Fr. Varghese Kalapurakudy

A country priest comes to Kakinada, finding joy with his people in Christ's Sacred Heart.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Lent in Andhra Pradesh Calls for Even Deeper Sacrifice

Fr. Varghese helped an older priest with Lenten ministry for a
day at the new Roman Catholic mission in Tuni,
an area still largely undeveloped, but known for its
250 varieties of mangoes, cashew nuts and rope. 
Third-world living takes on a deeper level of sacrifice in Lent, with Fr. Varghese and other missionaries and faithful giving up meat, fish and eggs for the 40 days. Fr. Varghese is praying the 33-Day St. Louis De Montfort exercises, re-consecrating his life and vocation to Jesus, through Mary, just like St. John Paul II did. Three of Father's parishioners are pressing into Lent as Catholic Deeksha's, a strict spiritual walk unique to India. They put aside shoes, sleep on the floor, fast from entertainments and unnecessary chit-chat, and delve into daily Scripture readings and Rosaries with Fr. Varghese. Like other priests across 98% non-Catholic Andhra Pradesh, Father is leading Living Stations of the Cross, and helping to preach, hear Confessions and concelebrate Mass at other missions. Chicago-area families helped Father pay medical bills for the orphan Akhila, and covered utility and water bills at Sacred Heart of Jesus Mission in February.
          Frs. Varghese, Sridhar (shown here) 
         and the other missionaries in this 
          part of the world, often sleep on the
         floor on jute mats in the churches
             they serve.

Fellow missionary Fr. Sridhar, shown here at right and below, is finally having a humble priest residence constructed for his mission on the Bay of Bengal. Until now, he's been sleeping on the floor of his little church on a jute mat. He's been struggling with high blood pressure and other health issues made worse by the strain of heading up five scattered church outposts, so please keep Fr. Sridhar and other remote missionaries like him in prayer.
Friends from the U.S. are helping Fr. Sridhar
with medical expenses,  and helped buy
him a little refrigerator that he
keeps in his sacristy, until his new little
presbytery is built. 

Fr. Varghese sent this photo from a feast he concelebrated
honoring Our Lady of Lourdes in Yanam. These overflow
crowds are great in an area less than 2% Catholic!
Oriental flare is obvious in this lovely church where
Fr. Varghese preached this Lent.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Climbing to Mount Calvary

Fr. Varghese and other priests helped relocate Fr. S. Baskhar (shown below) to his new jungle mission, Infant Jesus Mission in Kothakota, last June. He converted an old school into a simple church and sleeps in a rented house nearby. Fr. Baskhar shared these photos from a Catholic form of Padayata, the Hindu term for a pilgrimage by foot. He led village faithful in a procession to a "mount" that "resembled Mount Calvary," wrote Fr. Baskhar. He and visiting priests conducted a "Way of the Cross with Holy Mass."