Gifted with a philosophical outlook, loving heart and a cheerful personality, it did not take long for Fr Maria Arokiam to win the hearts of the community members at Kondadaba. With the initial conference itself, during which he presented the purpose of his visit and in gist, presented the latest Salesian scenario around the world, the students were at home with him and his presence. Besides animating the Salesians, meeting the staff individually, interacting with the non-teaching staff at an informal tea party and participating in a short felicitation programme organised in his honour, Fr Maria Arokiam took time to meet the whole community twice and offer rich insights into the Word of God, during the two Eucharisitic celebrations he presided over.
In his inaugural Mass, he stressed the triple qualities of genuine love: unending, unconditional and unbinding. For his homily for the feast of St Joseph, the chaste man, he recreated the scene describing the dilemma of St Joseph and Mother Mary after the Annunciation, with a rich blend of history, imagination, and language. In his goodnight, wrapping up the felicitation programme, he highlighted three qualities necessary for a successful life: virtue (habitual good acts), wisdom (intelligent love) and courage (to stand by truth, no matter what).
To stress the need of conserving nature, he also planted a sapling soon after the festal Mass of St Joseph and community photo session. Earlier upon his arrival, from Peddaboddepalli, he was given a solemn welcome with an aarati and a lively welcome song. In his final observations he appreciated the effort of the community in maintaining a standard befitting a formation house and the role played by each one in doing his best for the growth of all. The official visit concluded with tea after which he was seen off by the community on March 19, 2012.
Hailing originally from Chennai, Fr Maria Arokiam was elected to the post of Regional Councillor in May 2008 for a term of six years. Earlier, he served in various capacities in the Salesian Province of Chennai, including being the Rector of Sacred Heart Seminary, Poonamallee. Known also for his literary skills, Fr Maria Arokiam made a great impression on the students with his wise use of words, phrases and wit.
[Report: Br Jerome Lewis I yr
Photos: Br Kamalesh and Mr Raju]