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Khelo Rugby's Jungle Crows home sees largest celebration


By C.M. Paul
Photo & collage by Albert Ekka
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Kolkata, Jan. 31. SILIGURI, 31 January 2021: A tea garden catholic community saw the largest ever gathering of priests, religious and faithful for a religious celebration, when a pastor's jubilee was organized in the tea garden village of Sarsawatipur in Jalpaiguri district.  The celebration was held to mark the silver jubilee of Father Subir Mondol's religious vows.
Fr. Subir Mondol, is a pastor of the Sarswatipur mission which is also the home of the now world famous Jungle Crows' Khelo Rugby Team. While the village is known for creating rugby talents, the inhabitants chose to arrange a celebration amidst the grim months of the pandemic scare.

Khelo Rugby is a project of the Jungle Crows Foundation that takes rugby, sporting and social development opportunities into disadvantaged communities! Now Khelo Rugby is spread over 35 locations in Kolkata, 7 villages in and around Saraswatipur in North Bengal, besides other states in India including Karnataka and Manipur.

Two school bus loads of candidates of Ferrandini Sisters, Cluny Sisters and Nirmala Sisters as well as Salesian Brothers of Salesian College Siliguri joined over 1,000 faithful of Saraswatipur mission station.

The celebrations started with traditional Adivasi welcome of Fr Subir in front of the tea factory gate and solemn procession to the lavishly decorated Church.

Fr Subir presided over the solemn Eucharist with eight other priests from North Bengal Salesian communities of Siliguri, Sonada and Oodlabari.

Fr. Davis Veliyan, parish priest of Don Bosco Shrine Siliguri under which Sarasawtipur mission station falls joined the open air felicitations along with three Management Staff from Tea Factory.

The programs which started at 10 am concluded by 3 pm with fellowship meal for all.

Fr. Paul Taverna who died on 26 January 1995 was Salesian pioneer at Saraswatipur mission from 1970 to 1995 while he started Siliguri mission. Fr Taverna used reach out to this village situated right inside the forest and under the care of Maria Basti Parish near Jalpaiguri. The Catholic community of Saraswatipur is over 118 years old. END

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