Clergy - Reports

Report of the Commission for the Clergy and the Institutes of the Consecrated Life
November 2005 – January 2006

The following report of the Commission for the Clergy and the Institutes of the Consecrated Life is from November 2005 to August 2006.

I. Golden and Silver Jubilee Meet

The Commission organized at Mount St.Thomas from 07 to 08 November 2005 a get-together for the eparchial priests of the Syro-Malabar Church who celebrate the Golden and Silver Jubilee of their priestly ordination. On Monday, 7th November arrival and registration was scheduled for 4.00 pm. The inaugural session started at 5.30. Mar James Pazhayattil, Chairman of the Clergy Commission, inaugurated the Jubilee Get-together. Bishop Sebastian Adayanthrath took a class on “Christian Leadership”. There followed self-introduction by the participants and the general dynamics of the get-together was presented and discussed. After supper at 8.00 p.m. and night prayers, there was a session of Sharing Pastoral Experience. All went for night rest at 10.15.

On Tuesday, 9th November after morning prayers there was a shared meditation for one hour led by Fr. Alex Chettiyath. After breakfast there was a session of sharing of Pastoral Experience moderated by Msgr Bosco Puthur.  After the coffee break, there was the Jubilee Eucharistic celebration presided over by the Major Archbishop. During the homily the Major Archbishop stressed the importance of unity in the Church. There followed a group photo with the Major Archbishop.  During the Jubilee Dinner Bp Mar George Alencherry felicitated the jubilarians and the Major Archbishop presented Jubilee memento to them. Msgr. Raphael Thattil in the name of the jubilarians, proposed vote of thanks.

After dinner the participants gathered in the Conference hall and there was an interaction with the Major Archbishop.  And they made an evaluation of the get-together, in which without exception all the participants expressed their happiness about the get-together of both golden and silver Jubilarians. The care and concern they received here at Mount St. Thomas made them aware of the care and concern of the Church towards them. They unanimously proposed that such Jubilee Get-together should be conducted in future too.

 II. Conference of the Vicar Generals, Chancellors, Secretaries

The Commission organized at Mount St.Thomas on 21st November 2005 a Conference of the Vicar Generals, Chancellors, Secretaries. Major Archbishop Cardinal Varkey Vithayathil inaugurated the Conference.  In the inaugural address Major Archbishop emphasized the necessity of fostering unity in the church and especially among the priests. The inaugural session started at 9.30 AM.  Mar James Pazhayattil, Chairman of the Clergy Commission, inaugurated the Conference of the Vicar Generals, Chancellors, Secretaries. Bishop Sebastian Adayanthrath took a class on “the pastoral planning in the dioceses”. There followed self-introduction and discussion on the topic.  After dinner there followed a sharing session on the pastoral planning in the individual dioceses moderated by Fr George Choorakattu.  Bp Mar Thomas Chakkiath moderated the general discussion.  The following points emerged in the general session:

  1. There should be more and more occasions for the priests to come together and have the interactions concerning common interests of the Church. The programs like this conference to foster unity should be encouraged.
  2. Every year it is advisable to have a common theme for the pastoral planning of the dioceses.
  3. It is recommended to have a five days Conference for all the diocesan priests of the Syro-Malabar Church to be completed in five years (10 Conferences per year for 600 Priests) according to their year of ordination.  It is intended to give ongoing formation to the priests as well as to revitalize them spiritually.
  4. With regards to the survey on the ministry and life of the priests the participants offered co-operation to conduct in their own dioceses.
  5. The participants expressed their desire to get all India Jurisdiction for our Church.

With the vote of thanks by Fr Thomas Periyappuram the conference came to an end at 3PM.

III. The New Priests’ Meet

The New Priests’ Meet conducted on 30th January 2006 at Mount St. Thomas aimed to foster unity in the Church as well as to introduce them to the pastoral and missionary ministry of the Syro Malabar Church. They were very much impressed by the gathering under the presidency of the Major Archbishop and Episcopal members of the Commission. The New priests expressed their feeling in the evaluation of the meeting that this helped them to be more aware of their belongingness to the one and same Church in spite of their particular dioceses or religious congregations, differences in their formation in various seminaries, difference in their pastoral and missionary activities, which they have now undertaken.

Besides the Major Archbishop Cardinal Varkey Vithayathil, Bp James Pazhayattil, the Chairman of the Commission, Bp Thomas Chakkiath, Curia Members and Staff of the Curia, more than 64 newly ordained priests participated in the meeting from 8 dioceses (Manathavady, Thamarasserry, Trichur, Irinjalakuda, Palakad, Ernakulam, Pala, Idukki ) and 9 religious congregations (MCBS, VC, Ocarm, CSsR, CMI, SJ, CMF, OFM.Cap, Conventuals,). CNEWA has met the expenses of the gathering.

IV. Directory on the Ministry and life of Priests and the Survey

As suggested in the Synod held in November 1999 and July 2002, the Commission is taking steps to prepare a definitive text of the Directory on the Ministry and life of Priests. The first draft of the Directory had been sent for discussion among the Eparchial Clergy in April 2000. In the first meeting of the reconstituted Commission at Mount St. Thomas on Friday, 26th August 2004 it was decided to reformulate the draft of the Directory considering the suggestions received from the Eparchies. In preparation to reformulate the Directory it was decided to conduct a survey sending the questionnaire to the following persons:

    1. All diocesan priests of the proper territory of the Syro-Malabar Church.

    2. 3500 lay people selected from the dioceses of proper territory. 

    3. Two religious each from the houses of the institutes of the consecrated life of men. (Only one will be selected from the community, which is below five).

    4. 1400 women religious selected from the Institutes of the Consecrated Life for the survey.

    5. All the theologians (diocesan) from the four Major Seminaries.

    6. It is advisable to select some of the non-Christians.

The questionnaire prepared in collaboration with Fr Paul Parathazham was sent to all Bishops, Committee members and some of the selected experts.  The committee met on 27th April 2006 incorporated the observations.  The modified version was finalized by the Commission on 30th May 2006 at Mount St.Thomas.  The survey will be started from the middle of September.

V. Charter of Priestly Formation

The text of the Charter for Priestly Formation was given to all the Bishops and requested to give their observation.  9 Bishops have responded to the request.  The Commission met on on 30th May 2006 at Mount St.Thomas entrusted Msgr Bosco Puthur to incorporate the observations and make ready to present it in the coming session of the Synod.

VI. Report of the Conference of the Spiritual Fathers of the Diocesan Minor and Major Seminaries of the Syro-Malabar Church.

The Commission had organized a conference of the spiritual fathers of the Minor and Major Seminaries of the Syro-Malabar Church as per the direction of the Synod considering the suggestion of the Rectors of the Minor and Major seminaries assembled in St.Joseph’s Seminary, Alwaye.  This conference of the Spiritual Fathers was held at Mount St. Thomas on 8-10 August 2006. The program started on August 8, Tuesday 5.00 PM and concluded on  August 10, Thursday 1PM. His Beatitude Cardinal Varkey Vithayathil, the Major Archbishop inaugurated the conference and gave the Keynote address. This conference was also a common venture to discuss and find solutions to the present day challenges in the Spiritual Formation. Mar James Pazhayattil, the Chairman of the Commission, presided over the concluding session of the Conference. Bishop Sebastian Adayantharath celebrated the Holy Qurbana on Wednesday and gave message to the spiritual fathers.  The papers of the conference are the following:

First Talk:

Counseling & Spiritual Guidance  Rev.Dr Thomas Srampical

Second Talk & Third Talk:

Historical, Theological and Pastoral meaning of Spiritual Guidance & Dynamics of the Spiritual Guidance. Rev.Dr Antony Puthenangady CMI

Fourth Talk:

Youth Problems and Psychological Approach in the Spiritual Guidance Rev.Dr Manalel George VC

Fifth Talk:

Liturgy and Life: Rev. Dr Mathew Vellanickal

Panel Discussion:

Present Challenges of Spiritual Formation

 

Msgr Bosco Puthur, St.Joseph’s Seminary, Aluva
Rev.Dr George Madathikandam, St.Thomas Seminary, Kottayam
Rev.Dr George Kombara, Mary Matha Seminary, Trichur
Rev.Dr Joseph Pulikal, Good Shepherd Seminary, Kunnoth
Rev. Fr Kuriakose Puthenmanayil, Minor Seminary, Ernakulam

Fr. Pauly Kannookadan, the secretary of the commission welcomed the participants.  Fr. Jose Kachapilly and Fr Jose Puthiyadeth extended the vote of thanks. 30 participants from 14 dioceses of the proper territory, 6 dioceses of Mission and from 4 Major Seminaries attended the conference. According to the evaluation of the participants the seminar was useful, effective and enriching. 

The following suggestions emerged in the discussions.

  1. to conduct such a conference once in a year including all the formatters such as Rectors, Vice – Rectors and the residential professors.

  2. to foster diocesan spirituality in the formation giving importance to interiorization of faith, communion spirituality, pastorally oriented ministry and Eucharist centered personal life.

 VIII. Finance

We remember with deep gratitude and appreciation for the the financial help($ 6500)  the Commission for the Clergy and Institutes of Consecrated Life has received from CNEWA for the various programmes of the Commission including the survey of the Priests.  May I place on record our gratitude to the Director and to Mr. Thomas Varghese, the Regional Director and to all co – workers and to all benefactors of CNEWA.  

 IX. A Word of  Thanks

The Commission has been striving in a modest way to create an atmosphere of unity in the Syro-Malabar Church especially among the Priests.  Through its programs the commission has been able prepare a venue for priests and religious to come together and deliberate about the challenges of our ministry in an atmosphere of fraternal cordiality and pastoral serenity.  Mar Varkey Cardinal Vithayathil, the Major Archbishop has been always generous towards the activities of the Commission.  Mar James Pazhayattil, the Chairman, is always leading the commission with pastoral orientation and ecclesial outlook. It was mainly due to his interest that the commission plans the activities. Mar Thomas Chakkiath and Mar Lawrance Mukkuzhy, the Bishop members have guided us with great wisdom. The committee members are sincerely co-operating in all the activities of the Commission. With deep gratitude to all, especially priests, sisters and staff of Mount St.Thomas who helped us in our different activities, the Commission presents this report.

 

Fr. Pauly Kannookadan

Secretary 

20.08.06

 

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