Friday, October 29, 2010

"Go... and tell them" Mission Congress at Kondadaba

A two day seminar on the theme of mission was organised at St John's Regional Seminary, Kondadaba from October 28 to 29, 2010. Fr Anikuzhkattil Jose sdb from Shillong, Meghalaya was the resource person for these two days of enriching sharing and enlightening about the concept of mission, especially from the context of the Catholic Church.

Being from the North-East of India where missionary endeavour takes a different slant, Fr A.L. Jose was able to help the Seminarians seen the different modalities of carrying out the one mission of Jesus Christ. The Brothers loved this comparative study and analysis as it helped them much to acquire new skills and also evaluate operational techniques for greater efficacy and results.

Citing relevant Church documents and texts supporting the primary mission of the Mother Church, the animator, helped the Brothers focus their attention on the theme under discussion. Using convincing narratives and examples, he quelled the myth that mission is meant only for the ordained. He time and again emphasised the point that every heart with Christ is a missionary and every heart without one is a mission field. Thus more than initiating the students to the whole concept of 'mission' the animator aptly helped them get a holistic view of the same. At the end of the seminar, the Evangelisation team put up a dance for a meaningful song depicting the joy of proclamation. The seminar was organised by the Speed and Speed group under the dynamic guidance and assistance of Fr Wilson Jose, the Principal.

On the second day morning Fr AL Jose had a surprise in store as the community specially prayed and celebrated his Silver Jubilee of Ordination (Jan. 4, 1986). It is interesting to note that Fr AL Jose is the 10th child of 15 children, of whom 6 are Priests (one of them a Bishop as well) and 4 are Nuns. Armed with the motto 'To spread God's love like sweet fragrance', Fr Jose is presently the Rector of the Salesian Training Centre in Shillong. He is also the visiting professor at Sacred Heart Theological College, Shillong.

(Report: Br K. Elisha)

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Youth as the inspirational light: Youth Day at Kondadaba

Commemorating the Year of the Youth as declared by the United Nations, and continuing the Salesian tradition of imparting youth ministry skills to the Seminarians at St John’s Regional Seminary, Kondadaba, the annual Youth Day was held on October 24, 2010. A total of 148 young people from nearly 16 places visited by the Brothers on weekends for their ministry took active part in this one day programme. The whole programme, with the theme, Youth as the light of the world, was well planned and organized by the Youth Alive group members.

The day’s programme commenced with a well orchestrated stage presentation. The Chinese acrobats were the inspiration for this. After a prayer dance, the customary lighting of the lamp and words of welcome by one of the group members, the sessions for the day commenced. The chief resource person for the day was Br Vincent Castilino, who exhorted and challenged the young people to realize or frame their goal in life and have worthy role models who would inspire them in attaining their dreams. He communicated his insights using a mixture of games, songs and multimedia programme which kept the group awake and interested. The Youth Alive team members actively collaborated and added grace to the occasion by their dances and songs, all centred on the theme of the day.

Prior to lunch, the whole group was divided into ten groups (mostly according to their villages) and asked to prepare a short skit (of only two minutes) on any one of the issues that they would like to effect a change in. It was interesting as many of the groups pointed out significant areas where, as young people, they could take the initiative or lend a great support: blood donation, fund raising, counteracting peer pressure tactics… The idea of ‘paying forward’ in kind, the educational support they received from others was a novel ideal too. The day ended with them taking a pledge to do their bit in making this world, country, village a better place. Besides these there were several rounds of games, both indoors and outdoors – of course, the sudden heavy showers added greater thrill.

After the usual round of ‘thanks’ and distribution of prizes by Fr Wilson, the Principal, the youngsters were treated to a simple tea. As is customary with any mega event, the planning and preparation take longer time than the programme itself. This was totally and meticulously seen to by the Youth Alive team members, under the leadership of Br Satish (former leader) and Br Sagar (the present group leader). Much planning, hard work and team effort was visible from their part.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

B'days of Frs KT, Devadas and Rinoy

The postponed b'day of Fr Rinoy and the anticipated b'day celebrations of Frs Devadas (Oct. 29) and KT Jose (Nov. 2) were held on October 19, 2010. Though each of them refused to solemnize the day, the community made a humble effort at expressing its love and appreciation for their life and sincere dedication towards the formative process of the community, especially the seminarians. The day commenced with a solemn Mass presided over by Fr Devadas. In his homily he stated that each and everyone of us ought to be accountable to God for the gift of life and the abundance of graces He showers on us, through this initial gift of life. The Mass was animated by Chaitanya Deepika and Vidya Jyoti.

The felicitation and cultural programmes to honour and appreciate their efforts was held in the afternoon prior to lunch in the hall. Each of the courses put up a programme to convey their love for the staff celebrating their b'days. The first years put up a comedy skit directed by Lourdu Marreddy; while the second years danced their way in to the hearts of the community (tutored by Mariaraj) and the third years sang a b'day song in honour of the three b'day babies. The song was composed by Karunakar. The programme was organised by the Mother Teresa and Suvartha Sunadam group. Fr Rinoy, concluded the celebrations and on behalf of the three, thanked the community for their expression of love and joy. Being a working day, the classes and the rest of the schedule was as usual. The only exception was the absence of BA classes as the college was closed for the Dusshera holidays (till Oct 20).

The celebrations were anticipated since Fr Devadas was moving out for his retreat and would be absent on Oct. 29, his original birth date. Fr Rector, KT Jose's b'day falls on Nov. 2, during which the Brothers would be in the midst of the annual spiritual retreat.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Visit of the Vice-Provincial

On October 16, 2010 the Vice-Provincial of the Salesian Province of Hyderabad, Fr Thathireddy Vijayabhaskar made his maiden official visit to the Seminary at Kondadaba. He arrived the previous night from Muniguda (Orissa). He presided over the Holy Eucharistic celebration that morning and exhorted the Brothers to live a deeper life in communion with the Lord. Citing the challenges that lay ahead in life, he recommended that each one strives towards becoming men of God capable of responding to the growing challenges of the times.

The community then sang a song of welcome for him after Mass (before b'fast). Having spent half a day with us he proceeded to make a visit of the Navajeevan Centres in Vizag. He assured that he would be back soon and then spend quality time with the community.

It would be good to note that Fr Thathireddy Bhaskar spent nearly 5 years of the formative and later years here at Kondadaba and served the community in various ways: as regent, professor and librarian. Thus the community was happy to welcome back one of its own members after a long duration. Having completed his doctorate in Philosophy and communication, he was elected as the sixth Vice-Provincial of the Salesian Province in April 2010.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

B'day of Fr Rinoy (Oct. 14, 2010)

On October 14, 2010 the community celebrated the b'day of Fr Rinoy Joseph, the administrator. Though there were no grand external celebrations, the morning liturgical celebrations were solemenised under the able direction of Fr KT Jose, the Rector. Respecting the sentiments and the ernest request of the b'day baby, no community get together was organised, besides the cutting of the cake in the morning before b'fast. However, it was agreed that there would be a combined celebration of two more staff members later during the week.

All the same, we wish Fr Rinoy a very happy b'day and THANK him sincerely for the sincere and committed effort that he puts in day in and day out, to make this community a better community. Though his efforts at improving the ecological balance of the community, by beautifying the campus, cannot be overlooked, there are several other features that need to be acknowledged of one so involved in making this seminary a home. Some among those would be his attitude towards work, study and discipline of life - something tough to follow but he leads by example!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Monthly Recollection (October 2010)

The monthly recollection for the month of October 2010, the first month of the Second semester was organised on October 12, 2010. Fr Mathew, the Parish Priest of Kailasapuram was the animator of the recollection. During hi stalk he shared with the community his personal experiences about the constant presence and support of the Eucharistic Lord, in spite and through his moments of doubt and difficulty. He also celebrated the Mass for the community in the evening. He was assisted for hearing the confessions by Frs Anithottam (Kondadaba), Prasad (Mangalapalem), and Jose Maliekal (Rector of Don Bosco Philosophate, Karunapuram and a guest of the community for a couple of days).

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Second semester 2010-2011

On October 6, 2010 the community gathered for the evaluation of the first semester and with enthusiasm began the second semester the following day with a full round of class. The present semester would fly past with plenty of activities and academic requirements. But we're all set to go...!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Vanabojanam (October 4, 2010)

As part of the Semester holidays, Monday (October 4, 2010) was a day in the 'forest' as per their respective courses... day of vanabhojanam! Some of the staff members visited the Brothers and had a taste of their well prepared meals! While some were not so lucky as the whole preparation was finished clean by the hungry Brothers and the staff was late in reaching the place!

The Brothers had scouted for their respective places the previous day and had made the necessary purchases for their frying pans, pots and masalas!

All in all, it was a memorable day for the Brothers as it gave them an opportunity to bond together as a group over a cooking pot!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Cultural Day (October 2, 2010)

On October 2, 2010 the Seminary celebrated the Cultural Day... a bit differently from the previous years. Rather than just an event to showcase the skills and talents at random, the focus of this year was on the presentation of the culture of Andhra Pradesh. Nearly 63 Brothers participated in this event which lasted for the whole morning. Ranging from singing, dancing and mimicry, the Brothers came up with creative means of portraying the rich cultural heritage of Andhra Pradesh. Fr Joseph Anithottam (Parish Priest of Kondadaba), Srs Clara and Prasanna (Sisters from the nearest and latest convent) and Mr Praveen (the Music master) were the judges invited to evaluate the performances of the students.

Some of the events were organised as a group while most were left for individual participation. Each of the growth group came up with a dance and a fancy dress show presenting some scenario of our state. For the individual competition, there was the harmonium, tabala, congo, kanjira, guitar, dance and mimicry. The speech competition too was well participated with very many highlighting certain significant and lesser known facts of Andhra Pradesh.

The whole programme was well planned, coordinated and organised by the Speed and Speed group.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Sports Day (Oct. 1, 2010)

This day, on the feast day of St Theresa of Child Jesus, we had the Sports day for the year 2010-2011. It was truly fun filled with plenty of action out in the playground and indoors too. The morning session was occupied with track and field events while the afternoon saw the Brothers fight it out in the indoor games round. The whole day was well planned and prepared for by the Youth Alive group, under the leadership of Br B. Sateesh. The planning at the community level began a couple of weeks ago with each growth group giving their contestant names and the names being shortlisted according to the requisites of time available and the number of games.

For the track and field events, there were the normal 100 mts, 200 mts, 400 mts (relay), long jump, high jump, triple jump, discus throw, shot put and to add spice we also added slow cycling race too. Each group had given their list of competitors for each of these events and from the Youth Alive team there were appointed organisers for each event. Given all this organisational responsibility, it was good to also see that the Youth Alive team members participated in the various events, like every other group.

After lunch the indoor games (badminton, carroms, chess and table-tennis) commenced. To wrap up the events within the stipulated time (before tea) each of these games were restricted to a certain time limit with points for each step or victory. Thus the competitors were forced to go for the win, from the beginning itself, rather than stake everything towards the end. This also brought in good life for the games. Those not involved in the games made it a point to be around to offer a piece of advice to those playing or simply to cheer their group mates!

Fr Rinoy, the administrator, inaugurated the event with a short message and by lighting the torch. A round of cricket matches were held the previous day itself... and for a change, the teams were freshly divided, instead of the usual Growth Group teams or Course teams.