Golden Jubliee of the Unai Mission:
By Fr.Joseph Parmar
It was Rev Fr Francisco Zubeldia who began this mission by making trips from Surat by way back in 1959.
Fr Albert Innurategui bought a piece of land and set up a small hostel-cum-residence called Jivan Jyot Kumar Chhatralaya at Khambhalia(1962), a village hardly a kilometer away from today’s developed Unai town.
The relief operations during the drought stricken years from 1964-67 helped, Fr Albert (1964-67) to emerge as a real Hero and the friend of villagers. Many of the small ‘kachcha’ roads built during those years are still afresh in the memories of the aged here.
This altruistic nature of the missionaries and their endeavours in education through primary schools and boardings have become a living example of the True disciples of Christ for our people. Fr Francisco Gabbare (1967-68), though did not last long, did contribute through his lively example as a dedicated missionary. His mortal remains at Unai remind us of his dedicated service.
Fr J M Navarro (1969-79) was another great man in building this mission through his ever enthusiastic nature. From here he penetrated the thick forests of the South Surat District and reached the doors of the Dangs District. He even began Milk cooperatives in some villages of Dangs operating from Unai. Indeed he was a visionary who could look into the future for his people!
Fr Ignas Galdos (1980-2001), with the experience of Zankhvav Mission, he consolidated this mission. With his incessant efforts, he shifted the Khambhalia Primary School to Unai and thus began a new chapter in this Mission. Today, Vidhya Kiran High School (1983), is one of the few who competes for the first rank in the Navsari District. The Jivan Jyot Kumar Chhatralaya and the Vedruna Niketan Kanya Chhatralaya cater to the needy students from Sagbara Taluka to Songadh and from Uchchal to Nizar talukas of the newly created Tapi Distirct.
The Religious Sisters have been the second-in-command along with their Jesuit missionaries or pioneers since the beginning of the Mission. The Vedruna Niketan Sisters have remained a constant support through their services to womenfolk, dispensary, etc. Truly, the Unai Mission is the fruit of the dedicated and combined efforts of the committed disciples of Christ –the Priests, the Sisters, the Catechists and a whole hoard of well wishers of the institute in and around Unai. As the Mission celebrates its Golden Jubilee of its inception may the Good Lord reward the generosity of these men and women in His own gracious measure!