A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE ORIGIN AND GROWTH OF THE LIGUORI PROVINCE
The Liguori Province is an Oriental Rite Unit of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer in the Syro-Malabar Church. It came into existence on June 27, 2008.
Bangalore Provincial Chapter in 1990
The following proposition was passed in the 33rd session of the 8th Bangalore Provincial Chapter on 24th June, 1990 by 27 vocals favouring it, 9 opposing and one abstaining from voting: “The Chapter favours the establishment of a Syro-Malabar Unit and proposes that a study be made within the next six months to suggest the concrete steps to be taken in this regard.” When the proposition was passed, Fr. Varkey Vithayathil remarked in the Chapter: “The favouring of establishing the Syro-Malabar Unit was a historical decision. This will enrich the Redemptorist Congregation, as well as the Syro-Malabar Unit.” The later life of the Unit shows that those words were prophetic.
The Region of Alwaye
Fr. Bernard Pereira was elected as Provincial of Bangalore Province in 1990. He was highly favourable to the setting up of the Region and was its greatest benefactor. He was a man of vision and courage. After the Provincial Chapter favoured the request that was sent in, the EPC of Bangalore initiated the process of establishing a Syro-Malabar rite Unit of the Congregation for the confreres who belong to the Syro-Malabar Church.
By its Decree of Erection, dated July 21, 1991, the EPC of the Bangalore Province established the Region, known as the Region of Alwaye, with Chowara as the principal house and the residence of the Regional Superior. Provincial Fr. Bernard Pereira convoked the First Regional Assembly on 1st February, 1992 to meet at Nitya Sahaya Bhavan, Chowara from 19th to 21st February, 1992.
The official inauguration of the Region of Alwaye took place on February 19, 1992 at Chowara. Inaugurating the new Region, Fr. Bernard Pereira, the Provincial of Bangalore, said: “The new Region will be a significant historical step in the growth and development of the Redemptorist Congregation”. On 19th February only the inauguration was conducted and the actual Regional Assembly was held on February 20th and 21st 1992, in which Fr. Michael Naickanparampil was elected as the Regional Superior and Frs. Thomas Mulanjanai and George Areeckal as the Consultors.
At the time of its inauguration the Region of Alwaye had 2 canonically erected houses, Chowara and Edoor, 16 priests and 15 professed students. When we became the Region in 1992 the Juvenate formation was conducted at Chowara and rest of the formation programmes were conducted in Bangalore. One of the first decisions of the Regional Council was to begin the pre-novitiate formation in the Region itself.
The Vice-Province of Alwaye
The thinking that granting autonomy would enhance the growth and development of the Unit led to raising it to the status of Vice-Province. The General Government, by its Decree dated April 5, 1995, raised the Region of Alwaye to the status of an autonomous Vice-Province (3802) with its headquarters at Chowara and appointed the Regional Superior and his team as Vice-Provincial Superior and his Ordinary Council till the next election. The government and administration were placed directly “under the authority of the General Government” and “all rights and obligations which according to the Constitutions and General Statutes pertain to the Provincial Superior and the Provincial Council, are granted …by special delegation in perpetuum to the Vice-Provincial and the Vice-Provincial Council of Alwaye respectively”. The Holy See by its decree dated May 2, 1996 attached this major Unit of the congregation to the Syro-Malabar Church. The major Superiors of Bangalore and Alwaye signed the agreement and Fr. General approved it before announcing the erection of the Vice-Province.
The inauguration of the new Vice-Province took place in Chowara on July 3, 1995, the solemnity of St. Thomas the Apostle of India. The first Vice-Provincial Chapter was held at Nitya Sahaya Matha Bhavan from 17th to 22ndJune, 1996 and elected Fr. Michael Naickanparampil as Vice- Provincial and Frs. George Puthenpura and Chacko Pendanath as Ordinary Consultors and Frs. Clement Vadakkedath and Augustine Kumpidiamakkal as Extra-ordinary Consultors. When Fr. Clement was assigned for higher studies the EVPC elected Fr. Joy Poonoly in his place.
Aware of the growth and vitality of the Vice-Province within the past 13 years the General Government decided to raise it to the status of a Province in the Congregation. Through its decree, dated March 19, 2008, the General Council erected the Vice-Province of Alwaye (3802) as a Province, to be known as the Liguori Province (5100). The new Province was inaugurated by Mar Varkey Cardinal Vithayathil on June 27, 2008 with its headquarters at Liguori Bhaven, Mattoor.
It is the Vice-Provincial Fr. Clement Vadakkedath, with his team of Frs. Jose Poovannikunnel, Kuruvila Marottickal, Biju Kunnumpurath, and Joseph Valachathinakath who were elected in the 2008 Chapter as Consulters for the triennium 2008-2011continued as the provincial and consulters of the new Liguori Province.