Thursday, September 23, 2010

A bold decision ... to discontinue.

This afternoon Fr Rector made known to the community the sad news that one of the second year students had made a bold decision to discontinue his seminary formation and get back home. Given a chance to address and thank the community, he openly stated that he was not really desirous of becoming a priest and that he did not want to drag on and be what he did not really want to be. Appreciating his bold decision, the community thanked him for his sharing and gathered round him, especially the second year students. They gave him a fitting send off. Here he is seen with his companions before leaving the Seminary.

The community now numbers 88 (83 students and 5 staff members). God bless...!

Guests at Kondadaba

This afternoon the community was graced with the visit of two eminent and erstwhile professors of St John's Regional seminary, Ramanthapur. They were the professors of Fr Devadas when he was a student doing his theology at Ramanthapur. However, what brought them here was their own training back at Poonamallee. They were both products of the Salesian training in the earlier days at Sacred Heart Theological College, Poonamallee. Frs Joseph and Yeddanapalli Balaswamy were with us for lunch and offered a word of advice to the students too on this occasion. Accompanying them on their trip to the Seminary was Fr CG Mathew, the procurator of the archdiocese of Vizag. Given a chance to address the Brothers he warmly recommended that we look up to Priesthood as a vocation and not as a profession to earn name, fame and money.

Fr Joseph shared his idea about liturgy stating that every liturgical moment is a celebration, even it were to be a funeral Mass. Only when 'celebrated' the liturgy would be useful to the participants and meaningful to oneself, he added. Fr Balaswamy recollecting his good old days and his two day stint in the aspirantate at Tirupattur, spoke of the need to study well in order to be effective ministers later. They were offered a guided tour of the seminary by Fr KT Jose, the Rector and by 2 pm they left for the Steel Plant, in Vizag. They earlier paid a visit to Fr Joseph Anithottam, another of their student in the earlier days and presently the Parish Priest of the Shrine of Our Lady of Sorrows, Kondadaba.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Semester exams

The exam fever is running high at Kondadaba with the Brothers preparing and giving their Semester exams from September 20, 2010. They have exams every alternative day to facilitate their study and preparation for each of them. The final exam is on September 29, 2010... obviously it is a written exam for all. The Semester holiday schedule is already planned and the Brothers themselves are looking forward to it.

Maiden visit of the Episcopal Delegate

The Episcopal Delegate of the Andhra Pradesh Bishop's Council (APBC) for the major Seminaries of the state, Bp M.D. Prakasam, made his maiden visit to St John's Regional Seminary, Kondadaba on September 19, 2010. During his one-day stay at the seminary he met and addressed the students and staff separately and celebrated the Sunday Holy Mass for the Community. All through his talks and reflections he stressed on the need to build character and not be satisfied with gaining reputation or fame. In spite of the exams commencing the following day, the community took time to meet and felicitate him on his first visit this academic year.
Soon after breakfast Bp Prakasam (also the Bishop of Nellore) addressed the students and reiterated the need to become men of prayer. He also spent time patiently listening to their views and concerns pertaining to the life at St John's Kondadaba. During his discussion with the staff in the evening, he presented some of these concerns so as to assist the formators to be aware of the mind of the students and accordingly do the needful.

During the homily he exhorted the students to build character in order to be authentic witnesses to the Gospel in their everyday life. "Learn from the mistakes of others rather than spending all your life making mistakes and learning from them," he stated. Our life is too short and busy to make all the mistakes ourselves and only a wise man will be respected and listened to, he added. A short felicitation prior to lunch was organised to welcome him. Fr K.T. Jose, the Rector of the Seminary, thanked him for his gracious presence, especially for his timely and generous interventions on behalf of the Seminary during the APBC meetings and discussions.

Before the final blessing of the Mass, he specially thanked the Salesians of Don Bosco, specifically the Salesian Province of Hyderabad for their valuable contribution to the Church of Andhra Pradesh, by way of four personnel on the staff. He also thanked Fr Devadas, the Spiritual director for his meaningful presence and hardwork in the community.

He left for Vijayawada the same evening after paying a courtesy visit to the Archbishop of Visakhapatnam, Kagitapu Mariadas.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Parents' Day 2010

"The family or home is the first seminary," stressed Bp Paul Maipan (Bishop of Khammam) and the special invitee on the occasion of the Parents' day (September 4, 2010) at St John's Regional Seminary, Kondadaba. The chief guest(s) were the Parents of the Brothers doing their third year of Philosophy. In all 111 guests (parents and relatives) spent nearly two memorable days enjoying the royal hospitality offered by the community, especially through the hard work and sacrifice of the second and first year course Brothers.

On the real day of celebration, the Bishop addressed the parents and brothers (only third course) in the morning. He beautifully spoke of the family as the cradle of faith and catechesis. While formation houses claim to be places where would-be Priests are trained, the real formation already takes place much before, in the mother`s lap and the fathers arms, he stated. The formation process merely builds upon this, he added. Later during the Holy Mass, he addressed the Brothers and exhorted them to let the formation sink in to their hearts and minds.

The felicitation programme organized by the Second and First course Brothers was a good occasion to honour and thank the Parents for their contribution to the Church and the community in the person of their sons. Besides the several songs and dances, there was also a skit enacted by the Brothers conveying the message of true Christian charity based on the model of the Holy Family of Nazareth. The programme concluded with a message by the Bishop and his blessing. Thanks to the Rector of the seminary, Fr KT Jose, each family received a token gift of some religious articles from the hands of the Bishop.

In the afternoon of the 4th of September 2010 there was time for the Brothers to gather as per their respective dioceses to interact with the parents and share news and views. The following morning the Holy Mass was celebrated by Fr Rector and animated by the third course brothers themselves. The offertory procession with the parents bringing their sons to the altar was a very moving one, especially for the third years and their parents.

The Mass on the day of arrival (September 3, 2010) was celebrated by Fr Sagili Devadas, the Spiritual director of the community. In his inaugural words he spoke of the need to be among the five sincere and committed Priests rather than the fifty 'good-for-nothing' priests in every diocese or congregation. He exhorted the parents to continue supporting their wards, especially by their prayers. The informal get-together organized after supper witnessed the Parents join in singing and playing games with the Brothers.

Besides visiting the seminary, the parents took this opportunity to have a tour of Vizag city or the beautiful Araku valley. Of course, they were accompanied by their sons. This is the third time the Parents' day is celebrated in the Seminary in as many years. The basic rationale behind this programme is to offer to parents an opportunity to interact with their wards in the concrete context of their life in the seminary. Furthermore this greatly helps in the formation process by way of increasing the motivation of the students and inspiring them to continue striving for higher and greater goals, on their journey to Priesthood and sanctity.