“I think I was six years old when Fr Melchi Tigga took me to a substation where he was to preside over the Holy Eucharist. It was 13 km away from the parish. We were done with the Mass. I saw a few children playing on the ground. I joined them to play without informing Fr Tigga. After his routine visit to the houses, Fr Tigga returned to the parish without realising that I was still playing on the ground. After the games, I returned to the chapel only to find that I had been left behind. It was a new place, and I started crying. People consoled me, but in fear and anxiety, I wept even more. Hours went by, and there was no sign of Fr Tigga. I was becoming restless. At that time of helplessness, I saw Fr Tigga come my way. “Peter,” he said “, are you ok?” I just grabbed him and felt so consoled that even today, I return to this experience whenever I feel lost.”

“Looking back, what inspires me even today, is that Fr Tigga travelled all the way to pick me up. Why had he to take all the trouble? I was neither related to him nor a kid of any important person. I was just the son of a hostel warden. But he came running to pick me up. That experience with Fr Tigga has become a core experience in working alongside Jesuits for the youth.”

Peter Murmu grew up among Jesuits in Majlishpur. His mother was a warden at a hostel run by the Jesuits of Dumka-Raiganj province. Living with the Jesuits has given him an education, a teaching profession, and a passion for being with and accompanying the youth. He has been actively involved in the youth ministry for the past few years. He recounts that the life of Jesuits inspired his entire family to accept the Catholic faith voluntarily. Such is the power of seeking the lost.

A vital act in Jesus’s ministry is seeking the lost and those left behind. It is very evident in His calling of the disciples. It is He who goes to them and to where they are. Accompanying the youth necessarily involves such acts of “seeking.” Awareness of the present trends among the youth is an indispensable act of ‘seeking.’ It consists in knowing what they watch, read, listen to, eat, play, speak and do. It involves the difficult virtue of being young at heart. Being funky and trendy may not just be cool; it might even be a way to seek the lost.

Mr Peter is a teacher by profession and collaborates with Jesuits in youth works of the Dumka-Raiganj Province.