Under normal circumstances, Fr. General would have received Br. Amal Raj, MIC’s final vows in our Seminary Chapel in Karumathur on the Solemnity of the Founder on May 18th. There had also been a plan for Br. Amal to prepare for this important day by attending a retreat preached by one of our Marian Fathers who would have arrived from overseas. However, the lockdown because of Covid-19 threw off all such plans. Thankfully, our holy Founder St. Stanislaus of Jesus and Mary Papczynski left the community the inheritance of the Divine Providence in his Testament. God continues to watch over our little community and to provide for our needs.
The Academic year in India goes from June until April. After our seminarians had returned home after their studies and because of the virus, it was unclear if they would be able to travel back to our seminary for the renewal of their vows which usually takes place on the Solemnity of the Founder. This year was also planned the Final Vows of Br. Amal. Through some creative planning, 5 of our seminarians, Brs. Michael Maria Selvam, MIC, Francis Suresh Kumar, MIC, Amala Venish, MIC, Arockiasamy Sesuraj, MIC and Antony Rayappan, MIC were able to renew their vows on May 3rd.
The current circumstances necessitated anticipating the day of the vows. Therefore, on Saturday, May 16th Br. Amal was able to profess his final vows in his home parish in the presence of his family, 2 Marian priests, (Fr. Leo Arockia Doss, MIC and Fr. Jeno Stephen, MIC) along with Fr. Antony Raja, our lay associate and the Rector of our Divine Mercy Seminary. Fr. Antony celebrated the Mass, Fr. Jeno preached the homily and Fr. Leo had been delegated to receive the vows. The pastor of the parish is Fr. Simon Sebastian who has assisted us from the very beginning, having attended the Beatification of our Founder in Poland. Also in attendance where several other priests from the Diocese of Sivagangai who assist our community in India. Along with Br. Amal, three other seminarians, Brs. Manoj Xavier, MIC, Iraiarasu Inigo, MIC, Antonysamy Francis Paul, MIC were able to renew their vows that day. A great deal of creativity was needed for them to safely arrive and to depart after the Mass. Br. Amal was able to do his retreat in preparation for the vows with Fr. Leo since Fr. Leo is currently working in Fr. Amal’s parish. All were very happy that all had worked out so well. This is therefore the first time that a vow ceremony took place entirely with the presence of the members of the Vicariate. There was no visitator there because of the extraordinary circumstance. It was a historic moment for the Vicariate. We thank God that the three young Marians were ordained after Christmas, right before everything began to happen with the virus.
There are plans for Br. Amal to be ordained a deacon along with his classmates from other religious communities at the Pallotine Seminary Chapel in Mysore at the end of June. We also hope to bring the three young priests to Rome for studies when possible. Please keep all those involved in our Mission in India in your prayers!