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News 2014 � July

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Junior priests: from ''Maintenance mode'' to ''Mission Mode''

By Bivan Mukhim
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Guwahati, Jul. 18. Thirty eight young priests from the provinces of Guwahati and Silchar met together at Siloam, Barapani for the Junior Priests' Meet from 14th to 16th July 2014. The young priests shared experiences of their priesthood and priestly ministry. The meeting was animated by Rev Fr. George Palamattam SDB, Director of Siloam, a Centre for Transformation and Leadership Resource.
On the first day of the meet the priests shared about the good reasons why they came for the meet, the most fulfilling moments they encountered in their ministries and what they had learned about God, people and self through these experiences.

During the sharing many expressed that a meeting like this helps one to be rejuvenated, re-energized, re-charged and be reconnected with other young priests, and above all to learn from the experiences of each other. It was also a moment to get away from the busy schedule and to relax and to enjoy the laid back atmosphere and to breathe the fresh air of the pine groves of Barapani Lake.

Fr. Philip Barjo, former Provincial and former Novice Master of the undivided Province of Guwahati, also animated the young priests. In his lively interaction he shared his vast experience as a priest. He also said ''As junior priests you may not always be given the Obedience according to what you expect but you need to adapt yourself to the situation.'' In order to get the best out of their priestly ministry, he exhorted them to put on the ''Mission Mode'' and not the ''Maintenance Mode''. ''Most of the times we are happy to maintain the status quo, but as new priests entering the community we are expected to bring new enthusiasm, new dynamism, new energy etc., to the mission.'', Fr. Barjo said.

Rev Fr. George Maliekal, Provincial of the Salesian Province of Silchar interacted with the young priests and made them realize that priesthood has got two aspects,  the human aspect and the divine aspect - one represented by Simon (human), and the other by Peter (divine). Both Simon and Peter co-exist in a priest but effort should be made to make Peter more prominent over Simon as the priesthood is lived out every moment of a priest life. He further emphasized that a committed prayer life and uncompromising discipline are ways of making Peter stands out.

Fr. Palamattam who animated the two days' session said that the area that is often neglected in priestly ministry is that of educating people to family life. To substantiate this he showed the new priests the movie ''Courageous'' which highlights the importance of being closely knit together among the members of a family.

The junior priests also celebrated the ''graduation'' of five priests who completed five years of their junior priesthood. The provincials and vice provincials of both Guwahati and Silchar provinces were also present during the entire days of the meeting, signalling the importance attached to this priestly encounter days.


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