11/30/2021, 18.16
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Fr Bishoyi, a missionary from Odisha involved in Argentina’s new evangelisation

by Nirmala Carvalho

The Verbite clergyman, who grew up in a place in India that saw Christians persecuted, arrived in the South American country three years ago. He spoke to AsiaNews about the challenges his mission faces in the city of Palpalá.  “Argentina is certainly a Catholic country, but not very practicing”; yet, “people are very happy, simple, helpful and very friendly.”

New Delhi (AsiaNews) – “Our mission in the parish of San Cayetano, Argentina, is pastoral,” said Fr Sanjib Bishoyi, a Verbite religious from Odisha, India.

Back home in India for a short rest, he spoke to AsiaNews about his experience serving as a missionary from India’s small Catholic community in the large Latin American country

Local “people are very much like our own people.” But “We face many challenges: the northern provinces are more religious, while the south and the west are more secularised,” he explained.

“Argentina is certainly a Catholic country, but not very practicing. Few people show up for the Sunday sacraments, and some don’t come at all.”

“Still, people are very happy, simple, helpful and very friendly. They make you feel like a member of their family.”

Fr Bishoyi’s parish is located in Palpalá, a city in Jujuy province, northern Argentina.

“Once a month we meet to discuss pastoral activities and parish programmes, but I feel there is a need for re-evangelisation. People need to be re-catechised.”

The missionary arrived in the South American country three years ago. “Economically it is in a very difficult situation. Inflation is also very high. Because of the pandemic, people are more affected. Many people die of cancer and many seniors live alone.”

Fr Bishoyi’s Christian faith comes from his parents in Odisha. “My father Benedict died in July of this year, while my mother Florentina is 86 years old. She still lives in our village of Adibonga,” he said.

"I am the youngest of eight children. An older brother is a priest in the Archdiocese of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar".

The young missionary remembers well the 2008 anti-Christian attacks. “My family was not directly affected, but there was a climate of insecurity and fear," he recalls.

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