Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Philosophical Symposium 2011

The annual Philosophical Symposium of the academic year was held on August 29, 2011 on the theme 'Creationism and Evolutionism'.  With two speakers from each of the three courses, presenting the varied opinions and proofs for either of the theories of the origin of life on this earth, the day was rife with intense input sessions and discussion. The whole process was intelligently moderated by Fr Anthony Pudussery, the Parish Priest of Gnanapuram and a visiting faculty at St John's, Kondadaba.

The speakers of the symposium with Fr Antony Pudussery and Fr Wilson Jose

From the first course, Brs M. Banu and V. Solomon prepared and presented the papers while from the second course, Brs T. Vijay and K. Velankanni presented the various views.  Brs K. Joy and G. Devaraj represented the third course.  Beginning with the various theories of life and its meaning, the papers presented led the students to a clear picture of the many nuances of the theories of creation and evolution. The final set of presentations were an attempt to synthesize these seemingly contradictory theories of origin.  The rich insights of Pierre Theilhard de Chardin were much used herein.

Besides the well researched and edited papers, thanks to the meticulous follow up of Fr Wilson, the presence of Fr Antony Pudussery made a rich impact on the students.  Through his sharp observations and additions he helped those present see things in a much better light. 

To make matters more clearer and interesting, Fr Wilson Jose, the Principal screened enriching videos which added meaning and depth to the presentations made by the 6 Brothers.  He was ably assisted in organising this half-day symposium by the members of the Rainbow group. 

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Why Violence? (Whyiolence?)

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 Jerome Emmanuel (Archdiocese of Hyderabad)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

What is corruption?

Both hands full
all the pockets stuffed
yet yearning for illegal earning
That is corruption.
Seeing all around the tears of poor
and carrying the capacity of comforting them
yet rejoicing in being the cause of their tears
That is corruption.
Food rotten in huge godowns,
when people die of hunger;
The one to mobilize food, contempt with his full plate,
That is corruption.
When sickness becomes a member of every poor family,
and the life giving doctors become life takers for money;
Letting the sickness decrease the poor numbers,
That is corruption.
Giving the best of education to our own,
and harassing the others' child with heavy labours;
in a way making a bud to dry before it blossoms;
That is corruption.
Watching our neighbours fight for religion,
Knowing all God's are one and fight is wrong;
Yet adding oil to the fire instead of ceasing it;
That is corruption.
Raising the hand over the head of own as a blessing,
and bringing the same hand under the table as curse for others;
In power to help selflessly yet taking bribes selfishly;
That is corruption.
Not only corruption is wealth or money
but it is in all good could be done yet refrained
ask your heart if it is corrupt and greedy
if yes, then kill it, become free.
Then be a Hazare and so 'no to corruption'.
Br Jerome Emmanuel Lewis (I year)

Youth Day at Kondadaba

The annual youth meet of the year 2011 held on August 21 at St John's Regional Seminary, Kondadaba was a fitting finale for the Year of the Youth (August 21, 2010 - August 22, 2011) declared by the United Nations last year. Neatly coinciding with the World Youth Day, the youth meet witnessed 275 young people from 29 neighbouring villages and Parishes spend a day in earnest, discussing and learning some serious issues of the Indian socio-political scenario. The day was animated by Fr Pallithanam Thomas sdb and two of his staff members, Mr John and Mr Kumar, in active collaboration with the Youth Alive group.

Much before the day dawned, the Youth Alive team members had planned, prepared and set everything in place to receive the youngsters at the Seminary. The programme was initiated through a Prayer dance and the lighting of the lamp. After a few words of welcome, Fr Pallithanam led the group into some serious reflection on issues that plague the Indian society. Steadily he guided the participants, the Brothers included, through the Indian Constitution and its various amendments, with the sole purpose of highlighting the fundamental rights of every citizen of the country.

After the break, the youngsters were divided into small groups (according to their respective villages) for a practical panchayat type discussion of their own village problems and possible solutions for the same. The presence of Brothers in each group served as catalysts. These issues and their possible solutions (as which could be initiated and carried out by the young people themselves) were collated and presented to the whole group after lunch. From there on, Fr Palli and his team, proposed and highlighted some means through which these problems could be tackled headlong. The best and the most effective means being the Right to Information (RTI).
The programme which had a lot of awakening words, challenging proposals, entertaining dances and a few recreating games ended with an elaborate note of challenge by Br Bolle Bhaskar. The simple lunch was facilitated by the Speed n' speed group with generous assistance from the youngsters themselves. Besides the presence of the community members, Frs Santhosh and Prashanth from Chodavaram Parish and Kailasapuram Parish respectively graced the occasion along with a large contingent from both the Parishes. Much credit goes to Br Behera Sateesh, the Regent for having coordinated the whole programme right since its conception along with the Youth Alive team members.
Photos: Br T. Kamalesh
Text: Br Jerome Emmanuel

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Coursewise GK Quiz Competition

The maiden General Knowledge Quiz competition of the academic year 2011-2012 was held as per the three different courses on August 19, 2011. The preparations for this were done since the beginning of the academic year and the sources for the questions shortlisted. Relevant information pertaining to the fields of discussion and covered areas was displayed or made available for the courses to go through and gain information. The course leaders along with the rest had allocated the various resource material among themselves so as to ensure overall increase of knowledge.
Fr Wilson Jose, the Principal was the backbone of the whole process right till the end. He was ably supported by the Rainbow group, especially Brs Suresh and Roopesh. The quiz proper was for nearly 90 minutes and consisted of 19 rounds of varied sorts: video clips, song interludes, direct questions, written tests and still photos. With spirits soaring as the time and moment drew near, the final years took the lead early on and easily won the competition. The first years were the runners up. The next quiz competition as per growth groups is scheduled for the next semester.

Friday, August 19, 2011

To dream and dare

Kadiyala Kamala (in the pic, with her younger brother) could very well have been just another name in the list of residents of Seethampet village in the Kothavalasa Mandal of Vizianagaram District (Andhra Pradesh). That it still is. However Kamala is a well known name in the whole town of Kothavalasa. A little further into the city of Visakhapatnam, especially amidst the medical fraternity of the government facilities, the same Kamala is fast gaining popularity. Besides being the youngest government employee, Kamala is today looked up to by many a youngster, even her own seniors from school, college and nursing school. But this was not the case earlier.

Born the eldest in the family is not always a blessing, so did Kamala realise early in life. With a mother who did everything in her might to keep the family together, and a father who barely was there at home sober and attentive, it was up to Kamala to find her way to fulfill her passion of doing her studies so as to become a doctor. With no financial means of procuring the required study material, she would borrow them from her companions late in the night after they had finished their study, sit up the whole night and return the books early next morning, so that her companions could study again. The lit stove at home was not an everyday reality. Much less, the lunch box. It was her sheer determination to study that saw her secure 82% in her tenth standard board exam from the local Catholic missionary school, St Mary's. Having secured one of the highest ranks not only in her school but also in the vicinity of Kothavalasa mandal, some intermediate colleges offered her a free seat. She chose the one closest to her house, so as to be of help at home too.

It was during this time, as she contemplated, what next, that she began to speak to Fr K.T. Jose, the Rector of St John's Regional Seminary, whom she knew since her school days and who had often helped her with some books, uniform and class fees – thanks to the generous educational support of Fr Luigi Zuffetti, through Don Bosco Missioni, Italy. Thanks to his guidance she saw a beacon of light for the fulfilment of her dream of wearing the white coat one day.

Fr K.T. Jose explained to her the different options she could choose from and then recommended her to the St Ann's Nursing School at Malkapuram, an institute run by the St Ann's Sisters of Luzern (India), on the outskirts of the city of Vizag. That, according to Kamala, proved to be the turning point of her life. Today she cannot stop thanking and singing the praises of the Sisters who according to her, turned her life into a miracle. “They really taught me how to be the best of who I could be. It was from them that I learnt how to live, share, pray and love. I can never ever forget what they did for me,” shares Kamala. Everytime she utters 'St Anns' she almost jumps up in the air for joy! She is specially all praise for Srs Mercy Tom and Regi. She has imbibed the 'St Anns' spirit so much that listening to her speak English, none would doubt that she is from a purely rural Telugu background. All along Fr K.T. Jose was her constant guide and help.

Much before she completed her five year stint at the nursing school and notched the second best mark (84.3%), she was offered a top job at the Rajiv Gandhi Medical Institute, Visakhapatnam. Of the 20,000 job applicants for a mere 270 government posts, Kamala holds the record for being the youngest to be selected to date. Today, the 21 year old Kamala, with just a year of working experience at the institute, has been handpicked to undergo a specialised training in Visakhapatnam itself.

Though financially secure, she has not forgotten her early days. It is her mother that she loves dearly. Her example of hard work and love for the family are something Kamala cherishes most. Her father too is a changed man now. When asked as to what is the cause of this dramatic development in her life as well as that of her family, Kamala is quick to respond: “Jesus Christ and His gracious blessings!” Her initial dream of becoming a doctor has now a definite shape: she has set her mind on becoming the medical superintendent of the hospital. “Thus I can not only help people with their sickness but also get others to assist those in need and effect major health policies for the greater benefit of the poor,” is what Kamala is sure about. And her primary goal? To be the start of a series of success stories... to get others to dream dreams and have the will power to make those dreams come true.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Assumption and Independence Day

On the occasion of the Independence Day of our country, the Community gathered in prayer and celebration on August 15, 2011 in the Chapel. After a solemn Eucharistic Celebration of the twin solemnity of Assumption and Independence the community hoisted the national flag with full honour and respect. The Pratyasa group members prepared for the event, through a song, dance, message and the also saw to the nitty-gritties of the event. The message for the day was delivered by Br G. Hruday.

In the afternoon, the Brothers were permitted to pay a visit to Our Lady's Shrine in Gnanapuram and participate in the evening procession. The morning Eucharistic celebration was presided over by Fr K.T. Jose, the Rector.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Marian Month 2011

The month-long festivities around Mother Mary, as in any typical Salesian formation house, were the highlight of the latter part of July and the first half of August 2011 at Kondadaba. The climax of the activities and programmes was the grand Marian Nite held on August 12, 2011. Animated by Br Behera Sateesh, the regent and ably assisted by Brs Daniel, James and S. Anil (Mariadalam members) the three hour programme was a rich mix of fun, games, acting, singing and all sorts of activities with a Marian tinge. The Rainbow group emerged victorious among the eight participating teams.
The Marian tournament too was a tough one, as this year all the competing eight teams were equally held at the score board till the final day. That kept the enthusiasm and competitive spirit very much alive to the last whistle of the game. Suvartha Sunadam kept up their lead and narrowly managed to upset the previous year winners, Youth Alive. The second place is shared by three teams!!

Besides these, there were regular Prayer services, Rosary services, competitions (singing, drawing, drama, essay...) animated by different groups and participated by the whole community, dotted the whole past month. The conclusion of the Marian Month was the solemn Eucharistic celebration we had on the feast of the Assumption and Indian independence day.

The highlight of this year's activities was the beautiful decorations that the Brothers prepared as a sign of love and devotion to our Mother on the various occasions. The liturgical and para-liturgical animations too were well organised. Several guests to the Seminary during the past month were very much surprised to see the fervour of the students to do their best for the various events of the month.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

New Priests' Day 2011

"This Seminary has given us love and here we are to offer this Eucharist and return back the same love," were the words of Fr Manoj, on the occasion of the New Priests' Day on August 5, 2011 at St John's, Kondadaba. It was the day on which the whole community rejoiced with and for the ten New Priests (of the 26 who were ordained this year) of the batch of 2003-2006.

The day long celebration began with the Holy Eucharist in which the staff along with the new Priests celebrated the joy on the commemoration of the feast of St John Mary Vianney. Immediately after the Mass, there was a well orchestrated cultural programme during which the new Priests were felicitated. Fr Wilson welcomed the guests for the celebration and Fr K.T. Jose (who began his 9 year term of Rectorship with this batch) highlighted the theme of the day: Be Jesus, Share Jesus (a quotation of Bl. Mother Teresa). Each of the three courses made a well prepared song-dance presentation. The address to the newly ordained was given by the Vidya Jyoti and Suvartha Sunadam group, so was a song too as the concluding of the felicitation.

The real learning and touching moment of the day was the frank sharing of the new Priests. Each of them, shared what and how the Seminary, especially Fr Rector, played a key role in their formative years. Every member in the hall was all ears to their heartfelt sharing. Besides the many good things and experiences they shared, something which they unanimously agreed upon was that this Seminary offered each student equal and abundant opportunities to shine out in various fields. For this Fr K.T. Jose was specially thanked and appreciated. They also offered the community a gift - a 3D picture of Christ.

The sumptuous lunch followed the programme and later each Diocesan group spent some time with the Priests from their respective dioceses. The finale of the day was the challenging basketball match wherein the new Priests, with a bit of assistance from their beloved Rector, just narrowly defeated the Seminarians!

Text: Br M. Banu
Photos: Br T. Kamalesh

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Childrens' Fest (Irugu Porugu) at Kondadaba

The photos below are of the Childrens' Fest, Irugu Porugu Programme that we had for more than 500 children of the neighbourhood, on July 31, 2011. The day long animation was coordinated by Chaitanya Deepika group under the able and dynamic guidance of Fr K.T. Jose, the Rector and Br Behera Sateesh, the Regent of the Seminary. Fr Alex Jeyaraj sdb was the chief guest for the occasion and was greatly liked by the children for his impressive message and style. Srs Claire, Prasanna and Abilasha from the Kondadaba convent were the judges for the day.

The children of 25 villages participated in the various events of the day: tableau, dance and song. All of these were participated by all the children from the village. Rather than have a select few perform each item, all the children from the village were expected to be on stage. This made the whole programme a mega show of strength and preparation. The respective Brothers going to the different villages for ministry too did well in preparing the children for this day.

Speed n' speed and Mother Theresa groups lent a great helping hand in the packing and distribution of lunch to all the children. The announcement of nearly 12 prizes, all to the whole village rather than individuals, was a great source of cheer for the children, besides the many songs, actions songs and fun they had all through the day.