Social and Mission Activities
A BRIEF ACCOUNT OF THE VILLAGE APOSTOLATE
The students of Saint Ephrem’s Theological College visit several villages in the vicinity of the seminary on every Saturday afternoon. The people welcome them wholeheartedly and the brothers make it a point that they build up personal relationships with the villagers. We visit houses, console the sick, conduct tuition for children and take classes for the youth. Wetry to provide possible financial help to the poor children for their education. We also see that anganwadi teachers are paid each month an amount of 600 rupees. Our village ministry is held in collaboration with the Samaritan Social Service Society of the Eparchy of Satna.
On the eve of Christmas, we go to the villages to stage a Christmas drama, to sing carols, and to give a thought provoking Christmas message. We present the drama in their culturalcontext and integrate in it the great message of Christmas which the Angel announced to the shepherds, “I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is the Messiah, the Lord” (Lk 2:10-11). As part of great joy and happiness, we share Christmas cakes with the villagers.On every Republic day the children in the surrounding villages are brought together into the seminary. That particular day is also known as ekata divas or children’s day. Children come in huge number to take part in games, competitions and cultural programmes. On the same day an inspirational and thought provoking movie is arranged for them. After the sports and cultural competitions the children are rewarded for their brilliant performances and refreshments are also given. The Fathers and Brothers of ETC work together for the success of the ekta divas.Towards the end of the academic year the village ministry conducts village anniversaries for children. The anniversary brings out the hidden talents of the children; it provides them opportunity to perform various cultural programmes. We do conduct some arts and sports competitions for the children and the winners are given prizes. The children prepare someprogrammes in advance under the guidance of their tutors and brothers. Many are good at singing, dancing and oration. This year the village ministry could arrange a cricket match between the brothers of ETC and the students of Khama-Kooja village.
“Criminals should be treated as patients in hospitals and jails should be hospitals admitting such patients for treatment and care”. [Gandhiji]
The brothers of ETC are very much active in taking care of the least, lost and last ones of the society. We have a voluntary group called Premdan and many of the brothers are members in it. The members of Premdan are regular in visiting the Central Jail in Satna on Thursdays, to extend love and concern to the brethren who are behind the bars.
On every Thursday two brothers visit the Central Jail, Satna and the primary service they do in the prison is teaching the prisoners and giving them moral guidelines. We also conduct entertainment programs for the prisoners during Christmas season and also on Independence Day. Every year we have a volley ball match with the prisoners. We have also started a Spoken English course for themand 20 of them are very regular in their classes.Many of the prisoners share their painful experiences and brothers try to console them and enkindle their hope for a better life. We try to share the Gospel values with these lost ones who are repenting over their past life. This voluntaryministry helps the brothers to know and learn the problems of the people who are behind the bars.
Sir 14:13 says, “Do good to friends before you die, and reach out and give to them as much as you can.” Premdan is an voluntary organisation meant for the studentsof St. Ephrem’s Theological College to extend the helping hand to the poor. It also includes anyone who comes forward to associate to the social welfare of thepoor of the neighbouring villages. The organisation empowers the seminarians to quench the spiritual, social, economic needs of the people by financial and spiritual Premdan undertakes the activities such as Jail ministry, Blood donation, Child development etc. It promotes the intellectual and financial assistance for the poor boys and girls for their higher studies. For the purpose of self-financing, it organises fund raising. Through Premdan ETC knows the pulse of the people and acts according to their needs.