Renovation of building for pastoral center in India
Bishop James Thoppil of the Diocese of Kohima in the state of Nagaland was concerned for the religious formation of laity, and identified a great need for the training of catechists, marriage preparation courses and intensified work with the women, children and young people. Until now, he had no pastoral or training center to use for this purpose.
The Catholic faith first arrived in 1948 in the region with a community of religious Sisters. Initially they faced great opposition, and those who embraced the Catholic faith often suffered harsh punishments. Today, there are some 61,000 Catholic faithful, served by over 200 diocesan and religious priests and close to 425 religious Sisters in the diocese, which now numbers 54 parishes. There are also many local vocations, with 250 Sisters and 58 priests today coming from the various Indigenous tribal peoples.
Bishop Thoppil envisioned using the buildings of the former minor seminary, which had been moved elsewhere as a diocesan pastoral center. Before this could happen, the old building needed extensive renovation; one issue was extensive termite damage.
There was much to do, but thanks to the generosity of our benefactors, we were able to steer $22,400 towards the cost of this renovation work. Covid-19 slowed down the project, as the builders, who were from various parts of the country, were forced to return home at the beginning of the pandemic. Further lockdowns followed, together with numerous restrictions by the government. But slowly and surely work resumed, partly with the help of local people from the villages.
By the end of March 2022, everything was completed and, to the great delight of the bishop and all the faithful, the center was formally blessed at the end of the month. There was a great celebration and even the apostolic nuncio was present. Bishop James wants to express his “huge gratitude” towards all who have helped.
May God reward you all!
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