Monday, October 28, 2013

Sunshine, at last!

After seven full days of rain not a bit of sunshine we had our first rays of sunshine in eight days this morning.  The past week was all rain and clouds, not one ray of sunshine we had.  Well for some parts of the world this may not seem anything odd or strange, but this has never been in Andhra Pradesh.

Rain has been pouring rather steadily all week long.  That was the only saving grace. If only it was torrential, then it would have been catastrophic.  As of today, there is water everywhere.  The ground is all wet and unable to soak in any more water.  Neither can it flow anywhere because all low lying areas are already under water.  Some parts of the Seminary which never got drenched by flowing water, are now submerged!  Our open well is so full that we can draw water with our hands!  The well is almost 80 feet deep.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Independence day

The community commemorated the Independence day of our motherland India in a grand and meaningful style on August 15, 2013.  Soon after the special Mass, there was the flag hoisting ceremony well prepared and conducted by the Mother Teresa group members.  Besides the flag hoisting by Fr Wilson Jose, the Principal, the group put up a song and a dance in honour of our country.  Br P. Kiran delivered the message for the day and Br Jerome recited a self-composed poem.  Br K. Balaraj was the MC for the programme.

Conclusion of the Marian Month 2013

Here's the concluding ceremony, Rosary Service of the Marian month, animated by the Mariadalam members...

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

General Knowledge Quiz Competition

On August 14, 2013 the college participated in the annual quiz competition.  The students were divided into five groups as per the four growth groups and the OCD Brs forming the fifth group.  The quiz was prepared and conducted by Fr Wilson Jose, the Principal with assistance from the Rainbow group members.

The quiz that lasted nearly 2 hrs covered the most important aspects of politics, religions, history, Bible, and of course, current affairs. It was made alive by audio and video clippings and presentations.  Suvartha Sunadam beat the other teams to win the prize and Mother Teresa group secured the second place.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Marian Nite

On August 9, 2013 we celebrated the Marian Nite, the traditional night of fun and learning dedicated specially to Mother Mary, as part of the ongoing Marian month.  It was fun with the four growth groups competing with one another for the top spot in the various activities that were conducted in honour of Mother Mary.  There were jumbles, songs, actions hymns, skits, spot the Lady, decoding messages, dances, salutes, races and antakshrees!

We started at 9 pm and took complete 2 hrs to wrap it all up.  All in all it was good and enjoyable. The Mother Teresa group came out first, closely followed by Youth Alive. Fr Maliekal, the Rector was present with the Brothers all the while, encouraging them with his presence and sharp observations. 

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Marian talks

Here's the photo of those Brothers who volunteered to deliver a Marian talk during this Marian month... and indeed did a very good job.  They not only scripted the talk but even delivered it with elan and devotion.  The talks were a good mix of study, reflection, personal life and of course, devotion. Congratulations to these young men...
John Rakesh, Jerome, Ch. Jagan, K. Balaraju, Y. Alphonse, Y. Sudhir, K. Sunil and K.M. Joseph (missing in the pic: V. Solomon)

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Course activity

Students, the first years, engrossed in a group discussion as part of their Philosophy class.  The first years are 27 in all, of whom 2 are OCDs coming for classes daily from their monastery at Pendurthi. The rest 25 are resident in the Seminary itself and hail from the different dioceses of Andhra Pradesh itself.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Feast of St Vianney

On August 3, 2013, the community celebrated the feast of John Mary Vianney, the patron of priests, especially diocesan Priests.  The Holy Mass was animated and officiated by Fr Dara Balaswamy, the spiritual director.
It was more of a three day celebration with the community going out for a cycle picnic cum mountain climbing on the previous day and the solemn self-cooked meal (prepared by the Brothers themselves, while the cooks took a day off) the following day.

 The Offertory procession...

 Fr Maliekal, the Rector, venerating the decorated statue of St Vianney.
This relaxed celebration was made possible by the postponement of the new Priests day, which is normally coupled with the Vianney feast day celebrations. 

Friday, August 2, 2013

Picnic-Mountain climbing!

On August 2, 2013 the community took a day off for a cycle picnic to a nearby hill.  Not only did everyone cycle till the hill at Chintalapalem (nearly 9 kms one way) but also climbed to the top of it!  The best part of the picnic was the climb and the descent too! There was absolutely no trodden path leading up or down the hill, each one was to make his own way through the bushes and brambles!  Everyone spent the next two days 'excavating' embedded thorns and twigs in our legs and hands!

Once down the hill, we took time to cycle up to the nearby icecream factory, named Sheetal icecream.  Mr Raju, the owner treated us all to a special icecream, free of cost. His only fee: sincerely pray for peace!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

On your belly!

Fr Maliekal, leading by example, teaching the Brothers some exercises to reduce their pot-bellies!  Even at 53, he cycles to the substations for Masses and ministry. Fun to see him do the exercises with ease while young fellows, less than half his age struggle!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Marian Games or Marian war?

The traditional Marian month was inaugurated on July 16 with a small prayer immediately after Holy Mass in the morning.  The eagerly awaited Marian tournament was kick-started in the evening immediately after tea by Fr Neelam Ratna sdb in the presence of the whole community.  With a simple pledge, lighting of the torch and a couple of hymns to Our Lady, the month long intense games were inaugurated.  The special and action-packed month ends on the feast of the Assumption of Mother Mary, August 15.

The evening was a special square ball game conducted by the Youth Alive group.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Recollection preached by a new priest

The second monthly recollection of the academic year was animated by Fr Neelam Ratna sdb, a confrere who recently joined the apostolate at Don Bosco Nava Jeevan, Vizag.  The recollection was on July 16, 2013 and the theme chosen by Fr Ratna was the sacrament of Reconciliation.

The following day, Fr Ratna, being a newly ordained priest (date of ordination: June 25, 2013) presided over the community Holy Eucharistic celebration. He expressed his joy at being present here in the community, especially amidst his former formators and exhorted the Brothers to make the most of this formative period.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Deacon Andreas and family

On July 11, 2013 the family of Rev. Andreas, a permanent deacon from Austria, paid the community a visit. He was accompanied by his wife, Elizabeth, his daughter, Magdelene (a former volunteer at Nava Jeevan, Vizag) and her friend Sabina.  They were accompanied by the former administrator of the house, Fr E. J. Mathew.

The Brothers had some time to interact with Deacon Andreas on Friday night and get to know this 'new' vocation, in person!

Monday, July 8, 2013


Manifold are the ways to taste the reality,
To discover new things and imbibe its vitality;
Myriad are the ways to equip self with fact,
Learning is the best among all to gather facts.

Learning is the art of understanding and reaching enlightenment,
This art is not limited to any school or college;
Learning is making the outer world, part of inner self,
And making us smart at wondering and being humble before the greatness.

Learning is a friend which rescues us from the fetters of pride,
Helps us speak out and not restrict us to being dumb;
Learning keeps us witty and wise,
Keeping us from rusting, retaining our price.

Learning is key to loyalty, gentleness and faith,
To a better world it is the only gate;
Learning makes us unlike brutes or robots,
Rather turns beasts to men and men to sages.

Our seminary stands as a temple of the same learning,
Here opportunities are given for earning learning,
sheeps turn into shepherds of flocks,
and fishermen into fishers of men
Re-establishing Christ, removing blocks to growth.

Let us rise, dust the mats of our brains,
Leave route of failure, walk in vistas of excellence;
The more we toil now, the more will we gain,
Today's learning will never go in vain.

Br Allam Manoj (II course)

Sunday, July 7, 2013

B'day celebrations of Fr Wilson

On July 6, 2013 Saturday, the community celebrated the b'day of Fr Wilson. Morning Mass and an hour of felicitation prior to lunch.  The neighbouring communities too participated in the get together, and the lunch thereafter.  The b'day Mass was celebrated in the morning itself and was animated by the Rainbow group.

Fr Wilson was thankful to God and the Community for all the blessings bestowed on him, now and every day.  He asked the Brothers to continue making the best of what comes our way.  Among the programmes put up by the Brothers, the skit of the second course, conceived and directed by P. Kiran was worth its time and effort.  Vincent, of the first course, read the b'day address, with some live still and the OCD Brothers too put up a rather good dance to begin the get-together.  The others too chipped in with their performances.

Here are some of the photos...

Saturday, June 29, 2013

A saloon in the Seminary!

On the feast day of Sts Peter and Paul, the make-shift saloon was blessed and inaugurated by Fr Maliekal, the Rector. This was an initiative of the third course Brothers as a means of collecting some fund for the poor of the locality.  It has been assembled with whatever could be mustered without incurring too much cost in the room under the main water tank in the D block.

 So anyone coming in to the Seminary can avail themselves of a hair cut for a mere Rs 10/- (of course, a tip is always welcome!).

Here's a photo of the three volunteer barbers (L to R): K. Satish, T. Santhosh and V. Subin! 

Friday, June 28, 2013

Article in Indian Currents

An article written by one of our second year students, Allam Manoj, from the diocese of Guntur, has been published in the Indian Currents (3-9 June 2013) Vol. XXV Issue no. 23.  The article titled, "Be a Nature Lover" (p. 17-18) is about ecology and love for nature, based on the method of St Francis. He had submitted the same in February, with a little help from Fr T. V. Jose who was on the staff last year.

Congrats to Manoj and trust others will be inspired to write and send their articles and poems to various publications. 

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Inauguration of the academic year 2013-2014

"Formation is a period to grow through and not to go through," was the chief message of Fr Kuthanapallil Sebastian (K.M. Sebastian), the president of the Inaugural Mass and ceremony, on June 12, 2013. During the Inaugural Mass of the academic year 2013-2014, Fr K. M. Sebastian, a former Rector of the Seminary himself, challenged the students basing himself on the theme of the 'call of the twelve apostles' during the Mass. Later, during the inaugural address, he invited the students to make right choices in life and vocation.

Fr Jose Maliekal, the Rector, in his words of welcome, offered the community triggers for reflection and living, from the words of Pope Francis' imagery of the shepherd. He stated that the Priest is one who ought to be able to smell his sheep and that the people must be able to smell their shepherd.  He also exhorted the Brothers to make Christ, and the Spirit, the foundation of all that we undertake this academic year.

Fr Wilson Jose, the principal presented the highlights and achievements of the previous academic year in his annual report.  The meritorious work of students who scored highest marks during the last academic year was appreciated through prizes.  Brs M. Bhanu, A. Rakesh and P. Ravi Teja from the III course and Brs A. Manoj, P. Avinash and Y. Rajasekhar from the II course were felicitated for the same.

The message of the president of the inaugural ceremony, Fr K. M. Sebastian, was however the most memorable part of the day.  He emphasized the need of growing in freedom and making right choices. He encouraged the students to give their best in everything, especially in their studies. "A good priest is a blessing for the people, when he is competent and available," he added.  He reiterated his point asking the students to love everything, not because we have to, but because we choose to.

[Br M. Bhanu]

Monday, June 10, 2013

New arrivals and new year

The Brothers arrived on Sunday... all 62 of them. So that makes the total of 66 in the community; 62 students and 4 staff members.  Add to that the 13 OCDs attending the classes from Pendurthi and the college strength for this academic year is 75 (students only).
On the evening of their arrival, we had Mass at 6.30 and a short introductory round of names in the refectory just before our supper. There are 27 resident first years, 15 second years and 20 third year students.

Sunday, March 31, 2013


** by Br Allam Manoj 

Devoid of nature we cannot live, move and have our being here on earth. Nature, with its infinite variety, is God’s gift to humanity. Nature with her cycle of birth and death, her season, her flowers and fruits sustain us. At the same time the whole nature is a silent, incomplete book of God, but what has happened to this planet earth of ours? Forests are shrinking, water tables are falling, temperatures are rising, coral rears are drying, glaciers are melting, animals and plants are becoming extinct, the biosphere is being poisoned, the ozone layer is being depleted year by year, global warming is on the increase, the cycle of season appears to have gone awry, but we are not taking care of the nature properly. Rather we should keep the environment and nature spick and span. Due to our bad deeds in this present scenario there will be deforestation and inevitable increase of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. In fact, we should remember that we are custodians of nature, not her ruthless exploiters.
Here Francis of Assisi offers fresh hopes and renewed thinking about the nature. He has an excellent and breathtaking fascination for nature. In other words, he deepens his ineffable love for God and nature. In fact, Francis’s remarkable admiration and tremendous love for nature offered him golden opportunities to revive his drooping spirit and to renew his spiritual strength. Of all the sufferings that Francis had endured, the stigmata was perhaps the most excruciating. In those moments of intolerable pain, the poor little man of Assisi said, “For his praise, I wish to compose a new hymn about the nature which we daily use, without which we cannot live, and with which the human race greatly offends its creator.” In other words, we should love the nature and we should not spoil the beautiful nature, because it is an open book, whose author is God.

In fact, God wants not only the humanity, but also the entire creation to be saved. If we save only humanity, it will not be good rather we should endeavour to save the nature. Every human being is a corner stone and gem to save the nature from all the danger. Every human being is the most powerful creature on earth. He is the only creature who can consciously alter and keep the nature perfectly. Besides, he can even destroy all the living things and organisms on the earth. He is also the only living being endowed with tremendous and magnificent wisdom so that he can decide whether to save the earth or destroy it. So, man seems to assume a crucial position in nature. He is forced to take full responsibility for the welfare not only of his race, but also others. He has the ethical responsibility to ensure the well being and safety of the nature. Only human beings have the wisdom to take precise decisions even in crucial and perilous moments. Every human being also knows that the decision if it goes wrong not only destroys the nature but also him. In fact, nature conservation is not to satisfy ourselves, but to ensure our every existence. If we see among the saints of the church, perhaps nobody loved and respected the nature as did the poor little man of Assisi.

Besides, it is good to remember that Francis eco-spirituality has intimate links to his love for the crucified redeemer. In this connection, we should remember that Francis’s eco-spirituality cannot be isolated, but it has to be understood as an integral strand of Francis’s spirituality. More so, the Biblical doctrine of redemption is seen by Francis as an act of Christ who joined our beautiful universe.

Francis called all creatures as his brothers and sisters. Indeed, Francis adopted a religious approach to nature’s beauty. Francis contribution to eco-spirituality will unleash a fresh avidness and a renewed partnership with creatures. Varied phenomena of ecological crisis seem to have no end and no remedial measures unless and until everyone considers as a wise, faithful and responsible of our beautiful universe.

The central focus of ecological spirituality, as pointed out in our analysis of the life and work of Francis of Assisi, consists in effecting a change of paradigm to appreciate our natural environment, to rejoice with creatures, to contemplate our beautiful universe, to respect every form of life and to transcend the visible creation to the invisible creator who is saving, caring, sharing, liberating and loving God. A human being means being natural, being intimately related to and interested in what goes an around us in our nature. We, modern citizens, living in this techno savvy era, should learn to sanctify every earthly event and object of our daily lives. If God is beauty, we need to see God in a lovely sunset, in the flora and fauna. True holiness is sanctifying involvement in the beautiful world God has given us, since the world is a mirror that reflects God’s infinite beauty. Besides, we should remember that “Nature never betrays the heart that loves her.” If we love the nature, it does not betray any one, but if we do not love the nature, definitely we are going to face the music in our lives. In order to avoid that mishap we should love and save the nature from all deleterious, perilous and hazardous moments. So, let us start now to save and take care of the nature as Saint Francis of Assisi did.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

The Sacredness of Work

* by Br Allam Manoj (Guntur Diocese)

Human being is crowned with various capacities which enable him to rule over the world. Our bodies are so designed that no machine can outrun our biological metabolisms and no super computer can out do the human brain. When we believe that everything designed is meant for some purpose. Then, what could be the purpose of the ultimate design called humans. If we limit our activities merely to eating, drinking and resting, there would remain no difference between animals and us. Therefore, a human being is called so only when he fulfills the purpose of his existence. The purpose is not fulfilled when a person gets rusted doing nothing. Hence forth, work becomes the purpose giver in a person’s life. Human existence entails work. Owing to the myriad ways of living the proforma of work also differs. When a person works he brings his capacities to reality. He starts thinking creatively and his muscles get exercise. When he accomplishes his task, it gives him satisfaction.

Work is essential, for it brings more energy and richness to our lives. We should strive hard to excel in life. Our body functions when we work hard. When we work, we should not feel as if it is a burden, rather we should feel happy. There are different types of work, like manual labour, office work, aesthetic work, research work, fine arts. Every type of work is sacred because, it helps us to attain perfection in our lives. We should value work, for it brings beauty to the creation wherever we live.

In fact, we should respect the individuals those who work strenuously, even if they are doing “Menial” works. We should not detest them rather; we should appreciate their painstaking effort. Suppose if we detest them, then they would get idle and as we know idle mind is devil’s work shop. Rather, we should always respect and encourage them optimistically. Besides, work helps us become respectable and well-disciplined persons. When we work in a disciplined way, we are able to control our anger, temptations, desires and temperance.

My dear friends, work is essential in our lives. No one can escape from work. Though work leads us to suffer, pain yet we should remember that there is a pleasure and happiness in every work. Every work brings us excellent fruitfulness if we do whole-heartedly.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Exams mood

Brothers are making a lot of effort and studying for the philosophy exams beginning from March 7, 2013.  Only the final year students will be giving their exams now.  The rest will continue with their classes and later commence their philosophy exams. 

Later in the week the house council will gather mainly to evaluate the third year students and to discuss the important issues for the benefit of the community. The third course brothers finish their B.A. exams before Easter and the first and second year brothers finish their philosophy exams around the same time. 

Thursday, March 7, 2013

B'day celelbrations

It was a very auspicious day as we celebrated the birthdays of Fr Maliekal, Br Castilino and Fr Balaswamy. The day began with a Eucharist celebrated by Fr Maliekal. Fr T.V Jose gave an inspiring sermon enumerating the qualities of three heroes of the day. In the evening we had a cultural get-together organized in honour of them for which guests from the neighbouring communities were invited. Br Castilino, the man of the day gave the message, “God is with us always and let us ask the grace from the Lord that we may be always with Him” After that there was a solemn supper for everybody. The Salesian staff had a gathering to express love and concern towards the confreres.