Always eager to explore new pastures and ready to respond to the needs of the time, we Claretian Missionaries of the Province of Bangalore, have started new pastoral initiative in New Zealand. Since September 2018 two of our priests, Frs. Thomas Thanniyanickal and Prakash Reddy, are working in the diocese of Hamilton in New Zealand. Both of them are appointed as assistants in the diocesan parishes. While Fr. Thomas Thanniyanickal is the Parochial Vicar of the Kaimai Collegial Area with residence at Morrinsville, Fr. Prakash Reddy is the Assistant Parish Priest at All Saints by the Sea, Papamoa Coast. Initially we will be collaborating in the ministries and missions of the diocese in order to get accustomed to the people and place and later on establish our own Claretian Mission.
Marking a new missionary initiative, on 04 July 2018, Frs. Agnes Polisetty, Martin Ulloppillil, and Mathias Bodra left for Jalandhar Diocese in the Indian State of Punjab, in view of starting Claretian Mission in Punjab. To mark the sending of the missionaries to the new land, Solemn Eucharist was celebrated presided by Rev. Fr. Jacob Arakkal John, the Provincial Superior. After the Eucharist, as the sign of missionary sending, in solemn prayer and blessing Missionary Cross was given to the three missionaries. It has been a long cherished desire of the province to have Claretian presence in Punjab, and now it’s being realized.
Yesu Nilaya has been trying to reach out to its neighbouring public through very many programmes to establish itself as the enlivening agent in the minds of the people. Because of the social situation and various negative stigma labeled against the activities of Christianity and its denominations, it has been difficult to get into the mainstream activities of the society. As an evangelization Centre we have been trying to set a model of imparting values of the Kingdom of God through our participation in several public awareness programmes like, save water, anti-addiction camps for the Lambani group, advanced agricultural practices, green environment awareness, motivation classes for student and village development progammes in collaboration with Dharmastala self-help groups, Hirekal Mutt and Government Schools.
With the passing of time and cordial relationship, all our outreach programmes are well appreciated and people have a homely feeling in approaching us and collaborating with us in various initiatives. Now people feel free to visit our Centre, invite us for many of the common events related to public cause, village feasts and progammes of common interest. Recently we conducted two Anti-Addiction Camps together with “Janjagrutri Vedike” of Honnali for the marginalized group called “Lambanis” among whom we have more number of addicts. We also celebrated world environmental day together with the children and staff of Honnali Government School. Our efforts, slowly but steadily bring change in the mindset of the local people. They feel welcomed and welcoming to collaborate and participate; thus building confidence, love and mutual support.
Vidya Niketan, Peddabayalu is situated in the agency area of Visakhapatnam district. The recipients of our mission are tribal students, mostly belonging to primitive tribal groups. The main purpose of starting a Claretian mission here was to cater to the various needs of this locality, with a special focus on the education of poor tribal children and evangelization. Vidya Niketan provides hostel facilities for these poor tribal boys. Thus helping the boys in their education, discipline and integral development of each student. We work in collaboration with the Sisters of St. Ann of Luzern; they have an English Medium School and hostel for the girls.
We follow a systematic time table and insist on the discipline and academic growth of the students. Besides the school curriculum we also impart value education and self-reliance through various activities and competitions. Over the year our efforts have paid off. In the last academic year our SSC students performed well in their exams. It was 100% Pass for the SSC students of our hostel. Three of them were not only toppers in St. Ann’s English Medium School, but also in Peddabayalu Mandalam, (Kartik - 9.7, Purna - 9.2, Rohit - 9.0). We are very proud of their hard work and excellent results. It has given further impetus to other hostel students to strive for academic excellence.
The new academic year has already begun and students are back to the hostel after their summer holidays. The school reopened on 12 June, 2018. There are around 250 students in the hostel. We pray that Vidhya Niketan Hostel continue to be blessing for the tribal children of this area and a sign of witness to our Christian values.
The establishment of St. Claret School at Narsannapeta was a long cherished desire of the people of the locality to have missionaries-run educational institution which would provide their children good learning experience, training and opportunities for intellectual, psychological, emotional and spiritual growth with special emphasis on character formation and personality development. Over the years, the institution has stood up to the expectations of the people of the region. From its very inception the School has been striving to provide diverse learning experiences to bring about a positive change in the behavior of the students.
The focus of St. Claret’s dedicated staff always remains learning for every student every day. Teachers design their instructional material to enable each student to be a successful learner. Under a conducive school climate and a healthy classroom atmosphere various classroom-based curricular assessments, extra-literary and co-curricular activities, sports and games are organized to augment the pursuit of the students for their academic excellence and all round development.
Students’ academic achievements and growth were the major priorities in 2017-18. Consequently, for the second consecutive year, the school topped in the SSC results in 2018 at the Mandal level. The result was 100% with 26 out of 77 students securing 10 GPA, 22 students 9.8 GPA, 10 students 9.7 GPA, 7 students 9.5 GPA, 4 students 9.3 GPA, 3 students 9.2 GPA, 1 student 9 GPA, 3 students 8.8 GPA, and 1 student 8 GPA. It indicates the effectiveness of St. Claret’s educational programme. St. Claret School, Narsannapeta, guided by and committed to a clear academic vision and mission, innovative and values-driven focus, has been providing hope and a pathway to lifelong success to parents and children by offering high quality education through an affordable means. Thus, St. Claret School has become “a school of choice” for the students of the region to learn and grow.
St. Peter School located in North India, Jharkhand at Barikhajuri is one of the most flourishing educational institutions in the region of Bhandaria Block in Garhwa district. Here in this area, the literacy rate is very low. People strive hard to meet both ends meet. People find it extremely difficulty to send their wards to School, even more to English Medium Schools.
Yet, here is our St. Peter School which always caters to the educational needs of such deserving people. People in this remote area of Jharkhand now realise how important it is to send their wards to School. Majority of the recipients of our mission are Catholics belonging to Scheduled Tribes. They are now enjoying the Claretian way of Holistic Education and Empowerment with affordable fees. Presently there are 654 students enrolled for 2018-19 academic year.
As we kick start our academic session, the School proudly witnessed the election and investiture Ceremony of Students’ Council on 03 May 2018. Mr Robert Tigga, the retired educationist presided over the august ceremony. The students are enlightened and empowered with the moral responsibilities to be fitting leaders in the society. The students are further initiated to take up the leadership responsibilities at the School level itself so that they are equipped to become committed leaders for the Church, the society and the nation at large in future. The other noted dignitaries present on occasion were Mr. Jaiprakash Minj, the Catholic Aam Sabha President, Daltonganj Diocese, Mr Tej Kumar Nagesia, Mrs Lalitha Baxla, Surpanch, Paraswar Panchayat, Rev. Fr. Franklin Minj, the Administrator, and Rev. Fr. Jaipaul Thumma, the Principal.
The Chodavaram town of Vishakhapatnam District is a multi-ethnic community of different religions, faiths, castes and backgrounds. It’s a eveloping township surrounded by many villages. Christ the King parish in the town is taken care by the Claretians, with its many substations.
On 16 March 2018 the parish organized a free medical camp for all the needy people of the locality. At the request of the parish the doctors and staff of Anil NeerukondaHospital, Tagarapuvalasa, Vishakhapatnam generously responded to help the parish in this social cause. Throughout the day the parish campus witness lively atmosphere. The people were provided facilities for various medical care like, General medical tests and diagnosis,Orthopaedic, Gynaecology, ENT, Paediatric,Skincare etc. Approximately 600 people had consultations, free medicine and 40 of them were further referred and sent for free operations in the same hospital. Indian Red Cross society of Vishakhapatnam also had organized a free blood donation camp on the day, for which many of the prisoners and others from the locality volunteered. The personnel of Anil Neerukonda Hospital were happy and expressed their willingness to helpthe community in future too. It was a great day of generosity, service
and care for one another.
St. Claret Dhyanashram, a residential retreat Centre at Bhattiprolu, since its inauguration on 18 February 2018 by Most Rev Dr. Chinnabathini Bhagyaiah, the Bishop of Guntur, has been a source of spiritual enrichment for the people around. Every First Fridays and Second Saturdays we conduct one day prayer convention and every last Wednesdays of the month Night Vigil. We also conduct every month four day’s residential retreats for different groups. During the month of March we conducted residential retreat for the Dheeksha People and in Month of May a retreat for the Youth. As more people come to know about the Centre, more will benefit from it.
At the parish level Bhattiprolu mission continues its mission of faith formation. For the spiritual development of the mission we organized different spiritual and orientation programme for the faithful in the parish as well as at the substations. On 08 April 2018 we celebrated our parish feast with solemnity, which was also telecasted on regional catholic media. It was an occasion were all the faithful could gather as one family and enrich each other. During summer holidays we conducted a three day Camp for Children and seminar and retreat for the youth. JMJ Sisters helped us to conduct camps in the villages. During the month of May we had village feast day celebrations in two substations viz. Vellaturu and J.J Colony. Recently on 17 June 2018 we celebrated Fathers’ Day in the parish to appreciate their hard work and dedication in building up of the families.
St. Joseph’s Community College, Busar, Jharkhand, which offers skill training mainly for the school-dropout youth who are unable to pursue their studies due to various social, economic and political reasons, had its seventh valedictory function on 20 June 2017. The batch of thirty-two students completed their training at the community college; twenty students of Nursing Assistant Course and twelve students of Motor Driving and Mechanism received their certificates during the valedictory function. Fr. Joseph Panthalady, the senior most priest of the Diocese of Daltonganj was the chief guest and Fr. Sanjay Gidh, the Diocesan Youth Director was the guest of honour on the occasion. The cultural programme organized by the students added more colour to the event.
During the valedictory function, the nursing students took the oath of commitment and whole-hearted service. All the students received their certificates from the chief guest; while the driving students received their driving licence on the same day. The chief guest requested the management of the Community College to organize wide range of agricultural training as well. The parents and guardians of the students, and the people from the neighbouring village also were present during the function. The event was covered by the local newspapers as well. All the students who passed out have also received job placements.
The next batch of nursing students has already been selected. For this purpose there was an interview and screening camp conducted on 28-29 June 2017. Nineteen students have already been selected, who are to take admission on the 16July 2017.
A One day seminar for all the staff of schools and institutions of Busar, Barikhajuri and Barwadi was organized on 3 Dec 2016 at Barwadih. There were 86 participants including our priests and sisters who are partners in our missions. Fr. Christudas, Director, SIGN (the social work forum of catholic dioceses of Jharkhand) was the resource person. He emphasized on the need of skills when in dealing with children and patients. He shared that the collaborators in an institution are expected to share the common vision and work as a team. Perceptual differences cannot mar the charism and mission. The participants appreciated this very informative and enriching seminar.
As the part of Christmas celebration a carol competition was organised for the parishioners based on their wards on 11 December. There were 11 wards for the completion and St. Xavier Ward emerged as the champion, second and third places were secured by St. George and St. Sebastian wards respectively. Indeed it was a tough time for judges to evaluate the competition. However, this herculean task was well done by Rev. Frs. Sabu Koottarappallil, Lindo Pullattu, and Mr. Lijo from Jalahalli parish. They also made the overall evaluation of the programme and congratulated all the participants and distributed the prizes. Parishioners themselves cherished the event as all of them wholeheartedly participated in the competition. Parish Priest, Fr. Thomas thanked everyone for their wonderful performance and participation saying, occasions like this bring more joy and fellowship among the parishioners.
On 11 December on behalf of lay Claretian movement a special Christmas day celebration was arranged for the sick and the senior citizens of the parish, especially the people who are above seventy years old. The day began with the Holy Eucharistic celebration followed by honouring the grandparents with shawls and bouquets and giving them Christmas gifts. The duties of children to their parents were very well explained by Fr. Thomas Thanniyanickal during the homily. The day was indeed a memorable one for the entire parishioners. Lindo, a 25 year old youth who was paralyzed due to fever was also accompanied to church for the celebration. It indeed added more joy to the celebration.
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