Mumbai (AsiaNews) - "The parish is made up of a majority of tribal Mundari, many of whom live in remote areas and below the poverty line. For these people the Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta is a source of inspiration: She spurs us to grow in love of God through service to the needy, the outcast and the poor", Fr. Lino Fernandes Sfx tells AsiaNews. He is pastor of the Church of Blessed Mother Teresa in Siadih (Diocese of Jamshedpur, Jharkhand), where the faithful are preparing - "with great joy and enthusiasm", for the solemn celebration of their patron, scheduled for September 7th. Presiding over the Mass will be the auxiliary bishop of Ranchi, Msgr. Theodore Mascarenhas.
Today, September 5 is the liturgical memorial of Blessed Mother Teresa, founder of the Missionaries of Charity, founded in 1910 in Skopje, Macedonia. She arrived in India in 1929. In 1950 she founded the Congregation of the Missionaries of Charity. She died of cardiac arrest in Calcutta on Sept. 5, 1997; October 19, 2003 she was beatified by Pope John Paul II. The Indian parish of Siadih, dedicated to the future saint, is a community of 45 families consisting mostly of tribal Mundari, scattered among 25 villages; ten of these are within 15-20 kilometers from the church.
The priest, a missionary of Pilar (Missionary Society of St. Francis Xavier, founded in Goa in 1887), told AsiaNews that the "the former pastors of Siadih are invited to the celebrations, the priests and nuns of the nearby parishes" and the heads of other Christian denominations. "In addition - he adds - all tribal leaders are invited."
Fr. Fernandes recalled that Mother Teresa never tired of repeating that "we are meant to love and be loved." With the Blessed of Calcutta and St. Francis Xavier, he adds, "we find peace and fulfillment and joy in giving ourselves in love." He recalled that the Missionaries of Charity "literally gave her life for tribal Mundari", without making any distinction of caste and creed, giving them "peace, dignity and happiness."
"In the diocese of Jamshedpur - continues the priest - the missionaries take care of abandoned and malnourished children" and launched centers and dispensaries to provide basic medical care. "Family visits –he adds - is also part of their ministry."
On September 5, the day dedicated to Mother Teresa, is also celebrated worldwide as the International Day dedicated to Charity. And as the nun often recalled, "love can not remain closed in on itself, because then it has no meaning." It must become action and "this action is service" to others. In the year dedicated to consecrated life, said Fr. Fernandes the appeal of Mother Teresa to become part of her mission at the service of the poorest of the poor, has even more value. "I consecrate my life to God, but words are not enough, the service we do for the benefit of the lepers, the dying, the crippled ... is my love for God in action."