Fr. Lourduraju of the Divine Word Missionaries in Hungary has been awarded as the Prima Primissima of BAZ county in Hungary for his valuable services among the gypsy community in the fields of social, cultural and educational programs. The event is traditionally hosted by the National Association of Entrepreneurs. It was held in Miskolc on the 4th of November 2017.
Fr. Lourduraju is Justice and Peace and Integrity of Creation (JPIC) Coordinator in Hungary. He has been in Hungary for 12 years now and has been working for the gypsy communities for the last four years. Since then, he is rendering valuable services for the gypsy children, youth and the families by promoting justice and peace among them. A starting point for JPIC mission in Hungary according to the missionary priest has been focused towards human formation such as community building, pastoral care and social awareness - rehabilitation (alcohol and drug) and also the personality development programs for the families, children and the youth by which JPIC gives human dignity to Romani community and thereby integrate them into the life of the society and the church.
As JPIC coordinator Fr. Lourduraju also promotes education and skilled training by sending the youth to different schools for further education and also adults to different skilled training courses. The people in his parish are very poor. But there is a growing interest for education among the gypsy communities. So, along with JPIC team, Fr. Lourduraju is working hard to empower the children by facilitating for them many possibilities for education, spiritual growth and moral values.
In Hungary, the mission among the Gypsies is a perfect example of "putting the last first”. This is an invitation and also a challenge for the Divine Word Missionaries by which we give these poor people a sense of human dignity and identity. Fr. Lourduraju is striving hard to live up to this goal by opening his heart to them and by entering into their reality.
By Daisuke Narui, SVD