Supporting Sebastin - An Unsung Hero Without a Car

Greetings to all! Our names are Deb and Jorge Ramirez and we are fundraising for Father Sebastin Santhosh Sebastian to help him buy a car in India so he can travel safely for his ministry.

We met him during his time in America, serving the Archdiocese of Seattle in 8 different parishes where he was always so well loved, admired, and respected. Many friends and parishioners recognized Father Sebastin as a mover and a doer; a creative dreamer with achievable goals; a holy man dedicated to serving others. Sebastin simply has that type of charismatic personality that touches the hearts of his supporters to help him with his community projects. He loves life, people, and his commitment to the priesthood.

Father Sebastin has always been a giver, in service to others; never complaining, even when in pain.He has this awesome welcoming smile that lights up any room that he enters. He never keeps any donations for himself, but constantly thinks about how he can help—

—rebuild a neighboring village church that was destroyed by a herd of elephants
—support young students and orphans with their education
—help fix the leaking roof of a single mom's house who has 4 children.
—provide a water purification system so that students had clean drinking water

Fr Sebastin has returned to India and has recently been assigned to St James, a parish in southern India, which also serves 2 small neighboring village churches to which he must travel regularly. This has presented many challenges—to his finances, health and safety. There is no air conditioning or fans in his church or residence. With an average temperature of 90-99 degrees, he has become ill. Of his monthly salary of 6000 Indian rupees ($80 US currency), 4000 rupees goes to the hired cook and 2000 for his food, which leaves him no income for personal expenses, gas for his motorbike, or medical costs. He declined to “fire” his cook since she is a widow and would be left without a job.

Most of his parishioners work during the day, so Sebastin offers Masses at night.
The parishioners then immediately go home, as they get up early to go back to their jobs, so there is not much personal interaction between Sebastin and his parishioners. This has also been a hardship, as Sebastin is a totally outgoing, personable, and caring individual who loves to be around people.

The people there are too poor to even help pay for the daily operational costs of their own church. Many friends and supporters here in Washington were successful in raising money to buy a motorcycle for his transportation in northern India last year. However, the roads there are so bad that it is dangerous to drive a bike on them. Now, as he travels to the small village churches he serves, large dogs constantly chase after and bite at him on his bike; the strong winds make it difficult for him to stay on the bike and on his side of the road; and he has now developed severe right leg pain because of the bumps, potholes, and ruts in the roads causing him to constantly brake on his motorbike.

An automobile would be a much safer mode of transportation but his ministerial order in India does not purchase cars for their priests. He is expected to pay for his personal needs yet has a $0 net income!

Sebastin is working with the poorest of the poor in India who deserve to hear the Word of God. He is a determined priest, and we, as the fundraiser organizers, are driven and inspired to raise this money to help buy him a car!

There have been many times where I find myself fighting off my tears while talking with Father Sebastin as I want to be upbeat and supportive of his efforts. But it breaks my heart to watch him struggle so purposefully towards serving the people he is assigned to help, but with no support, no money, and no real friends like he had back in the U.S. Life is so different in India; we recognize now how much we take for granted of the comforts of life here in America.

We know that prayers do help, and so does financial support.

We are doing our best in raising money to purchase a car for him in order to complete his parish work at St. James Church. Thus far, we have collected $3,000 from one individual toward the goal of $20,500. The expected average cost of a vehicle in India is around $16,000. If our goal is met, the remaining $4500 will be put toward gas and maintenance of the car.

We are seeking YOUR help in buying him a car. No amount of donation is too small. With your $5.00, $10, or $20—or whatever you feel called to give, we WILL meet our goal.

Father Sebastin is one of those 'good guys' and he definitely deserves more than fighting off dogs and struggling to travel safely to serve others.

All donations are being deposited directly into his bank account in the U.S. whereby he has access for withdrawals to purchase a car in India. Thank you so much for your donations along with your prayers for Sebastin!

Organizer and beneficiary

Deb Ramirez
Puyallup, WA
Sebastin Santhosh Sebastian

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