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Little Meghalaya Flashes its Faith in Bangalore
By Fr.T.C.George
Bangalore, Nov. 1.     Around 200 youth hailing from Meghalaya, studying or working in Bangalore, gathered at Visvadeep, Kristu Jyoti College, Bangalore, to celebrate the BCCM (Bangalore Christian Community of Meghalaya) Day on October 27, 2013. His Grace Most Rev. Bernard Moras the Archbishop of Bangalore presided over the Eucharistic celebration concelebrated by a dozen priests.  The melodious Khasi choir, the cultural programme that followed and the Khasi girls dressed up in their colourful traditional attire (Jain sem) adorned the Visvadeep campus. The Khasi-Jaintia and the Garo youth turned Visvadeep into a little Meghalaya.
The Meghalaya youth posing for a photo
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The Bangalore Christian Community of Meghalaya (BCCM) had humble beginnings. This initiative was undertaken in 2006 to address the needs of migrant youth in Bangalore, especially those from Meghalaya. \''When I came to learn about the Khasi youth migrating from Meghalaya to the global city of Bangalore for study and for jobs, I thought of gathering them together to offer them spiritual assistance. I had a special love for the Khasi-Jaintia people especially the youth since I had involved myself in pastoral ministry in their villages during my theological studies at Sacred Heart Theological College, Shillong\'', says Fr. T.C. George, SDB, founder-director of BCCM.

The objectives of this ministry with the BCCM are mainly three:

1.To bring the Khasi-Jaintia Christians together in unity to celebrate their cultural and Christian identity;
2.To help the youth to keep alive and celebrate together their Christian faith through the celebration of the Word and the Sacraments;
3.To face together the challenges of migrant youth in Bangalore City.

The first gathering of BCCM took place at Visvadeep, Bangalore on October 1, 2006, the feast of St. Therese of Lisieux. Nine boys and girls participated in the Eucharistic celebration. From then on, the group came together occasionally and began to celebrate their Christian faith in different locations of the city. The main programmes used to be the celebration of the Holy Eucharist, the sacrament of reconciliation and social meeting. The group began to grow gradually as time went by.

On December 12, 2009 the youth organized the first ever Khasi-Jaintia Christmas celebration in Bangalore. In 2010 they took the name 'The Bangalore Khasi Christian Community' (Kynhun Kristan Khasi Bangalore). Office bearers were elected to share leadership roles. From 2010 onwards gatherings became bi-monthly and used to take place at BOSCO Yuvodaya, Gandhinagar, the Salesian centre for the children on the street. The gathering was always centered on the Eucharist celebrated in Khasi.

His Grace Most Rev. Dominic Jala SDB, the Archbishop of Shillong was delighted to know about our ministry to the Khasi-Jaintia youth in Bangalore. The Archbishop celebrated the Eucharist for the ''Kynhun Kristan Khasi Bangalore'' on September 25, 2010 at Visvadeep. Around 130 participated in the Holy Mass and the Khasi lunch which the youth themselves had prepared.

It was In 2011 that the ''Kynhun Kristan Khasi Bangalore'' was re-christened as ''Bangalore Christian Community of Meghalaya'' (BCCM) to be more inclusive to all the youth from Meghalaya. St. Therese of Lisieux was embraced as the chief patron saint of BCCM.

In August 2011 the BCCM youth welcomed with great joy the relic of Don Bosco which arrived in Bangalore . The BCCM choir sang in the St. Francis Xavier's Cathedral for the occasion and won great appreciation. His Grace Archbishop Dominic Jala SDB revisited the BCCM and presided over the Eucharist on September 30, 2012.

This year, the BCCM celebrated the Year of Faith through various programmes such as the Eucharistic celebration, the Sacrament of Reconciliation, spiritual retreat, Bible quiz, orientation talks and other faith building activities.

Seven years on, the BCCM meet on a regular basis on every second and fourth Sundays of every month at BOSCO Yuvodaya, Gandhinagar. Over 300 youth from Meghalaya, spread all over the city, are in contact with BCCM.

Living in the large city of Bangalore, far away from their homelands, the migrant youth face many challenges at the socio-economic, religious and moral levels. \''They need support and accompaniment to grow up as 'good Christians and honest citizens'\'', pointed out Fr. T.C. George, director of BCCM, and added, \''Khasi speaking priests from Meghalaya visiting South India are most welcome to visit us. We invite financial and spiritual support for this ministry too.\''

The dream of BCCM is to bring together all the Meghalaya youth in Bangalore into a believing and witnessing community which will shine forth as ''Ka Jingshai''(the light), and turn it into a model Christian group in Bangalore city.

The BCCM Director can be contacted at tcgsdb@yahoo.com  and Cellphone: +919448815694

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