To make effective intervention in the lives of the tribals as well as backward castes of Baria Taluka for their overall human development through our educational, medical, and social projects and programmes.
To proclaim and witness the Word, deepen the faith by meaningfully making use of the local resource/culture, power of the youth through education and shape their future, to enkindle the light in the lives of the faithful through the faith formation and secular education, by sacrificing and witnessing to the Divine Word bring all people closer to God and give the experience of the Divine Word and love to all.
How it all started:
As per the district recommendation of the district assembly at Jhalod, on the occasion of the Provincial Visitation by Br. Francis Sanmanasu’s SVD, a committee consisting of Frs. Joe Vaz SVD, Chackochan SVD and Jacob SVD was appointed on March 5, 1995. The committee was to study and present a report on the Baria Mission. The committee met at Sanjeli on March 18, 1995. The following are the findings of the committee. This mission was started as an extension of the Godhra Mission in 1983. Fr. John De Britto SVD was the first one to reach the mission. He was visiting Baria while stationed at Godhra. There was no Christian community. Fr. John De Britto SVD made contact with the people through his medical help. He started staying at Baria in 1985 as we obtained a plot of land there. He continued his stay there till in 1990. Fr. Chackochan Kakanatt SVD took over the mission. He could make some headway in contacting the people around through the medical help offered by the Sisters from Godhra, who visited the station occasionally. He also developed a good relationship with the officials at Baria. During his stay at Baria, the new house also was completed. The mud house is still there. The building has a chapel which can accommodate about 25 people, a dining hall, a kitchen, four living rooms, a godown etc. Fr. Chackochan Kakanatt SVD left Baria in 1993 and Fr. John De Britto SVD came back to the mission and remained there till June 1994. Since June 1994, there is no resident priest at Baria. Presently the priests from Godhra to Baria on Sundays to meet the pastoral needs of the three catholic families. There are government servant and liable for transfer.
Result of our presence in Baria:
The silent Christian presence at the station has given a witness value. The people know us in the town as well as in the surrounding villages. They respect us seek our help and guidance in times of their needs; viz medical help, settlement of their disputes etc. they make use of our facilities without any inhibitions. We provide drinking water for the public. They make use of our threshing floor, and store grains in our building. Thus, we are able to reach out to the people of 10 kilometers radios without going to them.
Proposals and Possibilities:
- For Sisters: there are a number of doctors in the town. They do exploit the people. There even exists a maternity home run by an ANM, whose charges are also not reasonable. Hence, the sisters could be of help in the following fields. i. medical help especially for women, ii. Craft, tailoring typing etc for women. However care should be taken not to come in conflict with the existing system of the town.
- For Priests: i. The priest along with the Sisters can visit the villages around and provide medical help adult education etc. ii Through family visits they can also remove their superstitions and other social evils. Could begin a Bible correspondence course. iv. His residence could provide a reading room for the public and an information centre. v. Involvement with the youth through tuitions, games sports and cultural activities.
Residence of Priest and Sisters: The sisters could stay at the existing building at Baria and the priest could stay in a rented house in the town till a plot of land is found and the building is ready for the sisters in the town. The chapel at the Sisters residence could be used for the people too.
Bishop’s Proposal for a pastoral centers: after sufficient deliberations and consultations in the District assembly, it was found that the proposal for a pastoral centre at Baria is not practical for the following reasons.
- Not centrally located.
- Lack of accommodation
- Lack of conveyance
- Absence of a Christina community.
- Lack of trained personnel knowing fluent Gujarati.
- In Devgarh Baria, even after 15 years of SVD presence, there is not a single Catholic Family. However, primary contact is being maintained by a resident priest, hoping that the Lord of the Harvest will show the way to those who are open to the Word, at the opportune time.
We are seriously exploring the possibility of starting a nursery class (play-school), for the children of the town folks and the project will be self supporting. Recently two families of Catholic and a bachelor have moved into the area of Baria Taluka for employment. Two of them employed in the Govt. department and the other in the Bank sector. At present we have a small Catholic community of four families for Sunday liturgical celebrations. In the coming months we hope to have more intense socio-economic and economic activities at the center as well as at the village level and the presence of a small Christian community is an encouraging sign for all of us here. Shanti Bhavan Baria is a frontier mission centre having no Christian community. It is situated in a highly Hindu populated locality. The people have very little knowledge of Christianity and the Christian message of salvation. They are unfamiliar with the parson of Christ. Most of them regard Christianity as a foreign religion and the upper-caste Hindus consider it as a religion of the lower-caste. The majority of the population consists of various groups of tribals as well as backward caste Hindus. Besides social backwardness, the people are economically backward and underdeveloped. They have to really struggle for their daily sustenance.
1983 Fr. John De Britto SVD made contact with the people through his medical help.
1985 He started staying at Baria and obtained a plot of land there.
1990 Fr. Chackochan Kakanatt SVD took over the mission.
1993 Fr. Chackochan Kannatt SVD left and Fr. John Britto comes back.
1994 No resident priest.
1995 Fr. Damien Ekka SVD takes over. In Devgarh Baria, even after 15 years of SVD presence, there is not a single Catholic Family. However, primary contact is being maintained by a resident priest, hoping that the Lord of the Harvest will show the way to those who are open to the Word, at the opportune time.
Confreres who worked so far….
Name of the Confreres
Fr. Vincent Topno
Assistant Parish Priest
Fr. Chackochan Kakkanath
Fr. John De Britto
Fr. Damien Ekka
Fr. Joseph Vayalil
Fr. Damien Ekka
Fr. Ayyankolil Anup George
Fr. John De Britto
Priest In Charge