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Odisha Church observes first native priest’s birth centenary 

By Purushottam Nayak

Raikia: More than 2,500 people attended the birth centenary celebrations of Odisha’s first native Catholic priest in a Kandhamal parish.

Archbishop John Barwa of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar, who led the opening Mass at Our Lady of Charity Church in Raikia on October 23, thanked God for the gift of Father Pascal Singh to Odisha. The Divine Word prelate hailed Father Singh for rendering yeoman service to the Dalit, tribal and other marginalized groups in the eastern Indian state. “He was a reformer, educationist and visionary.”

Besides the archdiocese, the dioceses of Berhampur and Rayagada are also commemorating the centenary.

Bishop Sarat Chandra Nayak of Berhampur, in his homily, said Father Singh was “an apostle” of marginalized communities such as Dalit and tribal people. He set up schools to educate children from these families, he added.

Later at a felicitation program held at Raikia’s Vijay High School, lay leader Bijayananda Singh said the Catholics of Odisha are grateful to their first Catholic priest who had done great deeds for their advancement.

“Let his personality inspire and motivate everyone to continue his noble deeds,” said Bijayananda Singh, who is the convener of the centenary committee.

John Nayak, a retired police officer, said hard work, ability to dream high and total faith in God had motivated Father Singh to help the poor, needy and downtrodden students. “He is not with us but his education is with us,” he added.

Archbishop Barwa, who chaired the meeting said people can join mainstream society only through value education prompted by Father Singh. He also urged the gathering to heed to Pope Francis’s call to have “a head to think, heart to feel and hand to work” for the poor.

Father Singh was born on May 27, 1918, in Alanjur village under Bamunigam parish in Kandhamal district. He was ordained a priest in 1945 at Katingia parish under Cuttack-Bhubaneswar archdiocese. He died on February 2, 1990, in Cuttack.

Father Singh set up the Technical Mission High School, Surada, a model hostel at Ganjam for the poor and underprivileged students. Other educational institutions he started include Vijay High School, Raikia, Kandhamal and Cambridge English medium School. Cuttack.Father

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8 Responses to Odisha Church observes first native priest’s birth centenary

  1. Singarayan

    Education has an immense impact on the human society. One can safely assume that a person is not in the proper sense until he is educated. It trains the human mind to think and take the right decision. In other words, man becomes a rational animal when he is educated. It was understood well by Fr. Pascal long ago.

  2. Devchandan

    Many students from these institutions have come I.A.S, O.AS, IPS, Doctors, Engineers, officers, politicians, bureaucrats, priests, bishops and many human right activists. Thanks to mattersindia for reaching out and making known to everyone.

  3. Ramesh

    The great soul knew that Education is not something that you learn in closed doors it is something you acquire by living the experiences.Let this great soul inspire and motivate many to bring change in the society specially focusing least, lost and last

  4. Miss. Smita

    According to Ambedkar, “Education is a weapon of creation of mental and educational
    development, weapon of eradication of social slavery of economic development of political
    freedom.”. Father Pascal very well knew the importance of education and so he could choose this mission. Let the great soul be remembered with gratitude.

  5. Sister Divya, sja

    Father Pascal realized the thought of Nelson Mandela “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

  6. Aswin

    Through education a desired change and upliftment in the society can be taken into effect. Grateful to the great soul who established many educational institutions where hundreds of students make their bright future.

  7. Manoj

    In our culture today, there is a huge emphasis on education. In fact, human life begins with education. The fulfillment of the needs of human life is possible only through education. Education is necessary to remove the different evils of the society. Education plays an important role in the evolution of human life. Father Pascal knew very well and therefore it was his first priority for the students.

  8. Jarlal

    He had special love and concern and real heart to bring up the poor, needy and underprivileged students. He knew that it is only through education one can come to the mainstream of the society. He is alive and active through his students and many institutions.

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