India: Feast of the Mother of Perpetual Help at the Risen Christ Church, Kalunga

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On the early morning of June 30th, the Risen Christ Church in Kalunga, India, witnessed a deeply spiritual and vibrant celebration of the Feast of the Mother of Perpetual Help. The Holy Mass was presided over by Rt. Rev. Bishop Kishor Kumar, the Bishop of the Rourkela Diocese, was concelebrated by the Redemptorist Fathers and the invited guest priests. The day began at 6:30 am with a procession, a traditional and solemn journey that saw novices of the Handmaids of Mary carrying the icon of the Mother of Perpetual Help from the Nava Jagriti centre, (the Diocesan pastoral centre) to the Parish church. The icon, which holds significant religious importance, had been blessed by Bishop Kishor Kumar at Nava Jagriti, adding a sense of sanctity and grace to the event.

The procession was a remarkable sight, led by the novices of the Handmaids of Mary, who carried the beautifully adorned float. Despite the rain, the faithful gathered in large numbers united in prayers and songs. The air was filled with the harmonious sound of the rosary being recited and hymns sung in devotion to the Mother of Perpetual Help, creating an atmosphere of reverence and spiritual unity.

However, the celebration faced a challenge as rain began to pour, causing a delay in the planned schedule. The Mass, which was to be the highlight of the morning, was delayed due to the downpour and less faithful present. The procession itself was disrupted, but this did not stop the spirits of the devotees and the villagers. The faithful, displaying remarkable resilience and commitment, continued to gather, eager to participate in the sacred festivities.

In the lead-up to the Mass, the villagers had actively engaged in the preparations to welcome Bishop Kishor prior to the procession. They organized various performances, including traditional songs and dances, to honour the Bishop’s presence. There was an entrance dance, Bible procession, and offertory dance with a beautiful and culturally rich signing by the Lungai choir that enriched the Eucharistic celebration. The hymns echoed through the church, enhancing the spiritual ambience of the feast. Despite the initial delay and disruption, the Mass proceeded with deep devotion and was a testament to the unwavering faith of the participants.

Following the Mass, a felicitation program was held to honour Bishop Kishor, Mr Raazen Ekka, MLA, Rajgangpur Constituency, and other dignitaries present at the event. This program included various cultural performances by youth groups, both men and women, who showcased their talents through dance and music. These performances highlighted the rich cultural heritage of the region and added a festive flavour to the spiritual celebration.

The event concluded with a heartfelt vote of thanks delivered by the parish priest, Father Samir Kujur, CSsR. His words of gratitude encapsulated the community’s appreciation for everyone’s participation and efforts in making the feast a memorable occasion. The Feast of the Mother of Perpetual Help at Kalunga was not just a religious event but a celebration of faith, community, and cultural heritage, leaving a lasting impression on all who attended.

Fr. Erenius Ekka, CSsR.
Rector of the Kalunga Community.