The Meeting of Social Ministries of the Province of Bangalore was held at CPH, Bengaluru, on the 15-16 February 2019. Fathers working in various social ministries such as Fr. Lindo from Sumanahalli Leprosy Project, Fr. Joseph Madavath from Support Bengaluru, Fr. Bernard from Support Belagavi, Fr. Pradeep Correa from Hope Belagavi, Fr. Joji Machukuzhiyil from Sneha Jyothi, Athani, Fr. George Kannanthanam from Project Vision Bengaluru were able to participate, Mukti Tennali, Yesu Nilaya Honnali and Gandhiji Health Centre Barwadih could not participate.
Fathers shared the work that is being done in each of their centres. They could also share their difficulties and problems that they encounter. We are reflecting the sentiments of the General Chapter (MS 49-52) and our Provincial Chapter documents in our Apostolate, reaching out to the most deprived and marginalized in the society, the privileged recipients of the Good News of the Kingdom of God.
Prefect of Apostolate Fr. Peter D’Souza guided the meeting. The deliberations of recently held SOMI meeting in Bengaluru were also presented to the participants. The mission Procure could speak to the participants over the phone via conferencing. The relevant numbers of the chapter documents were studied and reflected upon to better understand our responsibilities and implement them in our work.
The members felt encouraged by the sharing and discussions and expressed the desire to meet more regularly to share the views and experiences.
Pastors’ Meeting Held at Provincial House
On 23-24 January 2019 the Pastors’ Meeting was held at Provincial House, Bengaluru. 20 Parish Priests from our parishes in different states participated in the meeting. The Provincial Superior along with the Prefect of Apostolate and Prefect of Youth and Vocation Ministry coordinated the programme. On the first day Mr John Don Bosco enlightened the participants by analysing our present society in the context of Justice and Peace. In the afternoon every parish priest was given an opportunity to share his experience, the challenges and the possibilities in the ministry.
On the second day Rev. Fr. Jacob Arakkal John, Provincial Superior, addressed the gathering explaining the congregational aspects of carrying out the parish ministry in a Claretian way. He also explained the three processes of transformation in the renewal of the congregation according to XXV General Chapter.
Fr. Peter D’Souza, Prefect of Apostolate and Missions explained in brief about the SOMI (Solidarity and Mission) and discussed the ways and means of collaborating with the JPIC wing of Claretians@UN and the JPIC General Secretariat. Updating the participants on the recently held Claretian Family Youth and Vocations Ministry Meeting, Fr. Tom Vellappattu, Prefect of Youth and Vocation Ministry, discussed with the pastors the modalities to make the youth ministry a driving force in our parishes.
The parish priests discussed various aspects of the pastoral ministry and came up with suggestions to improve our style of ministering and to make our parishes more vibrant and dynamic in faith formation.
NEW DOCTOR IN BIBLICAL THEOLOGY
On 04 December 2018, Fr. Martin George Mankunnath, CMF successfully defended his Doctoral Thesis in Biblical Theology and obtains his Doctorate. The Thesis “Denunciation of Ritualism and the Option for Ethical Religion in the New Testament: a Case Study of Mt 23:13-33” was directed by Dr. Sebastian Mullooparambil CMI at Dharmaram Vidya Kshetram (DVK), Pontifical Athenaeum of Philosophy, Theology and Canon Law in Bengaluru, India.
The Theme Discussed in the Thesis:
The New Testament denounces the error of neglecting the essential matters of religion, while paying too much attention to its non-essential aspects. This study proposes that this error is the result of a ritualistic approach to religion and the solution to the problem lies in an ethical approach to religious praxis. A common misunderstanding about religious praxis is that ritual practices form the essence of religion and that solely by performing the rituals one can summarily fulfill one’s religious duties. However, the New Testament teaches that the ethical principles such as love, truth, justice, compassion, forgiveness, tolerance, etc. are the ones that form the essence of religion. Therefore the New Testament condemns ritualism, the tendency to limit one’s religious praxis to ritual observances, neglecting the ethical values necessary for the well-being of humanity and the universe. On the contrary, it promotes an ethical approach to religious praxis, wherein one’s religious duties do not end with ritual observances, but necessarily extends to the practice of the above ethical values. It is this approach that will enable the Christians to partake in the kingdom of God proclaimed in the New Testament.
Ministries of Lector and Acolyte
On 22 November 2018, 5 of our 2nd year theology students (2 from Northeast Independent Delegation) made their first step in participating in the ministerial priesthood in the Catholic Church. Rev. Fr. Jacob Arackal, the Provincial Superior, conferred the orders of Lector and Acolyte. The whole community rejoiced over the celebration and congratulated the students.
Claretian Youth Ministry (CYM) at Surepalli
Claretian Youth Ministry (CYM) at Surepalli, near Bhattiprolu, has initiated new programme for empowering women and youth. In the first phase, we have started with tailoring and fashion designing for women and electrical training for boys. In the first batch 25 women and 15 boys have enrolled their names. It is a joint venture of VRO, Government and Claretians. At the end of the three months of training, they will be given sewing machine and electrical kit free of cost. We are also planning to start musical drums training, paper plates making and basket making. For children, tuition classes, dance classes and spoken English classes are being planned. We are planning to make this centre as an animation centre and skills training centre for empowering children, youth and women.
Members of the Province of Bangalore came together for the General Assembly of the Province in August 2018. The Assembly was held in two sessions 2-3 August and 24-25 August at Claret Nivas, Carmelaram. The month also coincides with General Canonical Visitation to the Province. Rev. Fr. Henry Omonisaye, General Consultor, and Rev. Fr. Callistus Joseph, Provincial Superior of Province of Germany, are making the visitation simultaneously in different communities of the province.
On 02-03 August, for the first session of the Assembly there were 67 participants, including the General Visitor Rev. Fr. Callistus Joseph, the Provincial Government and 17 Students. During the opening session Rev. Fr. Callistus Joseph gave the opening message and at noon presided the Eucharist and gave an inspiring homily.
On 24-25 August, for the second session of the Assembly there were 51 participants, including Rev. Fr. Henry Omonisaye, General Consultor and Visitor, and the Provincial Government. The first day began with the opening remarks of the Provincial Superior, followed by an orientation talk by Fr. Henry on the processes of transformation based on our XXV General Chapter document. The day being the Feast of St. Bartholomew the Apostle, during the Eucharist Fr. Henry highlighted the call to Discipleship.
The message of Fr. General was read out at the beginning of both the Assemblies. These General Assemblies serve as the platform for all the members of the province to come together to share the Claretian Fraternity and to discuss and discern the life and mission of the province. During these Assemblies province’s reports were presented and evaluated. It was also an opportunity to discuss in common the important issues concerning province.
Project Vision, a movement of the Claretians of Bangalore Province, inaugurated three Eye Collection Centres in the Wayanad district of Kerala, in collaboration with three Catholic Hospitals in the district. The Catholic Church has been promoting the eye donation movement through Project Vision, based in Bengaluru.
Shri Alphonse Kannanthanam, Union Minister for Tourism, speaking at the inauguration of the first Eye Collection Centre in Wayanad in a function at the Fathima Hospital, Kalapatta, called for a new law that can make the collection of eyes a responsibility of all the citizens. The three eye centres for Wayanad are located at Fathima Mission Hospital, Kalpatta, Good Shepherd Hospital, Vythiri and St Martin’s Hospital, Ampalavayal.
Mr Shasheedran MLA, offered his assistance to have a vehicle for eye collection for the district from his MLA fund in his message at the programme. District Panchayat President Smt. K B Naseema, who participated in the programme offered all her support to the movement. Presiding over the function, Fr. George Kannanthanam, founder of Project Vision said that Wayanad District for the first time, is getting an opportunity to donate eyes through the three eye collection centres. A phone number has been created for anyone to access this facility - 6235002244.
Eyes have to be collected within six hours of death. They can be collected from hospital or from the houses. There are no limitations for eye donations. People of all ages, those using spectacles, and those with diseases can also donate their eyes. The consent of the surviving family is the only requirement. This is a free donation that involves no money. Only corneas will be collected from the eyes and not the whole eye. Thus there won’t be any disfigurement for the person after eye donation. This is a small operation that will take only about 15 minutes. Eyes can also be collected from mortuary.
On 28 June 2018 during solemn Euchristic Celebration Order of Diaconate was conferred on eight of our Students. His Grace Most Rev. Bernard Moras, Archbishop Emeritus of Bangalore presided at the solemn celebration in Claretian Seminary, Malleswaram. Rev. Fr. Jacob Arakkal, Provincial Superior, other council members and a good number of Claretians were present on the occasion.
INAUGURATION OF ACADEMIC YEAR AT SANYASA
The Institute of Sanyasa began its academic year on 16th June 2018 with the Holy Mass presided by Rev. Fr. Jacob Arakkal, CMF, the president of Sanyasa and the Provincial of the Claretian Province of Bangalore at 9.30 am. The occasion was also graced by the presence of Rev.Fr. Peter D’Souza, the Vicar of the Claretian Province of Bangalore. During the inaugural Eucharistic celebration, Father President prayed for the success of the academic year and delivered a thought-provoking homily. In the homily, he highlighted the present situation of consecrated life in India and the need of the consecrated persons to play a prophetic role with greater commitment and enthusiasm. In this academic year, they have 42 diploma students and 9 postgraduate students and a few audit students who would take part only in few selected courses. On the same day at 11.00 am, they also had the inaugural orientation talk given by Fr. James Niravath, O.C.D., the rector of the Carmelite Theology House, Carmelaram. In his orientation address, he invited the participants to recall their commitment to experience the love of God and to share the experience with others. He also exhorted the students to be joyful witnesses to the Gospel. With the Holy Mass and the orientation talk, the new academic year 2018-2019 was officially inaugurated at Sanyasa.
Claret Bhavan, our novitiate house in India, continues its unique contribution of providing opportunity to the novices of different men and women congregations of the area to come together for holistic experience and growth under the banner of Common Novitiate Programme. The new batch of 18 Claretian Novices in Indian began their Novitiate on 30 May 2018.
The common Novitiate Programme was inaugurated on 16 June 2018. This year there are 70 novices from 10 different congregations attending the common programme. During the year they will have the opportunity to grow through the inputs on various topics such as Aims and Objectives of Novitiate, Charisms, Community life, Discernment, History of Religious life, Psycho-Spiritual Integration, Psycho-Sexual Integration, Human Maturity, Liturgy, and Biblical Foundation.
Sneha Jyothi Centre for the Physically Challenged had its inauguration of the new Academic Year 2018-19 on 15 June 2018. The programme was presided over by Dr. Avinash Naik, a well-known Cardiologist from Athani. Mr. Chetan Chaudhary, Manager of SBI, was the Guest of Honor on the occasion. The day was marked with some colourful events and cultural programme by the inmates. The dignitaries praised the commendable services rendered to the humanity by the missionaries.
Inauguration of Literary Association 2018-2019 was held on 14 June 2018 at Claretian Seminary. The event was presided over by Dr. Mitalda D'Souza, member of the Karnataka State Minority Commission. Various literary and cultural talents of the students were manifested in creative performances. The chief guest urged the students to become preists, who are engaged more with the people of God in all their joys and sorrows. The event came to an end at 7:45pm.
Paperless Elections at A C School, Jalahalli
Anthony Claret School scripted history by introducing voting through Electronic Voting Machine (EVM). The election campaign too was paperless which encouraged the contestants to use digital and innovative ideas such as flash mob, skits, and use of instruments to attract voters.
This was achieved with the support of Bharath Electronics Limited (BEL), supervised by Mr Vincent. The initiative was an extension of the School’s pledge of “OWN UP” which was flagged on the environment day that aims at reducing the use of paper and plastic from its campus. A.C. school has pledged its support to Behtar India – which is a social innovation that brings together societies to make the cities cleaner. The School also has pledged to donate newspapers from each class towards recycling of papers. The new student council will be taking environment pledge promising to be the Green Ambassadors.
Sumanahalli, the Society for the Welfare and Rehabilitation of Leprosy Affected and other Destitute, had the joy of welcoming our Chief Shepherd, His Grace Most Rev. Peter Machado, the new Archbishop of Bangalore on 06 June 2018. In a way, after the canonical installation on 31 May, the Archbishop chose to begin his ministry through this kind gesture of visiting and spending some time with the inmates of Sumanahalli, the most marginalized and stigmatized of the society.
The Archbishop celebrated the Eucharist with the inmates and gave an inspiring message. In the message he especially highlighted the special status of the poor in the Church and urged all to show concern and service towards the upliftment of the marginalized. We may think of the poor simply as the beneficiaries of our occasional volunteer work, or of impromptu acts of generosity that appease our conscience. However good and useful such acts may be for making us sensitive to people’s needs and the injustices that are often their cause, they ought to lead us to a true encounter with the poor and a sharing that becomes a way of life.
World Environment Day Celebration
On 05 June 2018 St. Claret School celebrated World Environment Day to create an awareness on the anthropogenic effect of plastic pollution around the globe. The Green Age Club members devoted a special assembly programme with the theme "Beat Plastic Pollution". The Green warriors highlighted the effects of plastic pollution while listing out the causes and solutions to this problem. In celebration of the World Environment Day 2018, students tapped their feet to the song 'Oh what a wonderful world'. The green message was an inspiring one and motivated all to say "NO to Plastic".
The coordinated effort by the Management, Staff, students and parents of our school bore rich fruits in the SSC Exams-2018. Among all the schools in Medchal, St Claret School got the highest pass percentage, i.e. 96.55%. Out of 145 students who appeared for the SSC Exam, 51 scored more than 90% marks, 57 got more than 80% and 30 got more than 70% marks. On 05 June 2018, five top-scorers from the School, who bagged 10/10, were honoured along with their parents with a cash award for their academic excellence. On this occasion, the parents expressed their joy and satisfaction and thanked the Management and the Staff for showing their children the path to a brighter future.
New Missionary Hope, Claret Niketan, Belagavi,
The new academic year at Claret Niketan, Belagavi was inaugurated on 02 June 2018. Eight of the senior students began their II Year PUC classes at Divine Mercy College with a lot of zest and life. They were eager to draw inspiration from their senior batch of five who scored high grades in the board exams held in the month of March 2018. These five headed to Claretian Ashram, Wardha for their Philosophy studies. The new batch of I Year PUC students too got enrolled with enthusiasm and hope.
The new candidates started arriving right from the first week of June. Thus by the end of June a fresh batch of twenty four from diverse regions and cultures, are knitting together quite well. They display a lot of energy and enthusiasm. The new comers are eager to learn the prayers, begin to get to know the way and style of Claret Niketan. Though in the monsoon days mornings are chilly and gloomy, students demonstrate freshness and enthusiasm to tide over the negatives of the climate. They offer lot of hope to the congregation and seem eager to go the distance.
On June 01, 2018 the Province level celebration of the Silver Jubilee of Priesthood & First Profession was held at Claretian Provincial House Malleswaram. Fathers James Kunnampadavil and James Mundackal celebrated the Silver Jubilee of their Priestly Ordination. Fathers George Madapally and Xavier Pereira celebrated the silver Jubilee of their First profession.
It was a great moment in the history of Barikhajuri Church. With due preparation during the summer vacation 146 children were prepared to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation. The grand celebration took place on 01 June 2018 during the solemn Eucharist presided at by Rt. Rev. Anand Jojo, Bishop of Hazaribag Diocese and the Apostolic Administrator of Daltonganj Diocese.
FIRST, RENEWAL, AND PERPETUAL PROFESSIONS
The Province of Bangalore rejoices once again on the Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, 31 May 2018. Yet again, in the Province, this day marked the celebration of Professions and Renewal of the Professions, held at Claretian Seminary, Bengaluru.
As part of the ongoing efforts in eradicating Drug-Addiction and Alcoholism, Hope Recovery Centre, Belagavi celebrated ‘No Tobacco Day’ on 31 May 2018. The programme was inaugurated by Dr. Antony, KLE Hospital Belagavi and presided over by Fr. Pradeep Correa CMF, the Director of Hope Centre. A team of Malaysian Medical Students from KLE Hospital, Belagavi volunteered to help in the cause. To motivate the inmates to avoid tobacco, different cultural programme and Power Point Presentations were prepared by the Students on the theme “Tobacco Kills” which was highly applauded by the inmates. The Chief Guest, Dr. Antony, in his address highlighted the problems and effects of tobacco abuse and urged the inmates of Hope Recovery Centre to persevere in their resolve to give up tobacco consumption and become agents of positive change in the society.
Children’s Retreat, St Thomas Church, Jalahalli
Strong foundation makes strong building. With this in mind, every year, we at St. Thomas Church, Jalahalli conduct a special three-day retreat exclusively for our Catechism Students. Through this retreat we are trying to help our children to develop the habit of setting aside a few days to be spent exclusively for their spiritual well-being. During the month of May, in preparation for the good retreat, the Catechism Teachers especially pray for the Children’s Retreat seeking blessings of the Holy Spirit on every child so that they may grow in wisdom and age, in Divine and Human Favour.
This year the retreat was held from 27-29 May 2018, guided by Fr. Francis Putthenthayil and assisted by Br. Dilon, Sr. Jaya Mary, Sr. Navya Rose and Jesus Youth Team. The retreat was held in different groups and different sessions for the students of II-XII Std. Over 300 students participated in the retreat. This was about 30% increase in participation in the retreat when compared to last year.
The retreat not only focused on the spiritual nourishment but also moral and psychological formation of young minds. The students were divided into different groups based on their study level and age-appropriate topics were discussed. Sessions were held on the importance of personal prayer, Rosary, Bible reading, obedience to parents, peer-pressure, excessive use of electronic gadgets, and social networking sites and the effects of the same, spiritual warfare, lack of repentance, how to lead a faithful life after Catechism etc. To make the sessions more lively there was praise and worship, songs and dance and spiritual sharing by the Jesus Youth Members. Sr. Navy Rose and Sr. Jaya Mary who are trained counselors also provided special counseling sessions for the children. The retreat ended with special hands on blessing for every child.
A separate session was also held exclusively for the parents of the students. Nearly 350 parents actively participated in the retreat. Orientation was provided to parents and the importance of involving children in daily chores from a young age was emphasized. Importance of reading habits, outdoor games, cultivating healthy eating habits in children was also discussed. Ways to overcome restlessness in children and the importance of making them be-independent at the right time was also discussed during this retreat.
The summer vacations came in handy for Immaculate Heart of Mary Church, Kodumuru, to organise preparatory sessions for the candidates of First Holy Communion in the Parish. About forty children from the different villages of the Parish assembled in the premises of Maria Nivas, Kodumuru for three consecutive days, 9-11 May 2018 for intensive catechetical instructions. Nirmala Sisters from Vinukonda offered their generous help for the camp and organised all the sessions in a very lively and systematic manner. The Sacrament of first Holy Communion was later held in respective villages, on the occasion of the village feasts, with due solemnity and devotion.
Festal joy overwhelmed at Bola on 06 May 2018 as the Bishop of the Diocese, Most Rev Dr. Aloysius Paul D’Souza visited St. Lawrence Parish, for the pastoral visit. This visit was combined with the conferring Sacraments of the First communion and Confirmation. The Parishioners and children were well prepared to receive the shepherd. The bishop made the visit very interactive as he spent time with the faithful before and after the solemn Eucharist. The day began with bishop catechizing the parish community. During the solemn Eucharist 13 children received the Sacrament of First Holy Communion and 53 boys and girls received the Sacrament of Confirmation. After the Eucharist bishop interacted with the pastoral and various parish associations and visited the sick in the parish. Bishop expressed enthusiasm about Claretian Missionaries rendering the service at this remote place of the diocese with much vigour.
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