Fr Thomas Yellavula mhm
Great strides…Fresh hopes…MHM forges ahead…
There is a Chinese proverb that says “The journey of thousand miles begins just with a single step”. Indeed, the beginning of a 2nd Cycle formation house in Pune was just a small beginning, a little step that started in June 2012 in a small rented house next to a Mosque. However in 2014, with the approval of the General Council, the construction of a new formation house began which nearly took one and half a year for its completion. The long awaited dream had finally become a reality when on 17th March 2016, it was officially blessed and inaugurated by Fr. Jimmy A. Lindero MHM, the General Councillor for Asia. We gratefully acknowledge the generosity of many benefactors from various parts of the world, the support of the General Council, the hard work of many workers, the commitment of the construction builders, the intelligence and expertise of the Architect, the meticulous supervision of Fr Arla Reddy, the Bursar of Mill Hill India, the monitoring of the Staff and the students: it certainly has paid off very well. It is due to the team work of all these good people, we have today a beautiful formation house in Pune. It reminds me of the words of a Guru: “Teamwork is the only way we can create the break-throughs that define who we are”. Indeed it was a great stride for 2nd Cycle community of Pune from small rented and congested rooms to a house that comfortably accommodates both staff and students. With a sense of gratitude we, the staff and students in Pune sincerely say “Thank You” to all our financial and spiritual supporters.
On this same occasion we also witnessed the perpetual oath of two of our students, Michael Mandagiri and Yacob Chilka. They are the first fruits of the formation house in Pune. With the joining of two new members, the winds of fresh hopes began to blow for us as a formation community and for the Society at large. Fr. Jimmy Lindero gave an inspiring yet challenging homily centering on the acronym “LGS” i.e. “Love, Grow and Serve” that touched the hearts of all who were present. While sharing with us the mystical experience of St. Teresa of Avila, the invitation to be people of Jesus was not only a call to the two new members but also a call of renewal to all of our members present to be people of Jesus in this world and to everyone whom we meet and encounter every day and to bring Jesus in all that we say and do and in all that we are. Once Erich Fromm said: “Man’s main task in life is to give birth to himself, to become what he potentially is…” This Jesus proved in his life by becoming the face of God’s mercy to many people in his earthly life. That’s the invitation of the Church today to all of us first and foremost to accept the love and mercy of God in our lives, and then become missionaries of God’s mercy especially to those in the existential peripheries of the Society.
On the following day i.e. 18th March, Michael and Yacob were ordained deacons by Bishop Valerian D’souza, Bishop Emeritus of the Diocese of Poona. He explained the importance of diaconate ministry in the Church today and the call to service lest we fall into the fallacy of functionality. As the number of missionary vocations increases, we are filled with gratitude to God and to the local church for nurturing the Christian faith in these young people who willingly come forward to embrace the missionary vocation. Indeed there is no doubt in saying that MHM in India forges ahead. At this juncture I am also reminded of our 150 years of Jubilee celebrations. Yes, it evokes in me immense joy and a deep sense of gratitude for the 150 years of our existence, missionary endeavours our pioneers ventured into and the enormous contribution they made to the building up of the local Christian communities. At this moment let us recall the words of Pope Francis: when he proclaimed the year of Consecrated Life, he not only reminded us to recount our glorious history, but also to remember that “a great history is still to be accomplished! Look to the future,” he says, “where the Spirit is sending you in order to do even greater things”. This is how our attitude has to be as we celebrate 150th jubilee. I am once again reminded of the words of a sage who said: “We are made wise not by the recollection of our past, but by the responsibility for the future”. Yes, it is not the strongest that sustains, nor the most intelligent, nor the most resourceful but it is the one that is most adaptable to change. As we give thanks to the God of love and mercy for all his blessings and for all the members who sacrificed their lives for the sake of the kingdom of God, let us remain open to the transforming grace of God’s loving mercy so that we may keep venturing into the existential peripheries of the society where our global village is fragmented by polarization, erroneous ideologies and mass destruction of human beings like waste, with minds increasingly darkened by violence and hate, and our mother earth reacting desperately to the ecological imbalances. In such a situation, “we may not do great things but we can do small things with great love” as Bld. Mother Teresa always said.
Thomas Yellavula mhm