Greetings of peace and love! As all of us know, the whole world, the creation and the humanity is undergoing pain, suffering, loss, fear etc due to corona virus. The loss of lives is enormous and increasing day by day. The governments and medical personnel etc. are unable to contain it. In spite of all the best efforts taken by the world community and the governments, it looks unstoppable. It has no affinity to language, culture, creed, color, race, power, might, wealth, influence etc. Everybody is equal before it. It seems to consume anyone at will.
It has brought down the economy. Every economic activity is at stand still. It has rendered the daily laboureres, unorganized workers, and daily wage earners etc with nothing to survive on. It has not spared anyone. All of us are indoors and are confined to our houses and communities. The highways, byways, streets, footpaths are empty. The only word and the sound we hear every time and everywhere is Corona virus or Covid 19.
Everybody seems to have surrendered to it. The powerful world leaders are nothing before it. The scientists, doctors, intelligentsia, famous personalities, artists, etc are no match before this virus. All these show a serious existential crisis in the world. The deadly virus seems to be dangerous, endless and heartless. There is despondency and gloom everywhere. There is helplessness and hopelessness in the world.
At this time of ruthless crisis, we are celebrating the Holy Week. Much of our Lenten season is engulfed by this virus. The churches are empty. The ceremonies are not opened for public. The faithful are as clueless as the religious authorities.
The creation, the world and the humanity is in need of protection and healing. No power on earth is capable of providing this. It is God alone, who can provide protection and healing to this world and the humanity. Our Lord Jesus died on the Cross so that the humanity can be saved and liberated from its bondage. Let this year’s simple celebration of Easter be a sign of hope in this time of crisis.
As we celebrate Easter, in this disaster time, we need to do two things. One is to intensely pray as individuals and as communities for God’s protection and healing to the world and the humanity. The other is to help those who are most affected by this deadly virus, especially daily laborers, abandoned people and those who have no one to support.
Let us continue to pray for the creation, the world, the humanity and for each other. Let us support those who are affected.
I. Congregation Matters
1. Extraordinary General Chapter, 2021
As you are well aware, the Extraordinary GeneralChapter of our Congregation is going to be held from 1st to 7th of February, 2021 at MSFS Provincial House, Pune. The working papers, including Jurridiacal matters have been sent to you. Since our planned Apostolic Community meetings is unable to be held due to shut down, I request all the superiors to call for community meetings and reflect on the documents relating to Extraordinary General Chapter, 2021. You are requested to submit your report by 20th of April, 2020.
II. Province Matters
2. Provincial Congress, 2020
The 5th Ordinary Provincial Congress of our South-East India Province of the Missionaries of St. Francis De Sales held at Poondi Retreat Center, Poondi from 09th to 12th of March, 2020, was indeed a time of grace and blessings for the Province and its members. It was an opportunity for the members of the Province in India and the representatives of the Confreres abroad to come together, to share, to evaluate, and to experience the fraternal affection for each other and to plan for the future of the Province for next three years. The memorable Congress consisted of 87 priests, 6 deacons and 2 brothers, one representing the theologians and other representing the philosophers.
The Provincial Congress began with a solemn Eucharistic celebration, presided over by Rev. Fr. Jacob Karamakuzhiyil, the Delegate of the Superior General Rev.Fr.Abraham Vettuvelil and General Councilor for Education. In his homily, he emphasized the different perspectives of the challenging nature of the theme: “BEING ROOTED IN THE BASICS OF THE MSFS, WE WITNESS CHRIST THROUGH OUR APOSTOLATES AND MINISTRIES.”
Rev.Fr.Thomas Perumalil, MSFS, the Novice Master, preached the thought provoking recollection in preparation for the Provincial Congress, inviting all to seriously ponder over the theme of the Provincial Congress in the context of Msfs pioneers and great missionaries. The keynote address was delivered by Rev.Fr.Emmanuel Uppamthadathil. He gave impetus to do a soul-searching journey in our religious and missionary life. The sessions, animated by different moderators, were exuberant, facilitating the members to give their critique and seek elucidation after every collated report. The occasion was graced by Provincials and representatives from different provinces in India.
On behalf the Province family, I thank the Almighty for His ever-strengthening presence with us during the days of the Provincial Congress. I place on record our gratitude to Very Rev. Fr. Abraham, our Superior General and his Administration, who always care for us and contribute their best towards our steady growth in all spheres. Big thanks to all the provincials / representatives, who were present physically or in spirit for their continuous support.
On behalf of all the confreres, I wholeheartedly thank all the members of the Steering Committee, headed by Fr.A.Luckas, for their meticulous planning, impeccable arrangements and professional execution, which contributed for the success of our Provincial Congress. I also thank the Secretaries, Statement and Action Plan Committees for their contributions for the success of the Congress. I also thank provincial house community, Fr. Nicholas, the former bursar for their dedicated service to make the Congress a success. I sincerely thank each and every one of you, my dear Confreres, for your wholehearted support, quality presence and contribution during the Provincial Congress.
3. PROCEEDINGS OF THE PROVINCIAL CONGRESS – APPROVAL OF THE SUPERIOR GENERAL
Rev.Fr.Abraham Vettuvelil our Superior General has by his communication dated 4th of April, 2020 in SG-AB2 20-55 has approved the proceedings of the Provincial Congress, 2020, including the election of the Provincial Curia, Statement and Action Plan of the Provincial Congress. As such, I hereby publish the same.
4. THE NEW PROVINCIAL COUNCIL TEAM
The Fifth Ordinary Provincial Congress elected the following Confreres to the Provincial Council team:
|1||Fr.C.Sebastianraj||Councillor and Admonitor|
5. STATEMENT OF THE 5TH ORDINARY PROVINCIAL CONGRESS – 2020
We, the members of the South East India Province of the Missionaries of St. Francis de Sales, gathered at the Retreat Centre at Poondi for the 5th Ordinary Provincial Congress, to reflect and revitalize our religious life and commitment on the theme, “Being Rooted in the Basics of the MSFS, We Witness Christ through our Apostolates and Ministries” after the example of our patroness Mother of Compassion and inspired by the spirituality of our patron St. Francis De Sales, and walking in the footsteps of our founder Fr. Peter Marie Mermier, after having a sincere and a soul searching reflection, make the following statement.
a. RELIGIOUS LIFE
Upholding the primacy of living together as a religious community envisaged by our Founder Fr.Peter Mermier, we resolve to live the spirit of MSFS-ness by strengthening the local, neighbourhood and apostolic communities and by consciously avoiding all types of divisive forces like casteism, groupism and individualism and by promoting genuine, fraternal love and family spirit.
Cherishing our rich missionary heritage and imbibing the vision and missionary zeal of our Founder, we resolve to Live Jesus by following the spirit and spirituality of St. Francis De Sales in our ministries, fulfilling the demands of the missions entrusted to us in and through the community and participating in the universal call of the mission by responding positively to the needs of the Church and by effectively using the modern means of communication.
We reaffirm our commitment to Malawi mission, by our readiness to opt for the frontier missions and by extending our prayerful and fraternal support to our confreres working there. Further we resolve to work for the socio-economic growth of the people under our care, showing our preferential option for the poor and the marginalized.,/p>
Affirming that formation should lead to the transformation of the person into the image and likeness of Christ, on the model of St. Francis De Sales and Fr. Peter Mermier, we resolve to recruit students from different cultures and languages and ensure implementation of the graded formation, in an atmosphere of love and care, and to offer a wholistic formation which helps the formees to grow as persons of conviction and commitment. We resolve to accompany the formees, identifying their potentialities, providing them with ample opportunities for growth and inculcating a missionary zeal in them.
Being rooted in the basics of the MSFS and bearing witness to the values of the Kingdom of God through our apostolate of education and following the thrust of our Founder Fr. Peter Mermier, who said, “the heart of education is the education of the heart”, we resolve to sow the seeds of love, peace, joy, justice, harmony, honesty and eco-friendliness in the hearts of the students, who are challenged to cope up with the negative and destructive elements of our society.
e. INNOVATIVE MINISTRIES
Acknowledging the necessity of promoting the unique giftedness of the individuals expressed through creative ministries, we resolve to strengthen the innovative and social apostolates by providing adequate facilities and thereby ensuring their stability and continuity. We resolve to impart spiritual healing and spreading of the Kingdom Values through our indigenous culture, and to focus on the liberation and rejuvenation of the human lives by working for the upliftment of the poor and the needy.
Safeguarding the local assets of the Province and to be accountable in our dealing with all money matters, we resolve to live the true spirit of stewardship and be transparent and trustworthy in the administration of the temporal goods of the Province and of the Church. We resolve to tap the local resources, to initiate other sustainable schemes and to use judiciously our God given material goods, by avoiding all types of luxuries and extravaganza in the places of our ministry.
Thus imbibing the theme of the Provincial Congress, we resolve ourselves to be resolutely rooted in the four basics of community life, mission, MSFSnes and spirituality of St. Francis De Sales of our Congregation and bear witness to Christ our Lord through our apostolates and ministries for the glory of God and for the welfare of humanity.
6. THE ACTION PLAN OF THE 5TH ORDINARY PROVINCIAL CONGRESS – 2020
1. RELIGIOUS LIFE AND COMMUNITY LIFE
- We will have regular spiritual reading before the meal from “walking with St. Francis De Sales.”
- Superiors forum will be given proper attention by the provincial administration
- Steps to ensure and instil an atmosphere of oneness among the conferrers will be undertaken.
- Steps will be taken to establish chapel and parlour in those houses, which do not have them.
- Strict adherence to the community time table will be insisted upon.
- We will ensure monthly community meetings and submission of monthly community accountin all our centres (Parish and Schools).
- We will find time to have community get-together and picnic.
- A system will be created to abolish disparity both in the appointments and elections to the provincial adminis
- The procurators in the schools will be made the procurator of the community. And the Assistant parish priest will be made the procurator of the Parish community.
2. MISSION FORUM
- Fransalian Spirituality will be disseminated to the people in the parish in concrete ways.
- Half an hour of Eucharistic adoration will be conducted before/ after Mass.
- A day will be set for the devotion to St. Francis De Sales.
- Formulation of vision and mission plan for each parish will be done.
- PMP team will be invited to our parishes at least for one program inan year.
- Propagating the spirituality of SFS and Fr. Mermier through the media, useful quotes of SFS and Fr. Mermier will be displayed in our mission stations.
- Taking up new mission in Tamil Nadu and Srilankawill be looked into.
- Providing new computer and printer for all our parishes will be considered a priority.
- Poor children’s education fund will be increased.
- Meritorious students from each parish will be identified and helped for higher studies.
- Evaluation of all the missions both in India and overseas will be done.
- Stable financial structure will be created for the Malawi mission.
- Clarity regarding mission in Italy and other overseas missions will be planned.
- Appointment of the local superior and establishing of the local communities in West Indies mission will be done.
- Formation of communities in GAH will be defined concretely.
- Cordial collaboration with the local ordinaries in USA Vice-Province will be effected.
- Affiliating the confreres in the developed countries with our parishes for development will be materialised.
- Efforts will be made to make the parish mission self-reliant with the help of the confreres working as pastors in Kalamazoo diocese in USA wherever it is possible.
3. FORMATION FORUM
- Four Year Minor Seminary programme will be studied.
- Attention will be given to the training of our formators in the seminary.
- Missionary zeal and pioneering mission spirit will be encouraged from the minor seminary itself.
- Personal plan and assessment of the scholastics will be followed up.
- Frequent contact of the major superior with the theologians in Tanzania will be done.
- Eligible Scholastics will be sent to do higher studies after regency for the future ministry.
- Promoting vocation from our own parishes and other states will be encouraged.
- Possibility of starting Arts stream of study in the campus of our Minor seminary will be studied.
4. EDUCATION FORUM
- Fransalian culture and spirituality in all our schools will be consolidated.
- Creating a corporate school development fund in the schools will be looked into.
- Making our schools more eco-friendly by introducing schemes like water harvesting, installing paper recycling units and starting vermin compost, etc will be taken upon.
- Planning program for health education such as personal hygiene, food habits and awareness of communicable diseases etc will be made.
- Interaction with our students and staff regarding our mission works in rural areas and our charitable and missionary works in Africa in view of making them aware of our global mission will be planned.
- Many confreres will be encouraged to do B.Ed Studies and other higher studies like counseling.
- Building primary schools in our parishes and identifying the possibilities of starting ICSE/CBSE in urban areas will be considered.
- Study of the possibility of starting new schools near Kallakurichi, Kanakkanpatti, Melamanakudi and Hosur will be made.
- Fencing our school campus and providing proper toilet facilities will be considered as essential.
- Promoting vocations from our schools will be seriously thought of.
- Objective evaluation ofall our schools will be done.
- Centralization and budgeting will be strengthened.
- Monthly submission of the account in the communities will be made compulsory.
- All the programs in the schools will be discussed in the community.
- Uniformity of the procedures in the appointment of the teachers will be achieved.
5. INNOVATIVE FORUM
- Team based Retreat preaching will be created andyearly planning of the innovative ministry will be scheduled.
- A common centre for innovative ministries from where the Councillor in charge of innovative and social ministries could co-ordinate all the innovative ministries will be established.
- The talented conferrers will be identified to strengthen the innovative ministries and for their continuity.
- Innovative ministries will be strengthened with the help of confreres working in developed countries, including
- Preaching through You-Tube will be thought of.
- Finding ways and means to complete the infrastructure for Thedal Spirituality centre and Nalam project will be done.
- A Project co-ordinator and a project writer for our province will be appointed.
- Purchasing of land for MSFS Kalai Ulagam and stabilizing all the innovative ministries will be thought of.
- A study committee will be formed to start a Retreat centre in our province.
- During summer, our scholastics will be sent for innovative exposure programmes.
- Ensuring that we have a coaching centre for specialized studies for students especially for IAS, IPS and language courses will be streamlined.
- Forming a team to write the history of our province will be actualized.
6. STEWARDSHIP FORUM
- A finance committee will be constituted to help to create the budget system in all our institutions and missions.
- Local mobilization of seminarian’s fund will be achieved in our province.
- Creating a system whereby financial matters of the conferrers are fulfilled will be effected.
- The lands of the province will be taken care of by the neighbouring community and will be made productive.
- Concrete way of income fetching to the province by way of constructing shopping complex/ marriage halls/garment factories/ tailoring units, etc, will be studied.
- Submission of accounts in the community meetings and respective forum meetings will be made compulsory.
- We will make statistics of investments and expenditure for all our forums.
- We will ensure the continuation of the internal and friendly auditing.
- Payment of Rs. 5000 and above will be done through cheques
7. Spread of Corona Virus – Relief Works
The unfortunate spread of the pandemic Covid-19 has left the entire humanity in fear and helplessness. The death toll all over the world is tremendously unprecedented and really threatening. It has left all to self-isolation. The respective governments have imposed lockdown ensuring physical and social distance. The medical authorities are working overtime to save precious human lives. It is a huge challenge containing the spread of virus further.
This prolonged lockdown has left the poor and vulnerable people of the society really struggling for daily food and needs. Our province has taken up initiatives towards providing basic necessities to the poor. Fr.Selvaraj, the MDO incharge is actively involved in the virus related relief works under the guidance of the province. After having obtained due permission from the government authorities, we have taken up the following five villages for providing the basic sustenance and medical necessities – Bharthi Nagar, Indhira Nagar, Kuravar Colony, Adappakaran Chatiram and Annamaalpuram, coming within the civil jurisdiction of Pudukottai district.
More than three hundred families are provided with the following items: Rice, Bread, Sanitizers, soaps, and face protective masks. As the situation escalates, these families will be further monitored and supported by the province. Several social awareness programs on the impact of the corona pandemic are conducted. Instructions were given about social distancing, frequent hand washing and the method of using the face masks etc. Need for self-isolation was stressed strongly. The youth of these villages were motivated towards safety, public hygiene and social welfare of the common people.
In a moment of crisis and suffering like this, it is our paramount duty to help those who are affected. I appeal to all the communities to find ways and means to help the people, who are most affected due to this deadly virus.
Fr. Selvaraj MSFS
8. Online Psychological Assistance and Crisis Intervension-Covid-19
Responding to the national emergency created by Covid-19, the psychologist team consisting of Fr. H. Ebin Christopher, Fr. C. Yesu Raj of our Province is offering its expertise in availing free online psychological assistance to people in distress. The counseling is offered through telephonic calls and WhatsApp voice calls. The team received has so far received several calls including overseas and psychological assistance have been provided. The counseling service was offered in Tamil, English and Italian. The counseling service offered to the distressed callers is regarding coping strategies in managing anxiety bouts, suicidal thoughts and cognitive restructuring. It was a positive experience for the therapist as their efforts are appreciated very much by the family members of those who asked for assistance. We wish to place on record the encouragement offered by the provincial administration.
Fr. H. Ebin Christopher
Fr. C. Yesu Ra
We appreciate the initiatives taken by our fathers in this time of crisis.
- Fr. S. Alexander for the Word of God through YouTube
- Fr. A. Christu Raj for the daily Whatsapp Reflections
- Fr. Jeyakumar for the daily Whatsapp Reflections
- Fr. S. Santhiyagu for the Tamil Way of the Cross reflections
- Fr. Joseph Anish Kumar for the daily Whatsapp Reflections
- Fr. Rajasekar for the Way of the Cross reflections in English
10. BIRTHDAYS OF OUR CONFRERES – APRIL
|Fr. M. Sahaya Raj||03|
|Fr. D. Francis||09|
|Fr. S. Jerry Louis||14|
|Fr. D. Robert||18|
|Fr. A. Jayaseela Rajan||20|
|Fr. K. Joseph Xavier||20|
|Fr. S. Alphonse||23|
|Fr. F. Justin||24|
|Fr. S. Johnson||27|
|Fr. D. Johnson||28|
|Fr. V. Vedha Raj||28|
We wish them Happy Birthday and God’s Abundant Blessings upon them.
11. ORDINATION ANNIVERSARY OF OUR CONFRERES – APRIL
|1||Arockia Charles S||06|
|2||Jaya Raj A||07|
|5||Sahaya Wilson S||08|
|7||Clement Prem Kumar S||11|
|8||Maria Francis Britto M||13|
|9||Maria Pushpam P||14|
|12||Soosai Raj S||14|
|13||Simon Raja S||14|
|14||Antony Sagaya Tharcius D||16|
|15||Innaci Muthu A||16|
|16||Johnson Sahaya Raj D||16|
|18||Antony Raj S (Sr)||16|
|20||Arul Sundaram L||17|
|21||Antony S (Jr)||18|
|25||Francis Xavier B||19|
|26||Arul Francis A||19|
|28||Ebin Christopher H||19|
|29||Maria Selvan A||19|
|30||Michael Selvans M||19|
|31||Dominic Savio K||19|
|33||Anantha Raj P||20|
|37||Ferdinand Selvan V||22|
|38||Arockia Samy G||22|
|39||Antony Rajesh S||22|
|40||Joseph Xavier S||23|
|42||Jesuraj I S||23|
|44||Mothcha Richard A||23|
|45||Stephen Dass J||24|
|46||Joseph Henry S||25|
|48||Vincent Sahaya Raj A||25|
|49||Daniel Raj F||25|
|50||Martin Kumar C||25|
|52||Sahaya Raj M||26|
|54||George Navin X||26|
|58||John Peter L||27|
|59||Antony S (Sr)||28|
|62||Edward Xavier S||28|
|63||Benedict A J R||28|
|64||Eldin Bernard S||28|
|65||John Milton S||28|
|66||Joseph Xavier K||28|
|69||Vedha Raj V||28|
|70||Martin Anand K||28|
|72||John Peter A (Jr)||29|
|73||David Vincent S||29|
|75||Nayaga Seelan A||29|
|76||John Britto C||30|
|77||Jone Gragori I||30|
|78||Maria John Franklin||30|
We congratulate and pray for them
12. LET US REMEMBER AND PRAY FOR THE DEAD
MSFS OBITUARY – APRIL
|01||Bro. Pierre Carton|
|Fr. Francios Tornier|
|02||Fr. Alphonse Berthet|
|Fr. Leon Fol|
|Fr. Kuriakose Vadacherry|
|03||Fr. Joseph Buttay|
|Fr. Cyrille Ailloud|
|04||Fr. Gerson Rowland|
|05||Fr. Maria Pissard|
|Fr. Hyppolite Moenne Loccoz|
|Fr. Joseph Baker|
|07||Bro. George Kuzhupil|
|Fr. Jean Rey|
|Fr. Paul Thayil|
|Fr. Ivo Careiro|
|08||Fr. Leon Fillon|
|Fr. Paul Lornz|
|09||Fr. Perre Bozon-Bontemps|
|Fr. Marius Montuvagnard|
|10||Fr. Louis Bonnevie|
|Fr. Pierre Grorod|
|11||Fr. Claude Montagnoux|
|Bro. Konrad Hartberger|
|12||Fr. Philippe Richard-Cugnet|
|15||Fr. Michel Forel|
|Fr. Gaston Poncelle|
|16||Mgr. Francois Philippe|
|Fr. Jeremie Servage|
|17||Fr. Hyppolite Diacquenod|
|18||Fr. Raymond Bosson|
|Fr. Henri Brelat|
|21||Fr. Mathew Kudakacherry|
|Fr. Francis Xavier Fonseca|
|23||Fr. Jean Prunier|
|Fr. Alexander Daley|
|24||Fr. Jean Marie Descombes|
|Bro. Jean Duret|
|25||Fr. Celestin Anthonioz|
|Fr. Joseph Anthonioz|
|Fr. Assisi Vaz|
|26||Fr. Peter Joachim Mendes|
|Fr. Britto Francis Joseph|
|27||Fr. Joseph Marie Cheminal|
|Fr. Joseph Messelod|
|28||Fr. Joan Marie Rassat|
|Fr. Jean Meynet|
|29||Fr. Joseph Chaumontet|
|Bro. Jules Melquiot|
|30||Bro. Philip Peters|
|Bro. Joseph Chrvalho|
Let Us Continue to Pray for the Deceased Members of Our Congregation
13. LET US PRAY FOR THE DEPARTED
- Fr. N. Belevendranof Pondicherry Diocese,the Paternal uncle of Fr. C. Martine Kumar, expired on 9th of March, 2020.
- Fr. Daniel Alphonso of Pune Province, expired on 15th of March, 2020.
- Mrs. Mary Amalorpavam, aged 43, the younger Sister of Fr. C. John Britto, expired on 01st of February, 2020.
- Mr. Soosai, aged 82, the grandfather of Fr. S. Ashir Johnson, expired on 25th of February, 2020.
- Mr. Marianathan, aged 82, the Father of Fr. M. Darline Joseph, expired on 02nd of March, 2020.
- Mrs. Margaret Mary, aged 63, the eldest Sister in law of Fr. G. Sebastian, expired on 02nd of April, 2020.
- Mr. M. Maria Pushpa Raj, aged 72, the Second elder brother of Fr. M. John De Britto (Pp, Kadayal), expired on 03rd of April, 2020.
May I request those who have not fulfilled the suffrages to do the same at the earliest (Const. No.118; General Directory No.98)
May their souls rest in peace!
At once the Spirit sent him out into the wilderness, and he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and angels attended him. After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”
– Mark 1:12-15
Reflection of Pope Francis
Love creatively to help others
The Pope said he is aware of all the suffering in the world right now. He sought to tell everyone of his closeness and affection, and offered a word of advice.
“Let us try, if we can, to make the best use of this time: let us be generous. Let us help those in need in our neighborhood. Let us look out for the loneliest people, perhaps by telephone or social networks. Let us pray to the Lord for those who are in difficulty in Italy and in the world.”
Despite the isolation imposed by social distancing measures, “thought and spirit can
A Thought From Great Poet Thiruvalluvar
இன்சொலால் ஈரம் அளை இப்படிறிலாவம்
செம்பொருள் கண்டார் வாய்ச்சொல்
அன்புகலந்து வஞ்சம் அற்றவைகளாகிய சொற்கள், மெய்பொருள் கண்டவர்களின் வாய்ச்சொற்கள் இன்சொற்களாகும்.
Pleasant words are words with all pervading love that burn;
Words from his guileless mouth who can the very truth discern
Sweet words are those which imbued with love and free from deceit flow from the mouth of the virtuous