by Cl. Mylin Noronha sdb
SUKET-RAJASTHAN, APRIL 22, 2014: The people of Mikhelpura, Suket, began the celebrations of the opening of the Centennial year of the Mission, on April 21, 2014. They were joined by many of the priests and religious who had been part of, or served the parish in the past. It commenced with the celebration of the Holy Eucharist at 8:30 am, which was presided over by Bishop Pius Thomas D'souza – the Bishop of the Diocese of Ajmer. Bishop Emeritus Ignatius Menezes and several other priests and religious from the diocese were also present for the same.
Prayers were offered, for the first settlers in the mission, who courageously stayed on in the mission, in spite of the constant threat of wild animals, inhospitable climate and trying circumstances. In his homily, the Bishop praised the French Missionaries, who selflessly responded to the missionary mandate of spreading the word of God to the ends of the earth. He also exhorted the people, to continue responding to God's will, and undertake fruitful works to spread God's kingdom in their parish. The meaningful animation and melodious singing conducted by Fr James Nigrel, added to the solemnity of the Eucharist.
The spiritual celebration was followed by a short cultural extravaganza put up by various groups of students from Don Bosco - Salawad Khurd, St Teresa's - Salawad Khurd and St Mary's - Ramganj Mandi. Sprightly dances, an appealing musical presentation and a biblical dance-drama made the programme not only entertaining but also informative and educative. It reflected the talent of the young performers who had put in more than a month of preparation. In his message the Bishop reminded the people of the history of the parish and praised the Salesians for their hardwork among the people.
The parishioners also found the opening of the centennial year an auspicious and apt occasion to bless the renovated Grotto of Our Lady. It was an important moment for the parishioners because they had accomplished the feat of renovating the Grotto within a month with their own funds and labour. Many of the youth and adults, who were regularly working at the site – some even late every night – had a proud and contented look on their face as the grotto was being blest.
The celebrations came to a close with an agape meal for the guests and the entire parish. The sumptuous meal was a fitting climax to the day's events and gave the people an opportunity to interact with each other and many of the religious who had worked in the parish.All in all, the opening of the centennial celebrations set the right tone for the events that are to follow during the course of a meticulously planned year of renewal and gratefulness for the various blessing sent by God on the people of Mikhelpura in the last 100 years. A special word of thanks to Frs Stanny ( in-charge), James Nigrel and Joseph Soares for the Centennial Year well begun.