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30th January and 1st February 2013 was were special days for Puri especially for the inmates of Karunalaya Leprosy Care Centre, the small village of nearly 1300 leprosy affected victims who live here with their families. They celebrate this day with much love and devotion as this day happens to be the Birthday of there much loved “Bapa” ‐ Fr. Marian Zelazek, SVD, who dedicated his life serving them since 1975 making this holy city of Lord Jagannath his home till his death.

Long cherished dream of Fr. Marian who was the founder of Beatrix School (a school especially meant for the children of leprosy affected victims) came true as the new high school building to house the upgraded high school was dedicated and inaugurated in loving memory of Fr. Marian. Fr. Marian Zelazek was born on January 30, 1918, the year the World War I ended. Incidentally, it was to be the date, exactly after 52 years, on which, Mahatma Gandhi, the Father of the Indian Nation, would fall to the bullets of one of his own countrymen. Interestingly this day also happens to be the International Anti-Leprosy day.

The Chief Guest was the representative of His Excellency Polish Ambassador to India Mr. Zbigniew Igielski along with Swami Nirvanananda (Mr. George Kriegsh) of Shanti Onlus, Italy and Shantipurifriends Foundation, U.S.A. and Mr. Niranjan Behera, O.E.S. (I) District Education Officer as the Guests of Honour. To witness this special occasion a group of 18 pilgrims led by Fr. Waldemar Kus, SVD the Mission Procure with his fellow priest came all the way from Poland. Among other dignitaries were Mrs. Anna T. from the Redeptories Missio, Poland, the members of Rotary Club of Puri, Children with their parents & guardians, staff and Inmates of leper’s colony.

Mr. Zbigniew Igielski inaugurated the School and Swami Nirvanananda dedicated the School to the children of Beatrix School in loving memory of its founder Fr. Marian.

Fr. Joseph Philip, SVD, Secretary of Beatrix School gave a hearty welcome to the Invitees and Guest. The children of Beatrix School presented a wonderful cultural program to the Invitees and guest. During the program the Chief Guest Mr. Zbigniew Igielski and Guest of Honour Mr. Niranjan Behera, delivered their speech to the children of Beatrix School. At the end of the program Fr. Ronald Pereira, SVD, the Vice Provincial gave the vote of thanks to one and all.

On the 1st February at 09:30 a.m. a Symposium was organized in St. Arnold’s Spirituality Centre, Most Rev. John Barwa, SVD the Archbishop of Cuttack – Bhubaneswar and Fr. Telesphore Bilung, SVD the Provincial Superior SVD (INE) presided over the function. Fr. Baptist D’Souza, SVD the National Mission Secretary welcomed the Guests & Invitees.

The leader of different religious walk attended the symposium. Archbishop John Barwa, SVD gave the inaugural speech recalling his personal experiences with Fr. Marian. Mr. Zbigniew Igielski addressed the gathering by giving a brief history on the life and works of Fr. Marian. Fr. Telesphore Bilung, Provincial Superior, INE, shared his personal experience of relating to Fr. Marian. Swami Parchuddananda from Rama Krishna Mission, and other religious leaders read the Holy Scriptures. Fr. Waldemar Kus, SVD and Mrs. Anna T. From Poland also spoke on life of Fr. Marian. There were many people who shared there reminiscence in a touching words. Fr. Joseph Philip, SVD, the Director of St. Arnold Spirituality Centre honoured the Guest with mementos.

Fr. Waldemar Kus, SVD and other guest from Poland expressed their wish and requested to initiate the process of Beatification (Sainthood) of Fr. Marian at the earliest. They also assured of their continues support for the mission of Fr. Marian in every possible way they can. Fr. Telesphore Bilung gave vote of thanks to one and all. In the afternoon a film “Hungry for Love” on Fr. Marian was screened, in‐between children kept entertaining the Guest with small/short cultural program. The program came to a finale after the holy mass presided by the Most Rev. John Barwa, SVD, the Archbishop of Cuttack‐Bhubaneswar, followed by the fellowship meals.

Reported by P. Lalit Rao,
Ishopanthi Ashram, Puri.