|RMG – The Superiors for Guwahati and Silchar appointed|
(ANS – Silchar) – On the Feast of Mary Help of Christians 24 May, the Salesian Congregation celebrated the inauguration of the Silchar Province which is the eleventh Indian Province and has as its Patron Blessed John Paul II. Present for the day held at the Don Bosco Centre, now the Provincail House was the Regional Councillor for South Asia Fr Maria Arokiam Kanaga.
The new Province has 34 institutions and 231 Salesians and is spread across Mizoram, Tripura, the Khasi-Jaintia hills of Meghalaya and the Barak Valley of Assam. Fr George Maliekal, described by Fr Kanaga as a “simple, spiritual and capable” leader is the first Provincial appointed by the Rector Major at the last session of the General Council.
Present at the opening ceremony were over 220 priests and religious from all parts of Northeast and beyond and various personalities of the local Church and the Salesian Family. In addition to Fr Kanaga, the Salesian Archbishop Dominic Jala of Shillong presided at the solemn Mass; others included Bishop Stephen Rotluanga of Aizawl; the Diocesan Administrators of Diphu, Fr. John Timung and that of Jowai, Fr. Hilarius Lamare; Fr. Joseph Almeida, outgoing Provincial, Fr. VM Thomas, Provincial of Guwahati, Fr. James Poonthuruthil, Provincial of Dimapur, Sr. Cecilia Sad, Mother General of the VSDB, Sr. Rosa Pyngrope, Mother Provincial, FMA-Shillong.
During the Holy Mass, Fr. Maria Arokiam read out the decree of erection of the Province and that of the appointment of Fr. George Maliekal as its Provincial. The congregation erupted in loud applause when the Provincial, after professing the solemn oath, signed the document of his appointment.
Then Fr. Maria Arokiam referred to several “inner strengths” of the new Province including the ‘number; and ‘variety’ of its institutions, ‘well-qualified’ confreres, good ‘local vocations’ and termed them necessary elements for the making of a ‘great Province’.
Special thanks were expressed to the former Provincials of Guwahati – from which the new Province took its origin - and in particular to Fr Joseph Thelekkatt and Fr Almeida, whose work prepared the way for the new Salesian presence in that area.
Fr. VM Thomas, the Provincial of the mother province of Guwahati gave his assurance that the mother Province of Guwahati would always be there to “collaborate, encourage and support ” the new-born Province of Silchar. Shri HK Dev Mahanta, IAS, the DC of Cachar District also pledged all the necessary support and help to that end.
In conclusion Fr Maliekal having given the first copy of the Provincial Newsletter to Fr Kanaga thanked all those present and in particular the Rector Major, Fr. Pascual Chavez and the General Council.