Church: by the students and for the students
Published on: 2:40 pm, March 26, 2016 Story By: Smitha George – Matters India
(A team of young students of Karunya University have shown us how to unite in Christ. Hats off dear friends! Where the new generation or at least our present shephard class is found to be running frantically for the best 22nd century plan for a Church building, these students have proved that a better energy field is possible at much less an amount. One important thing I noticed here is that these students have a feeling that the building is their own and it is their responsibility to build up themselves and add to their faith. That should have been the controlling spirit in all Christian commmunities. Unfortunately, what we have are irresponsible flocks of sheeps lead by rich shephards. We have everything to show but nothing to see – joseph mattappally asso. editor)
Coimbatore: Yes, a student’s church built by students for students. This could very well be the only one of its kind in the world.
When the Malayali engineering especially Syro Malabar students community of Karunya University, Coimbatore started their venture to build a church , they placed their complete trust in Lord Jesus Christ. In 2009, Palghat Diocese gave 22 cents of land for the church. Without delay, the students sprang into action. They collected donation from friends and family for this purpose. One of them even managed to collect Rs.90,000 on his own. One of the students drew the crucifix on a flex board and hung it in a shamaiana on the premises. This became the location for the first prayer meeting.
In 2009 the foundation stone for the church was laid. The students carried sand and metal themselves to build a 8ft wide path from the main road to the church. Sometimes they even carried cement bags on their heads. But by the time, the foundation work was over, they realised they have had run out of cash. They worked hard again and surprisingly managed to accumulate nearly 30 lakhs. At last the long awaited dream of their church came true in 2011. They decided to name their church- Karunyamatha Catholic Church.
The Bishop of Ramanathapuram, Rev. Paul Alappatt consecrated the church. Fr. George Ollakkal celebrated the first mass of the church. The church which is dedicated to Mother Mary and St. Don Bosco, who is the patron saint for youth, celebrates its feast every year on the last Sunday of January. All former students of the college meet here for the feast. A harvest festival, way of the cross and all major feasts are celebrated here. Not to mention the Pookkalam and Sadya for Onam.
On Sundays nearly 600 students attend mass every week. Till last year, mass was celebrated by a seminarian of the same university. Here the choir, altar service and sacristan duties are all done by students. The coordinator students meet the expenses of the church from the collected weekly offerings of nearly Rs.1000. The team of students – Jerrin, George, Amal and Shilson come together to ring the evening bells, say the rosary and night prayer before closing. On Saturdays they wash and mop the church clean. For the last 5 years, one batch at a time, has made it part of their daily routine.