(AsiaNews) - The church of St. Mary Athirampuzha (Archdiocese of the
Syro-Malabar Church of Changanassery, Kerala) is building apartments to house
the poorest families in the area, without discrimination of caste or creed. To
finance the Daiva Paripalana Bhavan project, the Church has sought free
contributions of the parishioners, about 2,400 families. Guests
of the new homes will pay a nominal rent and can stay there for 15 years, a
period in which the Church will commit to educating and teaching children to
make them self-sufficient in the future. On
27 May (first Sunday of Pentecost), the Archbishop Mgr. Mar Joseph Perumthottam
will bless the launch of the construction
The project is expected to cost 12 million rupees (about 170 thousand euros) and involves the construction of three buildings on land owned by St. Mary, for a total of 21 apartments. Each of these will have two bedrooms, a kitchen, a dining room and terrace. The ground floor will house a chapel and a common kitchen, to gather during the holidays. Once the 15 year term limit expires, the family will be replaced by another occupant.
Fr. Hands Puthiyidam, pastor of the church and the mind behind the project, tells AsiaNews: "The basic purpose is to assist, together with the whole community, the children, to help them make new and creative choices for their future. For this, Bhavan's children will go to school at St. Aloysius or St. Mary, both run by the Church. "
The priest, who earned a doctorate from the Pontifical Gregorian University, adds: "Currently, we have already received 50 requests, from which we will select people who really need it. We will ask the families a small amount of rent, to make them feel part of this project and to encourage respect for themselves and the property. "
Erected in 1887, the Syro-Malabar Archdiocese of Changanassery has a total population of about 9.4 million people, of which 385 thousand (4%) are Catholics. In total counts it 267 parishes, 575 priests and 2,700 religious.