My Dear Confreres,
Fraternal greetings to each one of you in the name of the Lord!
ST. FRANCIS DE SALES’ THOUGHT ON SELF-DISTRUST
Distrust of self and confidence in God are the two mystic wings of the dove; that is to say, of the soul which, having learnt to be simple, takes its flight and rests in God, the great and sovereign object of its love, of its flight, and of its repose. The Spiritual Combat, which is an excellent epitome of the science of salvation and of heavenly teaching, makes these two things, distrust of self and confidence in God, to be, as it were, the introduction to true wisdom: they are, the author tells us, the two feet on which we walk towards it, the two arms with which we embrace it, and the two eyes with which we perceive it.
In proportion to the growth of one of these two in us is the increase of the other; the greater or the less the degree of our self-distrust, the greater or the less the degree of our confidence in God. But whence springs this salutary distrust of self? From the knowledge of our own misery and vileness, of our weakness and impotence, of our malice and levity. And whence proceeds confidence in God? From the knowledge which faith gives us of His infinite goodness, and from our assurance that He is rich in mercy to all those who call upon Him.
If distrust and confidence seem incompatible with one another, listen to what our Blessed Father says on the subject: “Not only can the soul which knows her misery have great confidence in God, but unless she has such knowledge, it is impossible for her to have true confidence in Him; for it is this very knowledge and confession of our misery which brings us to God. Thus, all the great Saints, Job, David, and the rest, began every prayer with the confession of their own misery, and unworthiness. It is a very good thing to acknowledge ourselves to be poor, vile, abject, and unworthy to appear in the presence of God. That saying so celebrated among the ancients: Know thyself, even though it may be understood as referring to the knowledge of the greatness and excellence of the soul, which ought not to be debased or profaned by things unworthy of its nobility, may also be taken as referring to the knowledge of our personal unworthiness, imperfection, and misery. Now the greater our knowledge of our own misery the more profound will be our confidence in the goodness and mercy of God; for between mercy and misery there is so close a connection that the one cannot be exercised without the other. If God had not created man, He would still, indeed, have been perfect in goodness; but He would not have been actually merciful, since mercy can only be exercised towards the miserable.
You see, then, that the more miserable we know ourselves to be the more occasions we have to confide in God, since we have nothing in ourselves in which we can trust.”
He goes on to say: “It is a very good thing to mistrust ourselves, but at the same time how will that avail us, unless we put our whole confidence in God, and wait for His mercy? It is right that our daily faults and infidelities should cause us self-reproach when we would appear before our Lord; and we read of great souls, like St. Catherine of Siena and St. Teresa, who, when they had been betrayed into some fault, were overwhelmed with confusion. Again, it is reasonable that, having offended God, we should out of humility and a feeling of confusion, hold ourselves a little in the background. When we have offended even an earthly friend, we feel ashamed to meet him. Nevertheless, it is quite certain that we must not remain for long at a distance, for the virtues of humility, abjection, and confusion are intermediate virtues, or steps by which the soul ascends to union with her God.
“It would be no great gain to accept our nothingness as a fact and to strip ourselves of self (which is done by acts of self-humiliation) if the result of this were not the total surrender of ourselves to God. St. Paul teaches us this, when he says: Strip yourselves of the old man and put on the new. For we must not remain unclothed; but clothe ourselves with God.”
Further on our Saint says: “I ever say that the throne of God’s mercy is our misery, therefore the greater our misery the greater should be our confidence.”
As regards the foundation of our confidence in God, he says in the same conference: “You wish further to know what foundation our confidence ought to have. Know, then, that it must be grounded on the infinite goodness of God, and on the merits of the Death and Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ with this condition on our part that we should preserve and recognize in ourselves an entire and firm resolution to belong wholly to God, and to abandon ourselves in all things and without any reserve to His Providence.” He adds that, in order to belong wholly to God, it is not necessary to feel this resolution, because feeling resides chiefly in the lower faculties of the soul; but we must recognize it in the higher part of the soul, that purer and more serene region where even in spite of our feelings we fail not to serve God in spirit and in truth.
Let us imbibe the spirit and spirituality of St. Francis De Sales.
WISH YOU ALL
HAPPY FEAST OF OUR HEAVENLY PATRON,
ST. FRANCIS DE SALES!!!
SINCERE GRATITUDE TO ALL
“… Give thanks in all circumstances…” (I Thes 5: 16 – 18)
“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. (…) It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.” (Melody Beattie)
It is with the same sentiments of gratitude to all of you that I complete my tenure as Provincial of South-East India Province of the MSFS. I accepted the mandate as Provincial of South-East India Province, fully knowing the responsibilities and challenges that I was going to shoulder and face. By God’s grace and strength, I was able to accomplish the task that was entrusted to me. I THANK GOD for His continued guidance and inspiration.
For the past 6 years, I had the joy of working with two sets of Provincial Curia. Both the teams were exceptionally good and gracious to my initiatives and gave me outstanding support and cooperation. I place on record the total cooperation, dedication and team work of the Provincial Curiae – the Councillors, the Bursars and also the Provincial Secretaries. Whatever the Administration could do or achieve was owing to all in the Provincial Curia and their wholehearted support and cooperation.
As I hand over the responsibility to the new Provincial, I take this opportunity to thank all the members of the South-East India Province – Fathers and Scholastics in formation. I see the immense wealth of persons and talents we possess as a Province and thank God for the tremendous human potential we have. We have many dedicated confreres who do a wonderful and inspiring ministry in the areas of Education, Formation, Parochial Ministry, Preaching and Social-Innovative Ministries. I appreciate the committed works done by our fathers in the missions (abroad) outside the Province.
Our South-East India Delegation of GAH is stable and the Delegation Administration is active in the animation of the members. Local Superiors of GAH exercise their responsibility with dedication and there is constant communication with members. Our confreres working in the U.S. Vice Province show tremendous sense of love and support towards the Province and the Missions in the Province. Our confreres working in the Caribbean Islands, Brazil and Italy are also doing dedicated service for the growth of the local church. I do appreciate the generosity of all these confreres and thank them.
I thank the Superior General and the General Curia for the love and support they have extended to me and the Provincial Curia. The visitation of the Superior General, the Assistant General and the members of the General Curia to the Province was every time a moment of renewal and rejuvenation for the Province.
My thanks are due to the (PIF) Provincials of India Forum for the teamwork and communication we have had among the Provincials. I sincerely thank the U.S. Vice Provincial for his support of the missions and seminarians of the South-East India Province, and for his love and concern for us.
I thank the Franco-Swiss Provincial and the English Provincial Administrator for their sincere collaboration and support. I thank the East-Africa Provincial for his vibrant leadership and for the generosity of collaboration with South-East India Province in inviting our confreres and giving them a mission exposure in Africa. I also thank the Provincial of Brazil Province for his open arm invitation to our confreres to work in Brazil.
I offer my sincere thanks to Rev. Fr. Emile Mayoraz, our former Superior General, for his most valuable help and contributions towards the realization of a Children’s Village at Vayalogam in our Province. I owe my thanks to the Mission Development Office of the Congregation, headed by Fr. Thomas Cherukat, for all the support rendered to the missions of the Congregation and particularly finding sponsors for the Emile Mayoraz Children’s Home at Vayalogam.
I sincerely thank all our benefactors from USA, France, Germany, Belgium, Italy and confreres, without naming them, for their generous efforts in finding funds for the missions of the Province.
All the Rectors and the formators in various Study Houses, wherein our young scholastics get trained, deserve my most sincere gratitude for their cooperation, collaboration and genuine commitment in imparting value-based and quality formation to our young confreres.
I was in a unique manner blessed to be the Major Superior and Governing Body Chairperson of Suvidya College, Bangalore. It was a pure joy to work with all the five Provincials in India and the Rector, Fr. Joy Mampally, Staff and the Students of Suvidya and to see the College making a steady progress in promoting a holistic formation.
I take this opportunity to thank the Provincial, Rev. Sr. Rosy Antony, SCC and the Sisters of Cross of Chavonad for their whole-hearted collaboration and participation in all common celebrations and events. I also thank FMM Sisters of Trichy and FSJ Sisters of St. Thomas Mount for taking care of our sick confreres and Sisters of Charity for their encouragement and support.
I wish our new Provincial, Rev. Fr. K. Ignacimuthu, MSFS, God’s manifold blessings and assure him of my support. I request for the wholehearted cooperation of all of you with the new Provincial to help our Province and Congregation to grow to greater heights.
Once again, thanks a million, my dearest confreres of the South-East India Province, for gently walking with me through both joyous and trying moments in our province for the last six long years, with inexhaustible cooperation, encouragement, understanding and obedience.
Thanks to one and all!
“Dear God, Thank you for the valleys, for without them, I would not recognize the blessings of the mountains.”
THE INSTALATION OF THE NEW PROVINCIAL
Rev. Fr. K. Ignaci Muthu
On 24th January 2017, Tuesday at 10 a.m
FRANSALIAN DE- ADDICTION COUNSELING CENTER
INAGUATION OF THE SFS ILLAM AT DHARMAPURI
05th December 2016 was a joyous day for the MSFS – South East India Province because it witnessed the grand opening of the SFS Illam at Dharmapuri. Rev. Fr. C. Sebastin was delighted to welcome all the dignitaries for the inauguration of SFS home. The event began with the words of welcome extended to Most. Rev. Dr. Lawrence Pius, the Bishop of Dharmapuri, Rev. Fr. Antony Dharma Raj, the provincial Superior of South-East India Province, Rev. Fr. K. Ignaci Muthu, the provincial elect of South-East India province, Rev. Fr. Vicar General and the priests from the diocese of Dharmapuri, our confreres and the well-wishers.
The SFS Illam was blessed by His Lordship Most. Rev. Dr. Lawrence Pius the Bishop of Dharmapuri and opened by Rev. Fr. Antony Dharma Raj, the provincial Superior of South-East India Province. Rev. Fr. K. Ignaci Muthu, the provincial elect of South-East India province unveiled the stone. The evening was cheered with a short felicitation programme, organized by Rev.Fr. C. Sebastin Raj, the director of the de- addiction counselling centre. The Bishop expressed his satisfaction over the realization of such a project for the alcoholics’ addicts in his diocese. Finally Rev. Fr. C. Sebastin Raj whole heartedly thanked the Bishop, the Provincial, the Councillors, the confreres, and the guests for their prayers, great support and encouragement.
The Pastoral Visit by His Lordship Most. Rev. Dr. Antony Pappusamy, the Arch-Bishop of Madurai to Ammapatti Parish
On 20th November 2016, His Lordship Most. Rev. Dr. Antony Pappusamy, the Arch-Bishop of Madurai visited the parish of Ammapatti with Fr. Xavier Raj (VF of Batlagundu) and Fr. Augustine (Arch-Bishop’s Secretary). Having performed the sacrament of Reconciliation, the Arch-Bishop presided over the Most Holy Eucharistic Celebration preaching on the “Good Shepherd.” After the Holy Eucharist, we had a felicitation ceremony and a common meeting with the people. At the ceremony, the reports of the parish priest, Anbiums, Vincent De Paul Society, Youth Group, Alter boys and girls and Catechism were read. The Arch-Bishop distributed prizes for the winners of Bible Competitions. He acknowledged and appreciated the great service, done by MSFS fathers in Ammapatti and other places too. He requested the faithful to support and collaborate with the parish priest for the good and welfare of the parish. He went through the reports and records of the parish.
After the ceremony, together with the Arch-Bishop and other priests, we visited our substation at Ammaiyanayakannur, the Church of Our Lady of Lourdes and visited St. Paul, the Hermit Church at Jeganathapuram and Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church at Ammanagar and spent some time with the people there. The Pastoral Visit came to an end at St. Aloysius Convent in Ammapatti with Lunch. Fr. S. Stephen Xavier had planned and made the arrangements meticulously well. It was a great event and memorable day for the faithful at Ammapatti and for the parish. Faithful in good number participated in all the programs and cooperated with us for the success of the day.
Fr. M. Joseph Anish Kumar
The Mid-Year Evaluation for the Regents’ (2016-2017)
The Mid-Year Evaluation for the regents’ (2016-2017) took place on 29th December in the provincial house of South-East India Province as per the programme planned. All the regents had come for the meeting. The day dawned praising the name of the lord (Morning Prayer and Holy Eucharist). We had the first session at 9.00am organized by Rev Fr. A. Edward who motivated us on the voluntary commitment to the service of the lord and shared some tips for the well-being of our spiritual life, drawing examples from various life experiences.
The second session was guided Rev. Fr. George Navin who enlightened us on the quantity and quality of vocation crisis and the ways to overcome them. Then Rev. Fr. Provincial met us and we shared the joyful moments and the challenges faced and strengthened each other to be better in the coming days. Thus the regents’ meet came to an end by 1.00pm.
The whole programme was organized by Rev. Fr. Deivasakayaraj Msfs. We are very grateful to Almighty father for the blessings and graces. Our special thanks to fathers, namely Provincial, Deivasakayaraj, Edward and Naveen for their supportive and assertive efforts. We offer our sincere thanks to Rev. Fr. Nicholas for all the necessary arrangements. Thank you once again dear Fathers and Brothers.
Bro. Nirmal Kumar
Perpetual Profession at Nagamangalam, Trichy
The MSFS Provincial House, Trichy wore a festive look on 30th December 2016. On the grace-full day, two of our brothers, namely, Bro. D. Nelson and Bro. B. Philomin Raj made their final commitment to the lord during a Solemn Eucharistic Celebration presided over by Rev. Fr. Anthony Dharmaraj, the Provincial superior of south east India Province, along with many Msfs priests among whom Fr. Edward the councilor in charge of mission and Fr. Deivasakayaraj the councilor in charge of formation, were the witnesses of their perpetual profession.
Rev. Fr. Anthony Dharmaraj, the provincial, received their vows, officially and accepted them into the Congregation, on behalf of the Superior General, as permanent members. The occasion was even more solemnized by the presence of their family members, priests and religious from far and near. The Eucharistic Celebration was immediately followed by a felicitation of the newly perpetually professed members and a fellowship meal. The whole program was meticulously planned and organized by Fr. M. Nicholas, the Bursar and Superior, Fr. S. Santhanam, the secretary and the Provincialate community. Finally the perpetually professed members, in turn, expressed their deep sense of gratitude to all those who guided them at different stages of their formation.
Bro. A. Infant Jesus
FROM SMALL STEPS TO GREAT STRIDES:
SACERDOTAL SILVER JUBILEE CELEBRATIONS OF REV. FR. ANTHONY
DHARMARAJ IN SUVIDYA COLLEGE
Suvidya collage the Inter- Provincial institute of Philosophy celebrated the sacerdotal Jubilee of Rev.Fr. A. Dharmaraj, Major Superior and the Governing Body Chairman, on 03rd January 2017. The celebrations began with the solemn Eucharist at 6.00 pm. Rev. Fr. Joy Mampally the Rector and President of Suvidya Collage introduced the celebrations and welcomed the Jubilarian; it was more than coincidental that Fr. M. Nicholas, the provincial Bursar of South-East India Province was celebrating his Birthday on the same day. Fr. Joy welcomed him specially and invited him to join the Jubilarian to light the lamb. Rev. Fr. Benny Koottanal the Provincial Superior of the South-West province preached the homily in which he spoke about the two types of Priesthood interpreting EX 32:1-6.He reminded us that the priest should be a man of prayer.
After the Eucharist, there was a short but sweet felicitation Program. Fr. Joy Mampally welcomed the Jubilarian and other dignitaries and guests to the program and shared his experience and impressions about Rev. Fr. A. Dharmaraj. He then invited Fr. Jacob Parappally, the first Dean of Suvidya College, and the one who inculcated in Fr. Dharmaraj a great love for the Congregation and Suvidya College, to honor the Jubilarian. One of the main attractions of the entertainment program was the mesmerizing dance performed by the renowned Kuchipudi dancer and actress, Miss. Pratiksha Kashi and her team; The Suvidyans kept the audience spell-bound with their musical orchestra. Fr. Dharmaraj in his response thanked the Rector and the Community for making the celebration a grand one; he was touched by the love and affection with which the preparations were made, he said. The program came to a close with a Hymn to Our Lady. It was followed by dinner; everyone gathered in the wonderfully decorated Quadrangle; the Jubilarian and the Birthday Celebrant together cut the cake. It was a great joyful celebration for all of us!
Reported by Br. S. Pradeep Jerald
III Yr. Philosophy, Suvidya College
ON HOME HOLIDAYS FROM ABROAD
Fr. A. Joseph Amalraj (Germany) – From 7th January to 8th February
We wish him a good time with his dear and near ones.
Fr. P. Joseph Sebastian
Hause Tel.No. 0049 (0)8531 3170334
Handy No. 0049 (0)1624371329
E Mail. Josephp2_fr@hotmail.com
LET US PRAY FOR THE DEPARTED
- Snehappoo, the mother of Fr. M. Michael Selvans, expired on 11th December, 2016.
- Selvamary, aged 85, the Grandmother of Dn. L. John Peter, expired on 10th January, 2017.
May their souls rest in peace!
Yours Fraternally in Christ,
Rev. Fr. Anthony Dharmaraj, Msfs
“The truly patient man neither complains of his hard lot nor desires to be pitied by others. He speaks of his sufferings in a natural, true, and sincere way, without murmuring, complaining, or exaggerating them.”
St. Francis de Sales