On July 16, 2022, the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, the Most Rev. Robert M. Miranda, Bishop of the Diocese of Gulbarga, blessed and laid the cornerstone for the new Holy Cross Mission Center in Afzalpur, North Karnataka. The future center will include a community residence and plans for a future school.
The Congregation of Holy Cross's Province of South India began the Afzalpur mission in 2019 in response to Pope Francis’s invitation “to go to the peripheries” in service of God’s people. Fr. Lawrence D’Almeida, C.S.C., was the first pioneer missionary who began his service with pastoral and social outreach. Joining him recently in ministry are Fr. Oliver Nazareth, C.S.C., and Fr. Roshan Minin D’Souza, C.S.C.
Afzalpur is located in a remote, primitive area where the Catholic population amounts to only 0.1 percent of a population of 7 million people. Many of these people are economically exploited and educationally deprived.
Bishop Miranda expressed his gratitude to Holy Cross for its courage in accepting this mission. He stressed how the evangelization, social development, and education at the center will significantly uplift and change people’s lives. “This will be a place to encounter Jesus and for people to experience kindness, love, compassion, healing, and consolation,” the bishop said.
In his words of gratitude, Fr. Roque D’Costa, C.S.C., Superior of the Province of South India, thanked the bishop, benefactors, and donors for their support of this project. Highlighting Holy Cross’s reputation as “educators in the faith,” Fr. D’Costa visualized how this Center “would be a place to make a difference in the life of children by making a constant response to the most pressing needs of the society.”
In addition to the Holy Cross priests present, also attending the occasion were Fr. Stany Lobo, Vicar General; the Religious of Our Lady of the Mission; the Auxilium Sisters of Don Bosco; Mr. Mahantu Rathod, Municipal Councilor of Kalur Thanda; and the building engineer and constructions contractors.