Monday, July 25, 2011

Seminar on BCC

A three day seminar on Basic Christian Communities (BCC) was organised at St John's Regional Seminary, Kondadaba from July 18, 2011. Fr Dusi Devaraj, the director of Jyotirmai Society, and his team comprising of Mr Rayappa Reddy, Mr Christopher, Mr Deva Kumar, Mr Lourduraj and Mr Mariadas, were the chief animators of this seminar.
Tracing the origin of the BCCs to the lived experience of the early New Testament itself, the animators, stressed on fraternal love as the foundation stone for this grouping. With its motto of self-rule, self-nourishment and self-development, the need and importance of BCCs was highlighted in the initial two days. A brief historical review of the emergence and need of the Catechetical wing of the Andhra Pradesh Bishop's Conference (APBC), the Jyotirmai Society, too formed part of the input sessions.
The other practical sessions were coordinated by the team from Jyotirmai Society. They helped the Brothers understand and imbibe the seven step prayer of Lectio-Divina. To make this tangible, gospel sharing sessions too were organised. Through these sharings the Brothers were helped to train themselves and others for a deeper and enriching study of the Bible and our Catholic tradition. The team also screened a couple of movies to highlight the impact of the BCCs on faith formation and community building.

The liturgy of these three days too was animated by the team in line with the main theme of the seminar. Though consisting of long sessions, the participants found the seminar very enriching for their personal and pastoral lives.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

An Orphan's Childhood

Sorrow buried deep in the heart
which can be seen clearly through the eyes.
Body designed with bruises on its every part
falling every moment they try to rise.

They stare at people with a glance of hope
but get pity or warnings, not compassion in return.
The good tidings of happy childhood they wanna gallop,
instead they achieve spits and scolds and shuns.

Seeing children going to school and study
they are filled with inferiority and self-pity.
Dreaming of being rich and famous in future
they spend their present in marshes muddy.

At the age of being fed
they go in search of food themselves.
By this unbearable hunger and temptations they are misled
into crimes like robbing, cheating and spoiling themselves.

Rejected by the womb which gave birth to them,
deserted by the hand which had to take care of them.
They open their eyes to the morn of this world
from a bin or a garbage or in a river being hurled.

Voices filled with pain and suffering
blamed and tortured by their surrounding.
Dressed with dirt and painted with fear
seems like everyone is their foe and they've no one dear.

Cleansing their wounds with a solution of tears
finding not even a soul to console their fears.
If such a childhood to these orphans is given
how then can we expect them to become respectful citizen.

Just food or money or small favour done
nothing of this sort can soothe their pain.
A loving heart and a caring soul of one
if they gain it, the whole world they gain.
Br Jermore Emmanuel Lewis (I year)

Saturday, July 23, 2011

First years at SJRS, Kondababa

A snap of the first years at SJRS, Kondadaba: 23 of them resident at Kondadaba - in their official attire. The other 9 OCDs residing at Pendurthy, who are day scholars are not in this photo.

Marian Month fervour

The first Saturday of the Marian Month was made special by the Pratyasa group members through their well prepared animation for the morning prayer and meditation. The Mass thereafter was presided over by Fr Wilson who emphasised upon the covenantal aspect of Mother Mary and described her as the Ark of the Covenant. The whole celebration of the liturgy was held in the lawn outside the Chapel.

With animations and devotions like these the community is slowly catching up with the fervour of the Marian month.

Excellence seasoned with altruism: Bocha Ravi, the Chemical Engineer

It was just a year ago that Bocha Ravi, a youngster from a hamlet near Kondadaba (Vizianagaram district of Andhra Pradesh) started his specialisation studies at Kanpur and now having completed that, has six job offers, given his excellent performance as a Chemical Engineer. But the story is far from over. “This is just a stepping stone to my real dream,” says Ravi. “I shall soon be an IAS officer in Vizag or Vizianagaram and empower the rural interior villages.” Now this is not just some wishful thinking but a determination which makes him see what he wants to be as clearly as the shining sun. Welcome, once again, to the life of Bocha Ravi.

“All that I had was a passion to study and barely hundred rupees with me, when Fr Jose agreed to pay my entrance fees to the college. That is what has helped me to be what I am today...,” says Ravi amidst tears of nostalgic joy. Having stood third in the batch of 80 students (at IIT, Kanpur) and recruited within days of completing his engineering studies by nearly half a dozen Petrochemical industries, Bocha Ravi now stands a good chance to make a rich living. But Ravi has his eyes set on something else. “I'm not for accumulating money. I have my dream set and that I will achieve,” is what Ravi is sure of when lured by an offer to work abroad which certainly has a higher monetary benefit than the offers at hand.

With a fat paycheck assured, Ravi has not forgotten the little help he once received from a handful of well-wishers, especially St John's Regional Seminary, and in particular the person of Fr K.T. Jose (Rector). It was this sense of humble gratitude that saw this youngster walk through the gates of the Seminary, the job invitation letters in hand, to acknowledge in person, the great benefits that he received while still a school boy. That was just a day before he left for Delhi for a three-month training programme with the Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), the offer he opted for.

After the training programme in Delhi, he plans to return to his village to take his aging mother, the only one whom he can call as family, along with him. For the mother, who has slogged it out through hard daily labour in the fields and construction sites, this achievement is certainly joyful. However, her true joy is not that he has become a successful job holder, but that he will certainly fulfill his dream of being an instrument of growth and empowerment for many more women (and families) like her. Mr Sastry, a resident and supporter of the educational dreams of quite a few young people in the village too feels the same.

Thanks to the generosity of benefactors, especially Fr Luigi Zuffetti and Don Bosco Missioni (Turin), that thousands of young people, like Ravi, have been and are being provided an opportunity to study and come up in life. The seminary looks forward to a day when more young people, inspired by Ravi and his life, take up as a challenge to redefine the socio-economic status of the remote villages of Kothavalasa Mandal.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Marian Tourney commences

The community of SJRS, Kondadaba gathered in the lawn this evening immediately after tea for a short inaugural programme of the Marian Month Games. Fr Dusi Devaraj, the director of Jyothirmai society (APBC, Hyderabad) was the chief guest of the occasion. He expressed his great pleasure and surprise at this novel way of celebrating Marian devotion - through a month-long celebration in various aspects. He reminded the community of one of the basic motive of such celebrations: unity.

Fr Rector in his introductory words, recommended that the participants of the various sporting events, all along the month, make good use of this opportunity to know Mother Mary a little more, to love her a little more and grow a little more in our personal devotion to her.

Fr Wilson was requested to be the torch-bearer on the occasion. The inaugural ceremony was planned, prepared and organised by the Youth Alive team. The sports include a range of outdoor games (football, basketball and volleyball) with a set of indoor games later in the month. The intra-community competition is brought to life by the eight growth groups which vie with each other for the highest score by the feast of the Assumption (Aug. 15).

The intensity of the games was evident on the first day itself, as one Brother had to be rushed to the town clinic for a displaced toe.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

First Mass and Recollection

The second monthly recollection of the academic year which was scheduled today was also an occasion for the solemn thanksgiving first Mass of a newly ordained Salesian Priest, Fr Yandava Kalyan. The animator of the recollection was Fr Balaraj OCD from Pendurthy. Besides the reflections shared by Frs Balaraj and Kalyan (during the Mass), the one that touched most of the listeners was the few words spoken by the mother of Fr Kalyan after supper. She informed the community that Fr Kalyan, as a boy was very mischievous but now he, as a Priest he is very refined. She, in all her simplicity and ernestness, asked the Brothers to be mischievous but sincerely strive to be good Priests. It was also a very touching moment to remember the deceased father of Fr Kalyan, Mr Y. Prasad who was once the MRO of the Kothavalasa - a man much loved and admired by many.

Fr Balaraj, in his animation talk, spoke of the inevitability of suffering and trials in the life of a Christian. He attributed them all to God and stated that this is His way of making us stronger and grow deeper in His attachment. He listed six types of tests that every Christian has to undergo in order to deepen in one's faith: Test of wilderness, Patience, Motivation, Failure, Discouragement and Misunderstanding. Using relevant Biblical passages to prove his point and as references for further reading and reflection, Fr Balaraju kept the community attentive also through his informal sharing of amusing anecdotes and examples.

In his sermon, Fr Kalyan citing his own life as an example, stressed the need to place our trust in God, the spiritual director and the Rector. He exhorted the Brothers to become Priests 'worth their salt'. He assured that Priestly journey is not a bed of roses, but if we are faithful to God, He will lead and guide us. The Holy Mass, concelebrated by Fr KT and Fr Wilson, was animated by the Suvartha Sunadam and Vidya Jyothi groups.

Fr Kalyan, the only Salesian from the whole northeastern region of Andhra Pradesh (comprising of the districts of Srikakulam, Vijayanagaram, Vizag, E. Godavari), hails from Vijayanagaram district and is presently posted in the novitiate at Manoharabad. Fr Kalyan was ordained on May 28, 2011 in Italy where he did his two years of regency and later completed his theology.

Why Violence (Whyolence)?

A dawn to come a dusk to go
so is life with all highs and low.

Life is good when lived with love
and love is gone when violence enters in somehow.

Violence is a great miracle wrought by human race
of turning a heart of flesh into a stony ace.

The same blood running through his nerves
is shed by him from his brothers curves.

Running in madness around a mad leader
with a motto to achieve foolish goals by stamping fellow brother.

With rage in eyes, sticks in hand and wishing others with taboos
they leave their respect and dignity for a reason unknown or loose.

Having their children at home crying for food
parents crying slogans on roads, doing no one no good.

Love is life and its poisonous to hate
yet these violent agitators term violence as great.

Living the food to be cooked at home, they fight for food and ungained
rejecting the rights resting in their hands they fight for rights unnamed.

Protesting is good if and only for good cause
it should boast our lives but not be a pause.

So protest well but test none
from groups yet remain one.

Catch sticks but hurt none
raise voices but not the gun.

Solve the problems by agitating with hoarding
but don't create problems like firings and chasing.

The bleeding bodies, wounds and corpse lying on the ground
if its considered solution then repeat it with louder.

Br Jermore Emmanuel Lewis (I year)

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

B'day of Fr Wilson

The b'day of Fr Wilson Jose, our Vice-Rector and Principal, was celebrated in all solemnity on July 6, 2011. The Brothers in all their creativity and love for Fr Wilson animated the various parts of the day to make him feel happily, especially this day: the morning prayers were animated by Br Syam, and the Mass and cultural programme were organised and coordinated by the Rainbow and Pratyasa groups (Fr Wilson is the animator for both these groups).

"God has called me as one of His disciples to preach the Good News," were the joyful words of the b'day boy as he presided over the Eucharisitc celebration. The special square ball game organised by the Youth Alive group was a big attraction of the day. Though difficult to say which team won, the b'day boy's or the opposing one, the game itself was great.

Br Hruday, reading the introduction to the Holy Mass in the morning.
The offertory procession during which Fr Wilson and his dear ones were specially prayed for.
Br Wilson, from the third course and belonging to the Rainbow group, reading the address to the b'day boy on behalf of the Community.

The first course Brothers were at their best in their expression of love and appreciation for Fr Wilson through their dance.
The second course Brothers came out in full strength to sing this b'day song for their Professor and Principal.
The third years tickled the laughing senses of the community through their comedy skit.

In the evening the community get-together was extended with the presence of the neighbouring religious and Salesian confreres. In his b'day message, Fr Wilson exhorted the Brothers to consistently strive for their best. That's the secret of a happy and committed life, he added. Fr K.T. Jose, the Rector, appreciated the zeal and sincere hard-working nature of Fr Wilson, be that in his assigned responsibilities as Principal, or Infirmarian, or the Librarian. Besides these virtues, his dedication to the mission stations in the neighbouring Catholic villages too was greatly appreciated. The programme was compered by Br Chaitanya.

(Text: Br K. Tony; Photos: Br T. Kamalesh)

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Volleyball match with Cheedivalasa

The Cheedivalasa volleyball team, comprising of youngsters who just completed their intermediate or degree studies gladly made a visit to the Seminary and played a match with our Brothers. The Brothers in-charge of Cheedivalasa, Peter, Anthaiah and M. Naresh did a commendable job in getting to know the youngsters and furthermore getting them over here to play a game, within three weeks of their weekend ministry. They were nearly 10 of them and they played a couple of sets. During the official game, they beat the Brothers in the first two sets straight. Fr Wilson, the Principal of the Seminary, inaugurated the game after the youngsters won the toss and choose the side first. The youngsters left the campus happy and joyful, after a drink and a bite. From the Seminary side the following Brothers played: B. Lourdhu, D. Rakesh, Y. Anil, Maria Joseph, P. James, K. Ravikanth and M. Peter. The game was refereed by G. Devaraj and K. Lourdhu.

Trust this is only the beginning of a greater and closer rapport with the youngsters of the various villages that Brothers visit on weekends.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Pope's Day

On June 29, 2011 the Community celebrated the feast Peter and Paul in a solemn manner. Beginning with a conference on the Papacy by Fr Francis Pasupuleti, the Parish Priest of Yelamanchili, the day was marked by several interesting features. The hour long conference on the Papacy offered the community rich insights in the history and meaning of this great and divine office of service and honour. Later Fr Francis also presided over the Holy Eucharistic celebration, which was well prepared by the Suvartha Sunadam and Vidya Jyothi groups. Of course, special prayers were offered for Pope Benedict XVI. The chapel too was artistically decorated for the occasion.

After a sumptuous lunch the Brothers had their weekly shopping time till tea time. After tea, the Youth Alive group planned and organised a lightning tournament for the community. Each growth group got to play all the other groups either in the football field, or the volleyball court or the basketball court. Mother Teresa and Pratyasa emerged as the teams with the most number of points and victories. The day concluded with the screening of the movie about the life of St Paul.