Palai (Agenzia Fides) - Twenty Catholic children between 5 and 13 in the parish of St. Thomas in the diocese of Palai (Kerala) received an unexpected gift: a beautiful bike. As Fides learns, the gift comes from two of the parish priests, Fr. Joseph Kappil, parish priest, and Father Matthew Korankuzha, his vice, after a spiritual commitment which lasted a year. Fr. Joseph explained to Fides: "We encouraged these children to participate in the daily Eucharist, in the morning before school, and we rewarded their perseverance after they completed 365 days of presence".
The bicycles were purchased thanks to small "sponsors" of families of the parish itself, who wished to participate in this idea. "I went to Mass every day with the desire to receive Jesus. I will continue to thank God for the gift of himself and for his blessing in my life" says Ebin Dellis, 13, one of the students who won the prize.
Fr. Joseph tells how this commitment of children has helped change parents: "The father of a 5-year-old who won the award was a drunkard who kept his distances from the church. At the insistence of his son, who wanted to attend Mass every day, his father was forced to accompany him to the morning mass. Now the father has changed his life and regularly attends daily Mass. This is the greatest gift that our community has received this year".
"We have also encouraged the children to actively participate in the Eucharist, to explain the importance of the sacraments and discipline", he concludes. The children also received a kit containing a rosary, the statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary, a prayer book, chocolate and an alarm clock, so as to be "ready" in the morning and not miss the encounter with Christ. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 03/02/2016)