Friday, August 27, 2010

Philosophical Symposium (Aug. 27, 2010)

A half-day Philosophical symposium on Ecology and the role of different religions, especially Christianity, in the preservation of the Nature, was organized at St John’s Regional Seminary, Kondadaba on August 27, 2010. The six papers presented by the students themselves, formed the backbone of the symposium triggering an avalanche of questions and suggestions for immediate action. This academic exercise was well coordinated and organized by the Principal of the College, Fr Wilson Jose.

Intensive research preceded the talks given by the students. The study was further enriched by the valuable insights and suggestions given by Fr Wilson, who oversaw to the last detail of the event. The papers were presented by Brs B. Prasad, G. Karun, D. Anil, P. Chaitanya, T. Kamalesh and Harry Phillips. Each of the presentation was followed by a short duration of interaction and clarification round. The authenticity of Islamic concern for Ecology and the role – or inadequate role – of the Church in resolving ecological crisis were the two most discussed and debated issues. The group discussions held at the end of all the talks were an added opportunity for the students to voice their opinions and come up with concrete suggestions to reverse the ecological countdown at various levels: Nation, State, Church and in the Seminary itself.

The talks presented the views of Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism and Christianity about Ecology and their outlook towards nature. The special emphasis however was on the role of the Church in responding to the ongoing Ecological crisis. Gripping video presentations centred on the reasons and projects of the UN declaration of this year as the ‘Year of Biodiversity’ made the proceedings very lively and added statistical information to the ongoing philosophical discussions. More than merely being an academic requirement, the Symposium did create an awareness and generate an interest in joining forces with those fighting in order to preserve mother earth and nature.

One of the concrete suggestions that emerged as a result of the talks and discussions was the possibility of using large feasts and public gatherings as a point of distribution of saplings. These saplings could be blessed and then distributed as ‘living relics’ for people to take home and take care as God’s ‘living blessing’ in their homes. This suggestion was offered by Fr Devadas, the spiritual director of the community.

The moderator of the proceedings was Fr Joseph Anithottam, the Parish Priest of Our Lady of Sorrows, Kondadaba. Along with him, and very much involved in animation and offering guidelines, were Fr Prasad (Parish Priest of Mangalapalem) and Fr Francis Stephen (Visiting Professor of Indian Philosophy). Their presence and active involvement certainly enriched the symposium. Fr Wilson, the Principal, was ably assisted in organizing the symposium by the Rainbow group (one of the eight Growth Groups of the house) and Mr Sai Ram, the Librarian.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Irugu Porugu (Aug. 22, 2010)

The first major collective outreach programme for the neighbourhood, directed specifically towards the children, was held at St John's Regional Seminary, Kondadaba on August 22, 2010. Titled 'Irugu Porugu' (immediate neighbourhood), the animation for the day witnessed 580 children, from 21 villages to which Seminarians visit every weekend, actively participate in the several activities of the programme. Mr Rajanna, the MPDC (Official representative) of Kothavalasa Mandal was the chief guest of the inaugural function.

The programme for the day commenced at 10 in the morning with the cultural programmes. Practically all those villages who were represented put up a dance, a song and sashed down the stage in a variety of costumes for the fancy dress competition. Srs Jacintha and Maria of the Daughters of St Anne (DSA) and from our neighbouring Parish in Pendurthi, were the judges for the event. Several of the Brothers had taken special care to ensure that the children practiced and performed their programmes well.

Soon after lunch, which was had in smaller groups according to their village, the children were all set for the open air games. While the boys were kept busy in the football ground, games for the girls were organised in the house lawns. With each one striving to do their best, it was fun watching children give their best to stay in the game and emerge victorious. The brothers enthusiastically supported the children while lending a helping hand in organising the events. The day concluded on an exciting note with the distribution of the prizes. At the end of the day (nearly 4 pm), practically each village had a prize or two to carry home, along with the rich experience of the day.

On a average, 20 to 25 children from each village made it to the Seminary for the day. Though just a fraction of the number frequenting the weekend apostolate, the number was purposely kept low in order to facilitate organisation and to provide the best rather than have thousands of children and plenty of confusion. On the whole the day was made memorable, especially for the children, thanks to the sincere efforts of the Chaitanya Deepika group (one of the eight growth groups of the community), who along with their animator, Fr Rinoy meticulously planned and executed the various activities of the day. They were ably assisted by the Brothers, especially for the food and hall arrangements.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Flag hoisting on August 15, 2010

The Marian month of the year 2010 came to an end on the solemn feast of the Assumption on August 15, 2010. The feast was marked by two special incidents: the flag hoisting ceremony in memory of the 64th Independence of our motherland India and the participation in the feast day Mass at Gnanapuram. The flag hoisting ceremony was organised and arranged by the Pratyasa group under the guidance of Fr Wilson the Principal. Br Dilip read the message for the day and Br Castilino was invited to hoist the flag.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Recollecton - August 2010

The recollection for this month of August 2010 was preached by Fr Prathap, the Parish Priest of St Anthony's Church, Vizianagaram. Riding on the rich experience of his pastoral ministry and proud of his Salesian formation at Poonamalle, Tamil Nadu, the points he stated were very practical and integral aspects of formation and growth process of a candidate to Priestly life. His whole talk and sermon was centred on the formation of moral consciousness. Listing various obstacles that hinder one from getting our moral principles right, he elaborated the ways of overcoming the same using basic and non-negotiable elements of our vocation. His ready references to the Scripture, persons of the Biblical age, example from his pastoral experience and instances in the present Seminary life made his presentation of ideas very grounded and understandable. The two points he stressed above all: the necessity to live our life by the dictum Do good and avoid evil. Secondly, one ought to take responsibility for one's own life and formation.

He also presided over the concluding Eucharistic celebration at 7.15. In the meanwhile the community had an opporutunity to make its individual confession to any of the five priests available.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

New Priests day (Aug. 5, 2010)

The celebration of the new priests day on August 5, 2010 was a grand one. All together 20 newly ordained Priests - all past pupils of St John's, Kondadaba - were present for the day. They belonged to the batches of 2003 - 2005. The day began with the Holy Eucharistic celebration at 10.30 am. This was followed by a set of felicitation programmes for the newly ordained. The purpose of the day was to provide an occasion for the newly ordained to give thanks to God and to the seminary for its role in their formation. Furthermore it provided an inspiration and impetus for the present students to know that they too would one day be in the place across the altar, God willing and they cooperating.
The afternoon was for meeting with the respective dioceses and an intense volleyball match between the new priests and the present students. Unfortunately the newly ordained got the better half of the game!!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Feast of Vianney (Aug. 4, 2010)

On the solemnity of the feast of John Mary Vianney (August 4, 2010) the community organized a whole day’s programme involving the neighbouring Parish Priest, Confessors, well-wishers and the community members. The celebrations for the day began with the Holy Mass at 10 am. It was presided over by Fr Sagili Devadas, the Spiritual Director of the community. In the evening there were special games organized by the Youth Alive group members and at 6 pm there was a felicitation programme especially for the Priests who assist the community in its smooth functioning. Fr Prasad, the Parish Priest of a neighbouring Parish (Mangalapalem) was the chief guest of the occasion. There were another 5 Priests present for the evening. A short skit drawing inspiration from the life of St Vianney and linking the present context of Priestly life was staged by the third course students.