Some 3,000 Catholics of a remote village parish in eastern India’s Odisha state came together on Saturday to celebrate the centenary of the apparition of Our Lady of Fatima and to mark the opening of a centre of the Missionaries of Charity (MC) order of Mother Teresa in their parish. Catholics in Salimaguchha parish in Ganjam District and nearby areas joined some 10 priests and 20 religious nuns for the May 13 Mass and celebrations, presided over by local Archbishop John Barwa of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar. The Divine Word prelate also blessed and opened the new MC house, offering it as “a gift to the poor, needy, marginalized and underprivileged” in the parish.
Saturday’s celebrations coincided with the worldwide celebrations of the 100 years of the first apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Fatima, Portugal, to three shepherd children, Lucia dos Santos and her cousins, Francisco and Jacinta Marto. Pope Francis himself led the celebrations in Fatima, declaring Francisco and Jacinta saints.
The Salimaguchha parish of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar Archdiocese that opened 18 years ago has eight substations and 350 Catholic families. The MC nuns have been serving in the area for the past decade, said parish priest Father Sisir Sobhanayak.
Archbishop Barwa explained that it was their “long cherished dream” to start a women’s religious congregation in the parish “ We had been in touch with some congregations. Finally, Missionaries of Charity (MC) Sisters have agreed to open the house,” Archbishop Barwa told UCANEWS. “It was God’s plan that MC Sisters open a new community in the parish, which has many underprivileged Catholic families,” he said. Missionaries of Charity Sisters provided food pockets to all present for the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima and the opening of the house. Youth leader Ranjan Singh said the entire parish is “fortunate to have MC Sisters amidst us, the congregation which stands first in the service of mankind in the world.” (Source: UCAN)