BIS #6898 Catechists Mission Trip to Ahmednagar

By Ms Michelle Mendonca for BISMumbai

On 18 February 2023, the Salesian Catechetical Centre organized a Mission Trip for the catechists of the Diocese of Poona under the guidance of Fr Osborn Furtado, the Director of the Centre. 20 catechists, trained for the certificate course, went for the trip to Ahmednagar in order to visit and experience the work done by missionary catechists. 

The first stop was at St John Bosco Parish, Savedi, where one of the oldest catechists of the village, popularly known as Guruji, addressed the catechists. For the past 47 years, this charismatic gentleman has been tirelessly evangelizing the old and young alike in villages belonging to this parish. Narrating his mission experience, he shared he makes sure the Word of God stays alive and vibrant through the village. His mission and dedication to God, supersedes all other areas of his life. Such dedication to his vocation impressed the visiting catechists.

The group then visited the Chapel of Our Lady of Vailankanni in the village of Pokhardi, followed by the Chapel of the Sacred Heart of Jesus at Pimpalgaon, Ujjani. Along with the missionary catechists, a large number of villagers congregated and participated in the Eucharist celebrated by Fr Furtado. After the Mass, the catechists shared their love offerings consisting of groceries with the families of the village. After a sumptuous lunch, served with love by the Salesians at Savedi, the group visited St Anne's Church, Bhingar. Here, Fr Briston Britto, the Rector, explained the history of the parish and its various apostolates.

The final stop was at Bosco Gramin Vikas Kendra, Khedgaon – a rural training center. After refreshing tea and snacks, the enterprising Fr George D'Abreo took the catechists around the farm, introducing them to the innovative farming techniques used for cultivating various fruits and vegetables, as well as maintaining the hatcheries, the farm animals, and water harvesting. 

One of the participants shared, “The trip was an eye opener in terms of the challenges faced in rural India by catechists not only in terms of infrastructure, but also in lack of investment in laity formation and the shortage of priests. May God bless them abundantly!”