Tuesday, November 5, 2013


by Bento D'Souza

BHINGAR-AHMEDNAGAR, NOVEMBER 5, 2103: Seventeen aspirants accompanied by the Rector of Don Bosco, Lonavla, Fr. Solomon Rapol, visited Agadgaon and St JB Church Bhingar for a mission exposure on 31st October, 2013. During their visit to Agadgaon Christian Community and later to St JB, Church, Bhingar, Fr Bento took a session for them, and had a workshop in which he gave them information and helped them design and present a new integrated model of missionary empowerment synthesizing indicators of growth from both points of views:  human development and Christian Discipleship.

The first group presented material comforts, necessities and luxuries as basic to the status of the new Christian. A spacious house, with living room, kitchen, bedrooms, and self-contained toilet and bathroom were imperative to having dignity in front of human society. Air conditioning, fan, fish tank, refrigerator, a dining table, tube lights, new papers, magazines  a Television with channels and a laptop were important to have a culturally wealthy house and home. A well placed lit altar was the only key to knowing whether the family valued their Christian faith. In the worlds of Pope Paul VI, "Human development in Asia is the new name for evangelization but evangelization does not stop only with the best gifts of human development." Cyrus, Ankit, Louis, Mathew and Akash reflected the vision-view of how the Church in India was thinking during the International Eucharistic Congress in Bombay in 1964.

The second group presented the mission church and chapel as the central hub of development. The families in the village need basic necessities to not merely survive, but to live, grow and evolve as the disciples of Jesus.  Food, washing and drinking water, wind and solar electricity, a tarmac road, a school where the children learn and a hospital are basic needs. The people expect the priest to teach good values, instill higher education and if necessary, own a literacy center. The priest is needed to help the people appreciate the faith, inculcating the values of the Kingdom of God and human development for self reliance, dignity and economic resilience dovetail seamlessly into an interdependent balanced model of Christian discipleship according to Jason, Samuel, Rohan, Samuel and Andre.

The third group, consisting of Patrick, Vikas, Elias, Tibin, Lonic and Nitesh gave a comprehensive, synthesized and integrated vision-view of development and evangelization as equal partners on the journey of man towards the Source of Fullness of Life. The church is at the center of this vision, place of blessing, renewal and hope, where both indicators of Kingdom values and indicators of human development flourish and has an equal and irreplaceable role  to play in the drama of humano-christian progress of a family, in responding to the needs of the all the people in the village. The stress is on health, education and wealth for all, it emphasizes on all and not just a few.

An ideal home will be a well built pucca house with a concrete slab roof, built in cement and bricks, with rooms, a kitchen, toilet,  gas stove,  electricity and water, 24 x 7 , with hygienic conditions, and free flow of news and information through media.

A community center which documents the needs of the people with records and surveys of the number of families, resources, support and timely, credible  and regular information to farmers. The community center will double as an inter-religious center and build bridges of unity, harmony and communion within the community. A think-tank offering solutions to the problems faced by farmers. A legal and women's help center will be in place all the time. A school and hospital will respond to the educational and sickness needs of the people in the area. A fair price ration shop will provide subsidized grains and cereals to the people. Besides, a playground for children, a garden-park for elderly, a clean environment, a newspaper reading bench, electricity and water 24 x 7, concrete roads and dustbins will dignify the village.

Fr. Bento informed the enthusiastic visitors that the people are guided to search for Government schemes to meet their employment and housing expectations, like MREGA for payment of hundred days of paid work, and Indira Gandhi Yojna for access to one's own concrete slabbed house in Rural India. The task is to put the poor people in touch with these available resources and not make the people dependent even in the slightest degree.

The young people's exposure to Mission: Agardgaon turned out to be a point of reflection and challenge for the leaders of the Mission.  In the last analysis, why wait for the young to lead the Province in a new direction? When they can do so, already now!

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