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Commissioned to be “Witnesses of the Redeemer to the Wounded World”


(India) Five of our Young Redemptorists from the Province of Bangalore, Fathers Prem Kumar, Vijay Kumar, Robin Kumar, Abhay Kullu, and Johnson, were commissioned to be witnesses of the Most Holy Redeemer on 24th April during the 9.15 am Mass at Holy Ghost Church, Bangalore, India.  The Solemn celebration was officiated by Fr. Edward Joseph, Provincial of the Bangalore Province, along with the directors of the Pastoral Year (A year of formation to aid newly ordained Redemptorists to make their transition to Ministry) Frs. George Puthenpura and Joseph Royan, the Parish Clergy and confreres from the province. 

The Commissioning of young Redemptorists which usually takes place on the Second Sunday of Easter is a culmination of a yearlong formation preparing them to be effective ministers of the Word and equip them with skills required to make their transition to ministry to the wounded world in line with the pastoral priorities of the Province of Bangalore and Vice-Province of Majella. 

The newly ordained from the Province of Bangalore, Fathers Prem Kumar, Vijay Kumar, Robin Kumar, Abhay Kullu, and Johnson, and from the Vice-Province of Majella, Fathers Dony Cardoza, Savio Fernandes, Ashwil Dias, and Joyan DaCosta began their pastoral year on 5th July 2021.  During this year-long Formation under the guidance of their Director Fr. George Puthenpura and Assistant Directors Joseph Royan and Juvy Andrade, the young Redemptorists were trained to write and preach Mission sermons, conduct School and College retreats and orientation sessions.  During this year they were also equipped with other skills required for ministry.  In spite of the pandemic, they were able to successfully and safely conduct School and College retreats, orientation programs, and Parish Missions both in English and Vernacular languages during the season of Advent and Lent.

Having successfully completed their Pastoral year (Transition to Ministry), Five of our Young Redemptorists were commissioned to have a preference for the situation where there is pastoral need, that is, evangelization in the strict sense, together with the choice in favor of the poor (Const.5), to be apostles of conversion, with the chief object of their preaching to lead God’s people to a radical choice regarding their life – decision for Christ – and draw them firmly and gently to a continual and total conversion (Const. 11) and to respond to the cry of the poor and the oppressed and search for ways to help them so that they themselves will be able to overcome the evils that oppress them, especially in their proclamation of the Word (Stat. 9b). 

At the end of the Commissioning service, the five young Redemptorists of the Province of Bangalore were handed over the Mission Cross to spare no effort to arrive at a total gift of themselves to Christ who first loved us and to offer His plentiful redemption to all (Const. 56). They were then handed the Holy Bible for the redeeming grace of Jesus Christ and His plentiful redemption to be the goal of all their witness and proclamation.

Best wishes and prayers for our newly commissioned young Redemptorists as they undertake various ministries and responsibilities in their respective communities to be effective witnesses of the Redeemer in Solidarity for Mission to the Wounded World.  May they be as Redemptorist missionaries, Strong in faith, rejoicing in hope, burning with charity, on fire with zeal, in humility of heart and persevering in prayer, Redemptorists as apostolic men and genuine disciples of Saint Alphonsus follow Christ the Redeemer with hearts full of joy; denying themselves and always ready to undertake what is demanding, they share in the mystery of Christ and proclaim it in Gospel simplicity of life and language, that they may bring to people plentiful redemption” (Const. 20).

Fr. Joseph Royan, C.Ss.R

Province of Bangalore

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A community steps up for a step-down facility


Nava Spoorthi Kendra, a 40-room retreat centre has been converted into a step-down facility for recovering covid patients who can’t quarantine at home

Cooke Town now has a 40-room step-down facility for those recovering from covid and cannot be sent home directly from the hospital.

With hospital beds in great demand for those critically ill, step-down facilities are a boon to help people recoup and recover while being monitored.

Redeemer Cares is helmed by Fr A. Lawrence C.Ss.R, co-pastor at Holy Ghost Church. This facility, with round-the-clock security and dietician-approved meals has been set up at Nava Spoorthi Kendra, a 40-room retreat centre, on Davis Road.

Where it began
“The idea to start this service was suggested by one of our volunteers, Nirmal Sebastian,” says Fr Lawrence. “We had a great desire to serve people in thistime of the pandemic. Eventually, after many discussions and deliberations, we decided to launch Redeemer Cares.”

Nirmal Sebastian, one of the volunteers in Redeemer Cares, explains how the idea came about. “We were frustrated about not being able to contribute and do our bit to reduce the pain and suffering around us. It was at this point that we decided to start this step-down facility. In our locality, people are always ready to help and support you, and it has been a beautiful experience. If we need something, it suddenly pops up out of nowhere. For instance, the storeroom in our retreat centre was stocked the very next day it was launched by The Salesian Fathers. We also received support from so many other people immediately.”

A vision for the needy
The Redeemer Cares project was designed for poor people who do not have the facilities to quarantine themselves at home, but it is also open to anyone who might need the facility due to paucity of space and lack of health care at home.

“At present, we are functioning as an extension of St. Philomena’s Hospital. All the patients have to be tested, treated and discharged from this hospital to be quarantined here,” says Fr Lawrence. “But we are planning to tie up with more hospitals soon.”

Fr Lawrence will also be living in the 40-room step-down facility to help manage it.

Another volunteer, Mark Sequeira, has also been actively involved in the project. “When my mom told me about the initiative, I wanted to help as I believe it’s the job of the society as a whole to work together.”

Being physically challenged, Sequeira does data entry work for the centre. “We need to give the healthcare sector a break and provide an alternative for treatment so that critical patients can be in the hospitals,” he says.

Facilities for physical and mental health
Redeemer Cares has appointed qualified doctors, nurses and healthcare workers who will provide professional help to the patients.

“Meals, medicines and the stay at the centre are absolutely free of cost,” says Fr Lawrence. “We also have a team of professional counsellors under the banner of Ray of Hope for grief management and counselling and any other psychological help a patient might need.”

Oxygen concentrators are provided when needed and an ambulance is also available if the patients need to be shifted back to the hospital.

The volunteers do not deal with the patients directly, but they help them from outside, procuring anything that the centre might require and taking care of the overall management of the centre, As for the food, the meals that are provided to the patient have been prepared by a dietician, keeping the needs of the patients in mind.

Generous hearts
“Besides the Salesian fathers who provided the centre with all our necessities like bed sheets, pillows, sanitisers, PPE kits, provisions and more, we also have many generous donors who have helped set up the centre. We have procured most of our medical needs, like stretchers, wheelchairs and medicine from our volunteers. We also have 25 to 30 volunteers so far who have helped to set up the centre. They help out in communication, organisation, social media management, finance management, procurement of the items we require, employees and staff,” says Fr Lawrence.

Work in progress
The centre also plans to take help to more and more people in the locality. “We have plans to organise vaccination drives, blood donation camps and counselling sessions too in the days to come,” he says and adds that they also plan to reach out to the needy in their area with rations and medicines.

The spirit of humanity
According to Fr Lawrence, every crisis brings out the best in so many people. “This pandemic has brought out the true nature of humanity. Those who have compassionate hearts have had the opportunity to show love to the needy in the true sense of the word,” he says.



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St. Alphonsus College Day celebration at Mt. St. Alphonsus, Bangalore


The 9th December was celebrated as St. Alphonsus College Day at Mt. St. Alphonsus Theologate in Bangalore India.

St, Alphonsus College is the Theologate of the Redemptorists in India. It is situated in the eastern part of the city of Bangalore. It was initially started in 1945 as the Redemptorist Major Seminary for the formation of clerical students from India and other Asian countries. In 1989, St. Alphonsus College was affiliated to St. Peter’s Pontifical Institute, Bangalore. Both Theology and Philosophy faculties were situated in the same college. In 1994, the Philosophy faculty was bifurcated and situated at Sadupadesa College, Bangalore and now is in Varca in Goa of the V. Province of Majella.

St. Alphonsus College prepares the students for the Bachelor of Theology Degree granted by St. Peter’s Pontifical Institute.

The year 2014 was significant in the history of St. Alphonsus College. Until then, it was the Theologate of the Redemptorist Province of Bangalore. In 2014 St. Alphonsus College became the Common Theologate of all three Redemptorist Units in India (Bangalore, Liguori, and Majella). This was in response to the Restructuring process begun in the Congregation. This called for more collaboration between Units of the Congregation in different areas. The Units in India responded to the call of the General Chapter for more collaboration in varied ways, especially in the area of formation of young Redemptorists. Accordingly, in2014, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed by the 3 Major Superiors making St. Alphonsus College the common Theologate of the Redemptorists in India.

At Present there are 13 Students in the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Years of Theology and with 6 Deacons just ordained from the 4th Year and about to leave for ministry having just graduated with the B.Th degree. There are 8 Resident Redemptorist Professors, and 16 Redemptorist non-resident visiting professors all from the 3 Units of the Congregation in India.

The St. Alphonsus College Day was a celebration of Redemptorist pursuit of theological formation for mission. Fr Assisi Saldanha, C.Ss.R. the Rector welcomed the confreres and guests. Fr. Edward Joseph the Provincial of Bangalore inaugurated the day and Fr. Jason Thundathil the Consultor of the Liguori Province reminded the gathering of the link between Theological, Spiritual, Human, and Pastoral Formation.

There were two addresses presented. The First was by Fr. Joseph Ivel Mendanha, the V. Provincial of Majella who gave a bird’s eye view of Restructuring in the Congregation at this moment. The second was by Fr. Juventius Andrade Consultor in the Bangalore Province who gave a reflection on Martyrdom in the Congregation with reference to the Martyrs of Cuenca.

The College felicitated 4 former Rectors (Frs. J. N. Paul, Eric Rodrigues, Xavier Sanjivi and the present Rector Fr Assisi Saldanha).

The afternoon was a celebration of cricket with a cricket match dedicated to the late Fr. Clement Campos, C.Ss.R. who was Rector, Prefect of Students, Dean of Theology and Professor of the College for many years. The day concluded with a farewell to the 6 new deacons and a Christmas celebration with all the staff of the College. Truly a day to remember well planned and organised by Fr. Shiju Mullasseril, C.Ss.R, the Dean of the College.

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Final Professions, Commissioning of Redemptorist Missionaries and Ordinations to the Diaconate at MSA, Bangalore


The Province of Bangalore and the Vice-Province of Majella celebrated with joy two days of special importance at Mt. St. Alphonsus, Bangalore. 8th December 2020 marked the celebration of the Final Profession of 7 students: 4 from the Province of Bangalore (Nithin, Abhay, Johnson, and Solomon) and 3 from the V. Province of Majella (Savio, Ashwil, and Joyan). Fr Edward Joseph (Provincial of Bangalore) and Fr Joseph Ivel Mendanha (V. Provincial of Majella) accepted the vows of their respective students.


These final professions usually scheduled for June had to be postponed due to the Covid-19 and it was fitting to celebrate them on a day of grace, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of our Blessed Mother. Fr Xavier Sanjivi in his homily attested to the challenges ahead of the young confreres who made their final vows but called them to live with faith following the example of our Blessed Mother. Fr Ivel spoke of the reality of Grace in our lives, “All is Grace!” and when we cooperate with grace God works wonders in our lives.

The Eucharist concluded with the commissioning of 3 young confreres of the Bangalore Province who completed their Pastoral Year (Joseph Thambi, Deepak Bage, and Ananthraj). Fr Edward the Provincial challenged them to go out as Redemptorist Missionaries proclaiming Plentiful Redemption to the Most Abandoned.

The following day, 9th December, 6 confreres were ordained Deacons by the Archbishop of Bangalore at Mt St Alphonsus: 3 from the Bangalore Province (Abhay, Johnson and Solomon) and 3 from the Vice-Province of Majella (Savio, Ashwil, and Joyan). We thank the Lord for these young confreres who will soon be leaving Mt St Alphonsus after 4 years of Theology as they go to their diaconate ministry among the most abandoned in their respective units. We thank the Lord for the grace of their vocations in the Bangalore Province and in the Vice-Province of Majella and we acknowledge the impact of Mt. St Alphonsus Theologate (Common Theology Institute of the 3 Units in India) in their formation as Redemptorist Missionaries.


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Mary: Mother of Jesus, Mother of us all, Mother of Perpetual Help


     Created some time after 1300, and brought to Italy in the following century, the icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help found a place of veneration in the Church of St. Matthew, on Via Merulana, Rome in 1498.   The icon is not an artistic masterpiece, but arguably it is one of the most popular images of Mary in the world – especially Asia and South America.  Novena devotions—in churches and chapels, homes and hospitals, on TV and radio, and on the internet—nourish the faith and prayer of millions of devotees.  The image is found in numerous houses and churches.    This popularization has taken place since 1866 – the year when the Redemptorists were given the care of the icon and mandated by Pope Pius IX to make her known to the world.

     It is said that the Child represented in the icon has the features of a 12-year-old boy – the age at which Jesus was taken to the Temple and began to engage in his Father’s business.  He now becomes aware of His nature as the Son of God. He is looking upwards, not towards the Archangel Gabriel who is bearing the cross, but beyond this spiritual creature to God, His Father in Heaven. Mary is seen as presenting the Son of God to us.  Jesus-Mary-ourselves are the three elements seen in relation to each other. “After this our exile, show unto us, the blessed fruit of your womb, Jesus.”

Jesus-Mary-Humans in Exile:

John Paul II said in Redemptoris Mater (1987) #11:

     In the salvific design of the Most Holy Trinity, the mystery of the Incarnation constitutes the superabundant fulfillment of the promise made by God to man after original sin, after that first sin whose effects oppress the whole earthly history of man (cf. Gen. 3:15). And so, there comes into the world a Son, “the seed of the woman” who will crush the evil of sin in its very origins: “he will crush the head of the serpent.” As we see from the words of the Protogospel, the victory of the woman’s Son will not take place without a hard struggle, a struggle that is to extend through the whole of human history. The “enmity,” foretold at the beginning, is confirmed in the Apocalypse (the book of the final events of the Church and the world), in which there recurs the sign of the “woman,” this time “clothed with the sun” (Rev. 12:1).

     Mary, Mother of the Incarnate Word, is placed at the very center of that enmity, that struggle which accompanies the history of humanity on earth and the history of salvation itself. In this central place, she who belongs to the “weak and poor of the Lord” bears in herself, like no other member of the human race, that “glory of grace” which the Father “has bestowed on us in his beloved Son,” and this grace determines the extraordinary greatness and beauty of her whole being. Mary thus remains before God, and also before the whole of humanity, as the unchangeable and inviolable sign of God’s election, spoken of in Paul’s letter: “in Christ…he chose us…before the foundation of the world, he destined us…to be his sons” (Eph. 1:4, 5). This election is more powerful than any experience of evil and sin, than all that “enmity” which marks the history of man. In this history, Mary remains a sign of sure hope.

Mary stands on the one hand in her relationship to Christ best described by Dante in the words :

O virgin mother, daughter of thy Son,
humble beyond all creatures and more exalted;
predestined turning point of God’s intention.

     On the other hand, she stands in constant, steady relationship to people as Mother of Perpetual Help.  It is an altogether unique and multi-faceted relationship.

Mary, Mother of Jesus, Mother of Mercy

Mary “blessed’ by God’s gift – Mary “happy” because of her option for God:

     Luke says that Mary is “blessed” (eulogomene) – blessed among women, blessed in the fruit of her womb.  But she is happy (makaria) because she believed what was spoken to her by the Lord.  The first is gift and the second, Mary’s contribution to salvation history.  That is the key in which the history of Jesus-Mary-People relationship stands and continues through history.    The interplay of what God gifted to Mary and Mary’s option as a free human being, accepting and entering into God’s plan takes place in the context of God’s mercy.  There are only six occurrences of the noun eleos (mercy) in Luke and he employs the term abundantly (5 out of 6) in his infancy narrative, particularly in the canticle of Mary “Magnificat” and in the canticle of Zechariah “Benedictus: “mercy on those who fear him from generation to generation”; “in remembrance of his mercy”; “the neighbours and kinsfolk heard that the Lord had shown great mercy to [Elizabeth]”; “to perform the mercy promised to our fathers”; “through the tender mercy of our God, when the day shall dawn upon us from on high, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace”.

     In every part of the world, no matter the religious affiliation, race, language and economic situation of people, what happened in the case of Mary continues – according to the catholic tradition, the interaction between God’s gift and human choice in the context of God’s mercy.   In the context of Asia, the icon of the Mother of Perpetual Help is an embodiment and symbol of this continuing interplay in today’s world.

     At each Eucharist, we pray that we may become partakers of his divinity, who deigned to share our humanity.   And the falling sandal and the visibility of the sole of the foot has been interpreted in this light.  In the Old Testament, (e.g.  Ruth, Amos) passing a sandal to another person means to conclude a contract. The Child is allowing the sandal to fall down towards us, which means that He is establishing a contract with us: this contract is the new covenant.  At the same time, He is showing the sole of His foot. In Oriental iconography, to show the sole of one’s foot means to show one’s own nature, which in this case is human nature.  However, this gesture also has another meaning. To touch a patch of land one intended to buy with the sole of one’s foot was the sign indicating that one had become its owner. Jesus, in becoming man and touching the earth, has reclaimed ownership of the earth, of creation, and by restoring humanity to its dignity as sons of God, has restored to humanity its lordship over all creation.

“Mercy on those who fear him from generation to generation”:

     God looked on the lowliness of Mary and he continues to look in mercy on those who fear him.   The experience of God and of the “fear of the Lord” is expressed in a variety of ways in Asia.  The sociological context is one of immense poverty.  In India, many million live on less than $2 a day.   But even in the midst of poverty, there is a deep religiosity expressed by the celebration of religious festivals, building of shrines and churches, contribution to charitable projects and the like.  “Rich gods and poor people” is the paradox of most of Asia.

     Though corruption and poverty are universal, they have different faces and causes in every country. Concerning India, its great leader, Mahatma Gandhi has opined: “The world has enough for everyone’s need, but not sufficient for everyone’s greed.”  India is one of the richest countries in her natural resources. Yet a vast majority of its people lives below the poverty line due to centuries of exploitation by its rulers in the past, and corrupt politicians of the present, resulting in an unequal distribution of wealth. Poverty in a country like Cambodia is not merely of material things, but also one of trust deficiency.  Human relationships are practically impossible without the basic trust. In a country like Singapore, which ranks third in the highest per capita income in the world, even though it exists in Asia, it is infested with the malady, as articulated by Mother Teresa of Calcutta: “The greatest disease in the West today is not T.B. or leprosy, it is … a different kind of poverty- it is not only a poverty of loneliness, but also of spirituality.”  In their culture of capitalism and consumerism, people are expected to earn as much as possible to secure a better future.  The exhausting work culture drains out one’s energies and time, rendering one a victim without proper rest or family life. There is a kind of self-imposed enslavement for gaining material prosperity. The Christians in some of the countries, like Pakistan and Malaysia, are under constant threat of persecution and discrimination. The situations in some other countries are quite similar. The people of God are either discriminated against or threatened on the basis of economic, ethnic, linguistic or political affiliations. They suffer due to the injustice and the indifference of others.

“The Almighty works marvels for me; holy is his name”

     In their experience of oppression, deprivation or discrimination, these poor and victimized people turn to God for help and vindication.  They have nowhere else to turn.  Like the people of the Old Testament in exile, they seek divine intervention in some form or other. They believe that God and God alone can redeem them.   There is no other – as we constantly hear in the psalms.  But there is the memory of what God has done in and for Mary; and what Mary through her intercession and mediation does for us.

     In approaching Mary, through such regular devotions as the Novena or annual festivals at Marian shrines, people – irrespective of their religion – find a context and situation in which they can cry like the psalmist bordering on despair, but with the hope of intervention.  “But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well nigh slipped.  For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked…. Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end.  Surely thou did set them in slippery places: you cast them down into destruction…”(Ps 73:1-19).   The large number of people attending Novena devotions in our various churches and pilgrim centers, and the increasing number of people registering for R.C.I.A. (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) in places like the Novena Church in Singapore, are indications that they have not given up their hope and trust in God. Our churches are visited as places of encounter with God, even by people of other faiths.

     Testimonies of the people, who have experienced divine intervention in their life, at the Novena devotions, retreats and renewal programs, the growing interest of people in pilgrimages and overseas mission trips are some of the signs that people express their need of God. Thus, they look for persons and means which can satiate this need. Correspondingly, there is also a large number of people who feel disillusioned with religion and spirituality, and look for alternate means of self-fulfillment, like drugs, and various other forms of addiction.

     Devotion to the Mother of  Perpetual Help functions something like activity in a “field hospital”. Pope Francis notes, “The thing the church needs most today is the ability to heal wounds and to warm the hearts of the faithful; it needs nearness, proximity. I see the church as a field hospital after battle. It is useless to ask a seriously injured person if he has high cholesterol and about the level of his blood sugars! You have to heal his wounds. Then we can talk about everything else. Heal the wounds, heal the wounds. … And you have to start from the ground up.”

Mary as Mother, the life-giver

Jesus is the universal savior.  Mary is the mediator of grace.  In this role,

1. Mary is the author of the Magnificat- the victory song of the anawim. From her own experiences she testifies that God is always on the side of poor and the marginalized. He is ‘Emmanuel’ – a God who is with us. Out of her own experiences, she could say with the psalmist, “This poor man called, and the Lord heard him; he saved him out of all his troubles.” (Ps 34:6).  The suffering expressed in the psalms and the cries for help from God rise from the dire poverty of the Asian poor.  For such as these, Mary remains a beacon of hope in their hopelessness and in their life of helplessness.

2. Mary is the symbol of a disfigured world.  As Gandhi said, “The world has enough for everyone’s need, but not sufficient for everyone’s greed.”  But in this world, Mary’s canticle proclaims:  “He has put down the mighty from their thrones and sent the rich hungry away”.  That is the promise of a world transfigured by God’s power. In the paschal Mystery, the power of powerlessness overpowers the powers of darkness. She witnessed that the crucified Jesus is the Risen Lord. Man cannot defeat God’s plans and purposes. Ultimately God will be victorious and all those who place their trust in God will see the salvation of God. The disfiguration and dehumanization of human beings continues even today, wherever, people are deprived of their rights and identity. To hope against hope, when everything seems to be lost, is possible only for a person who clings on to God, saying, “Father into your hands I commit my spirit” (Lk 23:46).  “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles…” (Is 40:31).

3. Mary’s spirituality is a Comprehensive Spirituality. Being the cradle of the great world religions, spirituality is one of the greatest assets of the Asian people. There are different schools of spirituality that the people are familiar with.

     In Indian spirituality, there is the Jnana-marga (path of knowledge/ wisdom), Karma-marga (path of action, ortho-praxis) and Bhakti-marga (path of devotion/ contemplation).  In Mary’s life, one finds an integration of all these three: “Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart” (Lk 2:19). When she heard that her cousin, Elizabeth is expecting a child, “she went in haste to serve her”. In the Gospel of Luke, she was the virgin at prayer at the time of annunciation, and accompanied the disciples in prayer in the upper room after the resurrection till Pentecost.

     In Buddhism, the three ultimate causes of suffering are 1.Greed and desire, represented in art by a rooster; 2. Ignorance or delusion, represented by a pig; 3. Hatred and destructive urges, represented by a snake.  The path to liberation from suffering is the eightfold path.  Mary in her immaculate conception represents the experience of liberation (nirvana) already in this life.  Nirvana is understood as a state of mind that humans can reach. It is a state of profound spiritual joy, without negative emotions and fears.  She lived that faith and joy in the events that are reported about her, even though at times she did not understand at the time what was happening (as when the shepherds reported what they had seen and heard; when the boy Jesus was found in the Temple after three days).   Islam has a devotion to Mary under the name of ‘Mariam, the mother of Jesus.’

4. Mary is Mother and teacher. Modern psychology speaks about the three types of learning: the ‘visual’ – (seeing is believing), ‘auditory’ – hearing and understanding; and ‘kinesthetic’- learning from experiencing; Thomas had to touch and believe. Mary’s faith in God was total and unconditional at the time of annunciation; but eventually built up by what she has seen, heard and experienced in her life with Jesus. As we go through the accounts where Mary is mentioned in the Gospel, one cannot help noticing how rich her life is that all of us have something to learn from her, and yet how simple her examples are that we all can imitate her. Mary is the ideal Mater et Magister.   Mary in the New Testament – does not figure in a role of a proclaimer of the word, rather it is a role of servant of the word and support for the proclamation.   The last appearance of Mary is in the Acts of the Apostles where together with the College of Apostles she awaits the coming of the Spirit and receives the Spirit just as they did. But there is no record of her joining Peter in proclaiming the word.  However, in Rev 12, the woman clothed in the sun is considered to be Mary in glory – what the Church through proclamation, celebration and living the world will be at the end of time.

5. Mary gave Jesus to the world.  As Pope Francis said at the Christmas Mass (2015): “Today, the Son of God is born, and everything changes.  The Saviour of the world comes to partake of our human nature; no longer are we alone and forsaken.  The Virgin offers us her Son as the beginning of a new life.  The true light has come to illumine our lives so often beset by the darkness of sin.  Today we once more discover who we are!  Tonight, we have been shown the way to reach the journey’s end.  Now must we put away all fear and dread, for the light shows us the path to Bethlehem.”  In Luke’s gospel, the most important revelation in the birth narrative of Jesus is given to the shepherds: “for to you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord”. Later on taking Jesus into his arms, Simeon will say “mine eyes have seen your salvation”. Jesus is God’s Saviour, God’s mercy, forgiveness and love.  All this takes place in accordance with the covenant with the fathers and mentions Abraham: (i) “He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his posterity forever” (Lk 1,54-55); (ii) “to perform (poieō) the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant” (Lk 1,72).

6. People of our times are desperately in need of an experience of God in their lives.   Mary gave birth to her first-born son and laid him in a manger. Accidentally and providentially there was no place in the inn. The non-availability of the inn is mentioned in passing to justify the birth in the manger.   Jesus is born in a stable, so that the lowest rung of the Palestinian society could come and feel at home. The shepherds who come to the manger are now at home with the Saviour, and the Saviour is at home with the shepherds.

     Luke in his gospel will show that Jesus will be at home with the marginalized of the Palestinian society. So much so, he will be accused of such affiliations and will have to justify his options stating that those who are well do not need a physician, but those who are sick, and that he has not come to call the righteous but sinners (Lk 5,29-30).  This child of Mary will go in search of all who are lost, saddened and out in the cold, and will take their side without forgetting the others. And that will cost him his life, because the mighty of the earth would not tolerate it. He will be understood and accepted by the Father who confirms the Son in His love. He becomes one with the Father, himself living a life of liberation for others.

     Jesus in the manger reminds us that God is on a journey with the oppressed of the earth. If this manger is God’s norm, then we are assured that our merciful God is on a journey with the small farmers, small fishermen, victims of war, plantation workers and urban poor, to name a few of God’s preferred in this land. He becomes our God when we dare to be merciful like Him (Merciful like the Father) and journey with Him with the shepherds of the earth, the oppressed of the earth.

     Mary in her own life prefigures this spirit of Christ and her care continues even now.  Mary’s place in Salvation history makes her outstanding in sharing her God experience with others. On her visit to Elizabeth, the latter acclaimed her as the mother of God, as she felt the child in her womb already exalting in the presence of the unborn Savior! Mary enabled the couple at Cana to benefit from the first miracle of Jesus when the servants did what Jesus told them. Down through the history, the church experienced her mediation in receiving God experience through her Son.  Even today, Mary bridges the gap between God and us, by bringing us closer to each other.

Mary: God’s gift to the World – Popular Devotion: the response of the lowly:

     Popular devotion is an important part of the life of the church; in fact, the life of any religion. Take away popular devotion and you take away the ability of religion to warm hearts. Traditional popular piety has kept so many people flocking to shrines and even through current crisis and secularization of our times.  They make the life of faith tangible and existential.

Popular piety has a three-fold function in the life and spirituality of the poor, especially in the Asian and Latin American countries.

     First of all, popular piety offers consolation. Pope Francis has said: “I think of the steadfast faith of those mothers tending their sick children who, though perhaps barely familiar with the articles of creed, cling to a rosary; or of all the hope poured into a candle lighted in a humble home with prayer for help from Mary, or in the gaze of tender love directed to Christ Crucified.”  The icon of Mother of Perpetual Help has a special attraction for the Asian people. In the icon, Mary seems to wear an Asian attire. Her eyes are fixed upon the eyes of the devotees, with a positive attraction drawing towards her. The way she holds the child Jesus in the crisis situation enables the poor and suffering are able to identify themselves with Jesus. The icon evokes a sentimental attraction and attachment, like a child towards its mother. And the thanksgiving letters pouring in every week in these shrines are a testimony that their devotion and prayers are bearing fruit and bringing fulfillment.

     Secondly, popular devotion leads to conversion: The popular devotions, especially in Marian Shrines, do not end with the final blessings, but frequently the people approach the sacrament of Reconciliation.  Often, in the context of popular devotion, it is a real conversion experience.   It is an opportunity for the people to open up their hearts’ burdens, to discern God’s will in that particular moment of their life, to be affirmed of their identity as a beloved child of God, and be assured of the welcome and home-coming in the Father’s house, like the Prodigal Son.  Even persons of other faiths approach the clergy for spiritual guidance and prayer support.

     Thirdly, popular piety transforms: Personal conversions often lead to radical changes in one’s life and attitudes. This brings about visible transformation in their families and circumstances. Even one person can be an entry point for Christian faith and values into a family not professing the Christian faith. These persons truly function like the salt of the earth or the light of the world in their families and surroundings. In many cases, it eventually results in the conversion of the whole family. These conversions mean, a radical change in their mind-set from that of a materialistic or atheistic outlook. They begin to value and respect human persons, begin to love people and use things realizing the transitory nature of material things. The Christian and Gospel perspective can bring about a radical change in a person’s world and world-view.


     Asia is battered by the challenges of modernism and globalization along with that of secularization and materialism.  Even though at one time in history, India for example, enjoyed one of the highest standards of living in the world, the sociological situation today is one of widespread poverty, which will take a long time to eradicate. At the same time, Asia and the Middle East is the locus from which the great religions of the world have emerged.  In Asia especially, the culture is deeply rooted in religiosity.  But the modern idols displayed in the media and the trends of consumerism often render it difficult, if not impossible, to uphold religion and spirituality as a top priority. In particular, there is also a growing intolerance against the Christian faith from today’s fundamentalists and secularists.

     At the same time, there are people who feel the need of a God who can save them from the tensions, frictions and frustrations of the daily chores of life.   The Church’s traditional answers are no longer relevant to the new challenges faced in the present day situations. The challenge to religion is no longer between faith and reason (as it was at the time of Vatican Council I), nor between faith and historical situations (as it was at the time of Vatican II, demanding ecumenism), but it is between faith and life experience. What people need is not merely orthodoxy or orthopraxis, but more a faith that can bring a difference in the quality of one’s life and provide direction and meaning to life.

     Christians are of the view that Christianity has the fullness of God’s revelation in Jesus, the Son of God. But we need to retrieve the core of the Christian revelation of a God, who is love, and a morality that is to love, and to build a community of love that foreshadows the Kingdom of God.  Mary had been an integral part of God’s salvation history.  As we say in the preface for the feast of the Immaculate Conception: “You allowed no stain of Adam’s sin to touch the Virgin Mary.  Full of grace, she was to be the worthy mother of your Son; your sign of favour to the Church at its beginning, and the promise of its perfection as the bride of Christ, radiant in beauty.  Purest of virgins, she was to bring forth your Son, the innocent lamb who takes away our sins.  You chose her from all women to be our advocate with you and our pattern of holiness.”

     Jesus and Mary go together. Mary gave us Jesus; but Mary is blessed not because of the physical relationship to Jesus, but because she believed.  “O virgin mother, daughter of thy Son, humble beyond all creatures and more exalted; predestined turning point of God’s intention.” (Dante).  Her mission is always to lead all to Christ. And she who always responds to the cries of the poor and helps us in this vale of tears, accompanies us to our journey’s end. After all, she is for us – Our Mother of Perpetual Help.


Fr. George Puthenpura, CSsR

Province of Bangalore

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Two Priestly Ordinations at Holy Ghost Church by Archbishop of Bangalore


      After 13 years of formation, Dn Robin Kumar and Dn Prem Kumar, CssR., were ready and willing to answer positively to the divine calling and be added to the order of priesthood. On 10th September 2020, at 10.30 am, they were ordained priests by His Grace, Archbishop Peter Machado, at Holy Ghost Church. Redemptorist confreres from Bangalore communities, a few Franciscan Friars and priests from the Diocese of Shimoga were present. Concelebrating with the Archbishop were the Provincial of Bangalore, Fr. Edward Joseph and the Minister Provincial of the Franciscans, Fr. Praveen D’Souza and the families of the priests-to-be-ordained. Due to the Covid -19 pandemic a limited congregation was present and precautions of social distancing and sanitization were put into place with all the priests and people in the celebration wearing masks.
     The ceremony began with a brief recounting of their journey from the time they entered the Redemptorist community. It was followed by the celebration of the Holy Mass. Apt to the occasion, the gospel reading chosen was that of St. John, where Jesus said to his disciples, “I chose you, and I commissioned you to go out and bear fruit, fruit that will last.” The reading of the gospel was followed by the Rite of Ordination. The candidates (deacons) were presented to the Archbishop who addressed them and the gathering, on the duties of priesthood.
     In his ensuing homily, His Grace could not help but notice and remark on the unusual absence of a large number of people due to the ongoing pandemic. He pointed out that ultimately, on an occasion like this, God is all that matters; not external signs of celebration. He reflected on three words from the readings of the liturgy – mercy, anointing and friendship. These words summed up the ministry which the future priests were called to participate in. He reminded the deacons that no one is worthy in themselves to receive the gift of ordination. It was only God’s mercy and love that brought them to this state of anointment. It was indeed their privilege to be anointed to carry out the ministerial duties of a priest. He also exhorted them to be like the founder of the Redemptorists, St. Alphonsus Ligouri, and follow his example of being humble, and proclaiming the good news to the poor and abandoned.
     The Mass proceeded with the deacons expressing their readiness to be ordained, and the Litany of the Saints. The church was filled with an air of solemnity during the laying of hands upon the heads of the ones being ordained, with the prayer of consecration for them to be faithful to their ministry.
 The newly ordained priests were vested with the stole and chasuble, and their palms anointed with the oil of chrism. They were then presented with bread and wine as a sign that they could now offer the Holy Eucharist. The Eucharistic liturgy continued with the newly ordained priests concelebrating with His Grace.
     Before the service concluded, the newly ordained priests, Fr. Prem Kumar and Fr. Robin Kumar expressed their thanks to God, to their parents, formators and all who helped them on their journey to priesthood. They also thanked all those who worked hard to make this occasion a memorable one, and specially appreciated the seminarians who participated in the Mass with their melodious singing.

      Incidentlly, Fr. Prem Kumar and Fr. Robin Kumar come from the same town of Kollegal, did their Primary schooling together, joined the congregation together and infact Ordained together! 
 We congratulate Fr. Prem Kumar and Fr. Robin Kumar, and thank God for the gift of their vocation.




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Reaching Out To Families In Distress At Deshyanagar Slum


26th August, 2020
      A Slum Outreach Programme of the Redemptorists and an NGO is likely to bring about far-reaching changes in the lives of over a 100 families in the Deshyanagar Slum bordering Lazar Layout in East Bangalore.

     The Deshyanagar Slum comprises a mixed population of some 112 families mostly nomads who resided there in little huts until the government provided proper housing for them a few years ago. Their living is near or below subsistence level with the men doing odd jobs whenever they found work; the women went out begging with their infants; Healthcare, hygiene or education is below par and life just went along in the slum.

     In June 2019, Fr. Peter. B got involved in this slum as part of an Internship Project tied to his Masters in Counselling Psychology course at Christ University.  More importantly, this ministry has been undertaken by Fr. Peter in response to the Province’s apostolic priority to reach out to families in distress and is supported by the Liguori Bhavan community.

     As a head start Fr. Peter chalked out a plan, initially for the children to be followed by a plan for the parents to bring about a change for the better.  The programme for the kids entailed imparting basic, practical knowledge in the form of classroom coaching.  The aim was primarily to engage the largely restless children in learning through basic lessons, music, action songs, games and exercises.

     The kids programme proceeded as per plan for four months with the help of the volunteers of GRACE. “It was fruitful with 60 kids who eagerly attended classes and learnt to read and write their names, their parents’ names and addresses too,” said Fr. Peter.
     Having got a foot in the door, as it were, through the kids’ programme, Fr. Peter, along with the NGO and a Bethany nun Sr. Theresa, a social worker, embarked on a population census of the slum ahead of launching an Income Generative Programme aimed at putting an end to the practice of women going out to beg. In order to minister effectively to these people, Fr. Peter formed a new volunteer group called ‘Hands of God’. It is a group of friends of the Redemptorists, who have come together as lay collaborators supporting this mission. The basic aim of the ‘Hands of God’ team is to support these poor people to change their lifestyle of begging, to economically and socially help the families in distress and to help them find human dignity and values in their lives.
     Soon, with the help of ‘Hands of God’ and Fr. John Mathew, a plan was devised to launch the programme and interestingly enough 67 women agreed to join. Collaboration was established with the ‘Goodwill International Association’ (Multi skill and vocational training provider) to teach skills in tailoring and making jute and paper bags.  Even potential buyers for the products were identified.  But sadly, when everything was set to take off, the coronavirus came and everything came to a standstill.

     Nevertheless, the team came with another plan of putting together videos that can be used in training the women.  “We are making an attempt to use the technology to reach the poor and the abandoned’ says Fr. Peter. A Whatsapp group called ‘Pudhiya Padhai’ (meaning New Path) has been formed to use the technology to reach out to the poor through simple videos that include instructions, motivation, training skills and lessons regarding hygiene and cleanliness so that their lives can be changed and a new path can be found.

     The team is hopeful of starting the training within a month. Meanwhile, regular meetings of the ‘Hands of God’ team is on full swing in the last few months planning different strategies to help and support the underprivileged population. “We are keen to start the skills training for women at the earliest so that they can stop begging outside.  We are also looking at alternative jobs for the women.  Both the women and the men are showing a lot of interest,” noted Fr. Peter.
      In the last three months, basic food items have been distributed twice to the 112 families and once to the 18 coronavirus-affected families.





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Province of Bangalore has its COVID-19 Year's First Priestly Ordination amidst restrictions


      Deacon Vijay Kumar received his Priestly Ordination on the 29th of August 2020 at Nithya Sahaya Matha Church, Pedamanapuram, at 10 A.M. The Holy Mass was presided over by Archbishop Prakash Mallavarapu.

      Fr. Vijay Kumar is the first C.Ss.R. vocation from this Parish.

     Due to COVID restrictions, there were 6 Redemptorist priests and 12 Diocesean priests present for the occasion along with the Family of the newly ordained, Fr. Vijay Kumar C.Ss.R.


 Vijay Kumar had done his Juvinate in Tenali, after which he went to Bangalore to St. Gerard's House for his English course. He then did his Orientation in Trichy and then went to Kolkata to do his Philosophy and Bachelor of Arts from Morning Star College. His Regency was in T. Narishipura, Nuzvid with the street children. He completed his Theology at Mount St. Alphonsus College, Bangalore, and his diaconate ministry at Nithya Sahaya Matha Church, Tenali, Bangalore. He had his first profession on 6th June 2015 in Kotagiri, Final Profession on 8th June 2019 in Holy Ghost Church and Diaconate Ordination conferred by Archbishop Peter Machado in St. Alphonsus, Bangalore. 


 We wish Fr. Vijay Kumar all the best as he starts his new journey as a Redemptorist Religious Priest. May God Bless him with His Love, Peace, and Strength.





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Ordinations in Kenya - Priestly & Diaconate


(Nairobi, Kenya) On 22 August 2020, three of our confreres received the gift of sacred ordinations in Nairobi, Kenya.

The newly ordained priest, Wanyoike Isaac Mwaura with John Cardinal Njue

Deacon Wanyoike Isaac Mwaura was ordained a priest while Brs Dominic Warukenya and Francis Sila were ordained as deacons by His Eminence John Cardinal Njue, Archbishop of Nairobi. All three of them are from Kenya. With these ordinations, we have now ten Redemptorist priests and two deacons in Kenya.

The newly ordained deacons, Dominic Warukenya and Francis Sila along with John Cardinal Njue

We thank God for blessing us with good vocation.

Fr Paul Pazhangattu, C.Ss.R,

 Mission Superior, Kenya

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Professions in Kenya & Zimbabwe


      On 18th July two of our students in Kenya, Charles, Francis Sila, and Warukenya Dominic Kiarii made their final commitment in the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer in the presence of Fr. Paul Pazhangattu, the Mission Superior and all other Redemptorists in Kenya. Fr. Zephirin Luyila, the Coordinator of Africa-Madagascar and Fr. Ugese Henry Lorfa, a confrere from Nigeria were present on this occasion.


Francis and Dominic did their theological studies at Don Bosco Utume theological college, Nairobi, Kenya.

      On the same day, two of our novices  Pius Juma Owino and Frederick Oyoko made their first commitment in Harare, Zimbabwe. Due to travel restrictions, they were not able to return to Kenya after their novitiate.

      With these professions, the Kenya Mission has now twelve finally professed members and two temporary professed. We also have 14 students doing philosophical studies and two theological studies. Three are due for novitiate while six have joined this year at our Orientation Year. We thank God for the steady vocation coming in now in the Mission.

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Strong in faith, rejoicing in hope, burning with charity, on fire with zeal, in humility of heart and persevering in prayer, Redemptorists as apostolic men and genuine disciples of Saint Alphonsus follow Christ the Redeemer with hearts full of joy


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