Four-day Seminar in September, 2010 for SCC Regional Council of West Bengal and Sikkim in India

By Rev. Xavier Thelakkatt

 

The Small Christian Communities (SCCs) of the northeastern states of West Bengal and Sikkim in India held a four-day seminar for the Regional Council from 28 September to 1 October, 2010 at the Pastoral Centre Sanjivani in Kolkata (Calcutta). The theme for the seminar was “Promoting the Spirit of Sharing.”

At the seminar an evaluation of the whole region revealed a great growth in the number of communities as well as in the quality of the meetings. Sister Christin, the Regional Coordinator, said that the attitude of the people was changing and, transforming the Word of God into action by caring for others, visiting the sick, sponsoring the education of the poor, helping the needy and contributing to the construction of homes, roads, etc. There are as many as 1,841 Small Christian Community units in the whole region and 556 of them are in Krishnagar Diocese alone.

The Catholic Church in this region is young and vibrant experiencing growth in numbers and institutions. There is a good response to direct evangelization efforts from among Hindus and Muslims. The land here is prone to natural calamities like cyclones, storms, landslides and floods. People of all religions live together, work together and suffer together. There is need here for promoting inter-religious harmony through neighborhood communities. Great need for catechetical formation with emphasis on inculturation is also felt here. In all these areas the Small Christian Communities play an important role by empowering the laity. The area extending to the states of West Bengal, Sikkim and the Kingdom of Bhutan comprises the Archdiocese of Calcutta and the suffragan dioceses of Asansol, Bagdogra, Baruipur, Darjeeling, Jalpaiguri, Krishnagar and Raiganj.

Bishop Cyprian Monis of Asansol, inpresiding over the inaugural session of the seminar, talked about the role of Small Christian Communities in transforming the Christian community into a living Church. The seminar adopted five different aspects to be promoted among the common people –removal of poverty, focus on youth, women empowerment, communal harmony and environmental protection. The action plan formulated at the end emphasized greater involvement of the youth as a priority in the church as well as in the Small Christian Communities.

At the concluding session Archbishop Lucas Sircar, the chairman of the West Bengal – Sikkim SCC Movement, stressed the need for strengthening the SCC movement at all levels, transforming hearts, families and individuals.

In the West Bengal-Sikkim region, side by side with Small Christian Communities (SCCs) and Basic Christian Communities (BCCs) there are also neighborhood communities known as Neighborhood Human Communities (NHCs), Basic Human Communities (BHCs) and KPGs (Kudro Pratibeshi Gosti). These promote coming together of neighborhoods with people of all religions and castes, thereby bringing about inter-religious harmony and cooperation. The bishops, diocesan directors and the lay people work together in conducting awareness programs and training animators in view of establishing and maintaining such communities of 15 to 20 families.

 

NOTE:The eight photos are from Father Arul Rozario, the SCC Movement Director in Krishnagar.

 

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