India Desk Activities

Posted on: 19 May, 2015

Modified on: 19 May, 2015


I. BELGIUM- INDIA

A.There are the ongoing activities of groups in Belgium who support specific groups and projects in the Ranchi Mission. They work independently of the India Desk and at the same time are in contact with it.
1. Workgroup Kishor Nagar. Since many years generous people have been sponsoring the beautiful work of Father Vic Van Bortel, Kishor Nagar. After his death with the assistance of the India Desk they organized themselves into a Work Group which coordinates the various initiatives and meets a few times a year, besides coming to Kishor Nagar itself for voluntary work, filming and strenghtening the bond.
2. Father Rasschaert died a martyr of Peace and Brotherhood 50 years ago. Ever since then a group of relatives, friends and benefactors have not only kept the memory alive but have helped much in different projects in the parish Kutungia where Fr Rasschaert was Parish Priest at the time of his martyrdom.
3. Continuing the initial inspiration of Reverend Omer Tanghe late Dr Aime Vermeersch and his wife Mrs Greta Lagae, have untiringly fostered the mutual contact between Belgium and India, in particular the Lievens Mission. They have guided many groups and have been the inspiration of the flourishing CSA, Calcutta Sponsoring Aid. Together with Rotary Menen they also have helped in a substantial way Asha Kiran, the shelter for girls, many the victims of abuse and injustice.
4. Several groups, like The Amaat Vyncke- Lievens Committee and the Moorslede Lievens Mission Committee, are actively connected with the Lievens Mission and also with the Causa Lievens which foster in different ways the Beatification of Father Constant Lievens sj.
5. The groups and organizations which continue to have a link with Arouse and the work which later Father Pieter-Paul VanNuffel started in Gumla.
6. The Sidon Maes Friends, the Dhanwartala friends, is a group of mainly but not exclusively relatives of late Fr Sidon Maes who continue his life’s work with the Korakus in Chattisgarh.
7. The friends of Father Missiaen and of the Satnami mission centred in Mahuapali,Chattisgarh, who remain actively involved in supporting this beautiful initiative of Father Wim Missaen.
8. The “Domestic Workers Association” started by Sr Jeanne Devos is a very active in ranchi uner the direction of Father Chetan IMS. It is an important link between India and Belgium
These are only a few examples of different initiatives which from far or from closeby India Desk is in contact with .
B. One may not forget the many big and small efforts made by individuals and groups
C. A special place in the activities of the India Desk is the collaboration with the groups of students which visit India and especially the Ranchi Mission on a Live-in Journey.
1. The High School of Izegem started this on a one-time Live-in Journey in 1989.
2. The Intermediate section of the Klein Seminary Roeselare where Father Constant Lievens studied so many years ago, has been coming for the last 10 years on a two-year basis for a Live-In Journey. They remains very actively involved and continue the exchange in different ways.
3. The Jesuit St Jozefs Intermediate High School, Aalst, has been coming every 2 year since the last 8 years to the Ranchi Mission, at one time with 52 students. The contact is very much alive.
4. There is the group of Scouts from Beveren which come every two years to visit mainly Dhanwartala and have a real Live-n experience of this place and of the life and culture of the Korakus.
5. Already two times a group of 25 students from the Jesuit Our Lady Higher Secondary School has come on Live In Journey and have benefitted very much. The last time was in April 2015.
6. The university students of Antwerp, specifically through USOS which keeps the spirit of Jesuit education and spirituality alive, have been sending since many year 5 to 7 students, mainly of the department of Law, to Delhi and Ranchi for field work and comparative studies in different areas of Law. They are the guests of XISS who not only looks after their Board and Lodging but also provides each student with a Mentor and the possibilities for fruitful research and fieldwork.

II. INDIA – BELGIUM
There are groups from Ranchi who visit Belgium and are in contact with people there who are actively involved in the Ranchi Mission.
1. Already three times since 2010, every two years, St Xavier’s Higher Secondary School, Dorunda, has been sending a group of its student to Belgium for human and cultural exchange. It has specifically participated in the Pickling Dance festival in the environs of Aalst.
2. The Lievens Academy of Lohardaga has been to Belgium once on a Live-in Journey and intends to continue this fruitful tradition.
3. It is hoped that over the years other groups will have a change to experience this exchange.
4. Every year the India Desk publishes the Ranchi Calling Newsletter, the Christmas and New Years’ of father Provincial in Flemish, in English and in Hindi.

III. INDIA DESK IN BELGIUM
Specific initiatives of India Desk in Belgium have been sustained by Father Aurel Brys sj especially during his yearly visit to Belgium as director of India Desk.
1. There is the yearly “India Dag” (India Day) in the lovely surroundings of the Jesuit Spirituality centre of Drongen (Belgium). Every two years it is for the General Public who have been to India/ Ranchi and/ or who have a special interest India and in the Ranchi Mission. Every other two years this India Day is organized for the students who have been on a Live-in Journey. On that day they tap in a special way into the memories and experiences of that trip which for many has marked them in some way positively for their life. Over the years the bond and family spirit experienced on that day is becoming stronger.
2. Though there are only 6 more Belgian (Flemish) missionaries left in Ranchi and three who mainly for health reasons had to go back to Belgium, there is still the network of the friends and relatives of the missionaries. There have been after all between 1959 and 2066 more than 500 young missionaries joining the Bengal. Ranchi Mission. This means at an average more than 5 per year. The network of relatives and friends of these missionaries has been thinning, yet the India Desk does keep in contact with them.
3. India Desk is not really for fund raising. There are other instances who do this, first and foremost the PDD (Province Development Director, presently Father George Kerketta sj, Yet because the close personal contact which the India Desk has with many people it is instrumental of sponsoring small people related projects in the Mission

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