Spanish Catholic priest wishes to die among Munda tribals

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(Tapkara) Ranchi, August 6 : A Spanish Roman Catholic priest from Spain, who has devoted himself to social service and worked among Munda tribals in Jharkhand for over a decade, wishes to breathe his last among them.

To ensure this, Father Alphar, 70, has dug a grave for himself near a school that was established by him in 1997.

Father Alphara's social works have gained him popularity in Tapkara, which is about 80 kilometres from Jharkhand's capital.

"The children here could not study as the school fee used to be quite high. But here in this school, the fee was kept quite low. Therefore children from poverty-stricken families study here. Besides teaching, Father also lends his helping hand to the sick and needy," said Sister Kiran Topno.

So deep is his love for the Mundas, that Father Alphara learnt their language. He has taught almost 450 Munda tribal children Spanish. Today, these children pray and sing in Spanish along with the priest.

Before starting his school for locals, Father Alphara gathered children by travelling on bicycle from village to village.

He has also written a dictionary where the Mundari language has been translated into Spanish. A dispensary within the school premises also exists.

Father Alphara had just one thing to tell all: "We must know that our body will die but our spirit will never die at all."

But he wants to breathe his last at the same place where he is devoting his remaining days. By Girija Shankar Ojha

ANI

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