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Sponsored Kids Rejoice Being With One Another

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BELLARY, OCT. 24 (Fr Francis B.): Over 500 children benefiting from the Bellary diocesan Sponsorship programme rejoiced being with one another during the get-togethers held on Oct. 19 at Harapur and Maski parishes. Various sponsorship programmes have been in operation in the diocese for the past many years. It all began with the initiative of Fr. Santan Quadros. Now it has grown into sizable proportion assisting a good number of children in Bellary Raichur and Koppal districts. Due to various organizational necessities the Belgium based programme has become three independent organizations both at Harapur and Maski. These are known as Abhaya India, Ankura India and Father Quadros India. The diocesan administration, after the formation of a sponsorship committee to look after all that is associated with the sponsorship programme, planned to gather the children and begin with an annual meeting of all the children from this year. Harapur: Under the guidance and keen interest of Fr. Irudayaraj PJ, all the sponsorship children and their parents coming under the supervision of Harapur parish had started gathering in the church premises. Children registered themselves as they walked in and began interacting with other students whom they have not met for months since the begin of the school year in June and some others whom they have not met for years since there was no such gathering organized for them in the past. In the mean time children who have not written their annual letter to their foster parents began working on it. Some, who have not had their photographs taken, were also helped to complete this work. Children were also found meeting Fr. Irudayaraj and update him about their studies and wellbeing. When almost all the children had arrived we gathered in the church to celebrate mass. It was also an occasion to address the students and parents. Fr. Irudayaraj and Fr. Francis explained to them the importance of the sponsorship programme and the sacrifice foster parents do to help the children to come up in life. They also explained to them the importance of making good use of the help given as a sign of appreciation and expression of gratitude to the foster parents. After mass common games were conducted for all the children in two batches. One for primary school and the other for high school and college students. Later all children gathered again and prizes were distributed. All the children were also given a pen as a small gift to carry home as a memento of the annual gathering of the sponsorship children. Soon after, all the children were provided with a sumptuous lunch. They were about two hundred and fifty in all children and parents put together. Later some children stayed back to complete the formalities of Christmas letter writing and photos. The programme came to an end by about two in the afternoon. Maski: It was a full day programme at Maski mission. Children alone were about three hundred in number. There were also many parents who as gathered for this annual meet of the sponsorship programme. From morning children were busy in writing letters and completing other formalities. Children were enjoying each others company as they were able to come together from various educational institutions and villages. When all gathered together, Fr. Leo Michael invited them for lunch as they had the programme arranged for the afternoon. Fr. Francis Bashyam along with Fr. Arokianathan arrived there about two PM. The children had finished having lunch and began gathering in the place organized for the meet. When all the children were seated in the hall the programme began with a prayer. The theme was gratitude and gospel passage of curing the lepers was read and explained to all the parents and children. Six children from high primary school to college and employed spoke about their experience with the sponsorship programme. They expressed their gratitude to all the foster parents and how they benefited by the love and help they have received from totally strange people far away from home in Belgium. Many remembered all the fathers who assisted in the sponsorship programme beginning with Fr. Santan Quadros. Fr. Arokianathan spoke to children about his experience in the boarding homes and in caring for the children sponsored by foster parents. Fr. Leo and Fr. Francis spoke to the children to be good people in life filled with a sense of gratitude and willingness to help others. Fr. Yagappa organized the entire programme. All the parents were particularly thankful for the help they receive and the change this programme has brought about in their lives. The programme came to an end with the distribution of gifts to children. They stayed back long after before they returned home with the joy being with one another.

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