Fr. Varghese Kalapurakudy

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

Thursday, June 30, 2016

"Huge and heavy" Rains Lash Bay of Bengal Coast

July 1, 2016 UPDATE: Last night, Fr. Varghese texted that the "rain is still pouring revengefully." This morning he wrote, "My food also getting over...pray for us." 

On Fr. V's compound, monsoon
waters collect.
He and other volunteers are going out, "distributing cooked food packets for our Catholic flock," wrote Father, but supplies are scarce.

The crisis started to unfold a few days ago. "Pray for us," texted this pastor of Sacred Heart Church in Kakinada. "Heavy rain and wind in our area. Just check the weather. We are asked not to go out."

His following day's report was that "The water is increasing...We are fine. but no power and shops. Only storage food to eat."

The crisis intensified overnight, and next morning, Fr. Varghese texted: "Poor people in my area" are "really on bad condition. Their huts are washed away."
Fr. Varghese shared photos taken on his compound and a few pages from local newspapers, highlighting the floods.

Area waterways are overflowing
their banks.
"The government is trying to do something but it is not reaching" all the "poor and needy," wrote Fr. Varghese.

At Sacred Heart Church and the
region, heavy rains continue.
"Widespread Rains in Andhra Pradesh," announced the East Godavari Sakshi news: "There is a huge and heavy rainfall," and the India Meteorological Department in Hyderabad announced it would continue for the next 48 hours.

Photos by Fr. Varghese Kalapurakudy

Saturday, June 18, 2016

New Morning Star Grotto for Sacred Heart Mission

The completed shrine gathers admiring crowds, and
those seeking a restful and lovely place to pray.
A generous friend gave Sacred Heart Mission a statue of Our Lady of Fatima in June and Fr. Varghese wrote about his plans: 

The statue "is for a Morning Star grotto. Our Lady is in the water of Kakinada, facing towards the road, blessing all the people who pass by... I requested people to give some cement, iron and bricks, money, etc, so we are able to start the work, if God wills." 

Faithful responded, donated needing supplies to begin work. Construction progressed swiftly, as workers had a special goal in mind: having the shrine completed in time for their Archbishop's visit in just two weeks, when he came to celebrate First Communions/Confirmations and the mission's Feast of the Sacred Heart.

Akhila the orphan helped prepare the ground
for planting a new garden around the shrine.

Umbrella and bells add Oriental style to
the shrine.

Construction on the shrine finished just in time, for Archbishop Prakash Mallavarapu to bless it when he came for Sacred Heart Feast.

A corps of priests traveled in from scattered missions, to concelebrate on this special day.

After the event, Akhila enjoyed cooling off in the water as she cleaned flower petals from the pool.

Fascinated by fish in the pool. 
Frs. Varghese and Sridhar enjoy a rare moment
of relaxation, playing Carroms near Our Lady.

Now faithful gather here at all hours to pray,
and especially enjoy gathering with Fr. Varghese
for evening Rosaries.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Drawing Near Jesus in His Month of the Sacred Heart

The month of the Sacred Heart in June was marked in Kakinada by prayer processions through the streets, with school children dressed as Jesus, blessing the crowd. A corps of priests and Archbishop Prakash Mallavarapu joined Fr. Varghese in celebrating 15 First Communions and 15 Confirmations at Sacred Heart Mission. The Archbishop blessed a new Marian shrine at the mission and Fr. Varghese hosted a special feeding of the poor. 
Weather was mild and dry as faithful processed through Kakinada streets, bearing Jesus on a "palanquin" -- a hand-held litter indicating royalty.

Monsoon rains and brisk winds moved the outdoor Mass inside, however, and incurred extra costs of a rented generator when storms knocked out the power. A rented screen and projector was also needed to display the Mass to overflow crowds outside. The Mass was well-attended and reverent.