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Miracle of the Ordination


by Fr Duncan McVicar on 24/05/2015 -

Even though additional tremors continue to rock the Himalayan nation of Nepal, the thousand-odd Hindus of Tarkerabari village in the nation’s Okhaldunga district are rejoicing over the April 25 ordination of Jesuit Deacon Tek Raj Paudel of their village. The ordination is credited with sparing the village from calamitous casualties from the massive quake that struck immediately after the ordination ceremony. “They are still excited with what had happened. They continue to share their joy with me,” said newly ordained Father Paudel. The village is 125 miles northeast of Kathmandu, near the epicenter of the earthquake that rocked the Himalayan country on April 25. The disaster that claimed more than 8,000 lives occurred around noon, 30 minutes after the two-hour ordination ceremony, which was led by Bishop Paul Simick of Nepal and attended by hundreds of the Hindu villagers. While dozens of people died in the neighbouring villages, he said that the escape of the entire village is hailed by the Hindu community as “a blessing due to the ordination.” “I heard even the MP, Ram Hari Khathiwoda [the Nepalese member of parliament from the area], thanking the Christians for holding the ordination in the village,” said Augustine Lepcha. Lepcha is a Catholic relief worker who returned to Kathmandu on May 6 after taking relief supplies to the village, where most families are living under tents. “All the people there are only speaking of the miracle,” she added. St. Joseph of Cluny Sister Angelica reached the village two days before the ordination, along with a dozen other Catholics, to prepare the altar decorations for the ordination. “The soil under my feet was throwing up. Only when people started screaming and running, I realized it was earthquake,” recalled Sister Angelica, who was packing altar decorations when the quake struck. The villagers were saying, “Because of the ordination here, we were saved,” Sister Angelica said. “A miracle has happened here.” Similarly, Jesuit Father Casper “Cap” Miller, who comes from the USA but has been based in Nepal for 57 years, said that he heard local women saying, “Because of the [ordination] ceremony here, we were saved. God has protected us.” Father Paudel, the ninth of 10 children in a Hindu family, came to Kathmandu in 1988 for his college studies. “Curiosity to read the Bible changed my life,” the Jesuit priest said during an interview after returning to Kathmandu. “After I heard about the Bible during English classes in the government college, I went to find out more about Bible.” “I visited several churches and finally landed at St. Xavier’s School (of Jesuits) in 1990,” he added. After four years of catechism, he was baptized in 1994. “I was keen to have my ordination in the village, as the entire village belongs to my clan. I am happy that the superiors obliged my request,” Father Paudel said. “Now it has become a blessing to my whole village.” He added, “Many of them are now very eager to know about the Church and are planning to visit Kathmandu and the churches.”

 




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