Fr. Tom Cassidy wrote that on March 31st SCJs in India blessed a newly finished classroom next to the community house in Vemapdu. The house has been under construction for the past few months but is also close to completion.
The classroom came about, wrote Fr. Tom, when “Fr. Jojappa Chinthapalli decided that he had sufficient funds to construct a small structure (he calls it a shed) to provide instruction to local girls and women in sewing. In addition to the sewing machines there was enough space to install a couple of computers that will be used by Fr. Suresh Gottom to teach computer skills to the youth of the parish.
“The blessing was about 40 minutes behind schedule by the time it got underway. Many of the women, and it was mostly women and girls who showed up, had to come from work and would have been hard pressed to arrive at the stated time. We weren’t going anywhere so the delay was taken in good stride by all. Fr. Jojappa promised to take us out for pizza afterwards. The ‘we’ in this case were Fr. Thomas Vinod (district superior), Fr. Michael Benedict (district treasurer) and Fr. Anthony Sundar Raju Maallavarapu, who was kind enough to drive us to Vempadu from Eluru.
“Fr. Thomas did the bulk of the prayers. I did the reading and the ribbon-cutting. It was a simple ceremony very similar to a house blessing. The ladies all seemed happy and eager to get started. I was introduced to one of the two women who would be teaching the classes. As you might imagine, finding employment of any kind in rural India, or for that matter almost anywhere in the world, is not easy. Hopefully the skills learned in these sewing classes will be of some help, not just in employment, but in providing clothing for many families.”