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Ri-Bhoi Catholic Church celebrates 100 years of its existence with a Priestly ordination

By Bivan Mukhim SDB
Archbishop John Moolachira of Guwahati invoking the Holy Spirit upon the Newly ordained
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Shillong, Mar. 17. Amidst the thrill and excitement of a new Pope in the Catholic Church, the Catholic community of Ri-Bhoi District of Meghalaya had two other reasons to celebrate as well. The centenary of the coming of the faith in Ri-Bhoi and the ordination to priesthood of Fr. Gabriel Jalong SDB. The double celebration of the centenary and the priestly ordination was held at the Assumption Parish, Nongpoh on 17th March 2013.
Archbishop Dominic Jala of Shillong was the main celebrant for the religious ceremonies. In his sermon, he narrated some facts regarding the spread of evangelization in the remotest corners of the district. He said that the hard work and dedication of the early missionary has borne good fruits in the last 100 years. ''The challenges that the early missionaries had to endure while visiting the Christians in the remotest places of the Ri-Bhoi district, a place infected by sicknesses and wild animals is worth recalling'', he said. He then affirmed that the missionaries had so much zeal in them to spread the message of Christ. The Archbishop underlined the contribution of the Church in the fields of education and social services in the district.  

The ordination of Fr. Gabriel Jalong was an important event of the day. He is the eldest of three siblings. Fr. Gabriel joined the aspirantate of Bosco Mount, Tura after the completion of his matriculation from Little Flower Secondary School, Mawbri. He made his first profession as a member of the Salesians of Don Bosco on 24th May, 2000. He completed his philosophical studies from Yercaud, Tamil Nadu in 2002, his Bachelor's Degree in 2006 and his B.Ed from Don Bosco College of Teacher's Education, Tura in 2009. He studied theology at Sacred Heart Theological College, Mawlai. He has chosen as his motto: ''Act justly, Love tenderly, Walk humbly with God.''

The large gathering that gathered to witness the double celebration was the outcome of the evangelization that the early missionaries undertook in spreading the good news of salvation. Among the early converts to Christianity was a living legend, Rev Fr. Sylvanus Sngi Lyngdoh, a 94 year old Salesian Priest who was also present for the celebration. Fr. Sngi said that he is extremely happy to be alive to see the 100 years celebration of the coming of the faith to the district.

Those present for the celebration of the centenary were Most Rev. John Moolachira, Archbishop of Guwahati Archdiocese, Most Rev. Thomas Menamparampil SDB, the Archbishop Emeritus of Guwahati, Most Rev. George Palliparambil SDB, the Bishop of Miao Diocese of Arunachal Pradesh, Fr. John Timung, the Vicar General of Diphu Diocese, Fr. George Maliekal SDB, the Provincial of Don Bosco, Silchar Province, a large number of priests, sisters and religious. Mr. Vincent Pala, the honourable member of the Parliament was also present for the celebration of the Holy Eucharist.
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