Inauguration of New Province of Bengaluru and Installation of the Provincial Administrations of Bengaluru, Trichy and Yercaud
Message of the Superior General on the occasion of the Inauguration of the New Province of Bengaluru and the Installation of the Provincial Administrations of Bengaluru, Trichy and Yercaud.
Your Grace, the Archbishop, dear Rev. Brothers PJ George, Irudayam and Johnson, the newly appointed Provincials of Bengaluru, Trichy and Yercaud, and their Councilors, very Rev. Vicar Generals and the Major Superiors of the Religious Congregations, honored special invitees, dear Rev. Fathers, Brothers and Sisters, esteemed Associates and Collaborators from far and near, and my dear friends,
Good evening to you all. I bring you all warm greetings from the members of the Central Administration in Rome, on this occasion of great significance for the whole Montfortian Family in India. Today is a historical moment not only for the Brothers of the Provinces of Trichy and Yercaud but also for the whole Congregation. Today witnesses the birth of the new baby, the Province of Bengaluru, carved out of the Provinces of Malaysia-Singapore, Trichy and Yercaud. This is an event that encases within a fleeting moment the vision of our Founder, St. Louis Marie de Montfort, and over 300 years of collective memory. This is a moment for the Brothers of the newly restructured Provinces of Bengaluru, Trichy and Yercaud, to recoup their energies, and as Prophet Jeremiah very profoundly put it, to stand at the crossroads… ask which is the best road… and to walk on (Jer. 6:16). It requires an abundance of faith in God and in one another, and commendable courage to say ‘Yes’ to life and to God. This is the same faith and courage with which Mary said ‘Yes’, and this is the event we recall, as we celebrate the feast of the Annunciation on 25th, the official date of the installation of the three new Provinces.
As the new Province of Bengaluru takes the first step of its journey into the future, we are indeed honored by the presence of His Grace, the Archbishop of Bengaluru, and a goodly number of priests and religious, which makes today’s celebrations truly an ecclesial event. I have always believed that the primary mission of us, the consecrated persons, is to participate in the triple mission of the Church, namely Evangelization, Witnessing and Human Promotion, according to our own different charisms. I never get tired of repeating the powerful words of Pope St. John Paul II: “Education continues to be the most potent means of evangelization, even where no other means of evangelization is possible”! As a leader of the Montfortian Family, I wish to place on record my sincere appreciation to His Grace, the Archbishop, and all you priests and religious for your gracious presence with us this evening for this Thanksgiving Eucharistic celebration, and more especially for all the encouragement and support you give to the Montfort Brothers of St. Gabriel here in India.
Today is an occasion, not only for praising and thanking the Lord for all the marvels the Lord has worked in our Provinces in Asia, but also an occasion for reflection and recommitment. It is a time to remember the past with gratitude, to live the present with enthusiasm and to look forward to the future with confidence. If the mission of the Montfort Brothers of St. Gabriel is a success story, with its numerical growth, cultural spread and missionary effectiveness, if we have carved a niche for ourselves in society for the value based holistic education we offer in our educational centres, I feel confident to say that it is thanks to the missionary dynamism of our pioneers who toiled hard with a far-sighted vision and an unfailing trust in the Providence. It is thanks to all the encouragement and support we received from the Church and civil authorities. It is a tribute to decades of dedication by those men who were at the helm of affairs in the different Provinces, and who steered the destiny of their units with commendable commitment. I salute each one of them for their daringness and dynamism!
The Brothers of our ageing western Provinces have been raising their hearts in thanksgiving to the Lord for the significant growth that the Congregation has witnessed in the Indian sector during the past few decades. The news of the formation of the new Province of East Africa and the restructuring of the existing Provinces of Malaysia-Singapore, Trichy and Yercaud to give birth to the new Province of Bengaluru was welcomed by the whole Congregation with great joy and pride, especially in the backdrop of several Religious Congregations reconfiguring their different entities because of the declining of numbers and dearth of new vocations.
Those of us who were a part of the Central Administration and the members of the Provinces of Malaysia-Singapore, Trichy and Yercaud, will bear testimony to the fact that the process of the restructuration has not been without its inherent difficulties, apprehensions and fears. But at the same time it has been gratifying to note that everyone concerned went through the whole process in a spirit of faith, always acknowledging the fact that it was the hand of God that was leading us, though at the surface of things it might have appeared to some that it defied logistics and reason! I must say ‘kudos’ to the Province Restructuring Committee, headed by Bro. Paulose Mekkunnel and assisted by Bros. Mariannan, PJ George, Pratap Reddy, KM Joseph and Varghese Theckanath who spent days and weeks working out a viable formula, keeping in mind the primary objective of “making these new entities more coherent, more vibrant and promoting greater inter-culturalism, in terms of the life of the Brothers as consecrated persons and in fulfilling their ministries”.
It is a proven fact that today several Religious Congregations have become a sort of “live laboratory” of people of many cultures living under the same roof! It is a wonderful opportunity for us to say to the world that it is possible for us to live together in harmony, respecting our diversity, valuing justice and equality for all, each free to be fully themselves! All sociologists attest to the fact that our individual cultures are not static entities “written in cement”, but rather dynamic realities evolving and changing as we speak. As Pope Francis in his apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium reminded us, “In the Christian customs of an evangelized people, the Holy Spirit adorns the Church, showing her new aspects of revelation and giving her a new face. Through inculturation, the Church introduces peoples, together with their cultures, into her own community, for every culture offers positive values and forms, which can enrich the way the Gospel is peached, understood and lived” (No. 116).
Before I conclude, I wish to take this opportunity, on behalf of all of us present here, to congratulate Bros. PJ George, Irudayam M and Johnson S, the new Provincial Superiors of new Provinces of Bengaluru, Trichy and Yercaud, and their Councilors. There is no doubt that nursing and nurturing a new Province is going to be a difficult task, as difficult a task as bringing up a newborn baby! However, if all the Brothers have a common vision, a common goal of being partners in the common mission of the Church, and if each member of the Province is committed to keeping alive the charism of St. Louis Marie de Montfort, who was passionate for God and humanity, the challenges can be surmounted and the difficulties can be overcome. While thanking each one of you for your availability to be at the service of your Provinces, let me remind you that the most effective way of animating and administering an entity is “leading by example”, so that the theme of our 32nd General Chapter “Fraternal Living and the Communitarian Dimension of the Montfortian Mission” becomes a lived out reality in all our communities.
I wish to take this opportunity also to place on record my sincere appreciation to all the Provincial Administrations of the erstwhile Provinces of Malaysia-Singapore, Trichy and Yercaud, for your valuable contributions to the growth and development of these entities. I must say a special word of thanks to the Election Committee headed by Bro. Dhanaraj and assisted by Bros. Varghese and Jenny, who took care of the whole process of the consultation and elections of the new Province of Bengaluru, on behalf of the Central Administration. My thanks also go to Bros. Mathew Panathanath and Dhanaraj, and their team at the Montfort Spirituality Centre, for taking care of the planning and organization of this significant event of the Inauguration of the Province of Bengaluru and the Installation of the Provincial Administrations of Bengaluru, Trichy and Yercaud. Let us all continue to pray and hope that the restructured entities will achieve the cherished objectives with which the whole process was started.
Thank you and God bless.
Bro. John Kallarackal, SG