Our Catholic Projects in India
Our Catholic Projects in India
The Mission of Goa and Daman is geared toward providing social and spiritual uplift to the disadvantaged, including tribal communities along the west coast of India. Deep within a country that has made economic leaps and bounds over the past decade, lies tens of thousands of people lacking basic needs.
The needs are vast in the Archdiocese of Goa and Daman. From missionary sponsorship to infrastructure support for schools and homes for the needy, we have an opportunity to make a significant difference in the lives of thousands of people lacking basic needs.
Explore the tabs to learn more about our many projects in India.
Setting Children Free Ride to School
Setting Children Free Ride to School
The Wheels on the Bus: Setting Children Free One Ride to School at a Time
In northeast India, the Trinitarian Fathers recently opened a new school in a poor community. On the first day, 110 students were immediately enrolled. They were so excited to get their uniforms and start a brand new adventure!
Or so they thought.
Since then, monsoons, floods, and other dangers have kept the students from coming to school.
This is a poor rural village. People here are often worried about having enough to eat. Yet their main priority is to ensure their children get a quality education. They want a better life for their children, and they know school is the best way to make this happen. So you could say they’re desperate for their children to go to school.
So, even though the school house is a humble thatched hut, and there are many items the school and students will eventually need…the number one priority right now is to make sure the children can get to school in the first place.
That’s where you come in.
Our partner, Fr. Joseph Muthuplackal, told us, “Right now the children have to cover miles walking to reach the school. But because of monsoons, flooding, drought, and other dangers, they often cannot come. A school bus to bring them safely back and forth would be a great blessing. […] I am praying Catholic World Mission can help us.”
That’s right, the number one need for this humble school is as simple as it is big: a bus!
Fr. Joseph has found the bus he hopes to buy for the school. It costs $21,476.
Some of us may see that number and think, “That’s impossible for me to make a difference.” But together, we can do so much. Today, we invite you to consider what your yes can make possible—as small or large as that yes may be.
Meet the Partner
The Trinitarian Fathers were founded in the 12th Century. Originally founded to help ransom Christian captives as well as to perform works of mercy, redemption and mercy have been central to the Trinitarian way of life from the beginning. Their distinctive red and blue cross can also be traced to the order’s founding.
To learn more about the Trinitarians, click here.
Bus has Been Purchased
Thanks to you, our very generous donors, we have fully funded the purchase of a school bus for the Trinitarian Fathers to use at their school in the Assam region of northeast India.
This full-size bus can carry 72 children. Many of these children have to walk almost 5 miles to school. Therefore, they either arrive to school tired and unable to work, or they do not come at all.
Getting to school is vital to the future of these children – the knowledge and the sense of self-worth that comes with going to school is transformational for these little ones who have suffered in poverty for so long.
Empowering Woman and Families
Empowering Woman and Families
The Diocese of Cochin and Calicut are Ready to Respond
When a baby girl is born in India, her birth is rarely celebrated because of dowries and other societal norms regarding women that poor families can’t afford. From the beginning of her life, a woman is often considered a burden, and this mindset follows her throughout her life. Women—especially unmarried women and widows—are often neglected, abused, harassed, and assaulted. Worst of all, this abuse is often committed by the extended family these women must rely on for protection!
Others on the fringe of society in India–widows, people battling addiction, people living with HIV, tribal people, and harijans (members of the lowest caste)–are also in dire need of help and hope.
Fr. Alfred, Director of Jeevana, the organization that works for social action and people’s empowerment, tells us, “Unemployment is extreme here, and people are not in a position to lead a dignified life.”
The Diocese of Cochin and the Diocese of Calicut are ready to respond.
Simple Solutions to Complex Problems
It really is simple: when people have access to resources, their lives can be completely changed. In Kerala, we are proud to support 3 programs that are changing people’s lives:
Give a Goat, Change a Life
Giving a poor family a goat is a long-term solution to their poverty. Raising a goat is inexpensive, and the products families can sell from their goat–including goat milk, goat cheese, manure, and eventually, kids (baby goats) and meat–are easily marketable.
Jeevana will choose 70 families–called beneficiaries–based on various criteria, including how great their need is and how dependably they will care for a goat. Jeevana will teach the beneficiaries how to tend the goats, raise them, care for them when they’re sick, milk the goats, and breed the goats. Jeevana will provide veterinary care and conduct monthly field visits to see how the goats and their new families are doing.
$127 covers the cost of the entire program for one family–the cost of the goat, all training sessions, and vet visits.
That’s a small investment with a huge return. Please, give hope and a goat today.
Give a Chicken, Change a Life
Just like goats, chickens provide a long-term solution to a family’s poverty. Since 2018, you have empowered women and poor families in Kerala with the gift of a homestead poultry farm. Chickens provide recipient families with economic stability, self-sufficiency, and a way to generate income and food for themselves. Families are able to eat and sell eggs, collect and sell chicken manure to local farmers, and eventually breed their chickens and sell the chicks.
$124 provides recipient families with several chicks, a specially designed chicken coop, and training for every woman or family to learn how to sustain their brand new poultry homestead.
Jeevana plans to choose 100 more families to receive chickens–families who have never before received aid from them!
Program for Skills Training and Mentorship for Women
Each woman will recieve skill and vocational training for a year, giving her the opportunity to learn how to be a tailor, caterer, hair dresser, or health worker. She will learn finance and resource management and other skills necessary to successfully run her own business.
Throughout the two-year program, each woman will also have access to job placement services and have the opportunity to join a small group made up of other women embarking on the same journey. They will learn from each other and support one another as they all work to make a better life.
One of the most exciting things about this program is that once they’ve graduated, the women get to mentor and help the women who come after them. The women of Kerala give back and commit to be an ongoing part of the solution to change the social climate in Kerala.
Margaret, 47, has faced her fair share of hardship. Her husband died 10 years ago, leaving Margaret to provide for their two children on her own. Because of the disdain with which widows and single women are regarded in India, it was very hard for her to earn sufficient income to pay for her children’s daily needs as well as their education.
Cochin Social Service Society enrolled Margaret in their career training program, offered her support and community. Today, after a lot of hard work and perseverance, she owns a successful tailoring business. She supplements the family’s income by raising cows and poultry.
With the confidence and financial freedom she’s gained, she is able to pay for her children to go to college–her son, Jesu, is studying engineering and her daughter, Mary Anita, is working toward a degree in business communications.
Margaret gives back to the women of Kerala by leading training seminars for other women. She is a great inspiration, mentor, and guide to others following in her footsteps.
Daphny, 55, was young when her parents died. They were very poor, and their deaths left her and her brother with no inheritance. Without an inheritance, there was no way she could pay for a dowry. Without a dowry, there was no way she could ever get married.
As an adult, Daphny has lived with her brother and his family. He was recently diagnosed with a heart condition that prevents him from working, putting his family in danger of living in unbearable poverty. After receiving career training from Cochin Social Service Society, she started a catering company and opened a business as a tailor.
She has been so successful that she has become the primary earner in her family, taking care of her brother, sister-in-law, and nieces. She also employs other members of the community!
Daphny’s story is not uncommon. Thankfully, her brother and his family received Daphny into their home graciously, but many single women in Kerala aren’t so lucky. Many widows and women without dowries are neglected, abused, harrassed, and generally considered to be second class citizens. Sadly, many of them are treated this way by the extended family members they rely on for protection!
The classes and support the Cochin Social Service Society provides are a source of true hope for the women of Kerala. With help from CSSS, they begin to believe in themselves and their abilities, and with practical training they are finally able to put their belief in themselves into action!
When we believe in each other, the possibilities are endless.
Moly, 57, has never been married. After years of living in poverty with no community or family to help support her, she was able to enroll in several of the programs offered by Cochin Social Service Society. She took classes, worked hard, and now owns her own house and beauty parlor. She recently expanded her beauty parlor and continues to work hard, helping other women realize their inherent beauty and dignity.
Mr. W (42)
Mr. W’s wife, Jancy (38) and two sons, Joy and Manuel (9 and 7) were recently injured in an animal attack and hospitalized. One son was in serious condition and transferred to a government hospital in Calicut. As a result, Mr. W couldn’t work (he normally works in agriculture), which left him with no way to pay for his family’s medical expenses. His family just received a goat! We wish Jancy, Joy, and Manuel a speedy recovery and we send our thanks to you, our donors, for helping Mr. W’s family through this difficult time.
Mrs. A (42)
Mrs. A and her husband are currently out of work. Her husband is a painter, but he recently fell off a ladder at a job site. He’s been out of work since, and his medical costs are a huge burden for the family. This family is so grateful to have been given a goat.
Mrs. J, 36, son Manu (11) and daughter Akhila (10)
Mrs. J’s family is very poor. Although her husband works as a farmer, he battles chronic illness and needs a lot of medical care. The cost of his treatment is high, and his wages aren’t sufficient to cover them. Manu and Akhila also have school expenses, which the family struggles to pay as well. Mrs. J was so grateful to receive a goat!
Major Flooding Ravages Kerala
Weeks of torrential rains caused catastrophic flooding and landslides in Kerala. Initial reports estimated that at least 800,000 people were displaced and 350 died. These numbers are sure to increase.
While the situation is bleak for our brothers and sisters in Kerala, there is reason to hope. Catholic News Agency reported that in the immediate aftermath, a Muslim congregation brought food, water, and medicine to a Catholic parish where 500 people sought shelter after fleeing from their flooded homes.
You gave 70 goats to our sisters and brothers in Kerala, India! Thanks to your generosity, these women and families also received training to care for the goats properly. Goats will play an important role in addressing food scarcity and lack of income for these families. Thank you for giving goats and hope to these grateful families!
Click through the photos below to see the people you gave goats to!
Building Churches in Rural Areas
Building Churches in Rural Areas
Bringing Hope and Building the Church
As part of our mission to empower the poor and spread the Gospel, Catholic World Mission is proud to support the construction of churches around the world, so the faithful in poor communities can have a spiritual home.
They are labeled ‘dalits,’ born into the caste system in India where tradition and history deem them the ‘lowest class of this segregated system.’ These people are fighting to escape the social stratification and make better lives for themselves.
Over 100 years ago 18 families from Elenapatti, India converted to Christianity to escape the oppressing social stratification and moved to a small remote village called Thambipuram to practice their faith in peace. In the beginning they built a small thatched shed to celebrate Mass in, but it was destroyed by a hurricane.
The people are extremely poor coolies and farmers – unskilled laborers doing whatever they can to provide for their families. They rely on the monsoons to collect rainwater for crops and clean drinking water for the entire year.
“If the monsoon season fails there is great suffering,” Fr. Joseph explained. “Really, it is a big challenge for the people to live their daily lives. But they have great faith which gives them the strength to live day to day.”
They live in standards below what any American could ever imagine. During the rainy season, they still celebrate Mass outside in the dirt. They make no excuses to not attend Mass – to them Mass is a lifeline and a beacon of hope. Father Joseph Rayappan travels over 45 minutes over unpaved road to reach Thambipuram. He shared with us, “The roads are bad and I do much praying on the drive, but to see how many people come to the Mass warms my heart.
Today there are over 90 Christian families with 160 children in Thambipuram.
A tiny Christian community in this remote Indian village has been holding onto faith since 1850. Back then, a priest visited just once every three (3) months to celebrate Mass in Latin. The sacristan would translate the Mass into the local language, Konkani.
In between Masses, the villagers would gather at the tiny mud chapel to pray the rosary and sing hymns.
Thankfully, since the 1960s, Mass has been celebrated here once a month instead of once every three months. The people are so grateful!
But the chapel here is very old. During the rains, the walls and roof leak, but the villagers still come to pray. Talk about a deep faith!
Letter by Mr. Antonyraj
Greetings, I live in the village Thambipuram, a mission of Avudaipoigai parish in the diocese of Sivagangai. My name is Antonyraj. My village has a history of 115 years. The people of my village are ‘Dalith’. Since the people of my village are illiterate and living under poverty, we cannot educate our children. We are all farmers. Only few people have their own land (very little) and others work as daily coolies. With the help of our pastor and bishop, a few children are going to school to get their education. Since we are Christians, we are not eligible to get scholarships from the Government for education but the Dalith of Hindu religion are eligible to get scholarships. Even though our poverty is a barrier for our economic growth, we never give up our faith and we have strong faith in Jesus. By witnessing and experiencing our faith life, our pastor is trying to build a church. Since we are poor and could not build the church, I request you to help financially to build our church.
I am the president of this uratchi. By seeing my commitment, I am elected by the people as president for the second time. As I do my ministry as president, I give importance to my spiritual life. Since we are Christian Dalith, we are not provided even the basic facilities by the government. There is a little town nearby four kilometres from my village; we are surrounded by frorest area (means government lands with only Eucalyptus trees). There is no schools, dispensaries, hospitals in my village. Since there is no proper roads, it is very difficult for us to get our education, medical treatment etc. Since the underground water source is salty, we don’t have good drinking water. I want to tell you one thing: even though we are Dalith (low caste) by birth, we are higher than the high caste people in faith and spiritual life. We are interested in the liturgy and we receive everything from God by our prayers. So in order to experience the presence of Jesus who is present in the Eucharist, we beg you to help financially to have our own church in my village. Thanks. Yours sincerely, Antonyraj.
Letter by Michalammal
Praise the Lord
My name is Michalammal. I am 95 years old. I am living in this village from my birth. Since I never been to school, I am illiterate and I don’t know how to read and write. My granddaughter writes this whatever I say. I have four children and 11 grandchildren. I live with my children and grandchildren. We are Dalith Catholics. In the beginning we had a small thatched shed as church and lived without electricity. Our parish center is 28 kilometres from our village. So we could travel to our parish for Sunday liturgy. Now our bishop had established a new parish Avudaipoigai which 15 kilometres away from my village. Our new pastor comes and fulfills our need by offering mass once a week. Your help will nourish our spiritual life and to grow in our faith. And it will also help us to experience the presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. We are and will be grateful to you for your financial help. Thanks. Yours sincerely, Michalammal
New Church in Kalambist is Dedicated
Hundreds of people came out to celebrate the dedication of Kalambist’s new church, including 45 priests. Our partner tells us, “Our people are really grateful for your generosity. Thank you for the love and concern that you have for us.”
Antonyraj has a wife and three children and lives in the village of Thambipuram. He is a leader in the village, and has committed his life to the welfare of the people. To hear him talk about what the church will mean is both heartbreaking and inspiring:
“We are all farmers and we are all poor and mostly illiterate. With the help of Fr. Joseph a few of our children are going to schools. But since we are Christians, we are not eligible to get scholarships from the government.
Even though our poverty is a barrier for economic growth, we never give up on our faith in Jesus. By witnessing and experiencing our faith life, Fr. Joseph is trying to build a church.
I can tell you… even though we are dalit (low caste) by birth, we are higher than high caste in faith and spiritual life. We live for the liturgy and we receive everything from God by our prayers. So in order to experience the presence of Jesus who is present in the Eucharist, we beg you to help financially to have our own church in my village. Thank you so much”
St. Antony’s in Thambipuram is Complete!
We are proud to announce the fruits of your generosity: St. Antony’s Church in Thambipuram, India is complete!
On June 5, 2017, the Thambipuram community gathered to celebrate Mass in their brand new church. Fr. Joseph Rayappan celebrated, and Bishop Susaimanickam was there to consecrate the new altar.
We continue to be amazed by the faith and trust in Jesus our friends in Thambipuram have always shown. We’re humbled by their dedication to the sacraments and their thirst for the Eucharist: when they learned about the possibility of building a church last year, they raised $5,833 of their own money to kick start this project. Don’t forget that they are “dalit”–members of the lowest caste and therefore the poorest of the poor.
By converting to Christianity a century ago, the people of Thambipuram were able to leave behind the caste system that robbed them of their dignity. You have provided a beautiful church where they can also worship in dignity. Thank you!
Our work in Thambipuram isn’t done yet! The people of Thambipuram put forth their own resources to complete this church on time–resources they could scarcely afford to part with. Help us replenish their community’s coffers to recoup some of what they spent on this church. Give now!
Construction is coming along in Thambipuram, India! It’s been so amazing to watch the community come together to help build the first church in their village! From laying the foundation for the church, to raising what little money they could offer to supplement Catholic World Mission fundraising, we are just around the corner from its completion. Today the chapel stands erect in their village. Next steps include adding glass to the windows and building doors, painting the church inside and out, installing an altar, candles, and a crucifix, and building indoor seating.
The parish of Thambipuram celebrated the resurrection of Jesus with joy and hope. For the Easter Mass the locals built a thatched shed to provide shade. Fr. Joseph Rayappan celebrated Mass.
The Harvest Festival
Fr. Arul Joseph Rayappan tells us, “Every year in January, we celebrate harvest festival (we call pongal Vila). Each family brings rice (the first fruits from their land) and cooks the rice with some spices in a common place and they share with each other.”
The Constuction Process in Kalambist
Your generosity made it possible for the people of Kalambist to build a brand new church last year!
The People Have Taken the First Step
These families in Thambipuram live in a remote, poverty-stricken village and face incredible hardship, but they’ve taken up a beginning collection of $5,833. They pulled together what little money they have to support the construction of their future church. Their thirst for the Eucharist is tangible. They have already bought the sand and the bricks, and are now waiting on the rest of the funding. The people of Thambipuram are putting their faith into action by taking the first steps towards their church.
Bringing a Clergy Home
Bringing a Clergy Home
Mission in Porvorim
In 1957, the Archdiocese of Goa and Daman was established to serve the growing Catholic population of 625,000 people on the west coast of India. Over 600 priests have served the areas of Goa, Daman, Diu, Dadra, and Nagar Haveli in the 169 parishes there. However, with time the priests serving them have retired, and others are ailing. Without family to provide and care for them they have requested our assistance in bringing a Clergy Home for the ailing and retiring priest community in Porvorim. Already, the center there has a hospital for the sick, a chapel for prayer and celebrating mass, and a convent for the sisters.
Porvorim Clergy Home
A family in Porvorim, Bardez Goa has already come forward and donated a small house and plot for the deserving priest community. Their generosity, and yours, will give men dedicated to serving Jesus Christ a place to rest after countless years of service to the Church in the Archdiocese of Goa and Daman. Once completed, the Clergy Home will serve over 20 senior citizen priests and provide space for a small staff to care for them.
The land donated for the construction of the Clergy Home was cleared in October of 2015. Only a year later, we can see how far your generosity has gone to construct this new Home. Archbishop Filipe Neri Ferrão can be seen blessing the ground with fellow priest Fr. Valeriano Vaz, and stepping in to survey the progress. The building will have three levels and include a chapel, kitchen, bathrooms, as well as over 20 rooms to accommodate the retiring and ailing priests from the Archdiocese of Goa and Daman!
Fight for the Rights of the Children
Fight for the Rights of the Children
The Children of India
Twenty percent of the world’s children live in India and about 11% of those children ages 0-14 are laborers. Priests like Fr. Seby and Fr. Tony fight for the rights of the children, and keep them out of harm’s way. You can support their work by exploring the tabs, and giving generously to their mission.
Click through the following tabs to learn more!
- The Story: learn more about the care Fr. Seby and Fr. Tony provide to thousands of children
- Christmas Miracles: Learn how you’ve been a Christmas miracle for children in India since 2014
- Updates: Read exciting updates about this corner of western India! There’s a lot to celebrate with new construction, new vehicles, and your continued generosity!
- How You Can Help: Learn how you can keep giving to children in India in this tab.
The priest and school principal below speaks of his own foundation as a child in the school in Dudhani.
272 children are schooled and housed in a sparse hostel. Away from their parents, they study 7 days a week with limited furniture, and without a cafeteria, they now finally have a place to bathe. The children in Dudhani are no strangers to hunger. The children are left at Dudhani for most of the year, and go home to see their parents only once.
Their parents work long hours and entrust their children to the missionary priests of St. Francis Xavier because they will get better care in school, and it prevents them from “roaming with the cows” in their free time which is very dangerous for them to do. “Roaming with the cows,” means that the children go off into the woods to look for basic needs, the priests and Catholic World Mission want to give them a safe place to be where all their basic needs met.
Fr. Seby’s Big News
Fr. Sebastião Mascarenhas, whom you know as Fr. Seby, was recently elected to be the superior general of his order, the Missionary Priests of St. Francis Xavier! You know Fr. Seby for his untiring work in India, where he has been our partner for projects like our yearly Christmas Miracle food program and supporting the many initiatives we have for children in India.
Congrats, Fr. Seby! We are so excited for you and the next phase of your journey. We thank you for your love and dedication to Jesus, and everything you have done to spread the Gospel and meet the material needs of people in India!
Read more about this development here.
You surpassed all expectations to bring love and support again this year to the children in India! Your generosity let 2,827 children experience Christ in Christmas! These children live far away from their parents for most of the year, only visiting for a few weekends – all because their parents must work constantly to provide for their children. Your generosity gave the children the wonderful gift of chicken and apples to supplement their regular meal of watered down peas on Christmas day. In addition, the children received a small gift of a blanket. You went even further above and beyond in your giving: there was even left over to purchase the children ice cream!
New Jeeps Donated so Children can See a Doctor
In Veluganv, Fr. Pavin runs a hostel for young girls and boys who would otherwise be on the streets. Their parents work most of the year, and have no one to take care of them otherwise. You recently helped donated a jeepney to this remote village. To have reliable transportation means the world to the children in Veluganv, which is 12 miles from the nearest hospital on unpaved, rough roads.
This year requests came from even more schools for their children to also have a decent meal to celebrate the birth of Christ. The four schools have over 1,500 children in total and on Christmas Day gave the children a meal of chicken and apples. This humble meal to us is a godsend for them. A generous supporter also came forward so the children could enjoy a small Christmas gift: at the school in Khanwel the children enjoyed their sweet gift of chocolate and a blanket! See photos of the celebration in 2015 below from Khanwel, Chisda, Dudhani, and Shelt.
424 Rosaries Given to Children in Dudhani
Christ’s mother Mary is a powerful intercessor. When word got out that children were chanting the rosary daily but did not actually have rosaries, ladies from Mary Our Queen Catholic Church in Georiga got busy making rosaries for the children in India. 424 rosaries were donated for the children to carry instruments of prayer. The Sisters of Franciscan Hospitallers of Christ the King pass out rosaries to the girls and boys from both the children’s hostel and high school hostel, and lead them in singing the rosary.
2 New Buildings Blessed by Archbishop Ferrão
Archbishop Filipe Neri Ferrão came to bless the dining hall and kitchen for the children as well as say Mass on the feast of Our Lady of the Hills! 20,000 people came from all over the community to celebrate the build of the dining hall and kitchen for the children. It was a joyous occasion. Mass was held, the facility was blessed as well as many children. Everyone also climbed “the hill” that day. The hill is where many people have seen an apparition of Our Lady, and have since climbed the hill on her feast day every year. The children of Dudhani often pray the rosary on the top of the hill, and many people have experienced healing there. It was a blessed occasion for all.
Fr. Tony reached out to us asking to help create the most blessed Christmas for the Children of Dudhani. He wanted to serve apples and chicken in addition to the meager lentils they would normally eat. In Dudhani, India Christmas was celebrated with Fr. Tony – the caretaker for the children. He dressed as an American Santa. To celebrate the birth of Christ, the children went caroling and sang traditional Christmas songs. The children also enacted the journey of the wisemen to Nazareth to see the Christ Jesus. There was much joy that day, the children were well fed, and there was lots of laughter. (Largely due to Fr. Tony’s costume!)
New Bathrooms Built in Dudhani
With the support of CWM donors, we have been able to construct the bathroom facilities for the children. They have gone from having nothing, to having a functional bathroom to use and bathe! Thank you for all your support.
Spread the Faith
Spread the Faith
Pastoral Institute of Laity Formation
In India, it is important now more than ever for the faith to explode and show the faithfulness of the Lord, Jesus Christ. There are many Christians being persecuted in the name of cleansing. We stand against this persuction and the killings, and support programs that transcend the love of the Gospel.
Theological and Pastoral Formation Institute
Thanks to generous CWM donors, we’ve been able to support the formation of the current 93 laity participating in the two year formation program. The laity will be trained by priests at the Pastoral Institute and will spread the faith to the people in their home parishes in Goa, India.
The course was designed as one two-year formation program. The length of the program makes it a serious endeavor. The demand for the class is high, and this year they will be running two courses simultaneously.
During the past seven months, the group has grown in the knowledge of faith, fellowship, and in their prayer lives. Seven of the laity share their testimonies under discretion for fear of risking their lives and those of their families from people and entities who do not believe in freedom of religion. For this reason we have hidden their names from their letters.
Supporting the Missionaries
Supporting the Missionaries
Missionaries of St. Francis de Sales Seminary
The Missionaries of St. Francis de Sales live humbly while studying the priesthood. These men studied for years without proper electricity, would walk miles to share their studies and evangelizing in the Archdiocese of Goa & Daman, and hand pick rice for their meals.
Now thanks to your help things are a little easier there.
You helped the missionaries by bringing electricity so they could continue their studies at night. You bought bicycles so they could reach more people in the archdiocese. And thanks be to God, you gave them a tractor! Read more about each story below.
New Perimeter Wall Starts with a Bang for Seminarians
The MSFS seminary has many acres, making it possible for the seminarians to live and study at the campus, as well as grow their own rice and livestock. However, they’ve lacked a perimeter wall to secure and demarcate the property. As a result, they’ve had some problems with trespassers.
Thanks to your support and generosity, construction has begun on a new wall around the periphery of the farm and campus! Thank you for helping these seminarians stay safe as they work toward becoming holy priests and serving God’s kingdom.
Check out the progress photos below!
A Roof & 75 Years Young!
MSFS celebrates their 75th anniversary this year! Executive Director, Deacon Rick Medina’s trip to India this year brought him back to the seminary; there he was able to meet with the community once again and assess the needs of the seminarians, so the Catholic World Mission family can better serve them. Over the course of his visit Deacon Rick was introduced to the needs of the community and many of the seminarians. Today, the seminary is in need of many repairs and still has desks that were built in the 1950’s! The seminarians came to study at the Missionaries of St. Francis de Sales seminary from as close as Goa, and as far as Tanzania. They shared their gratitude to the Catholic World Mission family for helping purchase the community a tractor and most recently helping reconstruct the roof over the building.
Your selflessness to the MSFS seminary in the Archdiocese of Goa and Daman has helped the seminarians literally have a safe roof over their heads! The seminarians are incredibly grateful for your support and include Catholic World Mission and its donors in their nightly rosary.
To continue supporting the seminarians in India, become a monthly donor of $75 or more! This generous donation provides healthcare for the young men studying to become priests, their books, and classes while they work to offset the cost of feeding the community by farming their land. Every gift counts towards the good formation of priests!
A Tractor for Income
Life in the seminary is not all glory. You might never know about their poverty, and their plight. At Catholic World Mission we want to share with you an impactful story about the seminarians of the Missionaries of St. Francis de Sales (MSFS).
The seminarians at MSFS are very poor, but blessed by God. They work hard and long hours to subsidize the cost of the seminary. The seminarians run a small farm where they grow rice, all their food, and raise pigs and chickens. Every year they produce enough for them and more to sell locally.
For years the seminarians have done all the work by hand. Recently, they asked for our help in buying a tractor. The tractor would help the seminarians work faster, harvest more land, and provide for more seminarians. With joy we are thankful to have fulfilled their request with the help of our donors!
Bicycles for Seminarians
22 new bicycles have been purchased to support the missionary priests of St. Francis De Sales. These bicycles will prevent the seminarians from having to the walk many miles through the mountains to continue their education and faith formation. After these seminarians become priests they will be sent all over the world to serve within the Church, including the many villages of the Mission of Goa and Daman.
Electricity to Study
We are thankful for all the help we receive from our donors! Because of you we are able to support the St. Francis de Sales seminary. You have made it possible for these future priests to continue their studies after dark with the new installation: reliable electricity. The seminary offered Mass for Catholic World Mission on Christmas day and continue to pray for our family. Keep checking back for updates!
Form Future Priests
Form Future Priests
Little Way Messengers
The mission of The Little Way Messengers is to form future priests to spread God’s message of love and salvation throughout the world. Father Selvaraj aims to achieve this through establishing a religious order and seminary in southern India to form zealous missionary priests and train them in various cultures and languages to be sent to the four corners of the world where there is a shortage of priests under the patronage of St. Thérèse of Lisieux, the Little Flower.
This order specifically emphasizes evangelization and martyrdom. By going into both Catholic and Non-Catholic areas of need, they wish to spread God’s word to a diverse spectrum of communities, with the United States as its first area of interest. Furthermore, they wish to stress constant availability of priests and seminarians to the lay people. Father Selvaraj also states there is a strong emphasis on convincing the heart to “do all for the sake of the salvation of souls”. With that said, they are willing to die for the faith. The Little Flower philosophy and teachings highlight physical, intellectual, and spiritual discipline. With the word “seminary” stemming from the word “seed”, they wish to treat it as a place of key formation and major development and growth.
Through the life savings of Father Selvaraj, 5.5 acres of land was secured for the project. An entrance and administrators building has been built, and with the help of donors, the foundation laid for the seminary. As the 34th most expensive place to live, such accomplishments are amazing. By December 2014, they completed the classrooms, dormitories, the dining hall and kitchen. All donation amounts help this project. Future goals to come in the next five years include more accommodation space for seminarians, a functioning chapel, a vehicle to transport seminarians to classes, and much more! The Little Way Messengers also convey that all benefactors and their families will be prayed for during daily masses and prayers
Fr. Selvaraj’s Calling
Father Balappa Selvaraj knows first-hand the blessings and protection received from the Little Flower herself, St. Thérèse of Lisieux. What he didn’t know was that this same saint would eventually guide his vocation and ambitions years later. Father Selvaraj was born in Bangalore, India in the state of Karnataka. With 65 million people in the state, only 2% of the population is Christian.
At age 23, he was a young seminarian, well on his way to living out his faith. He had already completed three years of minor seminary, three years of philosophy and one year of theological study. It was during this time of intense training that he suffered a life-threatening injury from a motorbike accident. Originally taken to St. Theresa’s Catholic Hospital, the young Brother Selvaraj fell into a coma. Doctors predicted a less than 10% chance of survival from the accident. His superior, Bishop Rajappa, from the Diocese of Kurnool, requested the Sisters of the cloistered Carmelite order pray for Father’s healing through the “Novena of the Little Flower.”
Additionally, Bishop Rajappa celebrated Holy Mass every day in the cloistered convent chapel. He took the precious blood to the government hospital, where Father lay unconscious, pouring the blood of Jesus into his injured mouth. Bishop Rajappa promised the sisters that if the seminarian were to recover from the coma, he would hold firm on his intention to establish a Little Way association, with this young man as one of his first seminarians.
After eight days of prayer and to the doctor’s disbelief, the young man regained consciousness. Further intentions soon led to his complete recovery and allowed for his ordination shortly after. Bishop Rajappa then began to set the foundations for The Little Way Missioners, planning to send Father Selvaraj to the United States to finish his doctorate in philosophy.
Although the Bishop died shortly thereafter, Father was able to finish his studies in the U.S. with the help of Bishop Moreno and Father Albert Jowdy in Atlanta. Father Selvaraj went on to serve in several parishes and hold the position of Chief Advocate in the Metropolitan Tribunal in the Archdiocese of Atlanta. With the Bishop’s promise still burning and close to his heart, Father Selvaraj wished to follow up on his intention. The Little Flower’s model of spirituality and sacrificial life had a tremendous impact for Father Selvaraj. Nearly 30 years later, the dream finally received the opportunity to become reality through a meeting with Bishop T. Anthony Swamy, who also shared the same vision of building a seminary in Bangalore. With the permission of Archbishop Wilton Gregory from the Archdiocese of Atlanta and patronage of Bishop T. Anthony Swamy of the Chikmagalur Diocese of south India, the project was launched. Archbishop Gregory granted Father Selvaraj five years leave to develop, grow, and establish The Little Way Messengers. Archbishop Gregory fully supports this mission and stated, “For the benefit of the universal Church, I allow you to go.”