India – Andhra Pradesh
In the early years of Missionaries of the Poor, several journeys were made throughout Jamaica and the Caribbean Islands to recruit vocations to our young and promising institute by sharing about our work and charism.
In 1986 Rev. Fr. Richard Ho Lung, Founder and Superior General, decided to venture as far as India in fulfillment of his broad and universal vision of the Church, the poor and the kingdom of God. Finally, on February 8th 1992 our first overseas mission was established in the diocese of Warangal, Andhra Pradesh State, Southern India.
On the invitation of Bishop Thumma Bala of Warangal, Fr. Founder sent three Brothers to pioneer that mission: Fr. Hayden Augustine, Bro. Philip Selvaraj and Bro. Felix Antoniraj. They were joined by many other Brothers over the years, greatly extending the charism and apostolic outreach of the rapidly growing Missionaries of the Poor.
Today the Warangal mission is a thriving complex consisting of Christ the King formation house, which was greatly expanded in 2004, House of Joy residential apostolate opened in 2000, and numerous evangelical and pastoral ministries reaching out to thousands of people hungering for the compassion, love and truth of Jesus.
The House of Joy apostolate now houses about 100 homeless elderly and orphaned, disabled and vulnerable children. Many of the elderly suffer from leprosy, AIDS and total destitution. There are also medical outreach, school sponsorship and programmes for over 400 children and their families.
Missionaries of the Poor also has an extended outreach ministry to the poorest in the nearby slums where we offer food packages and medical assistance to more than 200 people a week. Over the years there have also been the spiritual works of mercy. More than 600 persons and their families have embraced Christianity and the sacramental life of the Catholic Church. Most of them were Hindus belonging to the scheduled castes and tribes, deprived of many of the social and material benefits of modern India. However from the moment of Brothers entered into these people’s lives, things changed dramatically. There was hope for a better future, for inclusion into a universal Church and opportunities to develop their God-given talents and gifts. Now, they live in much better conditions and they even enjoy now the fruits of God’s kingdom in their lives.
As Missionaries of the Poor, we believe that God has given us a specific plan in extending His kingdom. Hence we seek to expand our works by opening a home for children who are infected and affected by the raging HIV/AIDS epidemic.
With an estimated 5.1 million people infected by HIV/AIDS (0.8 % of the adult population between 15-49 yrs), India has the second highest number of people living with Aids in the world after South Africa, and the highest number in southern Asia. Indians afflicted by this dreaded disease account for nearly 10 % of the global total and 68 % of total for southern Asia! Given India’s large population, a mere 1 % increase in HIV prevalence increases the number of people infected with HIV to around 5 million!
The State of Andhra Pradesh in southern India with almost 80 million people is India’s fifth most populous state. It is also among the country’s six states with the highest prevalence of the disease. It is estimated by NACO that in 2007 over 2.7 million people were infected with HIV/Aids in India and almost one fifth, that is, 500,000 were in Andhra Pradesh.
With 500,000 people infected with HIV/Aids in Andhra Pradesh and with only 24 care and support centers (of which 11 are run by the Catholic Church), each center is required to cater to the health needs of more than 20,000 people infected and affected with HIV/Aids! Hence our vision of reaching out to this most needy segment of the poor who cry out day and night for compassion healing and love.
Join us in our universal efforts to make God’s kingdom alive and real for so many of our fellow human beings! We pray that you will respond.