Diocese of Mangalore: school, catechism and solar panels for mission in Africa
Mangalore (AsiaNews) - Spiritual Guidance, Education and Development: This is the mission of four Indian priests among tribal Kituri, in Tanzania. Originally from the Diocese of Mangalore (Karnataka), working in Africa since 2012, they are part of a project promoted by their bishop, Msgr. Aloysius Paul D'Souza, to mark the 125th anniversary of the diocese. "On this occasion - said the prelate to AsiaNews - we thought it was high time for us to share the faith with those who need it most. So we decided to go to Africa. "
The choice fell on a remote area of the diocese of Same, where the population – partly Catholic - had no water, no electricity, nor a priest for spiritual assistance. The priests are Fr. Alwyn M. J. D'Souza, superior of the mission and responsible for youth formation and public relations; Fr. Hillary Lobo, pastor of Kifaru; Fr. Ronald Pinto, director of the educational apostolate; Fr. Victor Machado, director of social-cultural care and development.
Msgr. D'Souza told AsiaNews: "We have now established the parish of Kifaru and four stations. Every Sunday our priests are in different communities to celebrate Mass and to teach catechism. In Tanzania, the government places no restrictions, so we can teach our religion. "
The Mangalore-Africa project started with the construction of a boys secondary school, which today is also the college. "Things are going very well - said the prelate – there are 150 students enrolled and school staff consists of 12 people. One of the priests is the headmaster. From this year, two sisters of the diocese of Mangalore have joined the staff. The institute also teaches catechism, to all students, not just Christians. "
Alongside the work of the new evangelization, said Msgr. D'Souza, "we have also initiated a development program. When we arrived, the area was without electricity and water. Over time we have installed solar panels among 700 families to light their homes. Now the most urgent need is to give them water, so they do not have to travel so far to get it".
In just two and a half years the mission has grown, but there is still a lot to do. "We always lookto the integral development of the population - said the Bishop of Mangalore - we are about to open a kindergarten for the children of the area. Our project is to start from the bottom and allow these people access to education from an early age. Then we are planning to help these people to create self-help groups, to learn how to organize themselves together, and to promote the empowerment of women. "
"The response of the population – he notes – has been very good. They were a bit 'excluded, no one wanted to go there, there was no priest in the area, so when we arrived we were greeted with joy. They collaborate a lot with us. "
According to Msgr. D'Souza, the Mangalore-Africa project "can be considered a model for the Indian Church. Our diocese is the first in the country to have started a mission in a foreign country. We are trying to follow what Pius XII said in his encyclical Fidei Donum ".