Monday, February 27, 2012

Visit of the SDB Vice-Provincial

The month of February certainly was like the favourite month for guests. Adding to the long list of guests the Seminary was ever happy to welcome, was the presence of Fr Thathireddy Vijayabhaskar sdb, the Vice-Provincial of the Salesian Province of Hyderabad. He spent a day with the community on Sunday February 26, 2012. His main purpose was to meet the members of the community in view of the visit of the Regional Superior (which is due in March 2012).
Besides celebrating the Holy Eucharist of the First Sunday of Lent, he also addressed the students just before lunch and presented to them the new model of Youth Ministry as proposed by the Rector Major of the Salesians of Don Bosco. During his homily, he narrated how the Holy Church, through the season of Lent, recommends that every disciple of Christ learns to transcend the biological urge and fulfill the true human nature we all share with Christ the Son of God. Being a Philosopher himself he drew heavily from the thoughts of the contemporary Philosophers to support his reflections on the Gospel of the day. After lunch he spent time with the Salesian formators, presenting a couple of important documents and tabulating some data, in view of the visit of the Regional Superior, Fr Maria Arokiam Kanaga.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Comprehensive Oral Defense

The comprehensive oral defense of the final year students, held on February 24 and 25, 2012 marked the conclusion of the Philosophical academic studies for the said batch. In all 28 students defended their thesis before a panel of two (the guide and the reader) and of course, backed by the supporting presence of their batchmates as well as companions from the other courses. Unlike previous years, there were no external readers invited for the defence. The resident professors shared the readers responsibility among themselves and thus there were four guides and the same number of readers.

With the change in the mode of preparation and presentation of the papers, this year was a bit different. Though the results were not the best of expectations, at least it was a start in a new and hopefully better direction, as far as the academic requirement of students forming a comprehensive view of their three year course of Philosophy is concerned. Hopefully the coming years will see a gradual development in the mood and mode of this important aspect of the Philosophical studies, as offered and envisaged at St John's Regional Seminary, Kondadaba.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Ms Cecile Beck from Switzerland

The community was indeed extend a hearty welcome to Ms Cecile Beck and four of her companions from Switzerland on February 24, 2012. Fr Noel Maddhichetty, the former Provincial of the Salesian Province of Hyderabad accompanied and introduced the guests to the community. Ms Cecile happens to be the spiritual mother of Fr Wilson Jose and has indeed been very generous in her financial assistance towards the construction of a new Church in L.Kota, a substation of S. Kota. The six guests joined the community for lunch and were indeed happy to see so many young men preparing themselves for the future mission of the Church in Andhra Pradesh. Her presence added greater joy when she sponsored a round of ice-cream for the community. After lunch the whole group, led by Fr Wilson, made a short visit to the Shrine of Kondadaba and the ongoing construction work of the Church at L.Kota.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Visit of Bp Prasad

On the 20th of February 2012 the Seminary was graced by the presence of Bp Gallela Prasad, the Bishop of Kadapa and the Deputy Delegate of the major Seminaries on behalf of the Andhra Pradesh Bishop's Conference (APBC). This was his second visit to the Seminary in his official capacity as the deputy delegate. He arrived in the morning and after a cup of tea addressed the Staff of the Seminary. At 11.30 he presided over the Holy Eucharistic celebration for the community and celebrated the Mass of the day itself.

Citing the fast approaching season of Lent and our need to model ourselves according to our Divine Master, he exhorted the Brothers to imbibe values presented in this formation stage. Towards the end of the Mass, on behalf of the APBC, he thanked the staff members and in particular, Fr K.T. Jose, the Rector for shouldering the delicate responsibility of forming future Priests for the Church of Andhra Pradesh. He concluded the official visit soon after lunch.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Staff picnic

On February 18, the domestic staff of the Seminary were treated to a one-day picnic to Annavaram. While for some of the members it was a picnic, for the others it was also a pilgrimage. Besides the famous temple of Lord Satyanarayana at Annavaram, the picnikers also visited the street childrens' rehabilitation home in Devipuram (Sabbavaram), the temple at Devipuram and the Talupulamma Temple on the outskirts of Tuni.

All in all the seven staff members had some relaxed time out. Here are a couple of photos of the day...

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Feast of Kondadaba

Come the first week of February every year and the whole of Kondadaba is abuzz with the feast day preparations of the Parish. This year was no exception to this great excitement. The feast of Our Lady of Sorrows which is celebrated on the first Sunday of February, witnessed lakhs of devotees from all over the state and even far off Rajasthan and neighbouring Orissa. The Seminary too had its key role to play in the preparation and organisation of the feast. The Brothers were chiefly involved in the preparation and distribution of food to the select few (total running into more or less a few hundreds). Besides this they also lend a helping hand in the security, decoration, arrangement of the stage and distribution of water to the pilgrims. The main choir of the feast and the eve of the great day too was from the Seminary (of course, as assistance to just the couple of Parishioners who were in the choir).

As usual the Seminary also hosted over a thousand people who flocked to the pilgrim centre on the eve and spent the night in preparation for the feast. Beating the cold wave, these fervent devotees, most of them making their annual walk of 35 to 70 kms, did show their strong faith in the powerful intercession of Mother Mary. The main celebrant for the feast day solemn Mass was retired Bp Mathew Cheriankunnel. On the whole, the feast was a real grand occasion for all to partake not just in gaining spiritual favours but also as a day of relaxation and outing. Thanks to the meticulous planning and organisation of Fr Joseph Anithottam, the Parish Priest along with the faithful band of Parishioners.

Friday, February 3, 2012

GK Quiz (Growth Groups)

The General Knowledge Quiz which had an earlier round held in the seminary, was held for another round this day on a different grouping... as per the growth groups. The quiz commenced at 9 pm and lasted nearly 90 mins. With a total of nearly 12 rounds covering as many aspects as possible, the students did put up some effort... succeeding in some and failing in other areas. At the final bell, Fr Chinnappa Thomas announced Chaitanya Deepika as the winners and Rainbow as the runners up. The whole programme, with the clear intent of helping the students become more and more aware of the world around, was well coordinated and organised by Fr Wilson Jose, the Principal with valuable support from Br Sateesh, the Regent and members of the Rainbow group.

(In the photo, left to right: Br G. Naresh, Br K. Tony, Br B. Sateesh and Fr Wilson Jose)

Feast of the Presentation

The community had a special procession prior to the Holy Mass this morning on the occasion of the feast of the Presentation of the Lord. The Mass was presided over by Fr Michael Pampara sdb who happened to be present in the community as a visiting professor to conduct the course on Sexuality and Celibacy for the third year students. In his homily he stressed on the two points based on the Gospel of the day: the humility of Mother Mary (to follow the local customs in spite of her being the Mother of God) and the eagerness (and consequential grace) of Simeon and Anna to 'see' the Lord.

(Fr Micheal is presently at Nava Jeevan, Vijayawada as one of its directors. He is also a trained and qualified psychologist.)

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Feast of Don Bosco

The feast of Don Bosco was solemnized this year on January 31, 2012 with a well-prepared Holy Eucharistic celebration and a solemn meal in the afternoon. Unlike previous years, the celebrations this year were held to make up for the absence of the Relic of Don Bosco to Vizag. The occasion was also used to congratulate and felicitate Fr V.M. George sdb, a former staff member at St John's Kondadaba who also celebrates his Silver Jubilee of Priestly ordination this year. Incidently, he also is the architect of the present Chapel of the Seminary. Furthermore, the present oval structure (the connecting links between the various blocks and the arches) was designed and executed by Fr V. M. George, an Engineer by qualification. A select few (about 25) of the neighbouring Priests and Religious, closely associated with the Seminary were invited for the Mass and lunch.

During the homily Fr George dwelt on the title of Don Bosco 'Father and Teacher of the young'. Describing it theological meaning the rationale behind this title given by the late Pope John Paul II, he highlighted the practical elements of this great Saint's spirituality.

After Mass a short felicitation programme was held in the dining hall itself wherein he was given a gift and a shawl. Fr K.T. Jose, the Rector, spoke a few words about the Jubilarian and thanked the guests for their continued support and encouragement to the Community of Kondadaba. After a solemn lunch, the Brothers enjoyed a challenging round of cricket, volleyball and basketball.