By Frida Toppo
Ratanpur: On November 1, I visited the village called Ratanpur, 16 kilometers away from St. Mary’s Church, Hailakandi of Roman Catholic Diocese of Aizawl in Barak Valley, Assam.
The poor people’s rich hearts and simplicity touched me.
When the time came to discuss the celebration of Christmas, my heart reached Ratanpur. We wanted to celebrate Christmas with the villagers on December 20.
There are only seven Catholic families of 27 members.
Simple and loving young children away from modern technology like television, smartphone, and computer get thrilled by our arrival at the village.
They come to the main road far away from the village to welcome and fetch us to their homes.
On December 20, MSI (Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate) Maria Sadan community, Father Michael Toppo, assistant priest cum principal and some of our boarding children went to Ratanpur.
A few of the parishioners also joined us to encourage and cheer them up.
Our community animator Sister Little Flower along with boarding girls went ahead and decorated the small church made up of bamboo.
We had prepared the delicious meal and cake at the convent and brought along.
Father Toppo offered Christmas Mass. A brief entertainment like dances and singing followed.
We conducted some games for children and parents and gave away prizes like T-shirts, fancy caps, glasses and cups. The young children were so happy to receive the prizes. It was amazing to see them smiling.
We shared our fellowship meal. Before we left the village, we visited all the families and prayed for them.
It was the time for departure. I was happy to be there and it was hard to leave them.
Though we were in the village from morning till evening, the villagers did not leave us even for a while.
On our return, some questions propped up in my mind to ponder: How rich are they in love and care? How great are they to spend their precious time with us?
Though they are uneducated, they teach me how to be simple, how to trust in God, and live in joy and peace.
This Christmas celebration with villagers left a deep impression on my life as a person and missionary. ‘The poor have many things to inspire and teach us in life,’ I said to myself in silence.
To conclude, I look forward to another chance to visit the villagers in our pastoral programmes.