A Church that is not a Missionary Church is contradicting itself and extinguishing the Spirit.
St. Joseph Catholic Ashram, Lurgi, was inaugurated by Rt. Rev. Patras Minj SJ on the 26th November, 2021. Kodati Chanikya and I had arrived in Lurgi in the month of August 2021, but it took some time for the inauguration of the Mission due to COVID 19 lockdown regulations. We were overjoyed when finally, we were able to successfully inaugurate this New Mission in the North. I feel that we must never lose the passion for mission, as we are commanded by Jesus Himself to proclaim to every person His Good News in the same measure in which we have received it.
The Spirit of Christ is the Spirit of Mission. The nearer we get to Christ the more zealous missionaries we become. It was therefore inspiring for us and the Christian Community that the Indian Mill Hill Family was well represented by Sleevaraj, Socrep of India, Yacob Chilka, Chandra Shekar, and also by our neighbouring Mill Hill parishes, Vishunpur and Baswar. It was a wonderful celebration and an unforgettable day for the faithful as well as for Chanikya and myself, as it marked a historic moment for the Catholic Church in Ambikapur, Chhattisgarh.
Lurgi mission is located right next to two beautiful mountains and it is a mostly forested area. People of this area were initially evangelized by the Jesuit Missionaries and the area has been certainly a fertile land for pastoral work. The main problem which people were facing was that they had no church building nearby, and some had to go to Jingo and others had to go to Kodaura, which are about 20 to 30 kilometres away, in order to satisfy their spiritual needs. Lurgi was a perfect choice of place for our New Mission, as it is located at the centre of surrounding villages which are mostly populated by Catholic families.
Though India has not been my 1st choice for my first appointment as a Missionary Priest, I believe that this Mission is the overflow of our delight in God, since every Mission station is the overflow of God’s delight in being with His people. I was overwhelmed by God’s call to be here, and I joyfully embraced my first appointment to work in Lurgi; particularly since part of my mission dream was to be able to work in a newly established mission.
As much as the new mission is exciting, it is equally challenging, as we have to start everything from scratch. Even though Lurgi Mission has been officially inaugurated, there are as yet no physical structures. We have a humble home, living in classrooms; the very same room serves us as chapel, the dining room, a meeting room, etc. For Sunday Mass we use the school veranda when the faithful are few, when faithful are many, we celebrate the Mass in the Mission grounds under a green shade tent and for big celebrations like Christmas and Easter we hire tents from outside.
All these hurdles and problems are overcome with the love of the people of Luigi and our passion for mission. Love is the root of mission and sacrifice is the fruit of mission. I am motivated by what Jesus says (St, Jn.16:33) “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Amare et Servire
Kalagura Nikhil MHM