The Triple celebration began with memorial Eucharistic celebration on August 21 marking the 125 death anniversary of Fr. Otto Hopfenmuller SDS, the Pioneer Missionary of Northeast India. On August 22 evening a prayer service was conducted in which Fr. Agustin Van Baelen, SDS, the Mission Secretary introduced the Salvatorian mission to the gathering. It was the beginning of a new chapter in the Salvatorian history in India. Together with thousands of people, in the Shillong Cathedral, Salvatorians gratefully commemorated the arrival of 125 years of Catholic Faith in Northeast India and the 125 Death Anniversary of Rev. Fr. Otto Hopfenmuller, SDS and the completion of 25 years of re-establishment of Salvatorians in India.
August 23 was a historic day as the rain clouded atmosphere could not dampen the spirit of thousands of people gathered for the Thanksgiving Eucharistic celebration which was presided over by Most. Rev. Dominic Jala SDB, the Archbishop of Shillong. There were about 90 priests, out of them 25 Salvatorian Priests; among them there were Salvatorian dignitaries namely: Very Rev. Fr. Milton Zonta, Superior General, Frs. Raul Gomez, Vicar General, Agustin Van Baelen, General Mission Secretary, Alex McAllister, Provincial from UK, Piotr Filas, Provincial from Poland, Mirek, Mission in-charge from Poland, Mieczyslaw, former missionary in India, John Vallomprayil, the pioneer who assisted to reestablish the Salvatorian mission in India, Thomas Runggaldier, Missionary from Austria, Jesurajan Lambert Juliu from Sri Lanka, Sunil Thomas, Vicariate Superior and several Salvatorians confreres representing the different communities in India.
The whole ceremony started with a solemn procession from the Archbishop’s House to the newly constructed Monument of Fr. Otto Hopfenmuller leading to the Cathedral wherein the monument was unveiled by Rev. Fr. Milton Zonta, SDS, the Superior General and blessed by the Archbishop Dominic Jala, SDB. The Archbishop in his homily lauded the relentless and hard work of the pioneer missionaries. Regardless of the most trying circumstances Fr. Otto Hopfenmuller, SDS and his team implanted the faith in this region. In this grand occasion, a documentary on Fr. Otto and the Jubilee Souvenir were released. The entire Liturgy was geared towards thanking and praising God for his wondrous ways in which He made use of Salvatorian pioneer fathers, brothers and sisters in implanting faith in the Northeast India.
Soon after the fraternal meal there was Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament conducted by Fr. John Madur, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Shillong, who thanked God profusely for sending the Salvatorian missionaries to Northeast India to spread the seed of Catholic Faith which has now grown into 15 dioceses with several local priests, sisters and brothers and a good number of seminarians.
After that, a beautiful cultural program followed, in which Fr. Milton Zonta, SDS, Mr. Vincent Pala, MP and the Archbishop of Shillong spoke on the contribution of the Salvatorians in Northeast India. To make this occasion more solemn, the cultural dances namely: Bihu, Garo, Khasi and Jaintia were performed which entertained the gathering.