A Moped Helps Pastoral Outreach in Rural India
“Many people make decisions that change people’s lives. Thank you for being such people! Your generosity will help me and our diocese to do the same for others,” writes a delighted Father Ravi Kumar Devarapalli.
Thanks to the help of ACN‘s benefactors, now it is much easier for this young priest, of the Diocese of Eluru, to visit the Catholic faithful in the surrounding villages. This is because he was able to purchase a new moped, with the help of ACN donors, who gave $1,400.
The parish mission where he works is situated in an underdeveloped, rural region. He has no presbytery of his own, so he lives in the bishop‘s house. Until recently, he managed to visit his central parish by using public transportation, but to reach the villages in the outlying hilly countryside, he had to use a bicycle and battle his way over rough and difficult tracks. This was both exhausting and time-consuming, especially since some of the villages are a long way from the parish center—some are 10-20 miles away.
Almost all the local people work hard all day as landless agricultural workers, day laborers or household servants, so the priest can only visit them in the evenings. As a result, Father Ravi often had to cycle late at night along these long and difficult tracks. On Sundays and holy days, he would often arrive late for Mass, having been unable to make it on time on his bicycle.
“The people here are very poor and simple, but they are very open to the message of Christ,” Father Ravi explains. But sects are also beginning to arrive in the region, and if the Church fails to provide adequate pastoral care for the people, they may well fall an easy prey to the sects, who often have considerably more money and personnel and who can take people in with their easy and unrealistic promises. Now, thanks to his new moped, Father Ravi can visit the people much more frequently.
“I am very happy to be able to exercise my priestly ministry here,” says Father Ravi, who was ordained to the priesthood in 2016. He also asked us to convey his thanks to our benefactors:
“Thanks to your generosity we can go on helping to improve the lives of the Catholic faithful, above all in a spiritual sense. Thank you again for your goodness and kindheartedness!”
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