Jorney of a Missionary Priest-
-A Dream comes True-
Fr. George Pallivathukal -
- FORMAL INAUGURATION
OF THE DIOCESESAN PASTORAL CENTRE -
|Fr. George Pallivathukal|
On the 20th of February 1972 on the last day of the meeting Fr. Amalore fromally inaugurated the Diocesan Pastoral centre. By a happy coincidence 20th February was my birthday and Fr. Amalore said that the Diocesan Pastoral centre was a fitting Birthday present to me because I deserved it.
Pastoral Centre transferred to Dhanora-
Accommodating hundreds of tribel Catholic students from other dioceses coming to Jabalpur for college studies was a major concern of Bishop Leobard. He suggested shifting St. Aloysious College to the sneh Sadan Campus and along with the College to build a hostal to provide accommodation for the students. Sneh Sadan had enough of Land to accommodate the college, the hostel and the pastoral centre. Incidentally that would also provide sufficient breathing space for the St.Aloysious Higher Secondary School, because the college was conducted in one wing of the school building. However the Pricipal of the College Fr.Joseph Perumpuzha refused to accept Bishop's suggestion to shift the college to the Sneh Sadan Campus.
Bishop Leobard contacted the Jesuits in Pathalgaon to come and build a Hostel for tribel students and offered a part of Sneh Sadan compound for the purpose. He also got sufficient fund from the Misereor for building the college hostel and geve it the Jesuits. When the Jesuits came they wanted the entire control of the Sneh Sadan property and they did not want any other institution along with the hostel in the same campus. Hence I had to shift the pastoral Centre to Dhanora in Mandla district.
Mission in Nainpur- Dhanora-
In October, 1973 I was transfered to Nainpur- Dhanora as parish priest of Nainpur, in-charge of Ghanora estate and the Director of the pastoral Centre. Fr. Peter Edappally was transferred from Bhalpur and was appointed as assistant at Dhanora- Nainpur. Nainpur was a small parish consisting of Railway employees. There were few catholics in Dhanora mainly our own employees. They were alaso under the Nainpur parish. Visiting these families was a major apostolate and that brought people closer to the church. Fr. Peter was a pleasant person to live with. We were together in Balpur. He was a very sociable person and he could easily establish friendship amoung people. We visited the Railway and civil officers and soon built up friendly relationship with them. We were honored a " respectable citizens" of the town.
Once I had wound on my leg caused by a fall from the motorbike. I had neglected the wound. One morning Fr. Peter was with me and he felt that I was devoloping symptoms of tetanus. He immediatly got on to his bike and rushed to the Government hospital. The chief medical officer (CMO) was in the moutuary going to conduct a post mortam. Peter rushed to the mortuary and told the doctor about me. The doctor put down the knife he was holding and told the dead man" You are already dead, let me first go and attend to Father and then come back because we do not want him to die." The Doctor sat behind Fr. Peter on the motorcycle and came to the house and examined me. He told me" Fr. George you are lucky that Fr. Peter and I were there. A few hours delay could have cost you your life. You have a long life. ". The Medical officer went back to the hospital and sent the compounder with the necessary injections., medicines and material for dressing the wound. Everyday the doctor would come and check the progress in the healing and everyday the compounder would come to the house and do the dressing of the wound. This is an example of the kind of relationship we had built up in Nainpur.
|Dhanora village in Madhya pradesh had the same|
population since 97 years.
Dhanora estate had 70 acres of land. Half of the land was paddy fields and the rest was mango and orange gardens. We had also about 20 heads of cattle. With the help of CRS, Bombay, we made a small tank into a four acre reservoir. We had plenty of water for agriculture and pisciculture. We used to put ten thousand fish seed every year in the reservoir and the fish brought in good income. Dhanora village in Madhya Pradesh has the same population since 97 years
People of Dhanora were hostile to the missionaries when the Dutch were there. People had the experience of the sisters in the past and that experience made them keep themselves away from the priests. However, my predeccessor Fr. Zacharias Mundattuchundayil who was a social worker started building rapport with the villagers. He helped the landed farmers to level their fields and make them into fertile paddy fields. The landless of the village also benifited from the food for work programmes. He could create a friendly atmosphere in the village. Since then animosity of the people was less and there was a visible change in the attitude of the people towards the mission. After taking over the Dhanora mission from Fr. Zhacharias, Fr. Peter and I continued to help the people of Dhanora and the neighboring villages. We got a wel dug for drinking water for the people, constructed a primary school building and built a huge tank for the exclusive use of the villagers. We were friendly with the Tehsildar at Nainpur. We managed to get some government land for the landless to build houses on both sides of the approach road to the village. CRS, Bombay, built 20 houses on the newly acquired land. With this all the families in the village had a house of their own. We also encouragedall the villagers to open savings Bank accounts in the post office and invest a part of their income in the savings bank accounts. Dhanora village got the Chief Minister's award for this achievement. We too were honored by the collector in the name of the Chief Minster for guiding and helping the villagers to build themselves up both economically and socially.
Pastoral centre at Dhanora-
It was with much reluctance that I left Sneh Sadan and moved the Pastoral centre to Danora. I did not know what I could do to animate the pastoral work in the diocese from a remote place like Dhanora and that too without any facilities. I thought for some time, discussed with Fr. Peter and I sent my resignationletter to the Bishop asking him to relieve me of my resposibility as the Director of the Pastoral Centre and to appoint somebody else to head the Centre as I did not find any way I could fulfill this responsibility. On receipt of my letter Bishop Leobard called me and we discussed how to go about with the pastoral centre. First thing the Bishop did was that he tore my resignation letter in front of me and threw it in to his waste paper basket and said " You will continue to be the Director, you can do it and you will do it .I know you better than you know yourselff". He was encouraging and understanding.//- (to be continued)
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