- Written by Dr. Thomas Cherukat
Greetings From India
Dear Friends of Fransalians,
Let me first of all wish each one of you a very Happy Christmas and a grace-filled and prosperous New Year. God is our Father. We are His children. Jesus, the Son of God is born to us. All of us, the whole of humanity and the entire creation belong to the Family of God. Christmas which means “God with us” is a Family Feast, a celebration of love and care for each other. As we share our joy with our own family members and friends, it is also an occasion to think of our less fortunate brothers and sisters who need our help and support especially those who suffer from abject poverty and misery. By sharing our resources with the needy we are acknowledging and celebrating the fact that all of us belong to God’s own Family.
News From Chad-Cameroon
The newly elevated Delegation of Chad-Cameroon continues to make rapid progress especially in the field of education and social development. The school at Ngaoundere in Cameroon and the three schools at Bero and Doba are making good progress. At Djalingo in Ngaoundere a new building has been added to the existing school. The two Boys’ Homes at Bero and Doba are catering to 58 children. The newly built school at Doba is being developed into a large Educational Complex which includes a primary school with nursery and a secondary school which welcomes both boys and girls and a Boys’ Home for children from the far away villages. In the current academic year there are 25 children in the nursery, 45 children in the 7th class and 15 children in the Boys’ Home. A large number of girls from the economically backward families are given special attention and support through the sponsorship program. The number of children sponsored under the project of Schuelerpatenschaften have now crossed 500 chiefly from Africa and India. We are grateful to our sponsors for their love and generosity towards the economically disadvantaged children in all our missions. The drinking water projects in Chad continue with the support that we receive from our well-wishers. We have been able to dig a borewell at Doba recently.
Unfortunately the political strife in the Anglophone region of Cameroon in recent months is causing much anxiety and fear among people. The missionaries too are caught in the crossfire. Increasing violence against the mission centres and kidnapping of several missionaries by the rebel forces are reported. Trusting in the security of God’s plans for us and praying for peace in the region, our missionaries are going ahead with the works entrusted to them with courage and hope. I request your kind prayers for our missionaries and the suffering people in Chad and Cameroon.
Natural Calamities In South India
In the past few months, the three South Indian States of Kerala, Karnataka and Tamilnadu have witnessed unprecedented destruction of life and properties due to floods, landslides and cyclones in a massive scale. The three states together have a population of over 180 million.
Kerala struck by massive floods and landslides
In the month of August 2018, tragedy struck the tiny state of Kerala in the form of an unprecedented flooding and landslides. The ferocity of the South-West monsoon was such that between 1st August and 19th August Kerala received heavy and incessant rainfall which was 164% more than the average. As a result the entire state came to a halt for almost the whole of August. Kerala had experienced a natural calamity of such magnitude only in 1924 almost a century ago. The fury of the floods continued unabated for almost two weeks and a trail of death, displacement and destruction followed. More than 450 people lost their lives. Over 3 million people were displaced who had to be sheltered in thousands of relief camps. Almost twenty thousand houses got fully damaged and over hundred thousand were partially damaged. Over ten thousand kilometres of major roads were washed away and about sixteen thousand hectares of land was lost. Over 83000 kilometres of roads and more than 200 bridges had suffered extensive damage. Several districts across the State were isolated due to the frequent landslides resulting in widespread destruction of lives and property besides an acute scarcity of clean drinking water.
Disaster in the Kodagu district of Karnataka
Kodagu, popularly known as Coorg is a hilly district of Karnataka bordering Kerala on the north. It is a region of coffee and pepper plantations. The district suffered heavy loss of life and property in the aftermath of the incessant rainfall that occurred in the region especially in mid-August. Landslides swept through the region destroying several villages and thereby causing much grief and destruction to hundreds of families in the region. More than 20 lives were lost. More than 40 relief centres were set up and over six thousand people were given emergency shelters.
A Severe Cyclone hits Tamil Nadu
The fury of nature struck again in Tamilnadu in the form of a severe cyclone in the early hours of 16th November 2018. More than 45 lives were lost besides the massive destruction of houses and property across several coastal districts of the state. Around 250,000 people have been evacuated. Thousands of houses were damaged. The real extent of the damage is yet to be assessed. Relief works are in full swing.
An Appeal For Urgent Help
A human tragedy of such a magnitude has occurred in the three neighbouring States of Kerala, Karnataka and Tamilnadu which fall within the geographical territories of the South-West India Province and the South East India Province of the Missionaries of Saint Francis de Sales. The Fransalian communities in Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu have promptly set up several relief centres for the affected people. As an immediate response to the tragedy that struck Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, Vikasjyothi, the Mission Development Office in Mysore together with the Amisales in Rome has been able to mobilise a modest sum of Rs. 10.00.000.00 (Euro 12.000.00) and forward it to the Relief Funds of the two Provinces.
Vikasjyothi in Mysore continues to be actively engaged in mobilising resources for the relief works. I am very grateful to the friends and benefactors who contribute to this cause. It will take a long time for the affected regions to rebuild itself. Rehabilitation is the real task ahead. The entire Congregation has been responding generously to the needy people. We are now trying to help the most needy to rebuild their lost homes. It is planned to help at least 100 families immediately with the available funds to re-build their homes. Much more can be done as and when more funds are available. I request our friends and well-wishers to contribute generously to this noble cause. May the joy and peace of Christmas help all of us to reach out to the poor and needy.
P. Dr. Thomas Cherukat, MSFS
Greetings From Chad-Cameroon
My dear Friends and Well–Wishers of Fransalians,
Greetings of love and Joy from Chad-Cameroon. I am happy to inform you that Chad Cameroon Mission has been raised to the status of a Delegation in our Congregation and that I was installed as the first Delegation Superior on 29 September 2018. Everyone knows that it is a very difficult mission. But our missionary journey in this part of Africa gives us immense joy and hope as we experience daily the marvels that the Lord works in this mission. The initial reluctance, anxieties, struggles, trials and difficulties has not weakened the enthusiasm of so many of our young and energetic missionaries who have come to this mission from the far off India. The mission has been growing at a very rapid pace during the last 19 years. The good Lord has been making it clear to us that we are engaged in His work and that He wants us to continue His work in this part of the world. New batches of young missionaries from India are coming to work in this mission year after year. Prospects of local vocations are also very bright. We have already 4 priests from Cameroon and more than 50 seminarians are in different stages of formation. It is with a deep sense of humility and gratitude that I have assumed the responsibility of leading the new Delegation. I believe that the greatest strength of our new Delegation is the young and dynamic confreres who dare to be challenged and to give their best..
We express our deep sentiments of gratitude to all those confreres, friends and benefactors who have been a constant source of support and encouragement for this mission in the past years. May the good Lord reward their love and generosity. We look forward to your continued prayers and support for the further growth of this Delegation. I take this opportunity to wish each one of you a very Happy Christmas and a Bright New Year. May God bless all of you.
Fr. Manoj Xavier Arackal.
Delegation Superior Chad-Cameroon