Timely Tidings from St. Paul Province (Pampady)
17 September 2020
Dear Rev. Fathers,
Fraternal greetings of peace and joy of the Lord! It is my wish that these few lines, sharing few tidings of our Province, find you hale and hearty amidst the anxieties and uncertainties of Covid -19. As we are all aware, in this predicament we are left with no option other than living with Corona without succumbing to its deadly claws. Let us give a good fight with necessary precautionary measures and go ahead doing our priestly ministry without waiting for the better days! May Psalms 23 and 91 echo in us giving us strength and confidence! In spite of the heavy blows we received from Covid-19 in different areas of our life, the Corona-experience gives us the realization that nothing will radically and drastically affect us even if we have to give a break to the way of life we are used with. It has given us marvelous opportunities and tremendous compulsions to make innovations and renovations for our survival and growth. Let us thank God that so far the health of the members of our Province is not affected badly because of Corona, though one of our priests is affected by it without much complications for health. Let us pray that we be safe and protected from Covid-19.
Herewith I share with you certain updates on the life in our Province.
Our Major and Minor Seminaries
Our minor seminary is with sufficient number of formees. We have comparatively less number of new entrants in our minor seminary this year (as it is same with many of the dioceses and congregations) despite the hard work and efforts of our vocation promoters. I place on record our gratitude to Fr. Thomas Olikunnel, FrJeffy and Fr. Vipin for their praiseworthy service in formation and in the promotion of new vocations. This year we have a total of 60 minor seminarians (26 third years, 16 second years and 18 first years).
Due to Covid-19 restrictions Our major seminarians (philosophers) are in our Good News Campus at Pampady as they are waiting for the reopening of the seminaries at Kurukuru and Khammam. Our students of theology (except one at Khammam) are following online classes in different seminaries though many of them stay in the same campus. Fr. Antony Ambattu and Fr. Shabu Varghese, with the help of the Fathers in the campus, make every effort possible to follow the seminarians in their formation, while they are in the campus, giving them useful classes. The seminarians tell me that, in spite of their worries for losing the academic year in the seminary, they are very happy here as they are introduced more closely to life of the Province. On behalf of the Province, I thank them for their dedicated service. 32 students of philosophy and 5 students of theology are at present in the campus.
Our Schools and Hostels
The academic /pastoral year 2020-2021 creeps up as we are not able to be functional and productive in our educational institutions. It creates unprecedented financial burden for our Province. Since the schools are not reopened so far, the institutions which are supposed to be of financial support to the Province, after having received years of major investments from the Province, are totally depending on the Province for its survival and daily maintenance. This unprecedented situation drains away a good part of our financial reserve. However we move on steadily so far giving a good fight for survival. The dedication and hard work of our Fathers in the schools have been commendable for managing the schools in this difficult time. The Province appreciates and thanks them for what they have been doing for the common good.
First Death Anniversary of Fr. Ajish Azhakulathil
It is heartening to know that our Fathers in India and abroad observed the 1st death anniversary of our beloved Fr. Ajish in a fitting manner individually and in congregations with Requiem Masses and special prayers. Many of our Fathers in Kerala, along with the parents and dear ones of Fr. Ajish offered Requiem Mass and special prayers at the tomb of our departed brother. The family members, particularly the parents of Fr. Ajish, continue to express their gratitude and appreciation for the love and concern that we have for Fr. Ajish and his family.
Annual Spiritual Retreat for the Fathers of the Province
In my communication on 27th April 2020, I had informed the members that our Annual Spiritual Retreat scheduled for 4th -8th April 2020 had been postponed due to Covid-19 and dates of the event would be communicated later. Taking into account the possibilities prevalent at present, it is decided to have the Annual Spiritual Retreat of the Academic/Pastoral Year 2019-2020 on 27,28,29, 30 October 2020. The preacher and guide for the Retreat is Rev. Fr. Roy Kannanchira CMI (Kochettan –Deepika). I earnestly request our members in India, particularly the members in Kerala, to participate in the very important event in our priestly life without fail. If anyone has any difficulty to be away from the places of your current priestly ministry to attend the Retreat, let me know in advance and I shall make the necessary arrangements for your substitution if possible. I could not inform you of the new dates earlier as it was not possible to fix the date earlier because of the uncertainties prevalent so far. The place of the Retreat will be Anugraha Renewal Centre at Vazhoor.
As you know, the construction works of Good News Retreat Centre at Pampady and Good News Bhavan at Konoor-Koratty are progressing well. In spite of the difficulties caused by the Covid-Lockdown, we have been able to continue the works with a break of a couple of months. Nowthe work is in full swing. It is scheduled to complete the work of Construction of Good News Bhavan in the last week of November 2020 and the construction of Good News Retreat Centre at Pampady in the last week of December 2020. The dates of the Blessing are yet to be decided. God willing, we will be able to begin the construction of a new Boys’ Hostel for St. Paul’s School at DhoneKhona (Arunachal) in January 2020. I request your valuable prayers that we will be able to complete the projects as desired.
Requesting the participation of the members in the actualization of the projects (Good News Bhavan- Koratty)
The opinions, suggestions, aspirations, expectations, and views have been taken into account in the actualization of our project of a new Provincial House with facilities needed for the present and a for a reasonable future. Though our financial resources are limited, we have not compromised so far on the volume and quality of the building, trusting in the providence and in the generous contribution of our members, leaving no stone unturned to find financial help from all possible corners. It has been our experience so far that our members always remained united with possible help (spiritual and material) for all the developmental works of the Province for the common good, setting aside individual differences and interest. It is this attitude and interest with genuine love for the province that made us and our Province always distinct and progressing. It is this awareness and experience that gives me confidence and strength to go ahead with the projects though the money for the entire works is not at hand. Therefore, I invite and solicit your generous material contribution too in the completion of the Good News Bhavan as more money is needed in final phases of the work in order to provide better facilities for the house. I am very happy to let you know that a good number of our members have already promised or made their valuable donations for the purpose. It will be a timely help and gesture of solidarity (even symbolic) if more members participate with their valuable contributions (no matter how big or small your contribution) in this joint venture for a common house with better facilities for all of us. At the same time, may I make it to known that nobody is unreasonably cornered to make the contribution. I am only soliciting you interests for the possible participation in the realization of a dream that we all share.
In order to give you a clearer idea of the needs of the house in the final (present) stage of construction, in order to explore the possible participation in the actualization of the project, let me point out the following:
Main chapel of the House: 2 statues for the chapel (each one costing an average of 30 thousand rupees) , one big statue above the building ( 75000); 4 paintings: (each one costing 40000), 2 tabernacles for the main chapel and for the private chapel (one costing 1 lakh for the main chapel, another for the private chapel costing 60000); 1 fiber crucifix (1 Lakh) , 22 stain glass works of Indian saints and main events in the life of Jesus ( 38000 for each work) ; Main altar( 1 .25 lakhs); 10 Pews in the chapel (each one costing 15000), 10 kneelers (each one costing 2000), 5 main chairs in the sanctuary (10000 for each one). Fathers’ Recreation Centre: 2 sets of canesta tables and chairs (costing 20000 for each set), fridge ( 25000) , 1 TV (25000); a set of sofa (40000).Well equipped Conference Room: 50 Executive chairs (each one costing 8000), A projector (60000). Dining Hall: 60 steel chairs (each costing 3000), 10 tables (each costing 10000). 50 Individual rooms: 1 wooden cot with mattress (11000), 1 table and a chair (9000), 1Almara (10500). Main Parlor: Sets of sofa (80000), TV (30000). New Minor Seminary: 50 cots with mattress (each costing 7000), 25 sets of table sand chairs for study hall (each sets costing 15000) 1 TV (60000), 1 Table Tennis board (25000). Library: Few books ( books of worth useful for the Fathers and Brothers). Auditorium: 200 Chairs for the hall (each one costs 1000).
Dear Fathers, amidst my enthusiasm, interest, involvement and participation in many of the works of the Province along with you, I am convinced that the real progress and development of our Province consists not merely in the number of buildings and institutions, but in our sanctification. We may be busy with doing efficiently and effectively many things and we may be successful in doing so many things as part of our priestly ministry. Let us be aware that the real success in our life depends on how far we are able to live our priesthood with genuine spiritual and moral worth. Let this focus be the real agenda of our life as priests and members of St. Paul Province. Our authentic convictions and courageous commitments in our life are more lasting imprints of our priestly and human identity. Compromises, comforts, and conveniences may be more pleasing and bringing immediate gains, but eroding our priestly existence. Let us go ahead being constantly disturbed and challenged by the dream and expectation of Jesus for all of us as His priests and members of St. Paul Province!
Thanking you for all that you have to our Province, congratulating you for all the good things that you do, assuring you of my fraternal support and concern for you, counting on your cooperation for the good of the Province, and requesting your valuable prayers I remain.
Yours fraternally in the Lord
Fr. Saji Sebastian HGN
Fr. Shijomon Vazhapillil: Pastoral ministry (Archdiocese of Thalasery)
Fr. Nikson Adattu: Rector (St. Josephs Major Seminary - Khammam)
Fr. Shaiju Berkumans: Dean of Studies (St. Marys Minor Seminary -Karunapuram), Vocation Promoter - South Kerala
Fr. Sunny Illickal: Pastoral ministry (Diocese of Vijayapuram)
Fr. Vinod Plackal: Pastoral ministry (Archdiocese of Ernakulam - Angamaly)
Fr. Jofin Amarakattu: Pastoral ministry (Diocese of Kannur)
Fr. Mathew Vengaloor: Correspondent and Superior (St. Josephs E.M. School - Yernagudem)
Fr. Shabu Varghese: Procurator (St. Josephs E.M. School - Yernagudem)
Fr. Anish Poovathel: Pastoral Ministry (Diocese of Vijayapuram)
Fr. Mervin Varayankunnel: Superior and Director of Asha Bhavan (Vagamon)
Fr. Jinu Thadathil: Pastoral Ministry (Archdiocese of Ernakulam- Angamaly)
Fr. Jins Kuppakkara: Good News Bhavan (Kengeri- Bangalore).
Br. Reneesh: Regent (Asha Bhavan - Vagamon)
Br. Alex: Regent (St. Marys E.M. School - Bonakal)
Br. Ajin: Regent (St. Paul School - Patharlapadu)
Br. Sebin: Regent (St. Marys Minor Seminary -Karunapuram)
Proposed for the ministry abroad
Fr. Jofin Amarakattu (USA)
Fr. Justine Painunkal (USA)
Fr. Anish Poovathel (USA)
Fr. Jins Kuppakkara (USA)
Fr. Jenish Jose (USA)
Fr. Jayababu Thullimalli (Germany)