The Progress of the mission in Arunachal Pradesh
Following the mandate of the General Diet, that took place in Rome in 2015, we have gone to start our mission in the remotest area of the North Eastern State of India, called Arunachal Pradesh. We fixed our presence in the Diocese of Miao, after by the invitation of the local prelate Msgr. George Palliparambil, Bishop of Miao Diocese. Fr. Benny Madathiparampil, CRM and Fr. Jojo Thundathil CRM were sent to this mission area. After having had six months of experience in two different places of the Diocese, our two Missionaries came together to stay in another mission center in the city of Tezu. This center is about 40 kilome- tres away from our present mission center which is called Bhekuliang.
As a beginning we started an elementary school called SANTA MARIA SCHOOL for the education of the poor local tribal children and it was much awaited and was much appreciated and encouraged by the local people, because they all wish to give their children good education but they had no possibility yet. Also it is good to put the seed of the Gospel in the heart of children so that it may spread steadily and vigorously. Our little children, who had no idea of God other than their tribal worship, now come to learn “Our Father” and “Hail Mary”. They now come to under- stand that Jesus is the Saviour of the world; we are sure that we will have good and zealous mis- sionaries in the future among these small kids.
The place Bhekuliang is very remote and interior village. “Go to the peripheries” (Pope Francis). Yes, we are really in the peripheries, among the marginalized and the least ones. The peo- ple here belong to the tribe called “Digaru Mishmi” and they are living from the income they get from the agriculture. Here we have only only 15 Catholic families. The others belong to either Bap- tist or Tribal Worship indigenous faith.
Since we didn’t have any facility to stay in our new place, we remained one month with the diocesan Fathers at Tezu, and started to build a shed with cement blocks as the basement, bamboo for the wall and tin sheets for the roof. Finally we have a place to live and for the school purposes.
On June 30, 2016, Fr. Benny and Fr. Jojo came to stay in our mission area. With the temporary permission received from DDSE, we were able to start our school on July 18, 2016. There were 21 children in K.G 1 and 8 children in class one. At this time Fr. Jomon also joined with us. Later, we have found two girl teachers from Roing to teach in our school. When Fr. Jojo got transferred to Kerala and Fr. Jeffin replaced him in Bhekuliang.
In the beginning we have constructed five classrooms: and two were used as class, one as kitchen, one for our teachers and kitchen girl and one for us three priests. In the year 2017-18 we have constructed three more classrooms with cement, bamboo and tin sheets.
Bhekuliang is about 40 kilometres far from the nearest town of Tezu. To reach there we have to cross two rivers. From the month of June to the month of October it is very difficult to cross because of flood and heavy rain. From the month of October the river starts to have a the lower lev- el of water. After three years electricity finally reached our mission centre. Before getting it, we were managing with a small solar panel to be able to have some light at night. Thank God, last month we have got mobile network connection in our village.
With the transfer of Fr. Jomon, Fr. Baiju came to substitute him, helping Fr. Benny to take care of our mission activities in this area. At present we have 58 students in our school and 5 teach- ers from outside They teach our students in different classes up to 4th standard, along with our priests. In the beginning of the present academic year Fr. John took charge as Principle of our school. At this time our three Fathers Benny, Baiju, and John are doing their dedicated and sacri- ficed work for the mission. We all appreciate their dedication and willingness to be missionaries for the Greater Glory of Our Rising Lord!
Our government school recognition process is in progress and we have completed 90% of it, hoping to complete it soon. This year we need two more teachers and since our place is very interior, teachers are not willing to come to stay here. We are in search and praying for the presence of religious sisters in our mission to solve the problem of teachers and to open a hostel for the children.
By the Grace of God and with the contribution of many good hearts, on January 1, 2019 we have started the construction of a small residence for our religious missionaries; the work is pro- gressing. Another challenge before us is to build a school for the kids according to the norms of the State and Educational Department. We still rely on the Providences and believe that the good Lord will do everything for the good of this Mission. We thank all our benefactors very much and we wish for their continual support. May the good Lord bless us all. “AMRG”
By Fr. Robin Mampallithadathil, CRM