St. Francis De Sales Church, Kohima, marks the completion of twenty five years with a delightful celebration scheduled on Oct 1 & 2, 2005 at the local ground Kohima. It is jubilation of the joys and sorrows, trials and troubles, wishes and visions, in the way of their Christian faith as the members of the Catholic Church. The jubilee marks the foundation of the Parish Church, though the membership of the church are far ahead the time. A parish is the geographical unit of Catholics with a priest as their spiritual father. That beginning of St. Francis De Sales Church, Kohima dated twenty five years ago is remembered now as it so dear to them. It marks their beginning as a new family of faithful believers under the leadership of Rev. Fr. Thomas Vattoth sdb who took the responsibility of heading the new community. He was officially installed by Rt. Rev. Abraham Alangimattathil, then bishop of Nagaland, attaching the parish house to the Catholic Publication Centre, an already well known institute by then.
This jubilee celebration is double headed with the Angami Catholic Women Association (ACWA) also marking its formation in the very same year, the first bud to bloom, the first to branch out from the main stem, the parish. The emerging institutional growth of the Savio School and the St. Mary convent was a clear indication of the pastoral extension and vitality bloomed within the parish in the days to come.
Memories down the lane are full of vibrant events, like the visit of Bl.Mother Teresa in 82, release of a Prayer-cum-Hymn book in Angami, the Birth of Catholic Association of Nagaland in 83, the birth of Angami Catholic Union in 88, etc. A set of pious and pastoral practices, started by Rev. Fr. Joseph Edakuddan, are golden marks as recorded by Mr.Rocus R.Chasie. They include celebration of the family Day, Family Units, Commemoration of fifth day after death, etc. The growth is undoubtedly is the fruit of the labour immeasurable, rendered by thousands. That includes the Priests, Sisters, religious, lay leaders and the faithful themselves. It is an unending list of dedicated people from Mr.Kevipralie Paulus at the beginning to Rev. Fr.Carolus Angami and Fr. Johnson V.U of the day. The various associations of men, women and the youth are sacs of strength and enthusiasm in many a way, that kept the move on.
The year long jubilee celebration includes a variety of programmes ranging from personal prayer to community outreach programmes. The main celebration is set from the eve of Saturday (1st) to the later half of Sunday (2nd). The liturgical celebration will be animated by four Bishops from North East, namely, Rt.Rev.Stephen Rotluanga from Aizawl, Rev.Dominic Lumon from Manipur, Rt. Rev. Andrew Marak from Tura and Rt.Rev.Jose Mukala from Nagaland. The spiritual flowering of the celebration will be the solemn reception of the holy sacraments of First Holy Communion & Confirmation by over hundred aspirants within the most Holy Jubilee Eucharist leading to the grand finale at cultural fest and the jubilee meal.
The jubilee celebration is a time of praise of the bliss from above. It is stock-taking of the present and setting a vision for the future. It should, if to be worthy, be a renewal of the community, firmly setting one’s eye on the Lord and extending a helping hand to those around. St. Francis De Sales church is golden to all with its great service rendered to the members and to the state at large. As the motto reads “IN YOU (GOD) WE TRUST,” the church lets an open arm of assurance of life and strength in God to all who walk in - a golden time ahead. Praise to Jesus Christ!
Fr. Francis Cheerangal