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Eight Salesians ordained priests in Chennai


By Fr. K.J. Louis
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Chennai, Dec. 28. Eight Salesian seminarians were ordained priests on Thursday, 27 December, at the sprawling grounds of the historic Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes at Perambur, Chennai, by the Most Rev. A. M. Chinnappa SDB, archbishop emeritus of Madras-Mylapore. Joining the archbishop at the solemn 3-hour-long ceremony were some 200 priests and over 2000 people.
Eight Salesian seminarians were ordained priests on Thursday, 27 December, at the sprawling grounds of the historic Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes at Perambur, Chennai, by the Most Rev. A. M. Chinnappa SDB, archbishop emeritus of Madras-Mylapore. Joining the archbishop at the solemn 3-hour-long ceremony were some 200 priests and over 2000 people.

Fr. Jayapalan Raphael, Provincial of Chennai, welcomed the ordaining prelate Most Rev. A. M. Chinnappa and the eight candidates for ordination, Deacons Gasper Charles, James Bernard, Joseph De Souza Kamalesh, Joseph Franklin and SelvarajVaraprasadam of Chennai Province, Franklin Kuzhandaieasu and Gabriel Karunairaj of Trichy Province, and  TamizhSelvamAnthoniMuthu of New Delhi Province. Fr. Albert Johnson, Provincial of Tiruchy, then presented the candidates to the ordaining prelate.

Addressing the newly ordained during his homily, the archbishop placed before them the figures of Moses and St. Paul as eminent models for priests at all times - the former as a true leader of his people who was also a mediator between them and God, and the latter the apostle of Christ, a servant of the Gospel and a teacher of faith. Quoting from Vatican II's GaudiumetSpes and Ad Gentes, he reminded them of the importance of being men of dialogue - dialogue with cultures, dialogue with religions and dialogue with the poor. But he said it is more important for priests to move from dialogue to being with and living with the poor to understand them and to identify with them. As Salesian priests, he told them they had to be not only in constant dialogue with the world of youth but also servants of youth.  

''It was a moving experience for me to be here this evening to witness the ordination of so many priests, said a college student who took part in the service. ''It helped me understand to some extent what God and the church expect from the priests... and how noble and holy the call to priesthood is,'' said an elderly participant.  ''A priest can do so much good. Our children are so happy to spend time with priests. We really need to pray for holy priests these days,'' said another, a mother of our kids.

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