Jesuits mount mountain mission
Tribal people set to welcome first permanent priests
Brother Kujur (second left), followed by Fr Kevillil and Fr Jose
A new Catholic mission in Tipling, a remote village development area in northern Nepal, will see Jesuits permanently living there among ethnic Tamang tribal people in the next few days.
The permanent mission in the upper part of Dhading district comes three decades after a visit to the area by Father Casper Miller, a Jesuit priest, an American priest working in Nepal.
The new missioners, a team of two young Jesuit priests: fathers Jiju Kevillil, 39, and Jomon Jose, 35, as well as a Jesuit scholastic, Ayer Kujur, 28, face a long journey getting to their new home.
The three, accompanied by a dozen lay Tamang Catholics, left Kathmandu yesterday heading for Dhading district, around 80 km northwest of the Nepalese capital. Today, they were undertaking a rough five-hour journey on bumpy dirt roads northwards in an old truck ahead of a two-day trek to Tipling which lies in the foothills of the Ganesh Himalaya mountains that border China.
Tipling consists of five villages where the majority of the population is mainly Protestant with about 100 Catholic families according to Father Kevillil.
“For some years there have been regular prayer services on Saturdays in some of the villages conducted by catechists but now we will be able to have Mass,” said Yoteman Ghale, one of the lay Catholics accompanying the Jesuits.
Thankfully, Father Kevillil and Father Jose know the Tamang people quite well.
Many Tamangs from Dhading district become migrant workers overseas or in the Kathmandu valley. For several years the Jesuit priests have been helping educate the children of Tamang migrant families in north Kathmandu along with the Sisters of Charity.
Scholastic “Brother” Kujur, meanwhile, has picked up some of the Tamang language.
When they reach Tipling, the Jesuits will live in rented accommodation for a year in Thulo gaon, the central village, and plans are afoot for them to start helping out in the local government-run school, which lacks proper teachers.