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Guwahati Province Honours the Jubilarians

By Bivan Mukhim
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Guwahati, Nov. 11. Salesians from across the province came together at the Hubert D' Rosario Missionary Aspirantate at Sirajuli on Tuesday, 11 November to honour the confreres who were celebrating the anniversaries of their religious profession or priestly ordination.
The Jubilee celebration was combined with the Provincial Community Day and the blessing of the new chapel for the missionary aspirants. Incidentally it was the anniversary of the first Salesian missionary expedition that set out for the Americas from Italy in 1875.

Fr. Pazhekadavan Joseph celebrates 60 years of religious profession and 50 years of priestly ordination. Fr. Cheeramben Francis and Fr. Kuttikadan Paul celebrate 50 years of religious profession. Fr. Bhengra Michael, Fr. Lakra Marcus, Fr. Marak Hubert and Fr. Sangma Charles celebrate 25 years of their priesthood. Fr. Kattakayam Alex, Fr. Perunneparambil Jose, Fr. Thekkel Anthony and Fr. Xalxo Vincent celebrate 25 years of religious profession.

The Jubilarians were led to the altar by the confreres, accompanied by Bp. Michael Akasius of Tezpur and Fr. VM Thomas, the provincial. The Solemn blessing of the new church dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Holy Eucharist which followed was presided over by Bishop Akasius. During the sermon, he reminded everyone of the sacredness of the house of God and the importance of the new church. ''Let this church we bless today be the cradle of missionary works all over the world and let the Sacred Heart of Jesus guide our works,'' the bishop said while declaring it as the ''Temple of Sacred Heart of Jesus''.

During the felicitation programme, Fr. VM Thomas, the provincial, commended the jubilarians' faithfulness in serving others and proclaiming the message of Christ by the quality of their lives. Quoting St Paul, he encouraged the jubilarians ''to never get tired of doing good''. He congratulated all the confreres for their dedicated service in the province.  He exhorted the confreres to encourage one another to build up love and carry one another's burden.  ''Create happy, united, praying communities, vibrant in the Salesian mission'', he said while acknowledging the confreres for the unity and commitment shown in the province. He also thanked Bishop Akasius for accepting to be present on this special occasion and for his constant encouragement and support.

Fr. K.O. Augustine, on behalf of the province, congratulated the jubilarians recounting their fruitful years as Salesians.  The Jubilarians in return thanked the Salesian Society and the confreres for the encouragement and support they have been receiving.

Fr. Pazhedadavan Joseph, Fr. K.P. Paul, Fr. Marcus Lakra and Fr. Alex Kattakayam spoke on behalf of the jubilarians.  Fr. Francis Feranandez expressed his gratitude to Fr. Provincial and his team for taking the province ahead with his visionary leadership and able guidance.

''The celebration of a jubilee is something like a turning back to the beginning. It is like an encounter with the Lord at the time, when he called for the first time. One can say: 'The Lord found me and called me by my name!''' It was this that Fr. Charles Sangma, the silver jubilarian said during an interview on 7 Nov 2014 about his jubilee.

Fr. Xalxo Vincent who celebrated his twenty-fifth anniversary of his religious profession said about this jubilee that it contains a mystery of the love of God for everyone and also for himself.  ''It was God who took the initiative. It was he who found me and finally called me. It was God who chose me to become a priest. Not because I was better or wiser than others, but only because he wanted it. The Lord called me because he had his plans for me. I thank you, Lord, for having given me your confidence,'' he said.

When Fr. Kuttikadan Paul was asked, how he felt at his fiftieth anniversary as a Salesian, he answered: ''I feel carried and supported by confreres, who pray for me. Therefore it is a joy to thank God for my 50 years as a professed Salesian and 34 years as a priest together with the confreres. My vocation has been lived out for 58 years, ever since I entered the aspirantate. An answer is being given: 'Yes Lord, here I am, I come!' ''

It was indeed a homely, informal, meaningful and unique celebration of the Jubilee of confreres and the Provincial Community Day.  Fr. Damian Basumatary proposed the vote-of-thanks.
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