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News 2013 � September

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Two Salesians from Chennai Depart as Missionaries to Canada

By Fr. Ravi Aruldas
Fr. Jayapalan, the Provincial, flanked by the two missionaries, Fr. John Louis Mariapragasam (L.) and Fr. Rajkumar Fernando (R.)
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Chennai, Sep. 16. Fr. Rajkumar Fernando and Fr. John Louis Mariapragasam of the Province of Chennai left for Canada on 15 September to take up ministry in the archdiocese of Edmonton. They will be part of the Salesian Province of the United States - East (SUE), as Salesian presences in Canada come under the jurisdiction of SUE. It was in response to the request of the Rector Major that the province of Chennai (INM) accepted to help out the Salesian presences in Edmonton, which is badly in need of priests. Fr. Rajkumar will be placed at St. Andrews Parish in Edmonton and Fr. John Louis at Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Sherwood Park.
From 18th September they will undergo a month-long inculturation Program organized by the Edmonton archdiocese for international priests. The course is designed to encourage and strengthen the ministry of priests whose native culture is not that of Canada. The program's goal is to provide priests with an opportunity to learn more about the church and culture of western Canada, while also affirming their own cultural heritage.

In the evening of 14 September, at the Provincial House in Chennai, the two priests were given a warm send-off by the confreres of the province in the presence of their relatives and friends who had come to see them off. Speaking at the farewell Eucharistic celebration in which some 40 priests concelebrated, Fr. Jayapalan Raphael, the provincial of Chennai, recalled the words of Don Bosco to his first missionaries, ''Seek souls and not money, honours or dignity. Take special care of the sick, of the young, of the old and of the poor, and you will win the blessings of God and the goodwill of people.'' He wished them Godspeed and a fruitful apostolate. The two missionaries thanked the Provincial and the Province and promised to give their best to the mission they will be assigned.

The Canadian society is a mosaic of many languages and cultures. It is constitutionally bilingual, with English and French as the two recognized official languages. According to statistics, 83% of the population is Christian. Catholics account for more than half of all the Christians in the country. There are 71 dioceses, including the Military Ordinariate and eight eparchies belonging to the Eastern Catholics.
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