Silver Jubilee Celebration of Bandel Santhal Mission
Bandel basilica celebrated the silver jubilee of its missionary presence among the Santhals on Sunday, August 27, 2017 in the presence of some of the pioneering missionaries and the Santhal Christian com-munity. The celebration began with Holy Mass presided over by Fr John Maliekal concelebrated by many fathers who worked in this mission.
The dream of the great Salesian missionary, Fr Louis Gobetti SDB, now in heaven, to work for the Santhals came true when evangelization began among the Santhal community. In his farsightedness he saw a future church among the Santhals. It was his dream to bring Jesus to them, and also to bring about spiritual, social and economic development through faith and education. Thus began the mission of sowing the seed of faith among the Santhals within the jurisdiction of the basilica, with the arrival of Sisters Adorers on July 16, 1992. The pioneers, Fr I.C. Jacob SDB, Srs. Rose Vayalipparayil, Rose Mary Moothedath, Mary Jancy Mathew and the catechists worked hard under the guidance of Fr Gobetti. A tiny seed that was planted twenty five years back has now grown into a mighty tree, bearing much fruit.
The people participated in the jubilee Eucharistic celebration with sentiments of gratitude, great devotion and happiness. This was manifested through their well prepared liturgy with melodious singing, entrance dance, offertory dance, prayer of the faithful and each one offering to the Lord what they could afford, just like the widow’s offering in the gospel. As the Holy Mass began a short introduction about the history of the Santhal mission and all who contributed to the growth of the Santhal mission was presented.
Soon after the Mass a cultural programme was organized in St. John’s school hall where homage was paid to Fr Gobetti by garlanding his photo. Two of the pioneering nuns, Srs Rose and Rose Mary were also present at the occasion. They and all those who contributed for the growth of the mission were honoured with a shawl by the Rector and Prior, Fr T.L. Francis and Sr. Annies Paul, the superior of Sisters Adorers Convent. Two of the pioneers, Fr I.C. Jacob and Sr Mary Jancy could not be present for the occasion. The felicitation also included a well prepared variety entertainment by various groups from the Santhal villages and also from the boardings.
It was a day of great joy, satisfaction and grace filled moment as the people gathered to celebrate this event. The people expressed their gratitude to the Lord and to the persons who worked hard for their growth and welfare. Fr Gobetti was specially remembered during the entire celebration for his magnanimity, missionary spirit, financial support, hard work, sacrifice and encouragement which took the mission to its present status.