|India – Opening of the “Archbishop Humberto D’Rosario” missionary Aspirantate|
(ANS – Perambur) – On 29 June at Perambur Fr Raphael Jayapalan, Provincial of India-Madras, opened a second Salesian missionary aspirantate in India. On this occasion there was also the departure ceremony for three missionaries from the Province, Fr Solomon Kolandaiswamy, Fr Balasamy Yettukuri and Bro. Leo Dhanraj.
The day attended by about 250 people began with Mass for the Solemnity of SS Peter and Paul, at which Bishop Joseph Antony Irudayaraj SDB Bishop emeritus of Dharmapuri presided. The function began with the traditional rite of the lighting of the Kuthuvilaku (a bronze lamp) by 5 people from the Province: Bro Giuliano Santi, the only foreign missionary still in the Province; Fr George TC, National Delegate for Missionary Promotion for the Provincial Conference of South Asia, Fr Kolandaiswamy, Fr Jayapalan and Fr Rayappan Pathiaraj, Rector of the aspirantate.
The Provincial then read the letter with which the Rector Major gave approval for the aspirantate and a letter from Fr Václav Klement, General Councillor for the Missions. Fr Pascual Chávez expressed his sense of pride for this new work in Madras; the Councillor for the Missions described the new work as a practical response by the Indian Provinces to the appeals for missionary solidarity by the Rector Major: “It’s payback time.”
Fr Francis Sebastian, a missionary in Sri Lanka, then gave the homily. “A missionary is someone who leaves himself in order to bring the love God to people” he said as he also spoke about some of his experiences in Sri Lanka.
Immediately after the Mass there was a short programme for the three departing missionaries. Fr Jayapalan congratulated them and gave them a small statue of the Madonna, marking her accompaniment. This was followed by a concert with items by the aspirantate community.
The missionary aspirantate in Perambur is the second in India and the 14th in the Salesian Congregation. It was opened just seven months and seven days after the first Indian missionary aspirantate in Sirajuli, in the Guwhahati Province. At present there are 13 boys and it will serve to bring together the missionary candidates in the Provinces of Southern India.