ST PAUL MISSION, EKAMBA:
St Paul Mission, Ekamba was formally taken up as a new mission for Evangelization on 15th June 2013. As per the request of the Bishop, Fr Harry D’Souza , a zealous and experienced missionary agreed to work in this new Mission dedicated to St Paul, the great missionary in the early church. Prior to this, a study of the prospects of a new mission in Aurad Taluka in Bidar district was done by Santpur Mission Team.
Aurad Town is the head quarter of Aurad taluka, one of the five talukas of Bidar District in Karnataka. To start with, Fr Harry moved to a rented house in Aurad town from where he visited the people in the town and neighborhood villages along with the catechist. In the beginning Fr Harry and the catechist visited more than 30 villages studying the place, meeting people, finding out their difficulties, needs and aspirations. They were surprised, in many villages people welcomed them and were also keen to receive the Good News. Certainly, not all could be catered to. The harvest, as Jesus said, was “rich indeed, but the laborers are few”. Staying at Aurad town having made sufficient contacts with people in the neighborhood villages Fr Harry chose Ekamba village as the centre of the new mission and moved to Ekamba on 15th Jan 2013 and began staying in a room of Mr Laxman Pure, a retired teacher.
Holy Spirit Sisters at Ekamba :
joined the Ekamba Missiion in 11th July 2014. Under the leadership of Sr Treeza SSps, Srs Roselyn Mascarenhas and Nirmala Mendonca moved into Ekamba and began staying at Laxman Pure’s House. (Fr Harry moved to Mr Ansaari’s house) There was a well organized programme in the village Panchayat with over 200 people present to welcome the Sisters into the village. That was a proof of the good contact and rapport built by Fr Harry. They are giving a wonderful service in all the activites of the mission – pastoral, social and educational. At present they too, stay in a rented house. They are now staying at Mr Eknath’s house on rent.
Growth of the mission :
The growth of St Paul’s Mission, Ekamba is phenomenal, especially in the field of faith formation, Social work and Education. To put it it all in the words of Fr Harry D’Soouza, the mission director –
Faith formation work : “ …..We are already regularly reaching out to the surrounding 7 villages around Ekamba. This is just a beginning. There are number of people from different villages inviting us. We are not able to reach out to them all due to our own constraints. Our people are daily wage earners working in the fields belonging to the landlords. They are available to us after their work only in the evening. Therefore, the priest, catechist and sisters visit them in the evenings and try to form them in faith by making family visits, prayers, catechism to children, adults etc,. As we do not have any proper place to assemble for prayer or Word of God service, we gather in the houses of our people. We adopt to their culture (of singing bhajan) and give them Jesus. We are really happy that many are growing in faith. We visit the families, play with the children, teach catechism and pray over the sick, preach the Word of God to those who come with a thirst. In the begining we were afraid to do this work as we were afraid of the communal forces. But day after day people are very cordial to us they themselves wish us in the name of Jesus, welcome and offer us tea and food. Most of the women share their family problems, asks us to pray over them and also for their family. Most of them find relief from their pain and sickness, and they express ‘your God is powerful one’. As per the request of the people in two villages we have bought the small piece of land for a chapel.
Table shows the Faith formation villages and their active participation of the people.
|Village||Catechumens||No. of Families|
Social Apostolate :
Social work is another ministry where we meet people in their problems. It is male dominant society and the women become the victims of all evils. Thus we began social and developmental work among the women first, and along with the faith formation. We have engages a social worker. She looks after the poor women and has already formed 12 Self- Help Groups of women through which we intend to raise self confidence and self-esteem, teach them skills of employment, introduce micro credit system, link the groups to the government banks, promote leadership among them and give access to all the government schemes for the poor people hither to denied to them. At present, we are working in 4 Gram Panchyaths and formed 12 Self Help Groups and 4 childrens clubs in the 3 villages. In our SHGs we are not only collecting money as a saving, but apart from what is narrated above, we are giving awareness on Education of girl child, child labour, hygiene, school dropouts and other training proramme for the women. Women are very close to the social workers(sisters), and they share their family problem too. Women feel confident to go to the bank and government office without any fear or hesitation. They say openly that they got this courage because of the social work teacher. Even though, there are many other self help groups providing them with easy loans, these women do not want to go there. They have great faith in our sisters and social worker. Now most of the women have learnt to read and write their names, thus become literates.
Education has always been the core factor in the development of individuals and people in any place. The Church has always recognized the importance of education in her mission. Education of the human person is the fundamental way for the Church, the way traced out by Christ Himself. Education in a very special way, is the concern of the Church because it has the duty of proclaiming the way of salvation to all and education is a powerful instrument of Evangelisation.
Education addresses the development of the whole person through spiritual and academic formation based on the Gospel. Through educational institutions the Church serves both the faith community and civil society by educating children, young people and adults to contribute to the common good by becoming active and caring members of the society they live in. We have a special concern for the education of the poor and the marginalized children of the rural areas.
Keeping these thoughts in mind and as per the request of the people of Ekamba and the surrounding villages, we planned to have a school in Ekamba. The team of Ekamba ie Fr. Harry and the Holy Spirit Sisters called a meeting of the local people to know their opinion on the need of starting an educational institution. People voiced out their ideas and expressed the need of having an English Medium School in Ekamba. The local team approached the president of the Diocesan Education Society of Gulbarga and obtained the permission to start the school with Nursery in the year 2016-2017. Sr. Saranya SSpS, the first teacher took up the responsibility of looking after the 28 children of the first batch of the school. At present we have Sr. Sangita SSpS as HM of the school for the year 2017-2018 and the total strength of the school has reached 60 in Nursery and LKG.
The scope of missionary work :
Apart from the pastoral work, the need for the social and other developmental works calls for social sensitivity. People have need of education on health and hygiene, quality education, promotion of job opportunities for the younger generation. There is lot of co-operation and goodwill among the poor people whom we serve. There are many other villages who are inviting us for the missionary work. We have to conduct regular visits to the existing villages for the ongoing and uninterrupted formation. At the same time there is a great desire in us to extend our mission to the neighboring villages.”
To facilitate the future growth of the mission, land 3.5 acres is purchased from Sanjay Kumar Patil in Sy No.27/1 very close to Ekamba on Ekamba – Deglur road, and another 3acres of land is purchased from Pandarinath in sy no. 180/1 closed to Ekamba on Ekamba-Aurad road. The new school building was blessed and inaugurated by the bishop on 04-09-2017 (in the newly purchased property of the mission on Ekamba- Aurad road), in the presence of all prominent leaders of the village and over 500 people participating joyously.
Now the mission is planning to put up a presbytery and a convent fot the stay of the missionaries.
Fr. Harry D’SouzaDirector
St. Paul Mission, Aurad
Director: Fr. Harry D’Souza 9449773737
St Paul School
Ekamba, Aurad 585326
Ekamba Cat. F 7
Bandar Kumta Cat. F 7
Bhavani Bijalgaon Cat. F 11
Karkyal Cat. F 12
Savargaon Cat. F 8
Chemegaon Cat. F 13
Dabka Cat. F 8
Convent: Missionary Sisters Servants of the Holy Spirit (SSps)
Holy Spirit Convent (2015)
Near Grama Panchayath, Ekamba
Udgir Main Road, Aurad TQ, Bidar 585326
Superior: Sr. Teresa Rebello SSpS 9620962785