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'New Beginnings'! First Chapter Of Silchar Province Gets Underway

By J. Pulinthanath
Fr.George Maliekal, provincial of Silchar province addresses the Chapter members
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Shillong, May. 7. The first Chapter of the barely one-year old Salesian Province of Silchar got underway amidst an overwhelming sense of 'new beginnings' at Pastoral Centre, Shillong on 6th May 2013.
On behalf of 206 Salesians of the new Province of Silchar and their ministries, 56 Chapter members converged in the scenic hill city of Shillong for the five-day event, hoping to ''script history'' and ''provide a roadmap for the journey of the province.''

The Provincial, Fr. George Maliekal and four other representatives lit the ceremonial lamp, as a homage to God and as a sign of his presence at the Chapter:  Fr. Gervasis Kozhupathadam the eldest member of the chapter, Bro. Nello Valeri, representing Salesian Brothers and the only foreign missionary in the Chapter, Fr. Dennis Lalfeilla, the youngest member of the Chapter and Fr. L.B. Anthony, the moderator.

The inaugural session of the Chapter began with the Chapter members singing 'Veni Creator' invoking an outpouring of the Holy Spirit on themselves.

After setting in place logistic structures and processes, Fr. Antony Lendakadavil, the Moderator, with the permission of the president of the chapter and the consent of the assembly, declared the Chapter open.

Prior to beginning the Chapter, the members spent an evening in prayer and recollection guided by Fr. Jose Chunkapura.

Fr. Maliekal, the provincial exhorted the members to 'experience the synergy' of being in the company of such a large number of confreres and to 'exercise the mandate' that each member walks into the Chapter with.

Archbishop Dominic Jala of Shillong, presiding over the inaugural Mass, exhorted the chapter members to acquire an attitude of letting go, which is essential to make new beginnings.

It is remarkable that the Chapter offers opportunity to some of the oldest presences in Salesian India to make 'new beginnings.'

The Chapter, a world-wide exercise engaged in by all provinces in the world, is held in preparation for the General Chapter due to be held n Rome early next year. The Chapter invites the Salesians to reflect on the theme 'Witnesses to the Radical approach of the Gospel'.
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