(India) In response to the theme of the 25th General Chapter of the Redemptorist Congregation (2016), “Witnesses of the Redeemer: In solidarity for mission to a wounded world,” the Redemptorists of the V. Province of Majella (Maharashtra, Goa, Mangalore, Udupi, Karwar, and Belgaum) have embraced “Migrant People/People on the Move” as their primary Missionary Priority (The People whom they will serve most of all). Thus “Pahunch” as an initiative of the Redemptorist V. Province of Majella was born to ‘Reach Out” to migrant people proclaiming the Word of God to them through pastoral care, counselling services, material and economic support, advocacy of various sorts to enable migrant people to integrate into the mainstream of society in the places where they have to reside, predominantly (Mumbai, Vasai, and Goa).
The Social Encyclical of Pope Francis, “Fratelli Tutti” has been an enormous motivating factor in continuing the work of the Redemptorists through Pahunch. The Holy Father calls the Church and in fact all people to work together to heal the wounds of a broken, struggling, pained humanity in our time especially ravaged by the pandemic. The image of the “Good Samaritan” continues to challenge the Church to keep asking the question, “Whom am I neighbour to?” When we honestly respond to this question we find ourselves motivated to be peacemakers, break down walls and build bridges that unite people irrespective of creed, ethnic background, race, tribe, or any other dividing factors that keep people apart.
Witnessing to the Redeemer through Pahunch the Redemptorists keep striving to bring hope in a concrete manner to a significant group of the migrant community, the people of the Chhotanagpur region of the country. Archbishop John Barwa of Cuttack Bhubaneshwar Archdiocese, himself originally a tribal from the Chhotanagpur area of the country visited the V. Province of Majella and was a guest staying in two of our communities of Vasai and Chembur in Mumbai. On the 26th January, the Archbishop celebrated mass in Vasai for the migrant community that the Redemptorists have been ministering too through “Pahunch” and on the 31st January 2021 he once more celebrated the Eucharist at Our Lady of Perpetual Succour Parish Chembur. During this celebration of the Eucharist, Bishop Allwyn D’Silva, auxiliary Bishop of Mumbai and representing Cardinal Oswald Gracious, Archbishop of Mumbai was also present for this celebration. This was an important time to give thanks to the Lord with the migrant community for all the blessings of being brothers and sisters together “Fratelli Tutti” during the pandemic in 2020. Archbishop Barwa noted the work of the Redemptorists done for the migrant community during the pandemic with gratitude and he also encouraged the Redemptorists of the V. Province to continue to serve as they journey with the migrant community in both Vasai and Mumbai. Bishop Allwyn also expressed his gratitude on behalf of the Bishops of the Western Region of India for the work of the Redemptorists for Migrant People in the Western Region through ‘Pahunch.”
Strengthened by the grace of the Redeemer encountered in both these Eucharistic celebrations the Redemptorists of the V. Province pledge to continue with dedication through Pahunch to keep reaching out in solidarity for the mission to our wounded brothers and sisters, our migrant community.
Joseph Ivel Mendanha, C.Ss.R
V. Provincial Superior
Redemptorist V. Province of Majella