National

Our Missionary venture in India began in 1979 by trying to find a place of work first in the diocese of Bellary, at the invitation of Bishop Ambrose Yeddanapally. Later, due to other factors we shifted our attention to the diocese of Eluru in Andhra Pradesh. Bishop M. John offered us a new parish of Karakkaipetbifurcating it from the existing Amalapuram parish in East Godavari District. We had the pioneering missionaries in the persons of Frs. Mario Belotti and Augusto Carvallho (who changed his name to Anil Kumar just in those days). Later they were assisted by our deacons, seminarians and novices for short periods of time. After having built the parish Church, because of the changed situation of personnel, we had to leave the mission in 1984. It was only in 1989 we could make other attempts to open a new mission stations as we were in a position to do so. We accepted the invitation of the Bishop of Vizakhapatnam to visit the proposed places of work. After visiting various mission stations, the delegation opted for the Saura Mission in the hills on the boarders of Andhra Pradesh and Orissa.

Anugraha
In line with the thinking of the Church, we felt social involvement is a necessary ingredient of our missionary orientation. In the spirit of Montfort, we opted to work among the poorest of the poor. We choose to work among the girl children of the leprosy and HIV patients, at the rehabilitation center of Sumanahalli. A house was built for this purpose and we named it ‘Anugraha’ (Providence) a name which was very dear to St. Louis de Montfort and it was opened to the children in September 2006. In the first year we had only 13 inmates who were mainly the children of the leprosy patients. In the following year the number rose to 30 which included also the children of the HIV positive patients as well as the children with a very low income levels, children of unwed-mothers and single parents. In 2008 the number rose to 35. Sumanahalli allotted a plot of less than three acres of land on which we have built two houses: one that houses the community, the other the children. We have two women on the staff and others to work in the kitchen. We also receive volunteers from other parts of Montfort communities in the world.
St.Montfort Church, K.D.Jola Parish
K.D.JolaSavara Tribal Mission Parish consists of 35 villages most of which are located in the hills. The total population is 5500 and the area is 4000 square kilometers. They speak the Savara dialect for which the literature is made available by one of the missionaries. Originally the people were migrated from Bundiguda close to Udayapuram and settled in KothaDimmidiJola (K.D.Jola) some 35 years back. The place is also called as Sampannaguda after its village head. They are Catholics today for the last 26 years and the credit definitely goes to Missionaries such as Rev.Fr.JosephMulan and Rev.Fr.AnnaPushpanathan and of course Montfort Missionaries.

It was part of the Shanthinagar Parish from which it was bifurcated and became an independent Parish on 26 June, 2005 for a better convenience and better organization and it was named after our own founder St.Louis Marie de Montfort and Fr.T.Josephsmm was appointed as the first parish priest and Fr.Roysmm was appointed as the assistant parish priest. This particular tribal area was first evangelized by the missionaries of Vincentian congregation and then handed over to the diocese. The missionaries walked on foot from hill to hill to bring good news to the tribal people. K.D.Jola parish is the fruit of their commitment and hard work they put in. Day by day people are coming together in faith and want to better their lives. Anyone who comes in here will be wonderstruck by the rich and lively faith of the people.

The present life is far better than the past life in ignorance. Their earlier life was over shadowed by idol worship, evil spirits and other nasty and blind tribal cultures. Their life style has been changed but their cultural heritage is safeguarded. Now they feel they have overcome all these stigmas which they had among them in the past. At present there is very strong faith in God and believe that God does exist. Thanks to the missionaries.

When we examined then and now, we came across lot of growth and development in all the areas whether it be spiritually, socially, culturally and even economically. Let’s say about their spiritual growth for example; at the time of bifurcation there were 16 substations and 2000 Catholics in 2005, whereas at present we have 23 substations with 5500 Catholics. For better functioning of the parish we have 23 Catechists and a Parish Council. There are also active Legion of Mary and Vincent de Paul groups, who are very much helpful in the parish activities.

The so called ‘Savara Tribes’ are mostly living in the hills and few villages are situated at the foot of the hills. They have mostly the thatched huts to live in. Even though the government is providing cement sheets for roofs the people are unable to build the house because of their poverty. The people are very much community oriented, which makes the community live and enthusiastic is their music dance. They do everything together as a unit and surprisingly we do not find any orphan among the Savaras because everybody is taken care by everybody.

Economically the people are very poor. If they go for coolie only they get the food for the day. Here we have to remember that there is no much scope for even coolie because no one has got more than one or two acres of land which the owner himself can maintain to cultivate. They have little cashew plantation which is once a year crop. Ifthe crop fails and produces no fruit thus shattering the hopes and expectations of the people. What we need to appreciate is their hard work. They clean up the hills to cultivate some grains. They bake their bodies in the hot sun light before they bake their food to be eaten.

The people are community oriented and in order to keep them together we organize some spiritual activities and other community gatherings. The faithful of the parish every year come together for Christmas celebration, Easter Vigil and of course the Parish Feast whatever may be the distance. They would come walking for an hour or so for any celebration in the parish which indicates their family spirit.

The parish has very good number of youth who are very active and they are given proper orientation in their faith through youth programs and faith orientations. We also conduct for children summer camps, parents meetings, awareness programs and other gatherings in the parish.

Yours in Jesus, Mary & Montfort
Fr.Jeevansmm
Parish Priest K.D.Jola
Immaculate Conception Church- Kavumchal(Kerala)
The Immaculate Conception Church at Kavumchal, belonging to the diocese of Kannur, is dedicated to Blessed Virgin Mary of the Immaculate Conception. It has only 15 years of Catholic tradition and 100% of the population in the parish is Pulaya Christians (Dalit Christians). Economically they are very poor and they have no income as such to support by themselves. They are very much committed and good Christians but their faith is very shallow.

Immaculate conception Church was a sub-station of Pazhayangdy Sacred heart church. It has become separate parish since 6 years. The first parish priest started to stays here from June 2007. This parish has got 146 catholic families and one sub-station consisting of 64 catholic families. Total population 855, we have 9 family units, different pious organizations such as Legion of Mary, KCYM, CLC, Altar boys association, Holy Childhood, Madrudeepthi and Vincent De Paul, as well as different NGO’s working in the parish for the betterment of the people. In short, the parish is very much a mission parish and very much in line with the Montfortian charism.Rev. Fr. Roy Elevunkal, SMM served the people of God for five years, from 2007 to 2012. In 2012, this parish was given back to the diocese.
St. Anthony’s Parish- Muirie(Manipur)
The Montfort Fathers who are working only in the Southern part of India wanted to extend our service either in the North or Northeast of India. With this intention and interest Rev. Fr. Anthony Pereira, smm approached the Archbishop of Imphalexpressing our desire to work in his diocese. The Bishop was very much pleased and invited us whole heartedly later on we were given a mission centre twenty two kilometers away from the Imphal city.The mission consists of eleven sub-stations.
The Mission Station of Sacred Heart Church at Manalar
It is built on the Megamalai hills which is situated about 250 Km from Madurai. It is about 5500 ft above the sea level. The area is also known for its wild life sanctuary. The place also receives incessant rain for nine months in a year. The rest of the month is covered with fog and mist. Here in this hill station there is significant catholic population spread out through the hills. At this location about seventy years back the Jesuit Missionaries started their missionary work and evangelization. Now it stands as a newly erected parish with six substations, namely, Megamalai (cloud land), Highwayvis, UpperManalar, Venniar, Maharajamettu, and Eravangalar. This parish was recently erected that is on 12-05-2012. The distance of each substation from the parish is about 10 – 15 Km. The Catholics who are residing in these areas are the migrants from different parts of Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Northern part of India and live here for last 70 years. All of them are daily coolies and mostly they belong to Dalit communities and their earning is very meager to look after their families. At present Fr. Philip Arockia Raj, smm is involved in the pastoral activities of the people.
Montfort Ashram - Karnool
The mission in Kurnool Diocese was initiated in the year of 1995. It was started at a place called Owk. Bethemcherla was the substation of Owk. After a year of discernment, the community felt to shift the residence from Owk to Bethemcherla. In the year of 1996 Bethemcherla was established as the main center of the Mission for Montfort Missionaries in this Diocese. Rev. Fr. Joseph David was the pioneer of this mission.

This Mission station consists of 300 Catholic Families spread into villages. The living condition of the people is very poor. They are query and agricultural daily laborers. Often they are manipulated economically, suppressed socially by the query owners and the land lords. There is also caste system prevailing and the poor people belong to lower caste. They are often led into group clashes and demanded to fight for their owners. In this process many men got killed and many women have become widows.

Montfort missionaries are working for the upliftment of this people. In order to support this people, we have started social awareness groups to bring awareness of their rights and responsibilities. We have also started a house for the poor children in view of giving them a better education and create a better future.

The Missionaries who have given their wholehearted service in this mission are: Fr. David Joseph, Fr. Balashowrie, Fr. Divyanathan, Fr. Varaprasad and Fr. Aswani.
Holy Spirit Church
This mission was started in the year 2003. There were 85 registered families and other 25 desiring to be part of this parish. People were different by their profession: Fishermen, Carpenters, Masons, daily wagers etc. 75% of the people depend on the sea for their livelihood. The economic and social condition of the people is very poor.

Montfort Missionaries were working towards faith animation of the people. In view of attending to the pastoral needs of the people, the whole parish was divided into five units, and each unit was animated by an animator. There were pious associations that were of great help to run the parish. In the absence of the Bishop of Kannur, who was transferred to Calicut diocese, the administrator of the diocese asked us to hand over the parish to the diocese in 2012. Fr. Reni Joseph was the first Montfortian who took charge of the Parish. Followed by him Fr. Dominic Sebastian, Fr. Roy, Fr. Shibi Jose and Fr. Vincent in their own way served the people imparting to them the Kingdom values..
Saura Tribal Mission Station-Shanthinagar
During the summer of 1989 some of the scholastics from Maria Bhavan went for summer experience into a remote village calledDeppiguda, which was re-christened asShanthinagar. Soon after their return from the mission was taken over as the mission of the Indian Delegation. After which a small community was formed. Geographically then it was belonging to Visakhapatnam Diocese. In the years follow the mission area was entrusted to the bifurcated and newly formed Srikakulam Diocese.

The people belong to a tribe called SAURA. They live on the hills of Orissa borders. They do not prefer to come down to the plain area for their habitation with the fear of others manipulating them, suppressing them. They live below poverty line. The social and economic conditions of this people are very pathetic. They are the most backward people among the Tribals. By faith they are animists. Therefore, they are open to Christianity. The people’s lives are torn between Police, extremists groups, land lords and the local business men. The mission is a very challenging one. The people need to be lifted up socially. People are also prone to epidemic deceases like Malaria, Typhoid, and Tuberculosis, Asthma etc.

We remember the selfless services of many missionaries who contributed their best to the people: Fr. Michael K.J., Fr. Anil Kumar, Fr. John Victor Dia, Fr. J. Joseph, Fr. BalaShowrie, Fr. Francis Bulipe, Fr. Divyanathan, Fr. Anthony Pereirs, Fr. T. Joseph, Fr. Roy, Fr. AnandBabu, Fr. Jeevan and Fr. Kiran Kumar.