Seeds for the Church's Future
Rev. George Kallungal, C.S.C.
In a violent hail of bullets on July 25, 2000, Rev. Victor Crasta, C.S.C., a young, energetic Holy Cross priest was killed when the vehicle in which he was travelling was attacked by insurgents. Thus, almost three years before North East India had become our own province, we already had our own martyr.
Throughout the history of the Church, the blood of the martyrs has been the seed of the faith, and that was true in the case of the death of Fr. Crasta. His martyrdom was a call to zeal for all Holy Cross religious in North East India – a call to put aside our fears and to fulfill our mission with new courage, strength, and grace. The fruits of this missionary zeal, especially in this difficult and impoverished area, are many, and they only continue to multiply.
Today the province numbers over 50 priests and 25 temporarily professed religious in addition to around 50 candidates. Our religious are spread throughout five states in the Northeast region, speaking different languages and adapting to the various cultures of the indigenous people.
We work in 13 parishes, and through our pastoral efforts, many thousands have become Catholics. We have organized an extensive peace movement, known as NESNIM (North Eastern Students National Integration Movement). It has involved thousands of students and drawn recognition from the state. We have worked through ASHA (Association for Social and Human Advancement) to train hundreds of villagers in forming self-help groups and develop other skills necessary for better living. And, we have started our own degree-granting college, fulfilling a dream to provide Catholic higher education in this remote region.
As the decision to take up a very challenging mission in Koloriang, Arunachal Pradesh, close to the Chinese border, demonstrates, we continue to carry out the mission entrusted to us with great courage, trusting that our sacrifices today will be the seeds of the Church in the future.
Fr. George Kallungal, C.S.C., is a member of Province of North East India (Agartala, Tripura).