SCNs at Navjyoti,Shahpur, had a fitting concluding celebration of the bicentennial year  on the 24th of Nov., 2012. Along with S. Basanti Lakra, Provincial, I was privileged to be present for the occasion and was surely touched by the  spirit of joy and enthusiasm.  By 9.00 a.m. the invitees began to arrive which included the priests , religious brothers and sisters from the neighbouring  parishes and  the parishioners of Shahpur.  The students and teachers  of Navjyoti   had already  put up and decorated  the’ pandal ‘ very  beautifully.  The continuous music and bhajans made the  whole atmosphere feel festive. The joy and enthusiasm of the children could not be contained as the guests entered the compound though they seated themselves patiently for the liturgy to begin.

S. Kiran Kaniyamkandathil introduced and welcomed the guests  that spoke of  the deep connectedness the  sisters have made  with the people around.  The celebration began with the Holy Eucharist concelebrated by  Fathers  Vikas Vijay (main celebrant), Sahaya Raj(parish priest)and  Pritan  IMS.  The Liturgy, meticulously prepared by S. Archana  Valiaparambil and other sisters,  was very inspiring and devotional.  It is normally unusual for the children to sit through  patiently  at such long services but it was amazing to see them participate  so lively. The homily given by Father Vijay added more inspiration  as he explained the GOSPEL passage in a new light encouraging the faithful to give more witness to Jesus.  He said that  each of us is sent ‘as lambs among the wolves ‘ not to be devoured by them but to transform them by living the values of Jesus.  He specially mentioned and thanked the SCNs for the various ways the sisters have influenced ,for the better, the lives of the people of Shahpur  and  for reaching out to  them in service in all these years facing bravely the many difficult situations in the past years.  The prayers ,rituals  and the  melodious singing rendered an  air  of joy and gratitude and praise for a living and loving God.

The liturgy was followed by a short break for refreshment after which the students put up  with gusto a variety entertainment program and enthralled the audience.  The enactment of the origins of our Congregation and the beginnings of the mission by the SCNs in India by the little children made one nostalgic  and  moved to tears.  The energy  and the enthusiasm of the children as they danced away was so contagious  that no one felt tired.  Three kudos to Ss. Mary Michael Dang,  Jetti Swarupa Rani and the teachers who had prepared the students in the limited time they had  adjusting between the many holidays.

Any celebration is incomplete without a fellowship meal and every one enjoyed the sumptuous meal   spread by the sisters, animators and other helpers.  Many thanks to Father Sahaya Raj who  contributed to all our endeavors and for being very supportive.  Even after the visitors left,  the students kept dancing to the  beat of the drum- the traditional Santali dances.  Yes it was indeed a day of celebration and joy and nothing could dampen it,  as was evident in those little dancing feet.

 The completion of the celebration was felt only when the sisters  sat together sharing and relishing the little joys  and recalling the many incidentsevents of the day and bringing alive many memories  of the past and expressing their gratitude for all the marvels  God has done for us  and through us . Together with Mary, our Mother, we could also sing the Magnificat.

Priya Kalapurayil, SCN
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