Samstag, 11. Mai 2019

ധ്രുവദീപ്തി: Autobiography : Journey of a Missionary Priest-// Into New Pastures: Transfer from Junwani // Fr. George Pallivathukal

ധ്രുവദീപ്തി: Autobiography : 

Journey of a Missionary Priest-

Into New Pastures: Transfer from Junwani //

Fr. George Pallivathukal

 Fr. George Pallivathukal
It was time for me to leave Junwani, my second home where I learnt to be a missionary. It was difficult for me to leave the People of Junwani who always stood with me in good times and in bad, and the Children whom I loved very much. Fr.Paymans returned from his home holidays before Christmas 1966. He was the permanent priest in charge of Junwani and he remained in that post until he retired and went back to Holand. I handed over the charge of the Station back to Fr. Paymans and shifted to Sakwah as assistant priest. Bishop Leobard had transfered Fr.Milo Der Kinderen O' Praem from Sakwah and appointed Fr. Onderstyn an elderly Person as priest in charge. Since I was familiar with that area, Bishop asked me to go to Sakwah to continue the Mission work there.

Sakwah Mission had About 40 villages inder ist care spread out in a vast area of a radius of 20 Kilometres. I was alone for Mission tour. We had six catechists working in this area. A month after I reached Sakwah one of the catechists Bhaiyalal died of rabies. He was bitten by a mad dog. Arrangment was made for his Treatment in the Viktoria Hospital, Jabalpur. He was given Money for his travelling and for his expenses while staying in Jabalpur. He never reached Jabalpur. He went up to Ghutas and got himself treated by a witch doctor who gave him some Country Medicine. The Medicine did not work. After a few days Bhaiyalal developed syptoms of rabies and nobody could save him then. It was too late. We came to know About his Treatment in Ghutas only after his death.

Mr. Yacub Ekka, Manna Das, Moti Singh

I wish to acknowledge the hard work and the wonderfull contribution some of our catechists made towards the spread of the Catholic faith in this area. Mr. Jacub Ekka was a trained Veteran catechist from Chotanagapur. He was stationed in Sakwah Village for many years. If Sakwah and the surrownding villages had so many catholics and catechuments in those days it was because of the sincere effort of this old man. He was of a Pleasant nature and was reaspected in the area. Mr. Manna Das was another hero of the area. The local church in Manna Das's Village Dadhi- bhanpur was known as Manna Guruji's Girja (church). Everybody knows Manna's Girija. He was very popular amoung the People and even the non -Catholics respected him. He was not much educated but very talkative and able to convince People. The third Person was Moti Singh a soft spoken Person, who did his work quietly and spread the good News far and wide. These are the People who worked hard for Christ in their Areas, suffered percecutions in  His Name, laid the foundation of the church in this place and then faded away. It is said that great men do not die, they only fade away. Indeed These were great men.

There were a few more catechists placed in defferent villages of the Mission who were not so good but just enough to Keep up the work. They considered their Mission as a means of their lovelihood rather than as apostalate. The Lord worked with them also. With the help of the catechists we were in constant contact with the People. We had no School at sakwah. Therefore I could spend more time with the People. Sakwah Mission area did not have any forest. The land was fertile producing good Paddy crop. This area was called the "Rice Bowl" of Mandla district. People here were more affluent and well to do than the People of Junwani area. All of our tour were on foot.. A pair of canvas schoes would last not more than one round of tour. I could not afford to buy many pairs of schoes. As aresult I took to Walking bare feet. Many priests like Fr. Milo and Premananda were barefoot missionaries.

The priest in Charage.  

When I write About my experiences as a priest, I should be honest enough to write not only the good experiences but also my unpleasant ones which contributed to my growth and maturity as a priest. Life of a priest is not a bed of roses.Along with roses thorns also grow and that is a reality of life. Hence the Narration of my unpleasant experiences are not meant to accuse any one but to be truthful in Narration.

Presbytery becomes a poultry.

Fr. Oonderstyn was a farmer. He was fond of rearing fowls and goats and cultivating fields. One evening I returned from a tour and I was very tired. I had my dinner and went to bed early. After midnight I heard a cock crowing from close proximity. The other cocks followed the first one in sequence. I could not sleep the rest of the night. In the morning I discovered that the priest in charge had shifted all the birds from the poultry farm we had in the garden to the guest Rooms in the presbytery. He used to get eggs hatched under his bed. The little birds used to move around in his bed room and he was very happy to Sleep amoung them. Whenever new chicks came out he would come and announce the good News of their happy Arrival.

During the day time the birds were let out from the guest room poultry farm on to the Varandah and tothe court Yard. The whole Varandah used to be dirty and smelling. I could not tolerate it any longer. So I told the priest in charge very strongly to get the birds out of the house immedietely and get the Rooms cleaned up and whitewashed. He was reluctant. I told him that I would get rid of all the birds if did not remove them from the house. He was doing buisness by selling These fowls in the market.

He had his abnormal behaviour at table. He used to get Food parcels from Holland: canned meat, cheese, fish, milk powder etc. Unlike Fr. Paymans he would Keep them all in his room. He would bring a tin to the table and tell me," Father ,These tins are sent by my sister for me. I do not mind if you take a little from it, once in a way, but this is meant for me". I told my companion that I would manage without his tin Food. I am an Indien and I am used to Indien Food. He used to tell the servants that he was the boss of the house, and he was the one who Paid their salary. This encouraged the servants not to listen to me at all or to look after my Needs. One day I had to send away one Person from Service. I came back from the Village tour.My feet were swollen due to several Kilometers of Walking. I told the man to prepare some hot water for my bath and to Foment my feet. He said that he was not free as he had other more important Things to do and he would see to the hot water the next day. I ordered him to get out of the kitchen that very moment, go to the boss, get his Money and get lost. With that the rest of the Household Workers and the boss got the message and they came to their senses.

While going on tour the servants used to take sufficient Provision for the number of days we are going out. In Junwani we priests did not interfere with it at all. Here in Sakwah the servant who was accompanying me had to go to the priest in charge for the Provision. The boss would go to the store room and measure the grain with his Hand for the number of days I was going out. If I went out on a five days tour, the Provision he would measure and give would be over in less Thann two days and I had to find Money to buy provisions for the rest of the days for the entire Team. Fr. Paymans had briefed me about his behavior and prepared me to adapt myself to live with him. Fr.Oonderstin Always lived alone and therefore in his old age it was difficult for him to adjust himself and to live and work with a joung companion. I would like to emphasise one Thing that in spite of all his weeknesses he was a simple Person and a man without any guile. He would readly apologize for his strange behaviour or if he had hurt me in anyway. It was for me to understand him and to adjust myself to live with him. And I did that.// 

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