCC group’s women clean the church and make arrangements for Sunday Eucharistic celebration. They are very responsible and do it very well even when there is heavy rain. It is very remarkable to note their faith and collaboration in church activities.
On major feast days, all SCC units join to take part in the Eucharistic Celebration and share the responsibilities delegated to each group. There is such unity and harmony. It is really wonderful to feel the community spirit. Programmes too are arranged by men, Women, youth and children and there is 100% participation. It is the SCC groups which contribute financially for feast day meals and they take full responsibility to make all the arrangements. Some parishioners make generous contribution according their capacity.
SCC leaders come together once in two months to pray, to reflect, share, evaluate and make an action plan for the groups to practise till the next meeting.
SCC groups have their meeting once in a fortnight. It is in practice since 2015. They follow the Lumco method seven steps for the Gospel sharing .SCC units are faithfully following the passages given to us by Fr. Dominic for the Year of Mercy.
Action plan is made based on Corporal and spiritual works. It did help the members to grow deeper in the word of God and live it daily.
Some Fruits of SCC Groups
SCC is very active to visit the sick and conduct prayer service and arrange Eucharistic celebration for them. As a result many are healed and their faith is strengthened. Some of the SCC groups arrange mass before Christmas and have a get-together inviting their neighbours and thus give witness to people of other faith Some SCC groups celebrate their patron saint’s feast and offer holy Eucharist for the intention of the unit. In the month of May Marian devotion rosary is conducted in each unit in all the families in rotation. All participate. It is a real celebration and an experience of joy & unity.
When there is a death in the parish, SCC leaders take responsibility to make all arrangements for the burial. The whole parish is present for the mass and many go to the graveyard to express the sentiments of condolence to the bereaved family. Nine days novena of mercy rosary is offered for the departed soul and the unit members take part in it. They are able to see the goodness of the Lord and recognise His wonders in their lives.
Due to SCC groups initiation we have few catechumens and Khrista Bhaktas who regularly attend mass on Sundays. Their faith is strong and they believe in the power of the Lord as they have experienced His miracles in their lives. They are faithful in reading the Word of God. The SCC groups have made drastic changes in receiving the sacraments and liturgy preparation. They have brought unity among the families by supporting and co operating with each other at times of difficulty.
However there is tendency in the people at times not to attend meetings and prayers. Men folk are lagging behind. It is the women who are the backbone of SCC and of the parish.
FMM sisters attend all the SCC unit meetings and priests whenever possible take the lead to empower them and motivate them to GROW and GLOW in faith. They are regular in visits to the family of the sick, the needy and all other families to join in the family prayers.
1. Inspiration from the youth:
A rose is a rose even when it is a bud. A good thing with buds is that they have lots of possibilities and hope for us, that one day they would blossom and add beauty to our lives. Four years ago in Balichwak Parish, BCC meetings were held regularly. After the sister-in-charge was transferred, all the units stopped functioning. All gave up, except two young, energetic and devoted girls of about 14-15 years of age. But the question is, how these young ones did, struggle with determination and perseverance and carried on in spite of all odds. Their success is most commendable. And the secret of their success is, they never gave up!
The Parish Priest who shepherded them otherwise could not give them much support with regards to BCC meetings. So these girls approached the sisters of the convent of St. Anne, who began to encourage them. Initially only one of these girls with zeal and filled with the Holy Spirit adhered to Gods call. Single handedly Julie Patro started helping the BCC meetings to begin again. Inspired by Julie soon her friend, Chandana Dhara joined in this mission. They revived one unit at a time. Not satisfied they restarted all the fallen away groups. Praise God! They have succeeded and now they go to each of the thirteen units every month.
God has now revived, restored and refreshed these units. The rebirth of The New Way of Being Church, is lighted now in Balichwak and these two youth are now great examples to all others in the area. Their achievements now are the fruit they are bearing. The sisters are also now accompanying them. The tremendous zeal and achievements of these two young girls, who are now only 18 years of age, inspire one not to quit when troubles and obstacles come on the way. They show us the way to hold on to our commitment with a conviction in our minds and a prayer in our hearts and never to get discouraged.
2. Woman of Courage.
When Mariam Maya Xalxo was asked what inspired her to fight against alcohol, calmly but with conviction in her eyes she replied that a healthy and secure future for the children was the only thing in her mind. Like any other girl, Mariam Maya Xalxo of Kowgachi Parish of Calcutta Archdiocese dreamt of a happy family and a loving husband, when she got married. Her husband was working in the Bishops house, and they have 3 beautiful children. Maya was working as a daily laborer for the betterment of the family. What was pulling the family down as if it was built on sands was her husband's addiction to alcohol, which increased to such an extent that notice came from the Bishops house that if he does not quit alcoholism he has to quit the job. But the man put the life of his family at stake when he opted to continue taking alcohol.
Life became hell for Maya and her three children. But then she realized that it was not only her problem but that it had spread all over the locality like an epidemic. People were drinking on all occasions and without any reason. They were drinking in their houses and outside on the roads and even in front of the schools. This brought such a scare to Maya. She realized that their little ones would be badly influenced by alcoholism, and by the time they would be youth, they would be crushed to the ground and so will be the society.
It is said that the glittering quality of a diamond is an innate capacity, only you need to polish. Situation in the house and outside, and in the society polished the leadership quality of Maya so perfectly that under her leadership a Tsunami of revolution came and renewed the life of thousands. In the mean time, she joined the BCC group and shared her problems and opinions with fellow unit members. So many women joined her in the struggle to eradicate alcohol from their locality. The police and Panchyat stood beside them actively in this struggle. Together they demolished all the local alcohol producing centers, which were main sources of alcohol for their men. Besides campaigning against alcoholism they were counseling those alcoholics. It is the fruit of the struggle of some tireless and determined women that today they are able to reduce alcoholism by more than 60 percent. Depriving the food of the families of those who were directly involved in selling alcohol, was never the intention of these women. Hence they inspired them to apply to Panchyat for the 100 days work under NREGS (National Rural Employment Generation Scheme).
This struggle against alcoholism was never been an easy task. Maya and her fellow members faced so many obstacles from within the family and from the society that many of her friends left the movement but Maya and some of them kept on their good work. By the provocation of some villagers Mayas husband started beating and forcing her to quit this kind of activity. But for Maya and so many like her, the future of their children is more important than any other considerations. With the power of the Word of God shared in the BCC meetings, her constant prayer and struggle, now her husband gave up taking alcohol. People stopped drinking in front of the Schools. But her fight is on. She admits that her pastor, Fr. Theodore, T.O.R and other good men stand by them and the BCC members, in their struggle against alcohol. As long as there is alcoholism and injustice in the society she is there to fight because she has the power of the Word of God and the support of BCC in her parish.
Message from Bishop Stephen Lepcha:
In my 28 years of experience as a pastor, I was always feeling that there is something lacking in the Catholic Church. One can easily get lost in this big universal Church like in the Ocean. At times one may not find fellowship in his own community when he needs it most. I have met many Catholics who have left the community just because they say that it is not the place for them to remain where there is no community sharing. When we read the Acts of the Apostles we find just the opposite of what the Catholics who left the church say. The whole community of the believers was one in heart and mind.... (Acts 4; 32 ff.) Originally the Church was a community of believers, based on the Word of God, sharing the faith and breaking bread together. Sadly over the years the Church seemed to lose its identity as a community of believers and became an institutionalized society. Our Mighty faithful God in his own time leads the Church in the right path. I feel He is bringing his people back to the original nature of his children. For where there are two three are gathered in my name, I am there among them. (Mt. 18; 20). Now the Catholic Church has found the way to go back to its original identity and thus become a vibrant community like that of the Apostolic community through Small Christian Communities.
I call SCC as the living blood of the Church, because just as the body is dead without blood so also without SCC the church is dead.
SCCs began in the Diocese of Darjeeling more than ten years ago. It was functioning in different parishes due to the initiative taken by a few priests, nuns and lay people. Now I see that SCC has become active in almost all parts of our Diocese with the help from the Regional Team led by Sr. Christin, HC. Their continued support has certainly made our Diocesan Team more productive. We have an aim to establish strong SCC in all the parishes and even in Institutions so that all members of the Church become living members. And thus become the witnessing Church in and around the locality like that of the Apostolic church of 2000 years ago.
I will do everything it takes to promote SCCs in my Diocese because I know this is the New way of being church. "
Diocesan Coordinator: Fr. Jagdish Parmar,SJ
Diocesan Animator: Sr Veronica, SJC
Number of persons in the Diocesan Service Team (DST): 21
|Diocese||Total parishes||SCC active parishes||Total SCCs||GS groups||Parish Animation Teams|
Message from Bishop Clement Tirkey
"As the First Regional Coordinator of BCC/SCC, Sr. Christin brought all the dioceses of Bengal to collectively grow by taking a bold step to provide a common platform for BCC/SCC in the Region . The Regional BCC/SCC newsletter, Regional Resource Team, Diocesan Service Team, Animators training, exposure programs in different dioceses in Bengal and active involvement with all sections of the people have made the common people experience the right taste of BCC/SCC. All these initiatives are the contribution of Sr. Christin and the Regional Service Team. They deserve a big applaud for the wonderful achievements in such a short time. I am sure from this nascent stage BCC/SCC in Bengal will bloom with spectacular collaborativism, sharing and desseminating the communitarian love and light of Christ the WORD and SACRAMENT and in the Human Culture from Sunderban to City of God, Coal Belt, Bhagirathi, Gangetic plains, rolling acres of Tea Gardens, mighty Himalayan Mountain and all along the Borders."
Diocesan Coordinator: Fr. Ignatius Topno
Diocesan animator: Sr. Elizabeth
Number of persons in the Diocesan Service Team (DST): 14
|Diocese||Total Parishes||SCC active parishes||Total SCCs||GS groups||Parish Animation Teams|
Youth getting ready to animate BCCs in the grassroots level.
Honor the Word of God using their own cultural symbols.
1. A light to others
Life has never been easy for 34 years old Suman Tigga. While studying for Bachelors degree, his father died. So he was forced to quit his study and search for a job to earn money to keep his family alive. But need of money was never a barrier between Suman and his zeal to work for the community and to be part of The New Way of Being Church. In January09 Suman and the Parish Priest of Nagrakata Fr. Dayakishor Barwa attended the SCC awareness training program held at Jalpaiguri Cathedral conducted by Sr. Christin and team. It is in this program that Suman and Fr. Barwa felt that SCC is the most effective way for progress towards a New Way of Being Church.
Enlightened by the awareness program they went to their parish with a lot of enthusiasm and determination. At that moment the only concern in their mind was to make the people aware of, and to involve them actively in Small Christian Community, i.e. SCC. So they prepared a video presentation to explain the importance and need of SCC. Then they arranged an awareness program in their Parish with great expectations. They invited the youth, the women and the laity of the parish. They thought at least 50 parishioners will take part in the program, but for two days only 8 people turned up. It was a big disappointment.
For so many of us this disappointment is a full stop, but Suman has a different mind set. While others see impossibilities, he finds possibilities. May be that is the reason even failure in the beginning could not stop him. Immediately Suman and Fr. Barwa had an evaluation and realized that there might be a mistake in their own way of approach. Then they decided that instead of calling people to listen to their ideas, they should have explained matters clearly to them. Soon they started going to the parishioners to highlight the need of SCC with the help of the five models of the Church. They also stressed on the Gospel sharing. Slowly success winged in all directions. Almost every where the response of the people seemed positive where SCC is concerned. At present Nagrakata Parish has 14 SCC units in 7 sub-stations.
Thank God that all this time Fr. Dayakishor, Sr. Clara S.C. of the local convent, a school teacher Mrs. Margaret and a retired school teacher Ms. Amelia Minj work along with Mr. Suman. Without their full support and active participation the task would have been much more difficult.
St. Marys Church, Satali is a small parish of Jalpaiguri diocese. There are 310 Christian families in this parish. 17 kilometers away from Satali parish there is a village named Dakshin Menda Bari where there are four Catholic families. People of that village are deprived of transport facilities. Living among the people of other faith and without any pastoral care from the Parish Priest or village Catechist these four Catholic families were like lost sheep. These four families were irregular for Sunday Masses, children were not baptized on time. They participated in every non-Christian rituals and celebrations. The men had taken to drinking.
Through SCC, transformation started taking place in these four families. After the SCC awareness program on 12th July 2009 Catholics of Dakshin Menda Bari established SCC unit and started meeting once a week for Gospel sharing. These meetings helped them to deepen their relationship with one another and the Word of God they shared inspired them to help one another. They started coming for regular Sunday Masses and started participating in all the programs of the parish. There is a growing awareness and an appreciation for the sacraments and Christian community life. Besides regular SCC meeting, they have now prayer in their houses.
Message from Bishop Suren Joseph Gomes, SDB
" I am fully convinced of the need for BCCs/SCCs in our Region. We should prepare model BCCs/SCCs units and thus make parishes in truth a Communion of Communities. I often wonder how we can convince people that this is the best way of being a Church that is alive, vigorous and vibrant. It requires the support of priests and religious to empower our laity to be leaders in the Church. I am happy that the Regional team has taken initiatives to promote the New Way of Being the Church in every diocese. The Regional mission in Communion programme in Krishnanagar last year has brought a lot of dynamism among the laity, religious and priests of the diocese. They worked in collaboration with one another as one Body of Christ."
Diocesan Coordinator: Fr. Ruben Murmu
Diocesan Animator: Fr. & Sr. Anu, SMI & Mr. Ajit Mondol
Number of Diocesan Service Team members: 9
|Diocese||Total Parishes||SCC active Parishes||Total SCCs||GS groups||Parish Animation Teams|
Celebrating Christmas with other faith
Krishnanagar diocese witnessed one of the most meaningful Christmas celebrations as BCC members in Krishnanagar diocese shared the love and joy of Christmas with brothers and sisters of other faiths. Hindu, Muslim and Protestant families of Plassy village joined together with Catholic BCC/SCC members during 25th to 27th December Christmas celebrations and took part actively in different activities such as cultural programs and the Bible services. Holy Eucharist on 25th December marked the beginning of this memorable celebration and about 219 families took part. During the cultural program Hindu and Muslim youth, children and mothers performed dramas and dances on Creation and the Birth of Jesus. At the end of cultural program all of them especially men promised to take part in the Christmas celebration in the years to come. In spite of their poor economic situation, they donated around Ten thousand rupees to help the needy. On 27th December Krishnagar Bishop Suren Joseph Gomes distributed the gifts to poor children and had lunch with the people.
Name of the Administrator: Rev. Father Santhappan
Diocesan Coordinator: Fr. Paulus Hembrom
Diocesan Animator: Mr. Nagen Baskey
Number of persons in the Diocesan Service Team (DST): 17
|Diocese||Total Parishes||SCC active parishes||Total SCCs||GS groups||Parish animation Teams|
The 9th SMALL CHRISTIAN COMMUNITIES Regional Council of West Bengal/Sikkim meeting was held from June 15 to 18, 2016 at Jeevandhara, Raiganj. Among the 48 participants, there were 2 Bishops, 16 priests, 8 Religious sisters, 6 youth, 3 ladies and 13 gents. Fr.I.P. Sarto, SCC Coordinator for the Region, asked the participants to relook at the vision and Mission of SCCs. The theme for the meeting was: Family and the Year of Mercy.
The Vision Statement was: “All Christians in the West Bengal & Sikkim region be rooted in the Word of God and Faith for witnessing the Gospel”; and the Mission Statement was: To establish joyful and merciful SCCs in every parish in the region to be “Communion of Communities”.
On 15th June the meeting started with a solemn procession and Bible veneration organized by the Raiganj Diocesan Service Team. At 7 p.m., the inaugural Eucharistic celebration was presided by Bishop Clement Tirkey of Jalpaiguri who is the Chair person for SCC in the Bengal/ Sikkim Region, with 12 priests concelebrating with him. In his homily, Bishop Clement told the participants not to think of the words what the right hand gives the left hand must not know, rather, to give with both hands as the SCC has to be generous to spread the values of the Gospel in the violence, revengeful, hatred-filled world.
The 15th was also spent on briefing about the earlier Regional Council meetings held in the region by Fr. Sarto. A report of SCC programmes from January to June, 2016 was given by Fr. Joseph, OMI, Regional SCC animator.
On 16th, an inspiring explanation on Pope Francis’ document “Amoris Laetitia: was given by Fr. Pradeep Roy of Baruipur the whole day. Fr. Roy, the Regional Family Commission secretary spoke in Bengali and English with power-point display so everybody became aware of what the Holy Father had to say about families in the modern world.
Daily there was Gospel Sharing, Rosary, Eucharistic celebration, and on Friday, there was the Divine Mercy Rosary, and in the beautiful Raiganj Cathedral an hour adoration with simultaneous Sacrament of Reconciliation with 11 priests in the confessional and the Eucharistic celebration where Bishop Vincent Aind of Bagdogra was the Chief Celebrant.
The rosary, hymns, evening cultural functions, etc., were in Bengali, Hindi, Santali, Nepali and English. On the final day, Fr. S. Santhappan, Administrator of the Raiganj Diocese presided at the Eucharistic Celebration.
Thanks to Fr. Paulus Hembron, the SCC Coordinator for the Raiganj Diocese, who saw with his team, to all the arrangements.
The participants unanimously decided to promote family unity, pastorally visiting the families and make efforts for rapport building with people of other faiths in the locality. More SCC animation programs were planned for each diocese. All the dioceses also presented report of their activities, successes and challenges in sustaining SCCs. All promised to take active part in SCC animation and to motivate others to attend SCC meetings.
Regional Council of WB & Sikkim
THE SMALL CHRISTIAN COMMUNITIES (SCCs) IN WB & SIKKIM
A brief report of 2015-2016
Positive impacts in the region :
Present Situation :
Presently all the dioceses in the region have taken concerted efforts to animate people for SCCs, motivate priests and religious for participatory Church. The following data is as on Sept 30, 2016 :
|Dioceses||Total Parishes||SCC active parishes||Total SCCs||Gospel sharing groups||PAT in parishes||DST members|
|Calcutta||45||44||491||3||12||11-P;4-R; 5-M; 7-W|
|Bagdogra||19||10||40||4-P;2-R; 3-M; 2-W|
|Jalpaiguri||29||13||83||20||4||3-P, 4-R, 7-L|
This clearly indicates that there is a positive effort in every diocese to promote participatory Church according to the “New Way of Being Church”.
Trainings organized during 2015-16 :
1) Youth : The Regional Council of SCCs decided to identify youth and to train them for SCCs in 2015. Thus during the last two years we had organized 11 trainings and orientations for youth. About 300 youth attended the same. 65 of them have attended our three phase training for youth conducted in Bengali in South Bengal and in Hindi in North Bengal. They are active in SCC meetings in their villages. They encourage other youth to attend SCC meetings
2) Priests: To motivate Priests in the region we had three workshops on SCC promotion facilitated by Bishop Ignatius Mascarenhas and Fr. Vijay Thomas. 75 priests attended the same. 20 of them twice. They promised to conduct SCC animation in the parishes and to encourage laity for SCC promotion
3) Religious Sisters : We also conducted special orientation for Pastoral Sisters of the region. We had five programs during the last two years. 90 Sisters attended the same. 15 of them twice. They assured to do effective Pastoral visit and to start SCCs in the villages.
4) Catechists : We also organized four trainings for lay catechists on SCCs. About 350 Catechists attended our sessions. 40 of them attended twice. They promised to start SCCs and to sustain the same.
5) Students: We also facilitated a few sessions in the schools and hostels on the importance of the Bible reading and Seven Steps Gospel sharing. About 450 students attended our sessions during this year and some attended earlier. We have now 78 Gospel sharing groups in the schools, hostels and in the villages. We had orientation on Children’s parliament in two schools during this year.
6) Regents : This year we initiated to train the Regents on SCCs. This would be in five phases. The first phase was held Nov. 4 to 7, 2016 facilitated by Sr. Christin, HC & Fr. I.P.Sarto. The regents promised to conduct animation sessions in the parishes on “The New Way of Being Church” and to attend the SCC meetings regularly.
Regional Workshops & Meetings:
1) WE had Regional Council meeting twice during the last two years to review and to plan for the Regional SCC programmes. During the meetings it was decided to work for family unity and to identify suitable laity for SCC promotion.
2) We had thrice Regional Resource Team workshops to train and empower the RRT members. The topics of discussion were Family unity, to be prophets in SCCs and to be sensitive to the needs of the neighbourhood.
3) We had twice Mission in Communion. Feb 20- 22, 2015 in Chelidanga, Asansol attended by 150 SCC animators. The Bible procession on Feb 22 was participated by more than 2000 parishioners. Feb 11 to 14, 2016 at Barasat, Calcutta attended by 200. They had sharing of their joyful SCC experiences and challenges faced in their groups. The topics for special discussion were Family, Year of Mercy and the Environment.
4) About 100 Santhals involved in SCC from our region attended the Jubilee of Bandung SCC statement on the New Way of Being Church held in Dumka. They reflected on the impact of SCCs in their lives during the gathering in Dumka, Sept 16-19, 2015. Another convention was held in Hazaribag for Hindi speaking SCC animators. 70 from the region along with three bishops attended the same to share their experiences.
5) About 70 Hindi speaking SCC animators from the region attended a jubilee on the New Way of Being Church in Hazaribag Oct 9 to 12, 2016 participated by about 600 people from North India. They reviewed how SCCs made impact on the life of the people socially, culturally, liturgically and pastorally.
6) We had an orientation for DST members Dec. 5 to 7, 2016 to reflect about the message of Christ. Fr. Joe Kallarnagatt, SJ a Scripture professor explained the meaning of being a disciple of Christ in today’s context and the DST members reflected on their role in the SCC units.
• Commitment of the SCC animators
• Zeal of the Diocesan coordinators
• Joyfulness of all SCC units and PAT members
• Collaboration from all dioceses for various programmes
• Encouraging support from Bishop Clement Tirkey, our Chairperson & Sr. Christin, HC, NST member
Our trained SCC animators conduct grass-root level orientation on SCCs in different villages in all the dioceses. Our SCC Coordinators are committed to promote, sustain and strengthen SCCs in all the parishes. Approximately we have reached out to 75 % of the Catholic population in our dioceses with animation programs on “The New Way of Being Church”.
I.P.Sarto, Dec. 8, 2016 Bishop Clement Tirkey
Regional SCC Coordinator Regional Chairperson
SCCs Dig deep into 6th Step of Seven Step Gospel Sharing Method
The Regional Resource Team ( RRT) of SCCs in Bengal & Sikkim region felt the need to go deep into 6th step of Seven Step Gospel Sharing methodology. SCCs in the Country celebrated and had Review Seminars in different places on the occasion of the GOLDEN JUBILLE OF VATICAN II & SILVER JUBILEE OF THE FABC 5TH PLENARY ASSEMBLY STATEMENT 1990
The challenge and mandate the RRT of Bengal & Sikkim region read in the language of Vatican II is to“see the signs of the times and translate them in the light of theGospel” (GS 1, 2).
Therefore the RRT members of decided to have a training for themselves on the 6th step of the of Seven Step Gospel Sharing methodology. It was conducted at Burdwan, August 16 to 19, 2016. This was to help the members to see and to be sensitive to the signs of the times and translate them in the light of the Gospel.
Fr. Solomon, SJ from Dumka facilitated the session on social realities of the neighbourhood. Sr. Christin HC facilitated sessions on Social teachings of the Church. The RRT members came to realize that a Christian needs to look at the Social reality with the compassionate eye of Christ.
The Fundamental Principle of Social teaching is I bring you GOOD NEWS!
“He has sent me to bring the Good News to the poor, to proclaim liberty to captives, sight to the blind, to set the downtrodden free, and to proclaim to all the Lord’s year of favor” (Luke 4: 18-19).
Church has a long history of social justice. Therefore SCCs as Neighbourhood Church continue this ministry of the Church. Jesus’ call for justice and compassion for those in need became an essential part of Christianity and therefore of SCCs (Matthew 25: 31-40).
During the Sessions the following topics were discussed and creative suggestions were given by all.
TEN PRINCIPLES OF SOCIAL JUSTICE AND HOW THEY RELATE TO SCCs
1. HUMAN DIGNITY
2. RIGHTS & RESPONSIBILITIES
3. DIGNITY AND RIGHTS OF PERSONS
4. COMMUNITY & THE COMMON GOOD
5. OPTION FOR THE POOR & VULNERABLE
6. DIGNITY OF WORK
8. REFUGEES, IMMIGRATION AND CITIZENSHIP
9. PROTECTING THE ENVIRONMENT, BECOMING A “GREEN CHURCH”
10. PROMOTION OF PEACE
Forty participants from eight dioceses of the Bengal region decided to make the Gospel sharing during the SCC meetings to be vibrant and meaningful by taking up the social and economical issues for integral development of the villages.
We need to also conscientize people on environmental concerns during the Gospel sharing, said Sr. Christin quoting various incidents. SCCs need to work for all round development of the people and society, said Fr. Jagdish Parmar, SJ, SCC Coordinator of Darjeeling. Frs. Ignatius Topno, Pathic Lakra, Ruben Murmu, Saumen Mallick and Arbind Tirkey, the SCC Coordinators of Jalpaiguri, Bagdogra, Krishnagar, Baruipur and Asansol were also present with the RRT for the training.
The participants also went for an exposure to SCC units in Nuta parish and Ekpere of Asansol diocese. Frs. Wilson Fernandes, Arbind Tirkey of Nuta and Fr. Solomon, OMI of Ekpere made all arrangements for the visit. The participants felt enthused to see the faith of the villagers and their devotion to the Word of God. Bishop Cyprian Monis of Asansol was present during the training to celebrate Eucharist and to encourage the participants. The RRT decided to prepare lessons on SCCs for village awareness so that the parishioners may be socially sensitive to the needs of society. Fr. I.P. Sarto celebrated the concluding Eucharist encouraging the participants to be more pro-active and vigilant to assist the people to live genuine Christian lives.
Reported by Fr. I.P. Sarto
SCC Regional Secrteary
Youth decided to work for the sharing of the Gospel
A group of youth from five dioceses of Bengal region decided to share the Gospel with all the people in their neighbourhood during a SCC training Sept 9-12, 2016 in Krishnagar. 60 youth from Asansol, Baruipur, Calcutta, Krishnagar and Raiganj dioceses attended the training on Small Christian Communities to know about the Gospel sharing and the meaning of the Church.
They opted to promote seven steps Gospel sharing in their villages. The seven steps Gospel sharing was explained to them in details by Fr. Ruben Murmu, SCC Coordinator of Krishnagar diocese, Mrs. Susheela Ekka, an animator from Monsada parish of Calcutta and Mr. Ajit Mondol, a catechist from Maliapatha parish of Krishnagar.
Sr. Gulab, MSMHC, SCC animator of Calcutta Archdiocese and Mrs. Susheela explained the four marks of SCCs to the youth. Frs. I.P.Sarto, Regional SCC Coordinator and Onshu Gayen, youth director of Krishnagar explained about the importance of SCC, meaning of the Church and the power of the Word of God in the life of a Christian.
Fr. Amal Raj, Director of Catholic Charities Krishnagar spoke to them about the importance of the Bible in the life of a youth with various examples. Mr. Michael Shah spoke in brief about the income generation programme for local resources in young people’s lives
Fr. Panneer Selvam, deputy Secretary of the BRBC spoke to them about the year of Mercy. Frs. Amal Raj, Ruben Murmu, I.P.Sarto and Panneer Selvam respectively celebrated Eucharist each day of the programme to pray for the youth and to motivate them to commit their lives for Christ. The Regional Council of SCCs chaired by Bishop Clement Tirkey of Jalpaiguri decided to train youth for SCC promotion in the region.
FROM I. P.Sarto
Regional Council - West Bengal / Sikkim
Workshop of ‘Regional Resource Team’ on “Sensitivity & Social Analysis for the New Way of Being Church”
The Regional Resource Team members held a workshop on the theme ‘Sensitivity & Social analysis for the New way of Being Church’ From 16th to 19th of August, 2016 at Chetana pastoral centre, Burdwan. There were 40 participants from 8 dioceses at the workshop.
The day began with the arrival of the team members at 10.30am. Frs. Jagdish Parmer, SJ, Arvind Tirkey, Ignatius Topno, Saumen Malik, Pathik Lakra, and Ruben Murmu who are the Directors of Darjeeling, Asansol, Jalpaiguri, Baruipur, Bagdogra and Krishnagar Dioceses were also present. After Lunch at 2.00 p.m. the programme began with the Bible procession led by Sr Veronica, SSAM.
DAY 1 ( Aug 16, 2016)
Bible Procession: The holy Bible was enthroned by Fr. Arvind Tirkey and garlanded by Fr. IP. Sarto. Mr. Laurence Xalxo gave the reflection based on Jn: 15, 1-8. He spoke about the Vine and the branches and said that we are called to be united as one in Christ. We need to know that our identity is seen through Christ in whose love we abide. The final prayer was recited by Mr. JC. Lakra.
Introduction to the program and Group Division: Fr. Sarto introduced the resource person- Fr. Solomon, SJ from Dumka. Then Mr. Bhageswar from Darjeeling divided the participants into four groups. They are
1) Amos [leader is Mr. Laurence Murmu],
2) Joel [ Mrs. Jyothi Kerketta],
3) Jonah [ Mr. Anurag Horo],
4) Hosea [Mr. JC. Lakra] All the groups were given responsibilities for the four days.
First Session: by Fr. Jagdish Parmar at 3.15pm on’ The Prophetic Role’ of SCC animators. He began his session sharing on the action plan which was decided at the last RRT training. He also said the sixth step of the Gospel Sharing is very closely linked with the missionary aspect of doing something for the people. He shared about 1) the works of mercy that is being done in the year of mercy 2) works to safeguard human rights.
Group Discussion: The above two aspects were discussed in the four groups and they came up with comprehensive answers.
• Show concern for the poor and help them in their need,
• Arrange small pilgrimages for people, and reconciliation activities,
• Encourage participation for the sacrament of reconciliation,
• Visit families and help to bring back people who strayed away from Church,
• Stand for justice and human rights through the SCCs
Second Session at 4.30 pm: by Fr. Solomon SJ on social realities in our society. He began his session through an inspired video clip accompanied by a small prayer. He took a reading from Luke, 4: 18-19 and gave the following message that those who show mercy to the poor will inherit the kingdom of God.
Every problem in society finds its solution in the Bible. Through small incidents he brought out social awareness for the people. There is a need for prophetic leadership.
• What are the qualities of leadership? First a prophet should see and observe what is happening in and around him. Observe the wrong doings and its consequence in society. Use these situations as an opportunity to make people aware of what is right and wrong. Later apply these experiences for the social analysis.
What do we need to know of the Bandung Conference statement on SCCs.
a) Contemporary Asia in its context we need to know the aspect of unity and diversity
b) We must know how to deal with historical injustice,
c) We need to use Biblical contexts and teachings, through which we can change the outlook of society about life today,
d) We need dialogue- on cultural and justice issues to comprehend situations and expose the reality of life before people.
Then followed a presentation of a group report on how we can change the outlook of people. Fr. Solomon emphasized the need to have the correct knowledge of our social and scientific situation to be able for a transformative mission.
Holy Mass was presided by Fr. Solomon and was organized by Jonah group.Supper concluded the day.
Gospel Sharing & Bible Procession: We began the day with Gospel Sharing based on the Gospel passage from Mt. 19, 23-26. After which we had the Bible veneration at 8. 30 am organized by the Hosea group. After the enthronement of the Bible we had reading from the book of Amos 5 : 9-15 read by Mr. Augustine. Fr. Jagdish gave a reflection saying that we need to raise our voice as we have raised slogans while the Bible procession was in progress,. Then Sr. Christin gave some suggestions saying that we need to stand while reading the Gospel passage in order to give reverence to the Word of God.
Third Session by Fr. Solomon at 9. 00 am:
He began his session about the social analysis saying that society is likened to the socio-cultural and political realities. Human beings are entitled to food, shelter, clothing and health care, and right to livelihood. We need to show charity to the needy but it is more important to give them their rights. He also spoke elaborately about human rights .He said that the world is not for any one. It belongs to all equally but 62% of the resources of the country is in the hands of 12% of the people. The issue of dignity indicates that in society some backward people are kept away from the main stream of society and they are deprived of their rights of dignity and life. Therefore we need to be aware of these realities and work for those people through the SCCs.
Fourth Session at 10.30 am: After the tea break, Fr. Solomon took the session of learning analysis on See and Listen. During our observations we have to classify analysis on social economical, political and religious issues. He also explained the meaning of SIA which means social impact assessment, EIA which means environmental impact assessment.
• Then he focused on fundamental rights and duties in the light of the Indian constitution which is the biggest one in the world. We have to fight for our rights and duties. The Adivasis are called indigenous people and we need to focus more on how to maintain adivasi culture and tradition. Women trafficking and Child Labor are also major issues today.
Holy Mass was then offered by Bishop Cyprian Monis.
The Hosea group seriously undertook their responsibility in the preparation for the celebration of the Eucharist.. In his sermon, Bishop Monis said that being a RRT member we have an unique responsibility to find out the lost sheep and the sheep which are not taken care of..
Fifth Session after lunch by Fr. Solomon: on the statistics of adivasis. The statistics revealed; a) low education, b) poverty, c) health status., their basic resources and job opportunities, displacement, rehabilitation and human trafficking. We being leaders we need to try to make one nation, one culture and one society and encourage everyone to keep up their traditions and identity.
Group Discussion: After that we were sent into our own diocese groups to discuss about the negative points of social realities. After the discussion we presented an action plan.
Group report sharing at 4.30pm: Anurag Horo from Jalpaiguri shared the problems about addiction to alcohol and its negative effects in the families,. Fr. Ruben representing Baruipur and Krishnagar shared about the unjust payments given to the workers in the different fields.
Sixth Session by Sr. Christin: We should not spoil the prayerful atmosphere of the procession through photographing and we need to have a full sentence for the Word of Life. She spoke about the need for SCCs meetings. She said that it is to build up the love of Christ for one another in and through the small communities. She also shared about how SCCs can bring about a just society.
Successful story of SCC unit: In Madhupur one SCC unit chose word of life as ‘feed the hungry’ and based on this they had an action plan of feeding a lonely woman who was threatened that she would be forbidden to enter the village if she would not give her land to a political person. The unit members stood for justice and gave back her land and fed her till her death. This way the sixth step becomes a challenging one for us to follow Christ.
After the report of the previous day by Mr. Bhageswar Rai from Amos group, Sr. Christin said that RRT started about ten years ago. In the beginning there were 1800 SCC units in Bengal and now we have only 1300 SCC units so much so we are going backwards. She spoke about the duties and responsibilities of the RRT. They have to be resourceful persons.
Cultural Event: All the four groups gave thematic skit presentations about four prophets whose name they kept for the groups [Amos, Hosea, Joel, and Jonah]. They showed through the skits how to bring justice and peace and common brotherhood in the lives of the people. The day came to an end with a final blessing.
Gospel Sharing & Bible Procession: The day began with Gospel Sharing based on the passage from the letter of St. Paul to the Ephesians 6, 10-14, and after that we had the Bible procession at 8.30am organized by the Jonah group. After the enthronement of the Bible, a passage was read from the Gospel of John 21: 15-19. Mr. Paikas Lakra did the reading and Sr. Gulab gave a reflection.
Seventh Session by Sr. Christin at 9 am:
• How to conduct SCC,
• different levels of Church beginning from home to till universal Church.
• Mercy year and the mercy door,
She explained while Fr. Sarto translated the same in Bangla.
Eucharist: We had Mass at 12 noon presided by Fr. Ignatius which was prepared by the Hosea group. In the introduction all the women tied rakhi on the commemoration of Rakhsa Bhandan, a traditional celebration which makes family relationships strong. Fr. Saumen gave reflections in the Mass about the origin of raksha bandhan and life of love and relationship based on the reading Mt 12: 1-14.
Eighth session by Sr. Christin:
• About families in SCCs and how they should come together,
• How the action plan is to be taken seriously during the GS,
• The aspects of the human rights, common brotherhood and solidarity and subsidiary and fundamental principle of justice.
Village exposure program in five groups: They are. 1) Mathew, 2) Mark, 3) Luke, 4) John, and then 5) Paul. We visited five places of SCC units, four from Nuto parish and one in Ekpere parish. We came back at night and presented the report of the exposure programs.
Report of exposure program:
• Mr. Laurence from Matthew group, Sr. Stensila from Mark group, Mr. Michael Rajen from Luke group and Mr. Augustin from John group and Mrs. Anitha from St. Paul group presented the report of the exposure programs saying that they were able to understand the people and their culture in the village units. The unit members in the villages were able to reflect on the Word of God and bring out their life experiences in line with the word of God. As a whole the members felt that the sharings and the action plans they had taken were very genuine and they were in accordance with the signs of the time.
Bible procession at 6.30 Am: The Day began with the Bible procession led by Sr. Christin, HC. Fr. Jagdish enthroned the Bible and Sr. Deepa, DSA garlanded to the holy Word. Fr. Ignatius sang a bhajan in adoration to the Bible and Sr. Deepa read the Bible passage from St. John’s Gospel and then Sr. Christin showed a video clip about how to adore the Bible in different ways. Each diocese came forward to show reverence to the Bible. Sr. Christin through a hymn to Mother Mary concluded the session.
Ninth Session by Sr. Christin:
• The session was on SCC and social teaching of the Church. She spoke about the rights of refugees, migrants and their citizenship, and how to respect them. It is the responsibility of SCCs to ensure protection and safety of all the people around and teach all about the values of life. After that those who had not shared the report of the exposure program did so.
At 8.30 a.m.: Sr. Christin shared about the successful stories of SCCs in the region and also showed the SCC webpage. . In Darjeeling diocese one unit made seven kilometers of path way from the main road to the village and then with the government support a concrete road was completed.
Laudatio ci; She also spoke about Laudatio ci a document written by Pope Francis on environment, and said that we need to use vehicles properly, plant the trees, keep the environment clean and use water sparingly. The government has the duty to safeguard nature and it’s the duty of the people to support them. Nature sustains our life and therefore we say that the Earth is our mother. Humans destroy nature out of greed and we need to see even a small problem critically and bring out from it a big fruitful change. Promotion of peace is our responsibility and doing justice to humanity and to the nature is a sign of peace. It’s our duty to find out government schemes and make them available to the common folk.
She also spoke about the DOCAT website from Vatican which emphasizes three aspects. 1. Change yourselves, 2. Change the neighborhood, and 3. Change the world. Fr. Sarto translated the matter in Bengali to make it easier to understand. He also shared the future plans of the region for SCC. We planned three things to do :
1. Make a report of how the Catholic social Teachings of the Church were applied in the context of the SCC units’ action plans and sharings, and send this report to the regional office after three months.
2. Prepare two lessons on how to apply the Social Catholic Teachings of the Church and send the lesion plans to the regional office. [Send the first lesson in the month of October, 2016, and the second lesson on January, 2017]. Theme of Lessons: SCC and the Social Teachings of the Church’.
3. Start 2 or three new SCC units and sustain them and keep the updates of those units
Then we had the report of the previous day presented by Mr. Jyothirmoi Shaw from Joel group which was followed by the information about regional programs shared by Fr. Sarto.
• The whole group felt that we need to have regular training sessions for the youth on SCCs.
• Sr. Christin HC suggested to have three months of SCC school in each diocese and she asked the diocesan directors to inform her of their decision whether to have it or not before 15th of Sept, 2016.
Final Review: Mrs. Monica Horo presented a review of the whole program. All have said that the sessions taken by Fr. Solomon, SJ and Sr. Christin, HC were informative and meaningful. Mrs. Jyoti Kerketta said the final prayer and Fr. Sarto gave the final blessing and the Bible was closed as a mark of conclusion of the workshop.
Concluding Session: Holy Mass at 11.45 am was organized by Joel group and Fr. Jagdish celebrated the Eucharist. The participants were welcomed with a dance and during the Mass, Bible procession was done in a traditional way of carrying the Bible and walking on the leaves to reach to the Lectern.. Fr. Jagdish in his homily shared that we need to take 6th step of GS seriously and so take the action plan of cleaning the environment, searching for employment for the unemployed, searching and creating income generating schemes for the people. We need to have awareness programs about the social issues and unemployment and environmental issues for the people through SCCs. We concluded the program with the recessional hymn of thanks giving to the Lord.
Prepared by Fr. Joseph, OMI
Regional Council - West Bengal / Sikkim
Youth Training on SCCs at Chetana, Burdwan
We had the Youth Training on SCCs from 23rd to 25th of September, 2016 at Chetana pastoral centre, Burdwan. There were 38 participants for the program and we began the day with the arrival of the youth members at 11.30 am, and after lunch at 3.45 pm we began the program with the Divine Mercy Rosary led by Sr. Rosita.
Resource persons: Fr. IP. Sarto, Fr. Deepak, Sr. Rosita, Mr. Michael shah
Bible Procession: Sr. Veronica led the Bible procession with songs of praise to the Lord. Fr. IP. Sarto enthroned the Bible and Fr. Arvind Tirkey garlanded the Bible. A passage from the Gospel of Luke 8: 16-18 was read and Sr. Veronica gave reflection saying that we need to give light to the people around by our Christian way of life. Then Fr. Sarto introduced the program and the group division was done by Frs. Deepak and Joseph through choosing the quotes from the Bible. Three groups are 1. St. John’s Group, 2. St. Ignatius Loyola’s group, 3. St. Don Bosco’s Group.
Session: After tea at 4.45 pm, we had sessions on seven steps of Gospel sharing by Fr. Deepak. Through various demonstrations he taught how a facilitator to lead first step of the Gospel Sharing and then Sr. Rosita took session on second step of the Gospel Sharing as to how we need to proclaim the word of God based on the passage. She asked the participants to read meaningfully Lk : 10, 38-42. Then Fr. Sarto spoke about the Bible in one’s life. He explained how to open books of the Bible and its chapters.
Role Play Presentation at 7.00pm; Don Bosco group presented the parable of prodigal son, John group presented the beheading of John the Baptist and Loyola group presented the parable of lost sheep.
Session: Then Fr. Sarto took session 3rd step of the Gospel Sharing explaining how to share the Word of God that touched our hearts. Fr. Deepak and Sr. Rosita explained 4th to 7th steps and particularly sixth step and its importance.Then we had dinner at 8.00pm followed by Rosary led by Loyola group. Then Sr. Rosita shared insights about sixth step and then at 9.30pm ended the day with final prayer.
The day began with Gospel Sharing based on the passage from Ephesians 1: 3-10. Loyola group: Word of Life is ‘We are free” and Action Plan is ‘go and share in the villages what we learned in SCCs orientation’.
Don Bosco group: ‘Sins are Forgiven’ is word of life and the Action Plan is ‘forgive others who hurt us’
John group: ‘Sins are Forgiven’ is word of life and Action Plan is ‘forgive oneself and others who hurt us’.
Bible procession: After breakfast we began the Bible procession led by Don Bosco group and then Fr. Sarto took sessions on Bible.
Session; He taught them the books of Bible and then he asked them all what they would give if Jesus comes to their house and what Jesus would say when he comes to their house. Taking these questions Fr. Sarto asked them to discuss and answer. Some said they would welcome, give respect and share their love with him. Ask him to give them wisdom, forgiveness. Then he also asked them to read Zacchaeus passage, and he explained how Zacchaeus came forward to offer his whole self to the Lord.
Session after Tea: Fr. Arvind Tirkey started classes on the Word of God and SCCs and the importance of word of God in life. As a youth how we need to be in relation with God in and through the Word of God. Then some time is given for them for skit practice and then 1.00 pm we had lunch.
Skit Presentation at 2.30 pm: We had skit presentation by all the three groups about the passage ‘Zacchaeus on the tree’. After the skit presentation Fr. Deepak evaluated the whole presentations. He asked them what they learned through these presentations. Answers; In the skit there was self realization. When Jesus was not there in his life he was simple man as a tax collector and sinner among people but when he came in contact with Jesus, there was change of life and change of heart. There was self acceptance and accepting others as his friends and family memebrs.
After tea at 4.00 pm, we started sessions about the seven steps of Gospel Sharing. Fr. Sarto, Sr. Rosita and Sr. Veronica started further explaining about seven steps elaborately. Sr. Rosita spoke about five kinds of prayers that we see in Church’s tradition.
Session by Mr. Michael Shah; He taught about the historical context of faith among the first Christian Community based on Acts 2: 42. We are people gathered to hear and learn from the Teachers, Elders and Apostles. When we hear teachings we also experience the teachings of the Word of God. We are faithful and we are chosen because we are formed by the teachings of the chosen ones and we experience God which the chosen people encountered. We come together to share those experiences and the basis is the word of God. Through faith hope and mercy we share love of God and we overcome the social, physical, spiritual and economical challenges in our communities.
7.15 pm: We had the Eucharistic celebration presided by Fr. Deepak and Fr. Sarto gave homily. Fr. Sarto shared about the first reading which spoke about the youth. The Lord says that youth would go where their leg take and do what their hearts says, but we need to give account before the Lord at the end of our time. We are called by Jesus to offer our lives for the good news.
Evaluation: At 9. 00 pm we had evaluation of the day’s program and the youth shared that they learned how to read the Bible and refer the Word of God. They also learned about the Bible and its importance, SCCs and the seven steps of Gospel Sharing as well as the ways to offering prayers to the Lord. They also learned how to read the word of God. And open Bible. Then at 9.30pm we had final prayer by Sr. Rosita and Fr. Deepak gave final blessings.
The day began with GS at 6.30am based on the passage I Timo. 6: 11-16
Loyola group: Word of Life is ‘love’ and Action Plan is ‘Share our love with all’.
Don Bosco group: ‘Peacefulness’ is word of life and the Action Plan is ‘leave out our bad behaviour’
John group: ‘Fulfil the duties’ is word of life and Action Plan is ‘reading St. John’s Gospel every day for ten minutes.
Bible procession: At 8.30 am we had the Bible procession led by Subhas from Don Bosco group and also gave small reflection about the greatness of Mother Mary, which was followed by thanks giving prayer. Then Bible Procession ended with Marian Hymn. Then we had reporting of the previous day by Loyola group and then evaluation of the Bible procession and Gospel Sharing by Sarto. He suggested standing when there is a reading from the Gospels during the Bible procession. He also requested all to read the Bible everyday at least for five minutes.
Sessions a 9.30 am: Fr. Sarto took session on the mercy year having the theme ‘anointed me to announce the Lord’s Year of Mercy’. He also explained the 16 images which are there on the Mercy door. They speak of the historical events of the Lord and Almighty, and these images are Biblical events which speak about the salvation history of the human race.
Taking the texts from Psalms 118, 20, Rev; 3, 20, and MT; 20, 6 he explained how the workers in the vineyard of the Lord should see the realities of the world and work faithfully and prudently for the kingdom. He also spoke about the justice and hope we need to bring into the lives of the people. Then at 10; 20am we had tea that was followed by the planning sessions
PLANNING SESSIONS BASED ON THE THREE QUESTIONS
1. What did we learn during this training?
2. What do we do in parish after going back from here?
3. How do we do SCC promotion in the parish?
They learned how to open the Bible and read the Bible passages and how to lead SCCs. They said that in their parish the old men and youth do not know much about Bible and they do not come to SCCs so they planned to visit those families which don’t come for the Church and SCCs and bring them back. They also do various ways of Bible procession in their units.
They learned what the Word of God is and how it is important in life. They planned to visit families in the villages and share with unit people what happened in the training period. They said that they would correct the mistakes they were doing in conducting Gospel Sharing in SCC units and partake actively in Church works.
They learned what SCC, seven steps of Gospel Sharing, and what are the ways of conducting the Bible procession and the importance of the word of God. They planned to go back to villages and teach in the units how to lead Gospel Sharing and take part actively in the works of the church and in the SCC units.
They learned what is SCC, Gospel Sharing, what is Bible and its importance. They understood and came to know what are New Testament and Old Testament. They planned to meet the youth who are not coming to Church and to the SCCs and try to bring them to SCCs. they said they would organize Bible procession in their units differently and creatively
They all together said that they like this training and they would like to have another phase of training also. Then it was collectively planned to have next SCC training for the youth in Bangla from 28th to 31st of October, 2016 in Chetana. Before coming to this meeting they decided to collect 30 rupees per head as their contribution for the training.
Then we had Mass, which was followed by the concluding session and it was led by John’s group. During this all the youth came forward and stretched out their hands and took an oath that they would work for the spreading of the Good news through SCC units in their own place and the training ended with the final blessings by Fr. Sarto.
Prepared by Fr. Joseph, OMI
Training for Regents to promote SCCs
There had been several requests from Bishops, laity, clergy etc. for training people under formation for priesthood and religious life for empowering them to be SCC animators. The National Service Team along with Regional Teams have decided to take up this challenge. West Bengal Team along with Sr. Christin planned out a four phased training for Regents of West Bengal. With the blessings and permission of the Bishops of West Bengal this programme was launched from 4th November to 7th November, 2016.
The Regents were introduced to the New Way of Being Church, the importance of SCCs in a parish, how to start a SCC in a parish and the Seven Steps Gospel Sharing method. The sessions were facilitated by Sr. Christin, HC, National Service Team members of SCCs, Fr. I.P. Sarto, Regional SCC Coordinator and Mrs. Jyoti Kerketta, a SCC Animator of Calcutta Archdiocese .
Sr. Christin elaborated to them various ways in which the Bible veneration could be held. Fr. Sarto explained to them in details how the SCC meetings are conducted. Mrs. Jyoti Kerketta shared her experience of how SCC was started in her Liluah parish of Calcutta Archdiocese.
The Regents went for an exposure to SCC units of Nuta, Ekpere and Kamarpara parishes of Asansol diocese. They were thrilled with their experiences. This training to introduce the Regents to SCCs was approved by the Bishops of the Bengal Region and organized by the Regional Council of SCCs chaired by Bishop Clement Tirkey of Jalpaiguri. This is the first of its kind to train the Regents on SCCs in India, Said Sr. Christin, HC who is involved in SCCs for more than three decades.
This first phase of training will be followed by another phase in February 2017. All the regents planned to conduct awareness sessions to the villagers on the New Way of Being Church and on the importance of the Word of God by the end of the year. They also would do a survey of SCCs in their parishes.
Fr. Henry Rodrigues of Asansol celebrated the Eucharist on the first day and shared his experience of starting SCCs and the struggles he faced and finally how he succeeded in motivating the villagers for SCCs. Fr. Joseph, OMI the Regional SCC animator also assisted the Regents for the Gospel Sharing and the Bible procession.
Fr. Panneer Selvam, Deputy Secretary of the BRBC celebrated the concluding Eucharist and encouraged the seminarians to be people-centric in their approach. The Regents were very creative in organizing the Bible procession. They were active in role plays and discussions to learn more about SCCs. For many of them this training was an eye-opener to know about SCCs. They all understood the importance of the New Way of Being Church in today’s social context.
Regents of the West Bengal region unanimously decided to promote SCCs in their parishes where they are assigned. 34 Regents from Asansol, Bagdogra, Baruipur, Calcutta, Jalpaiguri and Raiganj dioceses attended am Introductory training on Small Christian Communities Nov 4 to 7, 2016 at Chetana Pastoral Centre, Burdwan in Asansol diocese.
The Regents were given the following assignments to do before they come for the next phase in the month of February 2017.
Assignment given to the Regents:-
1) To make a Survey of SCCs
a. How many SCCs in the parish ?
b. How often the SCCs meetings are held?
c. What are the activities undertaken by the SCCs ?
d. How did they choose those activities ?
e. What are the challenges faced by the SCCs ?
f. What are the challenges seen in the parishes / neighborhood ?
g. Any success stories of SCCs
h. Any suggestions from the Regents for SCC promotion
2) To conduct an Animation program on New Way of Being Church by December 10, 2016
3) To conduct an Animation program on Gospel Sharing
4) To attend one SCC meeting every week
5) To start one SCC group where it does not exist
REGIONAL COUNCIL - WEST BENGAL / SIKKIM
YOUTH TRAINING ON SCCs [4th Phase] AT ARTICO PASTORAL CENTRE,
JALPAIGURI – JAN 13-16, 2017
We had the Fourth phase of Youth Training on SCCs in Hindi at Artico-Pastoral Centre in Jalpaiguri from 13th to 16th of Jan, 2017. There were 70 youth present from Jalpaiguri and Bagdogra dioceses.
Resource persons: Fr. Sarto, Fr. Ignatius Topno, Frs. Pathic Lakra & Joseph, OMI and Mr. Michael Shah
We began the meeting with the Bible procession led by Jalpaiguri youth at 2. 40 pm. Fr. Pathic enthroned the Bible and gave arathi. Fr. Ignatius Topno gave reflection based on the reading from Mt 5, 14-16. He said that we are called to be the light of life. It is Christ who comes into our life as light through Word of God and we are called upon to reflect the same light unto others.
Introduction: Fr. I.P. Sarto introduced the program and spoke of the importance of the word of God and then Fr. Pathic Lakra divided the youth into five groups.
GROUP ANIMATOR SECTRETARY
1. Barnabas group Asima Topno Rohan Bara
2. Cornelius group Roshan Ekka Anjalina Tirkey
3. Ananias group Banti Xalxo Mahima Barwa
4. Philip Group Anjali Minz Pingal Hembrom
5. Apollo’s group Serofina Barla Alrikka Dung Dung
Then at 4; 20 pm we started session taken by Fr. Pathic about seven steps of Gospel sharing and he explained first step of Gospel sharing and Frs. Sarto, Ignatius and Joseph explained the next three steps successively. Then Bishop Clement Tirkey shared about the Bible as the Wisdom of God. We are nothing if God’s breadth does not enter into us. And it is God’s word that made us alive and it is active in the creation. This word teaches us to give, share and live our life meaningfully. Therefore SCC helps us to reach this goal of Christian life.
Then we had session about the next four steps of Gospel sharing explained by Sr. Christina, DSA. Fr. Sarto, Mr. Michael shah and Fr. Ignatius Successively. After that we had Holy Mass at 7. 20 pm presided by Bp Clement Tirkey and Frs. Sarto, Ignatius Topno, and Pathic Lakra were the concelebrants. After the Mass we concluded the day with the concluding prayer.
The day began with Gospel sharing at 6; 45 am based on the reading from Mark 2: 13- 17. After breakfast we had Bible procession by Cornelius group. Fr. Sarto enthroned the Bible and Fr. Joseph garlanded it. Roshan Ekka gave reflection based on the reading from Mark 2, 13- 17, which speaks of the call of God. Then Asima Topno gave report of the previous day.
Session: Then we had session about prison ministry by Sr. Alexia, AC. She spoke about how the inmates live in the correctional homes [prisons]. She also shared how problems and misunderstanding in the families make them to be victims in the prisons. It is our duty to save the lives of our people who are behind the bars. Sometimes those who are not the real culprits put in jails. We need to know the rules and regulations of the prison ministry whereby we can work for their release.
Talk of Mr. James Kujur: At 11.00 am the Tribal Welfare Minister, Mr. James Kujur gave a talk to the youth. He spoke about God’s creation and its perfection that God created all of us with same gifts and talents and energy but those who work on it continuously will progress in life. We need to have faith in God through believing in the Word of God. When we have faith in God it automatically means to us that we have faith in ourselves. That is how we build up our self confidence which helps us to stand for human service. Our culture, values, and tradition are the great source of life that makes us to be self dependent. As youth, we need to keep growing with the God given abilities along with the opportunities which Church, society and government provide for us.
After the photo session we had Mass presided by Fr. Thomas Borogaon, VG of Jalpaiguri and PP of Purulia Parish along with Frs. Sarto, Ignatius Pathic and Joseph. Reflection was given by Fr. Thomas based on the reading from Mark 2, 13-17. God’s call has tremendous power which actually comes from the Word of God but the youth today are not able to listen it. Then we had lunch at 2.00 pm that was followed by Divine Mercy Rosary led by Asim Minz.
Session: Mr. Michael shah took the session about the importance of word of God. He spoke about different levels of Church beginning from the smallest unit of the Church as SCC to the universal church. Then we had the tea at 5.00pm
SCC unit Exposure: We had SCC unit exposure program at 5.30pm and we went two of the units of Jalpaiguri parish.
A. Munda Basti SCC unit: They had Bible procession and there were 39 people present for the meeting and it was led by Mr. Mukti Xalxo based on the reading from Mt; 5, 13-16. They chose the word of life as ‘you are the salt of earth.’ and decided to visit all the 40 families in the area that will be done by the youth and few elders. They would speak and share with them about SCC. They also planned to divide the area into four units.
B. Jyothinagar unit: They had Bible procession and there were 47 people present and the meeting was led by Mr. Sanjoy Kujur based on the reading from Mt; 5, 14-16. They chose the Word of Life as ‘you are the light of life’ and decided to pray daily at homes for the sick.
The faithful were very welcoming and showed much interest in learning about SCC. They decided together to have SCC meetings twice in a month in their areas.
After coming back from the exposure program we had supper which was followed by the skit presentation based on the New Testament. After that there was evaluation of the day program and all have shared that they learned how to conduct SCC meetings. They all appreciated that the talks were informative and meaningful. They were inspired that they would read the Bible every day and share with the unit members in their area about what they had learned in the training program. Then the final blessing was given by Bp. Clement Tirkey and we ended the day at 10.00pm.
The day began with the veneration and mediation of the Word of God led by Fr. Sarto at 7.00am. He showed video presentation about the Word of God and how the faithful adore the Bible in different ways. We heard a hymn about the Word of God and chose the touching words from the hymn and shared among us. We chose the word of life as ‘the Word of God is light’ and all of us decided to meet each other personally and share our faith life and what we learned in the training program. Then we had planned to have bible procession towards cathedral Church for Mass in which all the groups would decorate the Bible creatively and carry reverently the Bible in the procession from the centre to the Cathedral
Session: Then Ananias group presented the report of the previous day that was followed by the session taken by Fr. Sarto. He spoke about the understanding of the Church in pre-Vatican and post-Vatican periods. He spoke about the importance of the Word of Life and Action plan in the SCC meeting which enriches our faith life. He said that the time is a precious gift of God and we as the people of God need to give some time for the Word of God and bring about the unity and family bond in the Church.
Then we had Bible procession from the Artico pastoral centre to Cathedral Church with decorated Bibles carried by five groups in a creative way. Then we had Mass presided by Bishop Clement and we had act of contrition in which asking forgiveness and blessings from one another while kneeling before him or her was done. During the Mass Bishop Clement shared that we need to live the life of Christianity respecting the sacraments. We need to be courageous to witness the truth that God became Word and Flesh and dwells among us. He called all of us to be living witness.
Then Fr. Sarto shared that in the Old Testament we see the Jews love the lamb very much and it is offered to God. Those who had many sheep they were highly respected in the society. Abel offered the lamb to God and his offering was accepted. In the same way Jesus became lamb for us offered to God as a ransom for us, so much so each one of us are called to become that lamb for one another.
Session: Then at 2; 30pm we had session by Sarto about the saints. He asked them to share about the saints whom they know. He asked all of them to know at least five saints and about their life style. Then after the tea we continued the session by Sarto. He spoke about the changes that are brought about soon after the II Vatican Council. He spoke about the difference between the lost sheep and lost coin and the lost son.
Lost Coin: The poor lady lost the coin because of her mistake and so she went in search of it and spent more value to rescue it.
Lost sheep; both the sheep and shepherd did mistake of losing the way. The shepherd knows the way to bring back but not the sheep.
Lost son; It is his mistake so he went in search of the father. So we need to know the context and condition of our people and smell the sheep and bring them back to the parish family.
After the tea he started speaking about the life and ministry of Jesus which is very much in connection with our daily life. He also spoke about the importance of the time and asked the youth to give at least 10% of the time in a day we need to give to God. Jesus taught us everything through life incidents. He gave importance to children. We need to bring up our children in proper faith and pray for them. He taught them about what Church is and who is a Christian and also about the four marks of the Church.
Question and answers:
1. What did you learn that you can give to your people and what did you learn more about SCC?
They all said that they learned the values of life from Bible and came to know about the importance of the Word of God. They learned to respect children and they would share their knowledge about SCC with their unit members, villagers and the family members.
2. Why are we failing to actualize the action plan most of the time?
We need to take small Action Plans and do regular meetings and then to fulfill the action plans we need God’s helping hand. For this we have to pray continuously. After the sessions we had supper which was followed by Rosary led by Philip group. Then we had evaluation of the day and then ended the day with final blessings by Fr. Ignatius Topno at 9. 30 pm.
We began the day with Gospel sharing based on the reading from Luke 10, 1-10.
Barnabas group: Word of Life is ‘receive peace at your home’ and Action Plan is ‘go and share in the family what we learned in SCCs’.
Cornelius group: ‘fewer workers in the vineyard’ is Word of Life and the Action Plan is ‘go and share in the villages what we learned in SCCs’.
Ananias group: ‘fewer workers in the vineyard’ is Word of life and the Action Plan is ‘go and share in the villages what we learned in SCCs’.
Apollo’s Group: ‘Disciples were chosen’ is word of life and Action Plan is ‘sharing with others what they learned in the training ’.
Philip Group: Word of Life is ‘receive peace’ and Action Plan is ‘work for the growth of SCCs’.
Action Plan: After the breakfast leaders were chosen from different parishes and they were asked to give the updates of their SCC meetings and plans to the Regional office every month.
1. Before coming for the next meeting learn at least the life style of 12 saints.
2. Read St. Luke’s Gospel before coming for the next meeting at the end of the March, 2017.
3. During the Easter season they decided to do confessions.
4. They would come to know at least five changes that took place in the Church after II Vatican council.
5. Among the members 30 youth are regular in partaking in the SCC meetings of their units and 29 of them who are new comers also made the decision to participate in SCCs regularly in their villages.
6. Fourty of them accepted that they would start new SCC units in their villages.
7. Mr. Sanju Kujur was selected as the leader for Bagdogra youth and Ms. Serofina Topno is for Jalpaiguri.
Then Fr. Ignatious Topno gave brief explanation about seven steps of Gospel sharing. Before conducting the SCC meeting we need to pray for the help of the Holy Spirit. We need to choose Bible passage and read few times. We need to check with Word of Life and Action Plan that were chosen in previous meeting. We need to make report of what happens in every meeting and keep the updates.
Session by Bp Vincent Aind: He shared about the tribal culture and its tradition beginning with Chotanagpur Adivasi history. He emphasized that the Church is the basis for the development of the tribes in the fields of education and culture. He also said that the tribal culture is very rich which was incorporated in the Church practices also. Tribal culture has unity as their basis for community life. They take care of the widows and the orphans and the neighbors who are in need. They give value to the relationships and help each other and all their celebrations are communitarian. They are also in the move to understand modernization which made them to drift away from the cultural context. Adivasis are very spiritual in nature and they are very active in the Church as well but slowly giving in to the new worldly ideas that make them to lose values of life. We need to work for the growth of the Adivasis and through SCCs it’s possible.
Then we had mass presided by Bp Vincent Aind and Frs. Sarto, Ignatius, and Joseph were the concelebrants. Bp. Vincent shared his homily based on the Gospel passage from Mk 2, 18-22. He spoke about new wine and wine skins. The youth are new wine skins in to which the wine of the Word of God is put. They have lot of energy and caliber, so God calls them to work for His vineyard. SCC is the new wine which inspires the young generation and so we need to gather them before the Lord.
Then we had evaluation of the whole program by Fr. Ignatius Topno. Many shared that they learned many things about SCC and they would organize nicely the Bible procession in their villages. They would teach in their villages what they learned and work for the growth of the SCC.
Suggestion: They also suggested that the time table needs to be followed.
The participants list has to be send to the organizing team at the given time. Trainings for the new youth on SCCs can be done at diocesan level and then they can participate in the regional youth trainings.
Then Sanju Kujur from Bagdogra was asked by Fr. Pathic to make the list of the poor children who can’t afford to study and give the list to the parish priest of Bagdogra. The same is requested from Chotrahat and Mariyam Badi parishes also. They planned to have the next training in the last week of the April, 2017. Then Bp Vincent Aind said the final prayer and blessings and the training came to an end at 2.30pm.
Reported by Fr. Joseph, OMI
SECOND PHASE OF SCC TRAINING FOR THE REGENTS OF WEST BENGAL
Regents decided to encourage laity for SCCs
The second phase of the SCC training for the Regents of West Bengal was conducted from 18th to 21st February 2017 in Jalpaiguri, Diocesan Pastoral Center. Sr. Christin, Fr. Sarto, Bp. Clement Tirkey and Bishop Vincent Aind were the resource persons.
The Regents of the West Bengal region encourage laity for SCCs promotion in their parishes where the regents are assigned. 26 Regents from Asansol, Bagdogra, Baruipur, Jalpaiguri and Raiganj dioceses attended the workshop.
They were introduced to the deeper meaning of the “Seven Steps of Gospel Sharing” method and the qualities needed for a facilitator. The sessions were facilitated by Sr. Christin, HC, National Service Team member of SCCs and Fr. I.P. Sarto, Regional SCC Coordinator.
Bishop Clement Tirkey of Jalpaiguri inaugurated the workshop and exhorted them to work for starting SCCs in their parishes. He shared with them the outcome of the recent Bishops meeting in Bhopal and how we need to work for families.
Bishop Vincent Aind of Bagodgra spoke to them about how the SCCs complement the tribal way of life and what are the challenges faced by the tribals in the modern world. He asked the Regents to be builders of the Communities in their places of posting.
Frs. Ignatius Topno, SCC Coordinator of Jalpaiguri, Pathic Lakra, SCC Coordinator of Raiganj and Joseph, OMI, Regional SCC animator also shared their experience in promoting SCCs in the parishes.
Sr. Christin elaborated to them various ways in which the Bible veneration could be held and about the SCC Review Seminar held in Hazaribag last year. She also spoke to them about Time management. Fr. Sarto explained to them how to keep record of SCC meetings and how to make a case story of SCCs in the parishes and the importance of documentation.
The regents also went for an exposure to SCC units in Jalpaiguri Cathedral parish.
The Regents promised to take up the promotion of SCCs as one of their priorities. This was the second phase of the Regents training on SCCs in Bengal.
From I.P. Sarto
“Regional Council of SCCs – WB & Sikkim”
Regional Council meeting Feb 23 to 25, 2018 at Bandel Shrine
On 23rd of February, 2018 the Small Christian Community Regional Council Meeting began at 9:30am with the arrival and registration of participants. 101 Diocesan Service Team members from Eight dioceses were present. At 10:30 am we assembled in the Basilica for the Holy Eucharist presided over by Bishop Stephen Lepcha of Darjeeling. Thereafter, members of Bandel parish led the Bible procession under the guidance of Srs. Meena Tirkey and Gulab, MSMHC; The Bishop enthroned the Bible and Fr. T. L. Francis, SDB garlanded the Bible and took arati. After the Bible procession, Fr. T. L. Francis, the Prior of the Basilica highlighted the short History of SCCs in Bengal & Sikkim Region and welcomed Bishop Stephen Lepcha and entire gathering and gave general instruction about the usage of the things and other needs. Fr. Rajesh Paul Kujur, OMI, the Regional SCC animator briefed about the agenda of the RCM. Every day began with the Gospel Sharing and the Bible procession before the session.
Bishop Stephen Lepcha appreciated the SCC animators and the members of all the SCC units and shared the success stories of the Darjeeling diocese; where the SCC has touched the hearts of the Catholics and of other religions and brought changes in the diocese and also in the lives of the people.
Fr. I. P. Sarto, the Regional SCC co-ordinator divided the participants into 9 groups and allotted responsibilities for them.
Session – I
Sr. Christin Joseph, HC: she spoke about the prophetic mission of SCCs in India today. Through the visual and power point presentation, she highlighted the present situations of India; where people find themselves unsafe; especially women and children. She continued saying in this situation SCC has to take up the task of fighting for justice, Human rights and freedom; and the unity among the members of the SCCs is very essential. She also brought out different challenges and issues; such as: divide between the rich and the poor, influence of media, politics of exploitation, child labour, Illiteracy, Inflation, Sanitation, etc. faced today and placed for discussion in the groups. During the discussion many issues came out and she said through the SCCs we can face these challenges and discover solutions.
Session – II
In her second session she elaborated the need of different Ministries in SCCs according to the talents of each person in the community. Through discussion, the participants came out with the following ministries, which was moderated by Fr. Sarto :.
She also invited the people for group discussion based on the present challenging situations of India:
Session – III
In her third session she elaborated the Church is Relationship. She said we try to organize the SCC meetings in the families; accommodate people in the family/villages; whichever parish have no SCC, this networking will help to start. We should plan for the diocese wise SCC Festival or SCC Convention. Before the SCC Convention each diocese should try to have parish wise SCC day celebration in due preparation of diocesan SCC day celebration.
Day second, the Holy Eucharist was presided by Bishop Salvadore Lobo of Baruipur. He shared about the present situations of SCCs in Baruipur Diocese, saying the SCCs of the diocese is like Prophet Jonah. He also read out the letter of CBCI, which stressed saying in the present situations, “How do we, the ambassadors of Jesus bear witness to Jesus? CBCI insisted to start and have SCCs in every diocese and in the parishes. Few more areas to be taken care such as: we need to present Christ through our word and witnessing life; In India SCC should be made more strong and vibrant; Love for nature and need to care for environment; Youth should be cared and motivated because they are the strength and future of the Church, we need to activate these power banks to bring changes in India.
At 4: 00 pm the participants had exposure to nine different SCC units of the Bandel parish. Every unit looked after the participants and organized SCC meeting, they exchanged their SCC experience to each other; they felt that they are always together and united with the entire SCC group. The Regional Council members also conducted an animation session in every SCCs on the Prophetic role of SCCs. The mixer of different languages helped them to have the Pentecost experience. Every unit shared their fellowship with the guests. We came back from the exposure for the Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and the Sacrament of Reconciliation. The following day each group shared their exposure experience to the gathering.
On the final day, being Sunday we had Bible procession with the Bandel parishioners singing and praying for peace in the nation, witnessing the love of Christ to the world. Fr. Francis looked after all the arrangements needed with regard to the procession; Parishioners also joined the procession. It was followed by the Solemn Holy Eucharist presided over by Fr. Paulus Hembrum, the Raigunj diocesan SCC co-ordinator and Fr. Ramon of Baruipur broke the Word of God.
After the Eucharist we gathered in the hall for SCC Planning. Fr. I. P .Sarto, took up the planning session. Participants sat diocese wise, discussed and planned for the next six months SCC programmes.
Thereafter, followed the Evaluation of the entire Regional Council Meeting:
The RC Meeting was well appreciated by all:
Finally with a thanks giving prayer, hymn and by the blessing from the Word of God, the RC meeting came to an end at 4:00 pm.
Fr. Rajesh Paul Kujur, OMI Date : 16/03/2018
Regional SCC Animator
Questions for Discussion:
1. We have many problems, but we have to come out with our best effort to solve; The meeting emphasised the need to be united to do so.
2. We have to take the responsibility to solve our problems and do some good works in the neighbourhood
3. Keep contact with the DST and Council Members monthly.
- Support each other in love and animation program
4. Every three months SCC units of the parish will come together and evaluate and share their
5. Next RC meeting to be held at Bagdogra Diocese in the month of February.
1. We learned to conduct SCC systematically and confidently.
- Sense of responsibility and punctuality
- Importance of the Word of God with respect and reverence.
2. By Pastoral visit to the families regularly to know their needs and problems and solving their problems with the help of the Word of God.
3. Regular SCC meetings
- Organize different activities in the Parish level.
- Helping them to understand their problems.
4. Witnessing Christ through becoming another Christ.
- Practice the Role of Christ.
- By our presence and service to them
5. Next meeting at Bagdogra Diocese in the month of September
1. We got courage and strength to do any work with the Power of Christ.
- Live the Word of God in the personal life.
- Be a prophet and work courageously
- Work with patience.
- Cordial relationship with one another.
- Value the other person
2. With our simple and humble life
- By giving our precious time and be with them.
- Through family visit we partake in the sorrow and happiness of the people
- By involving in every work of the Church, the neighbourhood and Society.
3. By forming new SCC units in the parishes.
- As SCC family; by organizing the cultural programs, Charismatic prayer, and Sports
Try to bring unity.
4. By awareness programmes
- By strengthening the faith and devotion of the people.
- By good relationship with one another.
- With good behaviour and good communication
- By behaving respectfully with all, no partiality.
5. Next meeting at Krishnagar Diocese 1st week of March.
1. We have learned the importance of SCCs to have SCC convention in the Diocese.
- It has increased interest in SCCs.
- It was an eye opening to see the present situation of India.
- SCC is not a prayer group but to take the role of a Prophet and SCC is action group.
2. Through our pastoral visit we have to be sensitive to the needs of our people.
- To deepen our faith.
3. Through SCC we have to bring unity among us.
- We have to have regular meetings
- We have to make awareness of the surroundings (Social Issues)
- Family Visit – during the family visit there should be listening heart and giving
4. In the SCC meeting we have to be creative and become a transformed person.
- We have to know the Word of God and to be creative.
- We have to organize various activities in the parish that will bring
unity among us..
5. Next meeting at Bagdogra Diocese during the 1st week of June...
1. Welcome others by the existing culture of that place.
- Take courage when someone is attacked and protect and stand for the truth
As a Prophet.
- Work as a team with renewed interest
- Being united in times of confusion and elect Proper leader in our area.
- Organize SCCs in every parishes, and organize SCC convention...
2. To visit the families, listen to their problems, sharing their joys and sorrows
And spend some times with those who are under pressure and pain of life and
Pray for them.
- To collect and give financial support for the poor and sick- who have no
One to care for...
- To inspire others to join the SCC meetings.
3. Meet the parish priest and discuss
- Parish leaders to be appointed in the SCCs (Parawise).
- Conduct pilgrimage with the help of Parish Priest.
- Organize Bible quiz.
4. Collect people parawise and encourage and appreciate them for the good work
Celebrate SCC days
- Involve all people in SCCs.
5. Next meeting at Jalpaiguri Diocese during the 4th week of February.
1. We are still behind to lead SCC:
- We learned how to organize SCC meetings.
- We learned to give time and work hard to make SCCs more vibrant.
2. By visiting the parish, villages, and the families we have to take part in the
Happy and sorrowful moments of the lives of the people.
- Come together, pray and extend the loving service to one another.
3. Once a month all the SCC unit will gather together and Share the experiences.
4. Each SCC unit will visit the other units of the parish and diocese.
- There will be Holy Eucharist in the SCC units in the name of the Patron
Saints of the units.
5. - Next meeting at Raigunj Diocese during the month of May.
1. To live in love and forgiveness
- Bring awareness about the problems of society to the SCC units and find
2. By visiting the family and keep in touch /contact with them.
3. By starting SCC units and sustaining them in all the parishes
- By celebrating SCC unit day.
4. Encouraging them to have family prayer, daily reading and reflecting on the Word
of God and putting them into the practice.
5. Next meeting at Bagdogra Diocese during the month of February.
1. Welcome all people and invite those who do not come for SCC meetings.
- Take courage when someone is attacked and protect and stand for the truth and dignity
as a Prophet.
- Work as a team with renewed interest
- Organize SCCs in every parishes, and organize SCC convention...
2. To visit the families, listen to their problems, sharing their joys and sorrows
And spend some times with those who are under pressure, sick and struggles in life and
Pray for them.
- To give financial support for the poor and sick- who have no one to care for...
- To inspire others to join the SCC meetings.
3. Meet the parish priest and discuss with him about SCC Convention
- Parish leaders to be appointed to facilitate the SCCs
- Organize Bible quiz, drama for youth and children.
4. Gather people parawise and encourage and appreciate them to work for the welfare of the neighbourhood
Celebrate SCC Convention
- Involve all groups and people in SCCs.
5. Next meeting in Asansol Diocese during the 4th week of February.