"The poor feeding...Christmas, festivals, celebrations...all concluded," wrote Fr. Varghese on January 6. "It was grand success. So many poor people benefitted."
At the last possible moment, funds swept in to cover the distribution of blankets to the poor (100 blankets split with two other mission priests), much-needed new clothing for the nine students friends support with tuition funds, and food to have a Christmas "Agape Meal," spreading Christ's love through feeding the hungry.
Fr. Varghese did several shopping runs to prepare for the meal, purchasing the large quantity of rice, vegetables and other staples needed to feed a neighborhood. Prices were inflated due to recent flooding in Chennai and a scarcity of goods. Then, just a day or so before the scheduled feeding, Fr.'s gas ran out on his simple 2-burner cooktop. He could only afford half the cost of the new gas cylinder, so friends helped with a replacement. The night before the scheduled feeding, Fr. Varghese traveled to missionary friend Fr. Mariadas' mission (shown below), to concelebrate a special Mass to bless a new little tin-roofed building to serve the mission.
Returning home around 12:30 AM, Fr. Varghese had just a few hours of sleep before arising to celebrate daily Mass and oversee preparations of the food and his compound. All ages were fed at the event, which had already been rescheduled twice -- once due to a lack of funding, and the second time due to inclement weather.
Reflecting on the event as evening shadows lengthened, he wrote, "Thank you, thank you, thank you," to those who had made it a reality.
"God is great."