Priestly Ordination of Yashveer Minj
Jharkhand, India: On 28th October 2020 Deacon Yashveer Minj CMF was conferred the Holy Order of Priesthood by Most Rev. Anand Jojo, the Apostolic Administrator of Daltonganj diocese. The celebration was a joint event, along with Yashveer another diocesan Deacon too received the priestly ordination at St. Joseph’s Community College premises, Chandwa, Jharkhand. Due to ongoing restrictions of Covid-19 many could not be present physically for the celebration; however a few Claretian confreres, diocesan clergy and family members of the new priests joined the celebration.
On 8th October 2020 Deacon Joseph (Sandeep) Ottaplackil CMF was conferred the Holy Order of Priesthood by Most Rev. Lawrence Mukkuzhy, Bishop of Belthangady. The celebration took place at the native parish of Sandeep, St. Thomas Church, Gandibagilu, in Karnataka, India. Owing to ongoing restrictions of Covid-19 many could not be present physically for the celebration; however a few Claretian confreres, diocesan clergy and family members took part in the holy event. According to the Syro-Malabar liturgy, first the rite of ordination took place then the newly ordained priest, Sandeep presided at the Eucharist.
It has been the desire of ICL: Institute of Consecrated Life – Sanyasa for a quite a long time to contribute intellectually to the consecrated persons of India by publishing scholarly books on the themes related to Consecrated Life in English under “Consecrated Life Series”. It is an initiative of ICL in collaboration with Claretian Publications, Bangalore to re-vision consecrated life and to help consecrated persons to understand more clearly their identity, life, mission and relevance. It seeks to promote and bring together the efforts of all those who are committed to the re-visioning and renewal of Consecrated life. This joint effort with the vision and active guidance of Rev. Fr. Henry Omonisaye, CMF, General Consultor in-charge for the Claretian Higher Ecclesiastical Institutes achieved its first milestone on 24th September, 2020 by the release of the book of Rev. Fr. José Cristo Rey García Paredes, CMF, a renowned Claretian theologian from Spain. The book is titled Consecrated Life as a Parable of the Kingdom in two volumes. The first volume which deals topics like “Foundational Charismatic Roots and Identity”, “Prayer in Consecrated Life”, “Progressing in Consecrated Life” and “Conformity with Jesus”, was released by Rev. Fr. Jose Koonamparampil, CMF, the Major Superior of Bangalore Province. The first copy was received by Fr. George Panthalanickal, CMF.
The second volume which presents topics such as “Celibacy Virginity for the Kingdom of God”, “Poverty for the Kingdom”, “Obedience for the Kingdom”, “Religious Community as a Parable of Love” and “Consecrated Men and Women in the Mission of the Church” was released by Fr. George Mattathil, CMF, the Provincial Prefect of Formation, Bangalore province. The first copy of the second volume was received by Fr. Michael Plamparambil, CMF.
Four more books are already with the Claretian Publications getting ready for printing. ICL is very grateful to the General Government of our esteemed Congregation for its encouragement and financial assistance in realising this project. ICL also thankfully remembers Claretian Publications, Bangalore on this memorable occasion.
The long cherished dream on Vocation and Formation titled Daivaviliyum Velluvilikalum (Vocation and Challenges) in Malayalam was published by Claretian Publications Bangalore and was released by Rev. Fr. Peter D’Souza, Provincial Vicar, on 3rd July 2020 at Provincial Curia Malleswaram.
According to the author:
We were quite heartbroken with the overnight imposition of lockdown. Seminarians were dejected as all the holiday plans were shattered and tickets cancelled. With the summer at our doors, water scarcity was looming large over the seminary and we were not prepared to overcome the same. After that came the stricter rules of lockdown including social distancing. To add to our misery, Belagavi district was declared a red zone with a lot COVID-19 positive cases around us.
Being in the Lenten Season, more intense prayers became a way of life for us. We wholeheartedly prayed to the Almighty to help the mankind to find a solution for the terrific pandemic that spread like wildfire across the continents. Holy Week and other celebrations were minimized following the government directives. Of course we concentrated more on spirituality and less on the external celebrations. We always made it a point to strictly observe the social distancing norms and hygiene advisories. We were not going out of the campus nor allowing anybody to come inside.
On the Wednesday after Palm Sunday, came the sad news about demise of Fr. Julio Vivas CMF from Spain. We embraced our spirits and permitted the same to grow stronger. Thus we could observe the memorials of Jesus’ last supper, passion, death and resurrection in more meaningful and prayerful way. Thank God, we were lucky to have abundant rain on Good Friday and indeed felt the same as showers of blessing from above; with this we were hopeful of overcoming the water scarcity.
As we restricted ourselves to our campus due to extended lockdowns, we planned diligently to make use of the time and resources. We ourselves carried out different works including cleaning the whole campus, repairing the fencing around the property, emptying the garbage tanks, sorting out the items, keeping them in separate tanks that we made with stones and mud, preparing the land for cultivation, planting vegetables and grains and fruit trees, deepening the existing canal to preserve the rain water, digging a new canal towards the open well to increase the water source, etc. We also manufactured some cattle fodder on our own in order to reduce purchase from market. Similarly, we have prepared enough organic manure for our garden, vegetable garden and seasonal food crops for the forthcoming season. We learnt great lessons in self-reliance care of mother earth.
Inspired by the news of our Claretian companions and many others doing a lot of humanitarian works, we felt very helpless, as the lockdown orders forced us to remain indoors. The young seminarians initially displayed some feelings of homesickness, but got used to the rhythm with prayer and work schedule. Every member cooperated to make it meaningful experience.
Online prayer being the new normal, the community were very happy to join in prayers with Pope Francis for the intention of alleviating the suffering of mankind caused by COVID-19. Being in our own space, we could also devoutly join the diocese to have Eucharistic adoration combined with Holy Rosary for the month of May. Indeed, with right attitude and intention we were able to turn hard times into blessings and learning.
Fr. Thomas Thennadiyil was conferred doctoral degree in Organizational Leadership from the University of the Incarnate Word, San Antonio, Texas, United States during the virtual Commencement ceremony (due to COVID 19) held on Saturday, May 30, 2020.
Earlier on February 20, 2020, Fr. Thomas had successfully defended his dissertation titled, Integrating the Mission and Identity of Catholic Universities: An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis of Academic Lay Leaders. His research was an explorative study of how lay leaders in the three Catholic universities of San Antonio, Texas, United States: Our Lady of the Lake University, St. Mary’s University, and the University of the Incarnate Word integrate the mission and identity of the university they are part of.
We congratulate Fr. Thomas on the successful completion of PhD and we thank the U.S. and Canada Province of the Claretians for sponsoring and supporting Fr. Thomas during his stay and study in U.S.
Professions and Renewal of Vows 2020
Bangalore: COVID-19 has kept almost all the world confined to some specific physical spaces. However the spirit moves without boundaries and limitations. This year the Pentecost Sunday was to be a great event for Claretians in India but for COVID-19 lockdown. The day coincided with the Professions and Renewal of Vows for Claretians in India.
In spite of the uncertainties due to the travel restrictions in place for almost three months, our Students, held up at different places, prepared well for their renewals and professions. The usual coming together of students from different organisms could not be realised this year. The retreats and renewal programmes were scattered to different locations; some had it even individually under the guidance of the available formator.
The suffering and pain of the millions of people due to the Coronavirus and the sacrifices and hard work of thousands of medical workers gave a new meaning to the Vows we pronounce. Sure the solemnity of Pentecost added more grace to the whole event. Held at different centres, Bangalore Province had four postulants entering the Novitiate; four Novices making their First Profession; nine Students renewing their Vows and two students making their Perpetual commitment.
On 29th February 2020, a Science Exhibition was organized at St. Claret E.M. High School Kurnool to commemorate Sir. C.V. Raman who discovered the Raman Effect. The exhibition was inaugurated jointly by Sri. M Srinivasalu, the Mandal Educational Officer of Kallur Mandal and S.I. Rammaiah of fourth town. The Principal of the School Fr. Irudayaswamy, Manager Fr. Isidore Toppo and Vice Principal Fr. John Bosco were present along with the teaching staff.
Children from all classes presented their Models, Art and Craft and innovative ideas to the parents and to the visitors who appreciated the children for their creative expressions and innovative models. Speaking on the occasion M.E.O. Sri. M Srinivasalu said that St. Claret School is providing excellent opportunity for the children to enhance their knowledge and skills and the atmosphere and the infrastructure available for the children are excellent.
YSM DAY 2020 CELEBRATION
Much awaited day finally dawned as the Claretian Seminary celebrated the “YSM Day 2020” on 13th February 2020, under the title “Our Environment is Our Life”. The title was chosen foreseeing the necessity to consceintize the young minds on the issues faced by our Mother Earth. This event marked the culmination of the School Ministry undertaken by the students every year in order to impart moral and value-based education to the students under the banner of YSM (Young Students Movement), while equipping the seminarians in formation with organizational competencies. The seminarians put in their heart and souls to bring the event to a grant success. The distinguished guests of the day included Fr. Rayappa Kasi, a renowned conservationist, Fr. Joseph Susainathan, YSM secretary, Archdiocese of Bangalore, Fr. Varghese Karukulathel CMF and other speakers.
There were 186 students from various schools who participated actively showing keen interest with innovative ideas to protect and preserve our Mother Earth and her bio-diversity. In his address, Chief Guest Fr. Rayappa Kasi emphasized that the young generation of millennials should unlearn many aspects of consumerist generation where everything is evaluated in terms of economic growth, without regard for Mother Earth. Fr. Varghese Karukulathel CMF exhorted students to make self-discipline as important aspect of life. The students themselves exhibited their aptitudes through various competitions and were given the prizes for further enhancement. This day was one of the significant milestones in the academic year of 2019-20, while imparting to students the YSM values: “See, Judge and Act” in preservation and conservation of Mother Earth.
The youth of the Nallajerla Parish had a great day on 2nd February 2020 under the guidance of Regional Youth Coordinator of the province, Rev. Fr. Mamudhu Chinnanna CMF. There were 110 youth who participated in the programme.
The theme for the day was “Do the present youth have the Right Direction”. The activities began with the celebration of the solemn Eucharist and was followed by various sessions of inputs, interactions, games, etc. Fr. Chinnanna enlightened the youth on day’s theme, interacting with them about the challenges that they face due to lack proper direction and helped them to choose the right direction from the Claretian perspective through the Word of God.
It was also a great opportunity for the youth of the parish to listen to Rev. Fr. David, the Youth Director of Eluru diocese. Fr. David inspired them to think about the present situation of the country and the role of the youth in the situation. He urged the youth to venture into the society with their catholic identity respecting oneself and parents in their life.
Rev. Fr. Prasad CMF, Parish Priest, with the other Claretians from the community organized the event and actively participated and interacted with the youth.
Pope Francis through Motu Proprio Apostolic Letter “Aperuit Illis”, published on 30 September 2019, instituted the third Sunday in ordinary time as the “SUNDAY OF THE WORD OF GOD”. The letter reads:
“At the conclusion of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, I proposed setting aside “a Sunday given over entirely to the word of God, so as to appreciate the inexhaustible riches contained in that constant dialogue between the Lord and his people” (Misericordia et Misera, 7). Devoting a specific Sunday of the liturgical year to the word of God can enable the Church to experience anew how the risen Lord opens up for us the treasury of his word and enables us to proclaim its unfathomable riches before the world…
With this Letter, I wish to respond to the many requests I have received from the people of God that the entire Church celebrate, in unity of purpose, a Sunday of the Word of God. It is now common for the Christian community to set aside moments to reflect on the great importance of the word of God for everyday living. The various local Churches have undertaken a wealth of initiatives to make the sacred Scripture more accessible to believers, to increase their gratitude for so great a gift, and to help them to strive daily to embody and bear witness to its teachings…
Consequently, I hereby declare that the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time is to be devoted to the celebration, study and dissemination of the word of God. This Sunday of the Word of God will thus be a fitting part of that time of the year when we are encouraged to strengthen our bonds with the Jewish people and to pray for Christian unity. This is more than a temporal coincidence: the celebration of the Sunday of the Word of God has ecumenical value, since the Scriptures point out, for those who listen, the path to authentic and firm unity.”
Responding to this, we in Bhattiprolu, Christ the Redeemer Church, on 26th January celebrated the Sunday of the Word of God. The celebration included Bible Procession, Enthronement of the Holy Bible followed by Holy Eucharist and breaking of the Word, etc. In his homily Fr. Santhosh preached on the importance of the Word of God in our day today life. People who still did not have a Bible had the privilege to get it on the occasion.
January 19, 2020 was a day of thanksgiving and great rejoicing for the Claretians and the Catholic community at Narasannapetta. On this day, the Annual Feast of Infant Jesus church and the Silver Jubilee of the Claretian presence at Narasannapetta was jointly celebrated with due solemnity. The Claretians have now reached the fullness of the silver jubilee of its presence and involvement in the pastoral, social and educational ministries at Narasannapeta since its foundation in the year 1995. The celebrations were scheduled for the evening and the assembly extended a very warm welcome to the mail celebrant of the day, Most Rev. Dr. Rayarala Vijayakumar PIME, Bishop of Srikakulam Diocese, on his maiden visit to the parish. Rev. Fr. Tom Vellappattu, Prefect of Youth and Vocation Ministry represented the Claretian provincial council (Bangalore province) along with many Claretian confreres from different communities of Andhra and Telangana region.
The solemn Holy Eucharist was concelebrated in the parish church which was fittingly adorned for the occasion, with a good number of diocesan and religious priests, and a large number of religious and faithful who participated joyfully and devoutly. In his message, the Bishop was full of praise and appreciation for the pioneer missionaries, for the struggles and challenges they might have come across in the initial stages of the mission. Though the area doesn’t have a strong catholic presence, the impact of our presence in the society is to be appreciated. Bishop expressed his mind that by way of imparting quality education, we can be real witnesses to the Christian truths and values to the students and to the society at large. Based on the Gospel of the day, Bishop further inspired the assembly as he dealt on the character of John the Baptist, who courageously and selflessly proclaimed our Lord Jesus to the world. After the Holy Eucharist, Bishop Rayarala Vijayakumar, Rev. Fr. Tom Vellappattu CMF, the pioneer missionaries and the dignitaries were felicitated by the Parish priest Fr. James Madappatt CMF, and the parish council members. The celebrations ended with a spectacular fireworks and fellowship meal.
Jharkhand Regional Youth Meet 2019
Regional youth gathering for Hindi area was organized at Barikhajuri parish on 14 December 2019. Youth from Barwadih and Barikhajuri parishes were the main participants. Youth from nearby parishes and schools also participated in the event. Bible Quiz, Christmas Carols and Christmas Messages were the highlight of the day. It was a well-organized event and all the participants were enthusiastic. It was the fruit of team work by various coordinators. Regional coordinator Fr. Siby Eravimangalam, Barikhajuri parish youth coordinator Fr. Sunil CP, Frs. Regi Pymattathil, Martin Mankunnath and other Claretians from the region worked with enthusiasm to make the event a great success. Fr. Tom Vellappattu, the Prefect of Youth and Vocation Ministry, too participated in the programme.
As Part of the Golden Jubilee Celebrations of Claretian Presence in India, on 18-22 November 2019, a renewal programme for the priests between 10 to 15 years was held at Claret Nivas Carmelaram. A total of 48 priests from five Major Organisms of India participated in the refresher encounter.
The programme, aimed at bringing together the members who have completed 10 to 15 years of their priesthood, included various sessions of input and sharing. Fr. Jacob Parapally MSFS inspired the priests through his thought provoking seminar on Living a Meaningful Life as Consecrated Priests. Fr. Joy Puthusery ISCH refreshed them on the topic Psychosexual Maturity as we grow in Priesthood and Consecrated Life. Fr. Rohan Dominic CMF updated the priests on our missionary involvement through SOMI-JPIC. Members had sufficient time to share their personal missionary experience, group discussions, visit to some of the Claretian Communities in Bengaluru, fraternal experience with our Novices and lighter moments among themselves. This fraternal coming together, helped the members in personal renewal and missionary encouragement during this Golden Jubilee year. During these days of encounter, Fr. George Mattathil, Prefect of Formation for Bangalore Province, and Fr. Jacob Arakkal, Provincial Superior of Bangalore Province, accompanied our priests.
ICL: Institute of Consecrated Life – Sanyasa is the only institute in Indiaorganized a two day seminar on theme “Consecrated Persons at the Service of Youth: Reflections on the Apostolic Exhortation Christus Vivit of Pope Francis” on 9-10 November 2019.
The seminar began solemnly with the reading of the Word of God, lighting of the lamp and prayer dance by the students of ICL. Then, Fr. Arul Jesu Robin, CMF, the director of ICL welcomed each one warmly. Rev. Fr. Jacob Arakkal, CMF, the president of ICL and the Provincial of the Bangalore Province of the Claretians gave an inaugural address in which he emphasized the importance of youth ministry in the mission of the consecrated persons. About 200 consecrated persons including novices from our neighboring communities participated actively and benefitted immensely from the seminar.
Renowned consecrated persons presented papers on the Apostolic Exhortation Christus Vivit from different perspectives. There were all together six paper presentations and two panel discussions. On the first day of the seminar, Dr. George Panthalanickal, CMF wonderfully brought out “Biblical and Ecclesial Portrayal of the Youth and Their Significance for Consecrated Persons”. The second paper was on “Today’s Youth – Tomorrow’s Consecrated Persons” by an inspiring personality Dr. George Kannanthanam, CMF. In the afternoon session, Rev. Sr. Michael Rita, FSJ former superior general of the Franciscan Sisters of St. Joseph (FSJ) presented a thought-provoking paper on “Pope Francis’ Message to the Youth and Its Relevance for Consecrated Persons”. The last session was a panel discussion in which the participants were enlightened by a lively panel which included Mr. Paul from Jesus’ Youth.
Like the first day, the second day too had three presentations and a panel discussion. The first presentation was on “A Call to the Consecrated Persons for Transformation in the Light of the Gospel” by a renowned theologian Dr. Xavier Manavath, CMF, the Vicar for the Religious in the Archdiocese of Bangalore. Then, Dr. Sivy Koroth, SDB, an expert in youth ministry challenged the participants with his presentation on “Youth Ministry – A Daring Call for the Consecrated Persons”. The last paper of the seminar was on “Consecrated Persons at the Service of the Youth for Discernment” by Professor Dr. Smitha Gabriel, ASI. Then, we had the panel discussion enriched by the passionate interventions by Mr. Dino of Jesus’ Youth.
Indeed, the participants highly appreciated the seminar which enabled them to be familiar with the recent church document Christus Vivit, a shot in the arm for the ministry of the consecrated persons with the young people.
Annual Superiors´ Meeting at Carmelaram
Province of Bangalore organised its annual Superiors´ Meeting from 05-08 November 2019 at Claret Nivas Carmelaram. Along with the Provincial Government all the superiors and delegate superiors of the communities of the province came together for evaluation and planning.
Half a day was dedicated to a seminar on “Community Animation” by Fr. Theophilos SDB. This helped the participants to update themselves on the leadership and animation qualities based on Biblical Leadership. Rest of the time was spent on presentation and evaluation of the reports based on our missionary life and activities. Various proposals were also discussed for better missionary orientation for the apostolate and lifestyle.
A Centre for all kinds of religious and liturgical articles was blessed by His Grace Most Rev Peter Machado, Archbishop, Bangalore Archdiocese and opened by Rev. Fr. John Paikattu, Provincial Administrator, Bangalore Province. It is a new venture of the Claretians in Bengaluru by the Claretian Publications. The program was attended by Superiors of various communities of the province, fathers, sisters, brothers, well-wishers and friends from neighboring communities and parishes.
CLARETIAN YOUTH ENCOUNTER AT TENALI
A 3 day Claretian Youth Encounter was conducted at Tenali Mukthi, Andrapradesh. 230 youths from 12 Claretian parishes witnessed the varieties of input sessions, group activities and a blind walk to conclude the camp. Many young Claretian fathers witnessed the event and contrubuted in arranging this Youth Encounter.
Inauguration of Mariadalam (Legion of Mary) was conducted at Christ the Redeemer Church, Bhattiprolu on 6 October, 2019. Forty women from different substations joined as the members of Legion of Mary. In his talk Fr. Chinnanna explained to the members on Origin, duties, functions and importance of Legion of Mary. Fr. Santhosh, parish priest thanked the members for showing their interest towards Mariadalam, encouraged and plained to them regarding how they should lead the mariadalam prayers in their own villages as small groups. Sr. Ester agreed to be the incharge person for Mariadalam in the Parish. In the end the members elected new president and secretary for Legion of Mary
CLARETIAN RENEWAL RETREATS AT CLARET NIVAS
As part of the Golden Jubilee Celebrations of Claretian Presence in India, Bangalore Province organized renewal retreats for all its priest members in September 2019. All the three Claretian Renewal Retreats were held at Claret Nivas Carmelaram.
113 priests working in different parts of the Province of Bangalore in India were divided in three different groups for better participation, without affecting their ministries. The three retreats took place on 02-07, 09-14 and 23-28 September 2019. The first two retreats were animated by Fr. Gonzalo Fernández CMF, the Vicar General and Prefect of Spirituality; the third retreat was animated by Fr. Paulson Veliyannoor CMF, Coordinator for the Forge in English.
Indeed, this was the time of spiritual renewal and refreshing and rejuvenating as Claretian Missionaries.
ENVIRONMENT DAY CELEBRATION AT BHATTIPROLU
On 02 September 2019 Save the Environment programme was conducted at Chavali and Vellaturu substations of Bhattiprolu Parish in Andhra Pradesh. All the villagers, young and old along with the priests actively participated in the programme. While planting the saplings the people encouraged one other by repeating the slogan "Each one Plant One". Forest department of Bapatla Division were very generous to supply us five hundred plants for this noble purpose. Fr. Santhosh, the parish priest explained to the people the need to care for the Environment by planting more trees. The need of human beings for food, water, shelter and other things depends on the environment around us. Therefore it is our responsibility to safeguard our environment and make the possibility of healthy and happy life here. It’s important that every individual, in city or village is aware of this responsibility and take the positive steps, especially by proper use of water and planting more trees. Let us nurture the nature so that we can have a better future.
In August 2019 once again India saw some of its parts affected by the monsoon fury. Like in 2018, the people suffered a heavy loss of property and even some lost their lives. In this hour of tragedy and human need, Province of Bangalore came forward to extend the helping hand. Different mission centers carried out the relief work at different affected areas.
By Christu Bhavan Mission at Bhattiprolu, Andhra Pradesh
Though Andhra Pradesh was not affected by the flood on a large scale, a certain areas bore the brunt of flood waters. Juvvalapalem area in Bhattiprolu mission of Claretians was one of such areas. As the water engulfed the area for longer time, it resulted in damage and loss of agricultural crops. People could not go for their daily work, thus resulting in loss of livelihood.
As an immediate assistance, Claretian Missionaries came to the rescue of people. On 24 August 2019, we organized and distributed essential food material to 315 families. During our relief work, local MLA, Mr Merugu Nagarjuna, visited the area and appreciated the efforts of missionaries. Now our focus is to help those families, especially our parishioners, whose houses are damaged due to the floods.
By Infant Jesus Mission at Athani, Karnataka
The recent flood which devastated the north Karnataka districts has caused a lot of misery, pain and loss of many things in the lives of thousands of people of the region. It was time to act together to help these helpless people. Infant Jesus Mission at Athani along with a few volunteers plunged in to this crisis situation to render humanitarian service of providing relief materials which was most urgent according to the situation. We visited many of the affected areas of Athani and took a stock of the situation and found thousands of family houses fully submerged, some are even washed away in wild rage and furry of the water.
As an immediate help, our mission decided to help the victims who returned to their houses after a long stay in relief camps. Therefore we arranged and distributed relief materials, mostly food, as a support to restart their lives. We have provided relief material kit to so many affected families. It will need serious planning and efforts to bring back these affected people to normal life.
By Claret Niketan Community at Belagavi, Karnataka
Belagavi District of Karnataka was one of the severely affected area by the flood and remained marooned under water for longer time. The water-logging was so severe that most of the roads were flooded and blocked. This created serious health hazard as garbage was accumulated in residential areas. Relief work was hampered as it continued to rain for weeks together.
On 11 August Claret Niketan, our Minor Seminary community, along with the staff of Hope Recovery center and volunteers from Kerala Christian Forum organized a clean-up drive to get rid of the garbage accumulated on the streets of Peeranwadi and its neighborhood. During the day long work, our young seminarians showed real courage and missionary enthusiasm in time of need under the leadership of their formator. The efforts were appreciated by the people as it portrayed humanitarian concern.
By Project Vision Centre at Wayanad, Kerala
As the flood tragedy struck once again, Bangalore Claretians responded immediately. Thousand four hundred families were provided with a food kit for their survival for ten days through Project Vision in the name of its intervention called Bangalore Cares for Kerala on 24-25 August in the flood ravaged Wayanad district of Kerala.
As floods have affected large number of lives in several parts of the country covering Kerala, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Assam, Kerala was in a greater problem due to the fact it was getting affected second year in a row. People who had lost everything were just getting back to their normal life, stitching together pieces of whatever was left, when floods hit again in the same fatal month of August this year. Project Vision which was just exiting from its disaster intervention since last one year, again moved to action immediately.
Project Vision volunteers were immediately in the field to identify the needs of the affected people. A total of 255,051 people were in the 1341 relief camps across Kerala. Fatalities amounted to 120, mostly due to landslides in Malappuram and Wayanad Districts.
Wayanad was the district of our focus of work and the district had 196 relief camps in which 35,878 people had taken refuge in. Unlike the previous year, a great organizational strength was shown by the government which ensured good care in most of the relief camps. Therefore our focus shifted to the people when they return home and to those who did not have to go to the relief camps, but had lost everything. They also did not have any job and income to sustain their families. As the immediate help, it was decided to provide them with a food kit of twenty essential items for them to sustain at least for a few days. The essential items were provided by various generous donors and organizations.
Young Claretian missionaries from five organisms gathered at Claret Nivas, Carmelaram from 5th to 10th of August.The group numbering 48 was a lively energetic group. It was a period of reflection and renewal. The topics dealt with were: community life , Claretian missionary life today, value relativism etc. Holy Eucharist and common prayers infused in them the feelings of closeness and family. Daily personal sharing was a fruitful time for them to know the reality of our missionary journey. Time was also given to major superiors to listen to them in groups. Speciall time alloted for games, group work and half day program of watching a musical drama at the St Thomas Hall, Jalahalli.
But most of all, meeting and interacting with batcmates and friends after years helped them in close sharing of experiences and renewing of lost contacts. As a whole quinquennium 2019 helped them to face future with renewed energy as they march forward with missionary zeal.
Bengaluru, India: The Golden Jubilee Year of Claretian presence in India was inaugurated in Bengaluru on 15 July 2019. The solemn event included Priestly Ordinations and public gathering at our Jalahalli campus.
During the solemn Jubilee Mass presided by Most Rev. Anil Joseph Thomas Couto, the Archbishop of Delhi, three of our Deacons were conferred the Priestly Ordination. Our Superior General as well as the Major Superiors of Claretian organism in India and Sri Lanka were present for the celebrations.
After the Holy Mass, the public meeting was presided over by Rev. Fr. Mathew Vattamattam CMF, our Superior General. Along with the Archbishop of Delhi, the Archbishop of Bangalore Most Rev. Peter Machado, Archbishop Emeritus of Bangalore Most Rev. Bernard Moras, Bishop of Mandya Mar Antony Kariyil CMI, were present for the public meeting. A large number of Priests and Religious, the family members and relations of the three Priests who were ordained on the day, well-wishers, benefactor and the Claretian fraternity participated in the inaugural celebrations.
Jubilee Message by Provincial Superior of Bangalore
On July 16, 1849 Father Anthony Mary Claret with his 5 companion priests gathered together in a small room in the diocesan seminary at Vic, Barcelona, Spain and there he declared, “a great work begins today.” Father Manual Vilaro one of the cofounders answered smiling, “what can its importance be, being that we are so young and few in number?” “You will soon see,” said Father Claret, “and if we are few God’s great power will shine brighter.” These were prophetic words of Father Claret that today over 3000 Claretian Missionaries, the religious congregation founded by Father Claret on that day, are working in 66 countries around the world “seeking in all things the glory of God, the sanctification of its members and the salvation of people”.
The beginning of the Congregation in India 50 years ago was no doubt part of the Prophecy of Father Claret. Right from 1952 attempts were made to start the Congregation in India. The visit of Fr. Peter Schweiger, the then Superior General, to India in 1956 was the first concrete step towards starting the Congregation in India. It was followed up by Fr. Rudolf Mainka and Fr. Walter Safran of the Province of Germany. Bishop Sebastian Vayalil and Fr. Alexander Cherukarakunnel of the Pala Diocese are to be specially remembered who later on proposed concrete steps in starting the Congregation in India and were true helping hands in the beginning times.
One person, Fr. Franz Xavier Dirnberger CMF, who laid the foundation and shaped the future of the Congregation in India, stands above all other persons. Along with him we remember with gratitude Fr. Peter Schutz CMF, the then provincial superior of the Province of Germany, who stood behind every step for a strong foundation of the Congregation in India. In 1970 Fr. Dirnberger was sent to India by the Province of Germany, who from then continued his dedicated missionary life and service in India until he died in 1993.
On 31 March 1970 the foundation stone for the first Claretian House in India was laid at Kuravilangad, Kerala and it was named ‘Claret Bhavan’. That was a phenomenal and divinely willed beginning no doubt, that now at 50 years we the Claretians in India are 3 Provinces, 2 Independent Delegations, 94 Communities in 12 States in India and 476 Priests working in the missions in India and abroad. The Province of Bangalore today has 27 Communities, 149 Priests working in India and abroad, missions in Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Maharashtra, Haryana-Delhi, Jharkhand, Punjab and in New Zealand.
At this juncture we gratefully remember the contributions of the pioneer Indian Claretians in moulding the congregation in India. Fr. Joseph Madavath the first Indian Claretian Priest who was ordained in Germany in 1968 is the first to be thankfully remembered. Along with him Fathers Mathew Njayarkulam, George Vanchipurakal, George Nedumplakunnel and Kuriakose Thekkilakattil under the leadership of Fr. Franz Dirnberger laid a strong foundation for the congregation in India and guided the initial stages of its growth. We joyously remember all other Claretian Missionaries, our benefactors, friends and well-wishers who stood at the forefront and zealously worked for the growth of the Congregation in India.
The successive General Governments and very specially the Province of Germany which is our Mother Province whose unparalleled and wholehearted support all throughout the 50 years of our journey made the great difference in our growth story is ever remembered with deep sentiments of gratitude.
When we think of a movement inspired and impelled by the Holy Spirit, we do not think much about the works and achievements but the element of the Divine in it and how powerful this Divine element is moving on. Then we count every growth, every progress, and every achievement as a Divine plan and blessing. More than anything we Claretians count everything within the perspective of evangelization because we are apostolic missionaries by call and evangelization is our charism and our hallmark. As Father Claret was, we too work for the “greater glory of God and salvation of souls”.
The beginning of the Congregation in India 50 years ago was the result of the Divine inspiration. 50 years later, as we look back today, we realize that the very foundational blessings we had, been always with us. As we celebrate the Golden Jubilee of our presence in India we journey on with the hope and prayers that God will continue to bless our life and work in India further that we may dedicate ourselves for the service of God and our fellow human beings and we take this year of Jubilee as a time of thanksgiving and a time of renewal.
Fr. Jacob Arakkal John CMF
Province of Bengaluru
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