Prayer and presence

for the people of Sale

27

JULY 2018

Sister Leena says Jesus is her protective companion as she walks the muddy village roads alone through the jungles bringing communion to remote villages in northern India.

For Leena Toppo, SCN, it is a time of reflection as she travels on foot long distances to take communion to the sick and elderly, to pray with them, and be present. She says the people are happy when they see her and her heart is full. Sister Leena often talks with those who are struggling, and cares for those who are ill. She leads prayer and comforts family members.

The people of the Daltonganj diocese in Sale, India wanted a pastoral presence in their parish for a long time. Their prayers were answered two years ago with the appointment of Sister Leena in December 2016. Parishioners took no time in accepting her as one of their own, as she immediately began visits to those unable to leave their homes or to travel. As she makes these visits, she always exchanges the formal greeting of ‘Jai Yesu’ (Praise be to Jesus) with a handshake. Sister is often asked if she has brought Jesus with her.

Sister Leena, middle, right, says she is grateful to the SCN community for having called her to be in ministry among her people in Sale.

Over the last two years, Sister Leena’s pastoral presence has had a powerful impact. She has initiated a half-hour adoration in addition to Sunday Mass for prayer and confession, during which time she shares the Blessed Sacrament, and leads the faithful in prayer. During the holy season of Lent, she organizes retreats and prayer meetings in every village, and on Sundays, parishioners are able to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

Over the last two years, Sister Leena’s pastoral presence has had a powerful impact.

“Jai Yesu”

–Praise be to Jesus

She has initiated a half-hour adoration in addition to Sunday Mass for prayer and confession, during which time she shares the Blessed Sacrament, and leads the faithful in prayer.

The Sisters in ministry in Sale often note that Catholic women are very active in the parish. Sister Leena encourages their conversations and questions, and a voiced desire to preserve age-old Tribal cultural values and customs. The concerns are many and varied. Most strive to safeguard a most cherished Constitutional right – Tribal Land Act (rights of forest-dwelling communities to land and other resources), which many feel to be endangered. Described as nature loving people, the Sisters say the tribals often live in close proximity to nature, believe themselves to be part of nature, and likely to perish if they are apart from nature. The Tribal people are always careful never to exploit Mother Earth, and cultivate only what each family requires. This deeply moves the Sisters.

The Sisters in ministry in Sale often note that Catholic women are very active in the parish.

The people of the Daltonganj diocese in Sale, India wanted a pastoral presence in their parish for a long time.

Sister Leena says she is grateful to the SCN community for having called her to be in ministry among her people in Sale. And she adds, how blessed she is to serve a group of people who deeply long to experience God’s healing presence.

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