Most Rev. Stephen Lepcha, bishop of Darjeeling recognized the efforts of the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth during his recent pastoral visit to Sangsay parish. He compared the parish to that of a family. He said that a family without parents is a broken family. So, too, the church is incomplete without the presence of priests and religious Sisters who serve them selflessly. He publicly announced that the SCNs do 80 percent of the work in Sangsay parish. He requested the parishioners to support and cooperate with the untiring efforts of the Sisters in bringing healing, education and social awareness among the poor and those in need.

Helen Tirkey, SCN, is actively involved with the three Small Christian Communities (SCC) of Middle Bimbong. She attends all prayer meetings with the families in the evening. I was fortunate to attend two of the family prayers. Each family takes responsibility to organize the prayer. The prayer gathering on Oct. 11, 2017, had ninety percent attendance. Ten families are organized into a prayer group. One person from each family makes sure to attend the prayer every week.

Once a month, all SCCs come together to pray and collect the fixed monthly contribution towards their common fund. The fund is used to help persons in need especially when there is a death in the family. The group also decides what needs to be done and for whom. They keep a record of the minutes of the meeting. In the Oct. 12 meeting, they decided to repair the house of a poor man in the village. They would complete the work before the winter sets in. As true Christians, they not only pray together but also reach out to persons in need.

The church and the parents are faithful in handing down the Catholic practices to their children that they not only send them to attend the Catechism classes on Saturdays and Sundays. The children also help to clean the church compound on Saturdays. Sister Helen and the catechist take classes inside the Church for around 50 children. Early in life, the young learn how to be a true member of Small Christian Communities by praying and serving together.

Malini Manjoly, SCN | View more photos