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New Church building at Sonada
By KNOTS Correspondent
Kolkata, May. 28. A spacious, exquisitely built and beautifully furnished new Parish Church at Sonada was blessed and dedicated by Rt. Rev. Stephen Lepcha, the Bishop of Darjeeling, on Sunday MAy 27, 2012. The ceremony which began at 10.30 am was attended by several civil and ecclesiastical  dignitaries, including Rev. Fr.  Thomas Ellicherail SDB, the Salesian Provincial of Kolkata, priests, sisters and over 2000 faithful.  During the Holy Mass presided over by the Bishop with over 40 concelebrants, the Church, the Altar and Tabernacle were blessed and consecrated.
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During the homily the Bishop congratulated the Salesians for building the most beautiful and biggest Church in his diocese, and that too within a short span of completing a similar Church in Kalimpong parish. He remarked that when it comes to the question of giving to God, the Salesians give the very best to Him. Commenting on the Book of Haggai in the Bible, the Bishop observed that one of the surest ways of enjoying peace and prosperity in the society is to build a fitting dwelling place for God. At the same time he also  reminded  the people, quoting St. Paul, that  more than anything made by human hands, each human being is a temple of God and it should be kept holy.

The Parish Choir assisted by the brothers of Salesian College sang the specially chosen hymns with fervor and gaiety enabling the congregation to enter deeply into an atmosphere of prayer and devotion.  

After the Mass there was a short felicitation for the Bishop who had evinced keen interest in the construction  of the Church right from the very beginning. Fr. Thomas Ellicherail, the Provincial thanked the Bishop on behalf of the province and the people of Sonada parish for the unstinting support and encouragement given by him and for his words of appreciation of the ministry rendered by the Salesians in the diocese.

Two new books in Nepali  prepared by the parishioners were released to mark the occasion. The first one, a short History of St. Theresa's Parish,  Sonada by Sushna Subba and Terrance Mukhia and the second one, the Life of Dominic Savio translated by Claudies Yonzon.

The programme ended at 1.30 pm with an  agape  for all the participants prepared deliciously  and served  with a smile by the parishioners,  under the able supervision of the Mahila Samaj of the parish .

Fr. Martin Lakra, the Parish Priest, Fr. Jagjivan Tirkey the APP, and  the Parish Council members, especially Terrance Mukhia the MC of the day, deserve kudos not only for the meticulous planning and execution of the day's programme to the great satisfaction of all,  but also for embarking on the ambitious project of building a Church of such magnitude in a hilly terrain like Sonada and that too in the midst of so much socio-political turmoil that was  taking place in the hills. Added to that, all the materials had to be transported from Siliguri with two roads closed to traffic and the third one,  almost un-navigable. It was indeed a herculean task that was accomplished with love and the fruit of which  is a beautiful Church today, a veritable feast to the eyes, inspiring devotion and prayer in all those who step into it.

The arrival of Fr. MD George SDB from Kolkata, to help give the finishing touches was indeed  God-sent and his contribution was duly acknowledged by all. Fr. Martin Lakra and Fr. Jagjivan Tirkey now handover the reins of the parish to Fr. TV George and  Fr. Babu Joseph, two veterans in the hills, and move on to their new destinations with tremendous satisfaction, at a task well accomplished.


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