Back in December 2013 I had a chance to visit India with the Heralds of Good News community. As part of that trip, I had a chance to visit with Jaya Rao Polimera, the recently-appointed bishop of Eluru diocese:
Imagine my surprise when I saw his name appear on the big screen during one of the Synod speeches! I immediately checked the elenchus (official list of participants) and saw that, indeed, he was also in Rome for the Synod!
As it happens, I had his contact information in my phone, so I was able to connect with him via WhatsApp. I didn't recognize him at first, as his beard had been trimmed (and was a little greyer, like mine). But we picked up right where we left off, including an invitation to lunch with a community of nuns from India that is right here in Rome.
Today, after the small group meeting, we hopped in cab and headed over the sister's home, where I got a chance to enjoy home-made curry, biryani, sambar, and so on. I complemented the sisters on the excellent food, but I joked when they served fresh fruit for dessert. "The sisters made the meal," I said, "but the dessert was made by God!" We had a good laugh.
The community is called the Franciscan Sisters of Aloysius Gonzaga. I had never heard of their community before visiting them, but apparently they have over 800 members. If all their sisters are as cheerful as the ones I met, I imagine they will get many more vocations. Thank you sisters, and thank you bishop, for your kind hospitality!