Reflecting on time in India

Typical SCJ hospitality is found everywhere in India

Typical SCJ hospitality is found everywhere in India

As noted previously, Fr. Tom Cassidy spent much of the past two months in our Indian District. What follows is his final reflection on his time there, written upon his return to the United States:

I want to take a moment to reflect briefly on my two-month sojourn to India. First of all, let me note these are my own personal reflections and while I tried to be as truthful and accurate as possible in these blog posts, from time to time misinformation has slipped in. Perhaps this is another way of saying that you’re seeing India through the eyes of a tourist, a stranger to its life, culture and customs.

A wise Dutchman, Fr. Case van Passen, SCJ, a missionary in Indonesia for many years, once told me that even after 20-plus years in Indonesia each day brought with it a surprise. It took me some time to truly understand what he was trying to say, but I agree with his observation. Unless you are born into a culture and steeped in its traditions and ways from birth there are aspects to that culture you’ll never fully comprehend.

After two months in India, and this being my second visit, I do have a better sense of its life. India is a vast country composed of many languages and cultures. In fact, as I have said on more then one occasion, I marvel that it has been a functioning democracy for over 60 years. That is not easy with such a diverse population. Perhaps being a land of ancient culture has provided the glue to hold it all together. While there are differing cultures, languages, customs and foods there seems to be an underlying cultural unity to it all.

Fr. Tom and Fr. Joseph Gopu

Fr. Tom and Fr. Joseph Gopu

Religiously, the country is dominated by Hindus. I was struck by the fact that while there are 150 million Muslims (one of the largest populations in any single country) it is but a small percentage out of a population of 1.2 billion people. Christianity and more precisely, Catholics, are a much smaller percentage, about 1.6% in 2009.

However, Christianity is not a “Johnny-Come-Lately” to India. Indians trace their faith to the Apostle St. Thomas. One of the highlights for me was the opportunity to celebrate Mass at his tomb where he is believed to be buried. It’s located in the coastal city of Chennai. 

Religious tensions are not unknown in India. One of the factors to pay attention to in the upcoming parliamentary elections is the strength of the Hindu BJP party. There is a real possibility they will take power from the Congress Party and will have the opportunity to form the next government. From what I have read and been told, most likely, given the number of parties vying for seats, neither the BJP or Congress will gain enough seats to form a government on their own and will thus have to bargain with the small parties to form a coalition government. That may be best hope for religious tranquility for the next five years.

I spent most of my time at our theological house of studies in Eluru. It gave me the opportunity to know both our current first and second year theologians and the postulants heading for the novitiate. I thoroughly enjoyed living with these young men. They were most receptive to my presence and made me feel right at home. I was reminded that hospitality is a hallmark of SCJs. What I marvel at in this regard is, to the best of my knowledge, no classes are offered anywhere in the congregation on hospitality but we sure do practice it.

I was impressed with the quality of these men, both the theologians and postulants. It amazed me how easily they get around from place to place via public transportation. If I have one regret it would be not having the opportunity to use a bus to travel from one place to another. Several times we had trips from Eluru to Nambur or Guntur and lacking vehicles to carry us all many would use public transport (an auto rickshaw from our house to bus station, etc.) to get to our destination.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the SCJs arrival in India. Circumstances have thrust the responsibility for their growth and success on to their shoulders. Just what the future might look like only God knows. I was interviewed by Fr. Vilmar, SCJ, for The Mustard Seed, a publication of the Indian District, and in that interview I said that I believe something the Indian SCJs have to figure out is: What do they want to be known for? Or to put it another way, when someone asks who you are and you say “I am an SCJ” or “I am a Dehonian” will they readily recognize who you are and what you do?

Let me close by saying how privileged I feel for having made this journey; it has indeed been a blest time for me. I learned a lot and hope in turn that my presence was of value to them. I do believe that by rubbing shoulders with one another for two months something of me has rubbed off on them, and I know something of them has rubbed off on me.

A ministry of presence

Our theology house in Eluru, India: "Christu Dehon Nivas"

Our theology house in Eluru, India: “Christu Dehon Nivas”

As noted previously, Fr. Tom Cassidy, SCJ, spent much of the last two months with our theology community in Eluru, India. Before leaving last week he had a final Mass with the students. 

“The Mass was my last opportunity to address the students in a formal setting,” he said. “Basically I told them that when I get back home I’m sure one of the questions I’ll be asked is: ‘What did you do?’ My answer will be: ‘All I did was eat and pray with the theologians and postulants.’

“I call it a ministry of presence.

“Then I told the students that if I had any advice to offer it would be this: The people of God are not stupid and all the beautiful words you offer them will count for nothing if you don’t live them. 

“’Think everyday of St. Francis’ admonition to ‘preach the Gospel always and if necessary use words.’”

Screen Shot 2014-03-18 at 8.31.22 AM

One of Fr. Tom’s last blog posts from India was about going to a First Mass of Fr. Gopu, SCJ, and Fr. Gangarapu Marianand, SCJ. In it he writes:

At supper last evening Fr. Gopu informed me that we would leave for Sacred Heart Parish at 5:30 a.m. rather than with Fr. Jojoppa, SCJ, and the three theologians who would depart at 4:45 a.m. Getting up at 5:00 a.m. is so much better sounding then 4:15 a.m.!,” wrote Fr. Tom.

It was to be a First Mass for both Fr. Gopu and Fr. Gangarapu Marianand. Fr. Gopu’s first assignment will be to assist Fr. Jojoppa at his parish in addition to his duties as the new treasurer of Christu Dehon Nivas.

Fr. Marianand’s will be at our Sacred Heart parish/shrine in Nambur. Last year he did his deacon ministry with Fr. Jojoppa while Fr. Gopu worked with Fr. Dharma, SCJ, at the parish in Nambur.

Since Fr. Marianand previously served in the Eluru parish he was the main celebrant at this morning’s liturgy, along with Frs. Gopu, Jojoppa and me as concelebrants.

It was a long Mass! We started at 6:00 a.m. and it was about two hours before the end was in sight. Of course I did not understand a word of it as the entire Mass was done in Telugu. At times like this during a long homily one’s mind begins to wander and mine began thinking of all the places around the world that I have had the opportunity to celebrate Mass.

Some of the places I recalled included Uganda Martyrs parish in apartheid South Africa, pre-Amazon forest parishes in northern Brazil, and my little favorite of Bualan on the Island of Mindanao (Philippines).  I have had many opportunities in the course of my service as general councilor and later as provincial superior. In each case, while the language was foreign to me the heart of the liturgy was not. And while there are always some local customs particular to a country and/or culture the liturgical drama always unfolds telling the same story over and over in only God knows how many languages and dialects.

A couple of examples of Indian practices we would not find back in the States:

(1) There is always a long introduction to the liturgy, almost a mini-homily at the start of Mass.

(2) Frequently the Prayer of the Faithful is not said, especially at weekday Masses.

(3) Music is essential to the celebration and all songs are sung from start to finish, or at least I presume they get through all the verses given the length of each song.

(4) Intinction is customary for the priest as well as the people (when the cup is offered).

(5) There is a very small spoon (similar to what some Eastern Rites use) to mix the water with the wine at the offertory.

(6) The Sign of Peace is a bow with hands folded. The priest will first offer this gesture to the people who return it to him and then to any priest on his immediate right and left.

This morning at the offertory procession everyone came to offer either money, rice or another food item such as eggs. The food items are for the use of the parish priest.

 

A young and growing SCJ entity

Prayer in Guntur-XL

As noted previously, Fr. Tom Cassidy is assisting with the formation program in the District of India. Today he writes about the some of the SCJs in the district, noting that youth is both a blessing and a challenge for the congregation’s presence in India.

Yesterday Fr. Gopu Bala Joseph Reddy, SCJ (Gopu) moved to Eluru as he will assume the duties of treasurer for the community on April 1, 2014. He will replace Fr. Jojoppa, SCJ, who will then be able to devote full time to his duties as pastor. I believe Fr. Gopu, SCJ, will split his time between the theologate and assisting in the parish.

Fr. Gopu, SCJ, did not arrive alone; he came in a novitiate vehicle along with some of the novices and Fr. Gangarapu Marianand, SCJ. He and Fr. Gopu, SCJ were ordained earlier this month.

Finally Fr. Ajit Kumar Basla, SCJ, accompanied the group. Fr. Ajit is from north India where at the moment the SCJs are present only in Mumbai. Indians tend to think of their country in terms of north and south with Andhra Pradesh being the boarder state, i.e., anything north of here is in the north and Andhra and any state south of here is southern India.

Fr. Ajit, will be going to Spain this summer to study at ESIC, a well-known business school run by the SCJs. I presume he is being groomed for future work in finance. He has already completed the formation program for treasurers our general administration offered several years ago

Fr. Ajit, main celebrant, will be going to Spain this summer to study at the SCJs' ESIC business school

Fr. Ajit, main celebrant, will be going to Spain this summer to study at the SCJs’ ESIC business school

I am not sure what assignment Fr. Gangarapu, SCJ, has received, but in addition to Fr. Gopu, SCJ, being assigned here he will be joined by Fr. Siju Saloman, SCJ, who was ordained on March 1st in Kerala. I met Fr. Siju at Kumbalanghy where he served on the formation staff as a deacon while also assisting in a local parish. Now that the number of theologians will increase (they will double next year!) and with the postulant program moving elsewhere, having at least two full time formation staff is important.

The fact that both Frs. Gopu and Siju are so young underscores the reality of both the challenge and the blessing of our young district. 2014 marks the 20tht anniversary since our arrival in India. Starting from scratch is never easy and it was even more difficult here since the Indian government does not permit foreign missionaries to work. With the help of some benevolent bishops and lay people, and the efforts of many SCJs from around the congregation, we were able to plant the SCJ charism first in Kerala and now in several other states including Andhra Pradesh as well as the metropolis of Mumbai.

The challenge for the district is that they are so young and lack the experience that comes with age. Fr. Thomas Vinod, SCJ, is the first Indian District Superior and he will turn 35 this coming December. His age may be the average age of the district. It also might also be lower as the nine novices will make their first profession on May 1, 2014, and the nine postulants who were here will begin their novitiate year.

The first US Provincial Fr. Richard Keefer, SCJ, is often quoted as saying: “You build with the bricks you got.” That certainly was true in the early years of the US Province and is most certainly true here!

The Indian District has made a conscious effort not to isolate itself. It has sent men to study and minister in:

• Indonesia
• Philippines
• Brazil
• South Africa
• Cameroon
• Scotland and Ireland
• Venezuela
• Rome
• Germany [two Indian SCJs are awaiting visas]

Students wave-XLHere in India many men are involved in formation programs to ensure a future for the community. The district also staffs three parishes. I have spoken of all three: Mumbai, Nambur and here at Eluru. Again the pastors are all very young SCJs. Fr. Dharma, for example, at Nambur was tasked with building his parish church, which was dedicated in January. He will turn 31 in September. Fr. Jojappa turns 34 in June and he will relinquish his duties as treasurer here so that he can devote all his time to time to the parish, including the challenge of finding the money for the land and construction of a parish rectory. Fr. Benzigar Aji, SCJ (Mumbai), will turn 40 in October and was among the first to join the SCJs.

Actually the genesis of my coming to India was a request made by Fr. Thomas Vinod  at our last General Conference held in Neustadt, Germany. Fr. Thomas asked provinces to consider sending older SCJs to spend time with their Indian SCJ brothers since they are so young and don’t have the historical perspective that older SCJs represent.

While I have spent most of my time living with the theologians and postulants, by the time I complete my stay here I will have visited most of the houses of formation. I will miss the philosophy house in Aluva though I am familiar with it as it was the first stop on my trip in 2011.

Rushing to catch a train… Indian style!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

As noted previously, Fr. Tom Cassidy has spent the past month with the theology community in Eluru, India. He wrote the following after a week’s retreat with the students:

I just returned from a pilgrimage with the postulants. When we met Friday evening as a group for the last time Fr. Vimal, SCJ, was kind enough to thank me for my presence not only for being on the pilgrim journey, but for the time I gave to the postulants. I filled in for him and taught class for four days early on in my stay at Eluru. He and the postulants gave me a small statue of Our Lady of Health as a remembrance of our time together. In turn I told the group this.

Screen Shot 2014-03-02 at 7.44.00 AM“Any first-year teacher, and I think Fr. Vimal will attest to this, will say: ‘You [postulants] have taught me much more then I have taught you.’ I can say the same I have learned much from you and am most grateful. Earlier I said, partly in jest, that in saying ‘yes’ to coming on the pilgrimage with you I might regret it. But I can say honestly that I have no regrets! It has been a wonderful journey for me — well I suppose the train rides leave something to be desired, but you can’t get here if you don’t take the train. Besides, I’ve now fulfilled Gandhi’s admonishment: ‘If you want to really experience India you must travel by train.’ There were many highlights for me, but certainly saying Mass at the tomb of St. Thomas the Apostle, ranks as my No.1 as he is my patron saint. Thank you from the bottom of my heart and know you are in my thoughts and prayers. If I have the opportunity to return next year I certainly hope to have time in the novitiate to see where each of you are on your spiritual journey and in discerning God’s will.”

We enjoyed our last meal together in one of the many small local restaurants. Fr. Vimal did something I like to do as each day: we ate at a different place giving us the opportunity to experience cuisine from the many styles that can be found in this vast country. A few even featured Chinese cooking on the menu. I suspectChinese cooking can be found almost anywhere in the world.

It took me a day or so to know that if you ask for a meal you’ll get rice and several kinds of curries and condiments to go with it. I opted for this style once but the rest of the time I went for a specialized dish such as egg chapatti.

We were informed that the train would depart at 10:15 p.m. and that we should be prepared to meet in front of the priest guesthouse at 9:00 p.m. I thought to myself “Good, it gives me time for a bath, shave and to finish packing.” I had just finished my bath and shave when there was a sharp knock on my door. Dressed only in a towel I met Fr. Vimal, who quickly announced: “Mega had the time wrong and the train will depart at 9:00 p.m., we need to hurry!” Luckily I had most of the packing done and I rushed as fast as I could to dress, pack and be in front of the guest house ASAP!

Now began what I can best describe as one of those scenes from an early Charlie Chaplin silent movie where the cops are chasing after the robbers in a typical Keystone Cop routine! With muster called and all present we rushed (fast trot you might say) with bags in hand or on our backs to the nearest motor- rickshaw stand. Fr. Vilmar, did his usual negotiations for three rickshaws and off we raced. I was in the first rickshaw with Fr. Vilmar and Manish (he usually traveled with us as he’s the smallest of the postulants). I think Fr. Vilmar got his message across to our driver as it was FULL SPEED AHEAD — well, as fast as a fully loaded motor-rickshaw put-put engine would carry us. Fortunately, the train station is not very far and we arrived with a couple of minutes to spare. I suppose with a bit of apprehension in each of our heads we waited for the other two rickshaws to come flying around the corner with the other eight postulants.

Wouldn’t you know it, the train was on track No. 2 so most of the postulants jumped down onto track No. 1 as it was by far the shortest way as we only had a couple of moments to spare!

I blurted out: “I can’t do this!” So Fr. Vilmar rushed with me across the overhead bridge as Jesu grabbed my bag.

Screen Shot 2014-03-02 at 7.43.51 AMAt the last moment I said to myself “Go for it!” And so Fr. Vilmar and I jumped down and crossed track No.1 and luckily the doors on the cars were open on both sides and all managed to get on board with just seconds, or so it seemed, to spare!

Though I would have preferred to stay in second class with the postulants and Fr. Vilmar, he had purchased a ticket in a sleeper three-tier air-conditioned class. He was kind enough to take me to my bunk and I settled down for the night journey. We’d arrive in Chennai around 5:45 a.m. It was the last stop so I was told: “Don’t worry about getting off.” I was a bit anxious about that as trains do not make any announcements on station arrivals and depending on where you are in the car and tier arrangement you may or may not catch sight of a stop’s name.

My anxiety was well founded! At about 5:50 a.m. we arrived at what looked like Chennai and the station from which we departed Wednesday evening. Many people were getting off so I got off as well. I know my car was near the front of the train and the rest were somewhere behind my location. I started walking toward the rear a bit surprised I did not see anyone from our group. At about that moment from the window of one of the cars Libin called out:

“Father, this isn’t our stop it’s the next one!”

I got back on the train, this time in second class and road the rest of the way with the postulants. And that was the real end to our Keystone Cop experience!

Screen Shot 2014-03-02 at 7.44.13 AM

Pizza in India

bgPizza-v01

The start of a new pre-Lent custom?

Perhaps a week ago at the supper table we were talking about Fat Tuesday and differing customs, and from that conversation I said that I would take everyone out for pizza the day before Lent begins.  There seem to be no local customs such as donut eating that we do in Milwaukee the day before Lent begins.

When our house cook had to return home unexpectedly (his uncle was seriously injured in an accident), we moved up our pizza day.

In the afternoon I gave Fr. Mariano some US dollars to convert for me to pay for the meal. He got a good exchange rate of 60 rupee for one US dollar. I was well armed with plenty of local currency.

On Saturdays adoration and evening prayer take place at 7:00 p.m. so the plan was that we would leave after that in the van and jeep. Fr. Jojoppa and one of the students would come later by motorbike as someone had to wait for the milkman to make his Saturday delivery. All together we had 20 people headed to a U.S pizza parlor. I was told Guntur has an honest-to-god Pizza Hut.

Looking back we probably should have held a class on what is pizza, and how to order it as there was some confusion when first we got there. The pizza parlor was not very large, but we managed to grab enough tables and chairs for the 18 of us who arrived first and saved room for the two coming later.

As for the pizza, it was similar in style to thick crust pizza or Chicago style. I’m not sure how each table decided to place its order but at ours we each ordered a medium pizza which would be comparable in size to the personal pizza one finds in Rome for example. At my table we ordered different combinations, like Texas Style, or Mexican, or Sicilian, etc.

As this is India there was a good selection of vegetarian pizzas on the menu as well. Best as I can tell no one went with vegetarian. Our drinks consisted of water though I had a cup of espresso at the end. No beer or wine is served, nor sodas, though one could get a fruit drink or what I would call an ice cream soda.

As it turned out, no one, with the exception of Frs. Mariano and Vimal, who studied in Rome, ever had pizza before. That accounts for some of the confusion we started with. I said to Fr. Mariano that it was funny to watch everyone at the other tables eat the pizza with a fork as pizza is certainly a dish that in the States that is socially acceptable to eat with your hands. For a group that, if given the choice, much prefers to eat with their hands I found it a bit funny.

We ended the meal with ––  yes, you guessed it –– ice cream. In an e-mail I received this morning one of my sister’s remarked: You seem to get a lot of ice cream. I just had the good fortune of being here for the month of February when the community celebrates six birthdays. I also think given the hot climate and hot food ice cream is appreciated.

Indian rap accompanies car trip

Screen Shot 2014-02-19 at 8.34.38 AM

In this post Fr. Tom Cassidy, who is spending February with the theology community in India, writes about a recent car trip with the community to an ordination; he promises to write about that ordination in a future post.

Our drive took just under three hours. We (Fr. Mariano and six of the theologians) left Christu Dehon Nivas at 1:35 p.m. and arrived more or less around 4:30 p.m. Our trip home took a bit less time as there was less traffic. Since the theologians are young men around 24 to 26 years old I was treated to almost three hours of what I could best describe as Indian rap or Indian hip-hop music. Every once in awhile a couple of familiar words would come out between the Telugu: “Michael Jackson.”

I was glad we got to the ordination early as it gave me an opportunity to meet up with some Indian SCJs I have met over the past couple of years. I was not the only foreign SCJ present. Joining in the ordination celebrations were Frs. Sebastian Pitz, SCJ (Brazil), Martin van Ooij, SCJ (Indonesia, but Dutch by birth), Jesus Manuel Baerna (Spain) and Dwijo, SCJ (Indonesia). I have spoken of all but Fr. Dwijo before. He came because one of the newly ordained is working in Gisting at his parish.

Gisting is famous among SCJs for its mild climate. It is located several thousand feet above sea level, which accounts for its very mild condition (temperatures much cooler than the rest of the country). Perhaps the one downside for visitors to Gisting is that the water for bathing, which is heated only by the surrounding air, makes for, let me say, a rather invigorating morning bath! Fr. Dwijo is the parish priest, our Indonesian novitiate is also located in Gisting.

As we waited for the ceremony to begin I got a chance to speak with our  altar  boys  (the boys were surprised when I told them that in  the States  we  had  altar  servers  and many  of  them are girls).  Their English was of varying qualities; the young  man  in  the shirt (pictured above) was  my  chief  interpreter as  he  is  going  to an English School. He eventually got into a server’s outfit before we processed into the cathedral.

Look closely to the two servers standing next to him and note the holes in their surplices near the hemline. The server who carries the thurifer (incensor) keeps the lid open and swings it back and forth. Believe me it is filled to the brim with burning charcoal. I have visions of burnt feet but they assured me it doesn’t  happen, but as for burn holes in the surplice, now that’s a different story. It was fun talking to the boys. I have found that often when a stranger comes to a foreign land, especially from North America or the British Isles, young people like to ask questions and show off their command of English.

Fish day

little-india-singapore-fish

Everyone pitches in on fish day

It is a very popular dish around here. More fish is served than chicken or any other kind of meat. A fair number of our SCJs come from fishing villages in Kerala and naturally have a taste for fish. Here in Eluru we are about 2 1/2 hours from the coast so I can’t say the villages around here hold many seafaring men. However, I suspect fish may be the least costly source of protein in the local diet.

When Frs. Mariano and Jojoppa returned yesterday afternoon I asked them what time they left as the night before I was told the trip was planned for a 2:00 AM departure. I thought my watch said 4:00 AM when the old diesel jeep cranked up outside my window. Even if I had been in a deep sleep the racket would have pulled me back to a conscious state. At any rate, the answer I got was 3:30 AM. The discrepancy in time may be my watch as I have a setting for Milwaukee time and local time. MKE time is 11 1/2 hour behind India’s one time zone.

I asked Fr. Mariano about their trip. The road to the coast is not very good right now as a lot of it is under construction (don’t we know about that back home!). Although the traffic was light there was a lot of mist and fog along the way. At times, he said, they could hardly see 10 meters ahead (30 feet). The two of them managed to arrive in plenty of time to catch the boats. Although people plan on the boats coming in around 6:00 AM more often not they’ll be at least a half hour later. A lot depends on how good the fishing was, and I’m sure both the weather and currents and tides may have something to say about arrival time as well.

Fish day at the theology house

Fish day at the theology house

About 2:00 PM the jeep came rumbling up our driveway with its horn a-blaring. The signal for: “All hands on deck.” The jeep was packed with three or four large styrofoam boxes containing the iced fish. When asked how many kilos he brought back, Fr. Mariano replied: Oh about 200 or maybe 250 kilos. That should last  the community of 20 around two months. With their summer vacation coming in mid-March and the postulants leaving here around March 1st for a couple of weeks vacation before they have to report to the novitiate at Nambur I think this load may last a bit longer.

Both the theologians and postulants were all gathering to begin the process of cleaning the fish and getting them ready for the freezer. Fr. Sebastian asked: “How can you keep the fish frozen with the frequent electrical outages?”

Most of the outages are of a short duration of no more then 15 to 30 minutes. Freezers will keep stuff frozen for that duration. For longer times the house has a generator that seems to me can run the entire electrical needs of the community. We’ve used it a couple of time since I’ve been here. I haven’t figured out how, when or why the generator kicks in as most of the time it does not. My working theory is some outages are planned and our generator is fired up during these. I’ll have to ask for a better explanation.

Three kinds of fish were brought back: A red fish, a black fish, and one large fish. The latter I missed as it was cleaned near the end of the afternoon and I missed seeing it. In any case, none of the students could tell me what it was other than: “It was a big fish.”

The fish cleaning party took place behind the kitchen. It took a little while to round up all the students but before too long music was a blaring and laughter and chatter could be heard even from the roof when I was up there to send my afternoon e-mails and journal/blog to the provincial office. As the fish cleaning party is a regular occurrence (about every two months) everyone had an idea of what he was supposed to be doing. Since some of the students do come from fishing villages they probably have done similar work, perhaps not on this scale, within their families.

Keeping in mind that the 440 pounds of fish would be reduced in volume/weight as scaling and cleaning took place for a community of 20 at the full weight of 440 it amounts to 22 pounds of fish per person and about 1/3 of a pound per day. As I’ve said, it is the probably the chief source of protein.

We were talking about the local diet at breakfast and comparing it to what we eat back home. I said: Americans would want more vegetables, especially green vegetables, than what is served in the house. Obviously lots of rice form a major source of calories in the diet. A cup of short-grain white rice has 242 calories that include 53 grams of carbohydrate and four grams of protein. Believe me, the students plates are piled with a lot more then a cup of rice as it is the mainstay of most meals.

The students worked all afternoon before they could call it a day and put the 200-plus kilos of cleaned fish in the deep freezer for future use. They enjoyed the fruits of their labors at our evening meal. A small token of thanks showed up at the end of the meal in a dish of vanilla ice cream for all.

That reminded both Fr. Mariano and Sebastian of Fr. Tom Garvey, SCJ, who holds a special place in the development of our Indian SCJ presence. I spoke about him earlier. His name came up because Tom was well known for his love of ice cream. He did not develop that taste here in India but brought it with him from the States for there too his love of ice cream, especially vanilla, was well known.