Eastern India holds a town called Bettiah, situated in the state of Bihar. It borders directly on the northern part of Nepal and is ranked as the third-poorest state in India. On the very edge of town, in the suburb of Maihindiyabadi, a new Catholic parish was established some time ago because many people are migrating to the area, including a number of Catholic families.
For now, the parish has no church. Holy Mass is celebrated outside in the open air. Needless to say, with much difficulty, especially in winter and during the heavy rainfalls of the monsoon season.
A Presbytery Eaten Away by Ants
Parish priest, Father Kishore Reddy, is also without a proper place to live in. Right now, he is living in a little and very old, mud-walled wooden house. Much of the timber has been eaten away by ants, and now, the house is, in danger of collapsing. Moreover, the walls have large cracks, allowing snakes, rats and scorpions to get inside and water to pour in during the rainy season.
And so the diocese is now planning the construction of a new building. One that will include both a chapel and a small presbytery. As soon as the building is finished, there will be two priests living there and ministering to the parish.
But the people are poor, and the parish is also short of money. Most of the people live from hand to mouth on whatever they can grow or produce themselves. Their faith however, is important to them, and they play an active part in parish life. But in financial terms, there is little the faithful can contribute to the cost of the new building despites its great importance for this young and still growing parish.