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Priestly boost to Darjeeling

Seven ordained as 6,000 faithful flock to tiny village mission

Priestly boost to Darjeeling
Newly ordained priests with Bishop Stephen Lepcha of Darjeeling Photograph by Sunil Rosario
Sunil Rosario, Pedong

April 29, 2011

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The Darjeeling diocese got a big boost with seven new priests. The men from Pedong-Kalimpong and Sikkim region were ordained at the Sacred Heart Church on Wednesday. “Priesthood is the gift of God given to individuals to carry on the mission of Lord Jesus Christ. It was wonderful to see seven deacons from the diocese to be raised to the altar,” Bishop Stephen Lepcha of Darjeeling said in Nepali during the eucharistic celebrations. He said Pedong was chosen as the venue for the ordinations as most of the deacons come from the predominantly Buddhist region and is one of the oldest mission parishes of the diocese dating back to 1882. The Darjeeling diocese has a population of over two million people. Vidhya Singh, President, Nari Sangh (women’s group), said , “We are grateful to God for giving seven new priests.  They will work towards the empowerment of women and the youth of the diocese.” Pedong was in festive mood as 6,000 faithful poured into the tiny village mission. The bishop ordained deacons: Boniface Rai, Mercelino Sukden Lepcha, Pradeep Rai, Stephen Lepcha, David Yozan Rai, Benjamin Bikram Tamang and Michael Singh. For Marcelino Sukden Lepcha it was a great achievement as his entire family is still practicing Buddhists. The bishop, the main celebrant, and the concelebrant priests were led by a group of dancing girls. Nearly 150 priests were present. Father Felix Baretto, Vicar General, presented the deacons to be ordained and each one of them gave their consent to the ordination to priesthood. Laying of hands on each one of them by the bishop and the concelebrants, the anointing of hands, their obedience to bishop and his successors, investiture and kiss of peace were part of this long ceremony. Each ordained gave communion to his parents and family members. IE68/304
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