To grow as a participatory community of vibrant Christian families, nourishing ourselves on the Word of God and the sacraments, and proclaiming and propagating Gospel values, for promoting a just and peaceful society which is in harmony with the whole creation.
To make this parish a communion of communities by building up small Christian and human communities based on Gospel values, and to involve all sections of the People of God in planning, decision making and execution of all the apostolate and projects in the parish so that this parish becomes a self-supporting, self reliant and self propagating community.
Steps to achieve this goal:
- Make the Christian communities strong in faith, witnessing through life and active in apostolate.
- Make the parish a praying community
- Make the parish a fully participatory church
- Make the parish self supporting and self reliant.
How it all started:
Semli is an interior village about 15 km away from Udainagar in the Diocese of Indore. It is situated on the shore of river Kanad that joins Narmada River. In 1955, four families came to Semli from Chikilia. They were Sulya, Mohta, Dodiyar and Bandod. Mr. Mangilal Sulya and Hamdu Mohta came in the same year. Fr. Vaz from Barwani was visiting these Christians twice a year to fulfill their spiritual needs. After Fr. Vaz, Father Alwaris started coming to Semli from Barwani and even after his transfer to Sanawad. Fr. Nicholas Jez SVD was visiting Semli from Sanawad. Once Indore diocese was divided, Sanawad came under Khandwa Diocese so Fathers were not able to come. As the year passed, about 150 Adivasi families grew slowly and among them 15 Christian families. The first Christian family was of Mr. Mangilal and Rabhi Bai with a child from Badwani village under Khargone district. Fr. Karmino was coming from Tillore to look after the spiritual needs of these people. In the year, 1987-88 Fr. Sudhir Shenoy SVD came from Tillore and bought a land for Udainagar. After him, Fr. Thomas Thalachira SVD came to Udainagar and he was also visiting Semli every week from Udainagar. Fr. James Mailady was his assistant. Fr. Joseph Mangalath SVD was appointed after Fr. Thalachira SVD. Fr. James Mailady SVD built the church here. It was during Fr. J. Antony SVD’s stay in Semli for many year, St. Arnold’s Mission was emerged.
Bishop George Ananthil SVD thought of starting Semli as a mission station but unfortunately he could not start because land was not available but he could start a mission station nearby area, Udainagar which is 15 km from here. This mission station was started in the year 1984. In 1985 FCC convent Sneha Sadan was opened at Udainagar with the help of SVD Fathers, Fr. Thomas Thalachira SVD and Fr. James Mailady SVD. Sisters helped Semli Christians in the faith formation. They were sheep without shepherd. Sisters of Secular Institute (Don Bosco) Indore usually known as Behanjiee’s started to render their service under the leadership of FCC Sisters. They were looking after the boarding children of the poor neighboring villages. They were staying in the small building attached to the small chapel. Even the novices of FCC sisters were here for exposure programme in the year 1994. In the year 1995, Bishop of Indore made a request to the provincial Council to take over the Semli Mission station and sent through Sr. Rani Maria who was trying her best to animate and liberate the poor villagers especially of the Semli village. In the provincial council of FCC held on 16th February 1995 the mission of Semli was brought for discussion. As a response to Bishop’s request, Sr. Assisi and Sr. Sangeeta came forward on 23rd February 1997. When Bishop George Anathil SVD made pastoral visit to Semli he informed the faithful about the beginning of the convent. On January 18, 1999 at 10.30 am Bishop George Anathil SVD together with the Fathers, Sisters and lay people blessed the convent. On July 13, 1999 was a memorable day in the history of Semli mission station. On that day the first parish priest, Fr. J. Antony J. SVD took charge. Along with the family apostolate social work started in the year 2001. On February 2002 a small dispensary was opened for the poor villagers.
The St. Arnold’s Mission is situated in the village Semli, in the Bagli Tehsil of Dewas district. The village comes under the village Panchayat of Kanad. Semli village is bordering three districts such as Dewas, Khargon and Khandwa. The village is almost 130 km. away from the district headquarters of Dewas. Because of the remoteness and distance the developmental activities are almost nonexistent. The district is 100% tribal. Small rivers and rivulets and river Narmada surround the villages. Because of the geographical situation, during the monsoon the villages are cut off from the tehsil town of Bagli. The main tribal groups are Bhilalas, Baralas, Bhils and Korkus occupy the mountainous terrain of the land that is available for cultivation. The forest resources have dwindled because of the cutting down of the forest by vested interests. Lack of transport facilities, basic communication network and poor condition of the existing roads have increased the remoteness of the people. Local products find no market and fetch little price. People have remained in ignorance and become targets of vested interest in the name of politics and religious fundamentalism. Illiteracy, growing population, ignorance, unemployment have increased mortality rate among the children and grownups. This has lead to poverty and has given rise to Naxalite tendency among the strong united tribal community. Right over the local resources of the people making them aware of their basic rights for descent living will enable them to join the main stream of the society.
A-Pastoral and Religious Activities of Mission The center was started as a subunit of the Catholic Diocese of Indore in the year 1999. The personnel at the center are involved in the all round development of the local people through alternative modals of development and growth that will foster local resources management that lead to a descent living. Family visits and rosary are done regularly. Parish Priest and sisters have promoted the family prayers and Rosary every Christian family and people are also responding well. Sunday mass is preceded by Rosary and Confession. Easter, Christmas and feast days of Mother Mary are celebrated solemnly. During the Christmas season Carols are organized in the villages. In preparation for Easter and to have a meaningful celebration, during the Lenten season retreat for the villagers is organized. To deepen and strengthen the faith of the tribal catholic various programs such as retreats religious seminars and pilgrimages are organized. They are encouraged to attain the bible conventions organized by diocese. Regular catechistical instructions to school going children are given. We do not have our own school in this center. We have a hostel for the boys. We have 102 boys in our hostel. They go to government school in the village. They are not taught properly in the school. We in the hostel teach our children for two hours before they go to school.
1955 Four families came to Semli from Chikilia. They were Sulya, Mohta, Dodiyar and Bandod. Mr. Mangilal Sulya and Hamdu Mohta came in the same year.
1960 Fr. Vaz from Barwani was visiting these Christian twice a year to fulfill their spiritual needs. After Fr. Vaz, Father Alwaris started coming to Semli from Barwani and even after his transfer to Sanawad and Fr. Nicholas Jez SVD too visiting pastor.
1984 This mission station was started in the year 1984.
1985 FCC convent Sneha Sadan was opened at Udainagar with the help of SVD Fathers, Fr. Thomas Thalachira SVD and Fr. James Mailady SVD. Sisters helped Semli Christians in the faith formation.
1994 Even the novices of FCC sisters were here for exposure programme
1995 Bishop of Indore made a request to the provincial Council to take over the Semli Mission station and sent through Sr. Rani Maria FCC.
1997 Bishop George Anathil SVD made pastoral visit to Semli who informed the faithful about the beginning of the convent.
1999 Bishop George Anathil SVD together with the Fathers, Sisters and lay people blessed the convent at 10.30 am. On July 13, 1999 was a memorable day in the history of Semli mission station. On that day the first parish priest, Fr. J. Antony J. SVD took charge.
2001 Along with the family apostolate social work started.
2002 A small dispensary was opened for the poor villagers.
2012 New hostel was blessed
2013 New Presbytery was blessed
Confreres who worked so far
Name of the Confreres
Fr. J. Antony
Fr. Cyril Cutinho
Fr. Damien Ekka