By Felix Anthony
Miao, December 6, 2018: The biggest church in Arunachal Pradesh was blessed on December 5 in one of the last villages of the northeastern India .
Bishop Theodore Mascarenhas, secretary general of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India, blessed the Sacred Heart Church at Neotan, a small village in Changlang district.
The marked the day the Neotan villagers accepted Catholic faith 19 years ago.
Neotan sits on India’s border with Myanmar.
Present on the occasion were Bishops Joseph Aind of Dibrugarh, George Pallipparambil of Miao and his auxiliary Bishop Dennis Paniptichai and Coadjutor Bishop-elect Albert Hemrom of Dibrugarh diocese.
Addressing gathering of 2,000 people, Bishop Mascarenhas said that the message of peace, love, forgiveness preached by Jesus Christ is what is needed most in the world today.
“In today’s context of hate, discrimination and polarization, the Gospel message can mend broken relationship and heal broken hearts,” he added.
Prior to the inauguration of the church, the bishops planted saplings in the campus, to stress the importance of conserving and promoting the environment.
Bishops Aind and Pallipparambil congratulated the Neotan villagers for their new church and commended their sacrifices to build the church.
Bishop-elect Hemrom released a Hymn and Mass Prayer booklet in local dialect during the short felicitation program held at the conclusion of the blessing ceremony.
The villagers expressed great happiness over the new church. “It is like our dream coming true,” said Chomjung Mossang, a catechist of the village Church, echoing the sentiment of the entire village.
The new church that took two years to complete is built mostly on people’s sacrifices and local fundraising. It has a seating capacity of 2,000 people.