The event has been in the making since 2018. A eucharistic adoration was held every Sunday; retreats, vigils and cultural and religious competitions were also organised. The parish of 3,000 highlights the faith and fervour of tribal Christians.
Mumbai (AsiaNews) – Thousands of people took part in marking the 50th anniversary of St Joseph's Cathedral in Sambalpur, Orissa. The jubilee began in 2018 and lasted until last Sunday’s great event with "great enthusiasm on the part of the faithful,” said Fr Philip Kujur, the parish priest, speaking to AsiaNews.
“The theme of the anniversary was ‘Living and loving’,” said the local bishop, Mgr Niranjan Sualsingh. “The anniversary gave new impetus to personal faith. Many groups participated: mothers, lay people and young people. We organised various religious and cultural retreats and events, such as the Bible competitions.”
Mgr Sualsingh led the Mass along with Bishop Emeritus Lucas Kerketta and archbishop John Barwa of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar, who celebrated the first liturgy in this church after his ordination. Some 60 priests attended the service.
The parish is home to about 500 families, mostly tribal, for a total of almost 3,000 members. The celebrations were a great demonstration of their faith and fervour.
At the church, some parishioners began the celebrations by dancing and wearing traditional garments, whilst others sang traditional songs to the beat of the drums.
Festivity preparations “began on 24 November 2018,” Fr Kujur said. “We devoted an entire year to prayer and renewal. Events included carrying candles from house to house, among all the families of the faithful, in and outside the village.”
The bishop said that in preparation for the feast, "special emphasis was given to strengthening family ties. Church groups visited families, praying with them and boosting the unity of family life.”
The cathedral also held Eucharistic adorations every Sunday throughout this year, as well as retreats, faith renewal groups and night vigils. “All our members participated enthusiastically,” said Fr Philip.
On the eve of the anniversary, a grotto dedicated to Our Lady was inaugurated inside the parish compound. Donations from the faithful paid for the sacred image.
(Photo credit 2-4 and videos: Fr Binod Kullu)