(Vatican Radio) The predominantly Christian migrant community from the North Eastern states of India and Nepal, mostly comprising of students and working youth found themselves ‘at home’ under the pastoral care of the Archdiocese of Bangalore.
The commission for the migrants in the archdiocese of Bangalore organized a one day orientation programme for the migrant Christian community on Sunday, at St. Joseph’s Boys’ High School, Bangalore.
Around 600 participants which included Khasis, Tangkhuls, Mizo, Nepalis, Garos, Bodos, Jaintias, Wanchos, Arunachallis and other ethnic groups, along with the priests and religious sisters who are caring for them under various ministries for the migrants, took part in the programme.
The day began with “Praise and worship” led by the NECCB (North East Catholic Community Bangalore) and BCCM (Bangalore Christian Community of Meghalaya). The groups led the audience into a prayerful mood through their prayers and devotional hymns. During the praise and worship, participants were given time for the Sacrament of reconciliation and personal spiritual direction.
Fr. Anthony Joseph SJ, the rector of Jesuit College Community, in his message, stressed the oneness of The Northeastern Migrant community living in and around Bangalore. The Eucharistic celebration was celebrated by Fr. David, from Darjeeling diocese, along with 9 concelebrants who were from north east and spiritual directors for various migrant communities.
At the cultural programme held thereafter, the different ethnic groups showcased their rich cultural heritage, by donning their colourful traditional attire and displaying ethnic dances to the soulful tunes and rhythms of the North East.
Archbishop Bernard Moras welcomed and assured support to the Northeast and Nepali Catholics working and studying in Bengaluru. “We organized this programme to welcome you and make you feel at home during your stay in Bengaluru”.
During the interaction with dignitaries, Mr. Bah Iada Marthing, an IPS officer in Bengaluru from Shillong, who works as the Superintendent of Police said, “If we are genuine and truthful in our work and duty there will be peace and harmony.” He spoke about the consciousness of our Human Rights and dignity while living in other states and the need to adapt to the culture of the local people. Mr. Amednent Kyndait, the leader of BCCM shared with the participants his joy by saying, “It was a home coming experience”.
Fr. Solomon Thezii, a priest from the diocese of Imphal (Manipur State) said, “I feel happy that the archdiocese welcomes everyone without any reservation and accept them in their midst”. Mr. Hormi Shimray, the leader of NECCB shared his feeling, “I feel strengthened and supported being with everyone as one family”.
Fr. Shaju Kalappurakkal SCJ, executive secretary for the commission for the migrants in the archdiocese of Bangalore expressed his heartfelt gratitude to the people saying “My heart is with the people from the Northeast and I was very happy that everyone turned up to my expectations for the programme, and it is you who make the gathering successful.”
Rosalin Warhjari, one of the participants remarked that the gathering was a sign of unity among people of Northeast in Bengaluru. It was a special occasion for 150 girls from the Garo community working in the garments industry and other such groups to participate in such a gathering outside their workplace. Fr. Martin Puthusserry SJ, the general secretary, expressed his gratitude and said “We are blessed with a group of people who come from different cultures and who thereby enrich our understanding of a social and a global reality.”
At the end of the programme, Nokme n Sagma, thanked everyone for their presence and for their availability for such programmes.
The archdiocese of Bangalore formed the commission for the migrants in the year October 2015. Ever since, the commission has been organizing various programmes for the migrant communities in the archdiocese of Bangalore. It is for the first time that the commission organized such a programme for the migrant Christian community from the North East and Nepal.
(report: Fr. Shaju Kalappurakkal SCJ)