The Spirit of Austerity and Simplicity

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My dear esteemed guests, brothers and sisters but most importantly my brothers of the Liguori Province,

On behalf of the V. Province of Majella I congratulate the members of the Liguori Province. It is a great pleasure and honour for me to be here on the Silver Jubilee of beginnings of the Liguori Province. The members of the Majella Vice-Province admire and look up to the Liguori Province as an elder sister as we were founded seven years later from the same Mother (the Bangalore Province). I am thrilled to see how you my brothers have lived the charism and continue to live the charism of our Congregation with missionary dynamism. I appreciate and congratulate all the provincials and their teams and in particular Fr. Joy Poonoly the present Provincial and his team in a special way.

The austere life of the members of the Liguori Province is very much unique and is a blessing to the province. I admire and am thrilled to see the austere life of the members of the Liguori Province. You as a province have not gone after huge institutions and power centers, but you live your missionary dynamism in the spirit of Gospel simplicity and closeness to the people. I remember especially all the deceased members of the province who have touched me and my brothers of the V. Province of Majella in one way or another: Fr. Thomas Marathoor, Fr. Mathew Paruthical and another great man was Fr. Mathew Manjakkunnel who lived an austere life and were witnesses of Jesus the Redeemer.  Even before the sexennial theme was announced, the members of the province were living as witnesses of the Redeemer in solidarity for mission to a wounded world. I can recall the contribution of the late Cardinal Mar Varkey Vithayathil a member of the Liguori Province who became an apostle of mercy to the Syro-Malabar Church that had been wounded due to various reasons, most importantly division. His austere life and simplicity is an example we all can emulate. I also salute the veteran Prof. Dr. Michael Naickanparampil the founding member of the Liguori Province who instilled in many of the members of all the provinces in India the attitude of Jesus who went after the wounded not so much through preaching across India but in teaching the Scriptures and in instilling in his students a deep understanding and love for the Jesus of the Gospels. The class room memories are still alive in my heart: “The Core of Christian Discipleship is the Cross”.  The life of Fr. Michael is a witness to the cross as he silently accepted and bore personally without rancor the cross of ingratitude and misunderstanding and yet toiled in a dedicated manner at the conception of the Province. On behalf of my brothers of the vice-province of Majella I extend my sincere wishes and prayers to the Liguori Province. I pray and hope that the spirit of Austerity and Simplicity that has marked and continues to mark the ethos of the Liguori Province may continue to grow and be a mark in our being “Witnesses of the Redeemer, in solidarity for mission to a wounded world.”

Joseph Ivel Mendanha, C.Ss.R., Vice-Provincial Superior

Vice-Province of Majella, Mumbai, India.

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