Ranchi (Fides Service) – Tribal peoples in India are very open to the message of Christ and they embrace the faith with joy. In remote villages in eastern India there are Catholic communities which live the faith with great devotion and as a result vocations, to the priesthood and the religious life, flourish. Archbishop Telesphore Toppo of Ranchi told Fides Service about a recent ordination.
Last month a rural village in Jharkand state was in full celebration for the ordination of Father Micahel Nga, from Maranghada parish in Khuti diocese. Archbishop Toppo presided the ordination mass, attended by no less than 10,000 local Adivasi tribals. “The people were so proud to have a priest of their own community” the Archbishop told Fides Service.
Evangelisation of the area began about 130 years ago, when Jesuit Father Augustine Stockman first carried the news of Christ to these people. However the first parish was created only in 1986. Archbishop Toppo is certain that this first ordination of a local man will pave the path for more vocations to the priesthood and the religious life among the Adivasi people.
In India there are about 70 million Adivasi people; for centuries they suffered from oppression and social exclusion. Thanks to the work of human promotion and basic instruction by Christian missionaries, today the Adivasi are literate and have access to education. PA (Fides Service 27/6/2003 EM lines 22 Words: 214)