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Guide seminarians to reach out to people with a missionary thrust, Archbishop urges major seminary rectors

Major Seminary Rectors' Meet in Kolkata November 24-26

An Indian archbishop urged major seminary rectors to guide seminarians to reach out to families and villages with a missionary thrust for freedom in Jesus.

"We have to reach out to families and villages not with an agenda but as a missionary thrust for freedom. Jesus’ missionary thrust of moving out is the only model before us," said Archbishop Thomas D’Souza of Kolkata.

He was celebrating the Holy Mass on the second day of the Association of Rectors of Major Seminaries of India (ARMS) national council on November 24 in Kolkata, the capital of West Bengal state, eastern India.

He reminded the major seminary rectors that the Holy Eucharist is the basis of communion in the Church.

"The more we participate in the celebration of the Holy Eucharist with great devotion and dedication, the stronger the communion becomes in the seminaries," Archbishop D’Souza said. 

Highlighting the theme of the day, Communion, the archbishop preached his homily on John 6: 53–57, and he remarked that the individualism and introverted nature of clergy hinder the communion aspect of our faith as it is lived in the parishes and families. 

The first facilitation talk was given by Father Thumma Mariadas Reddy, dean of the philosophy department at Morning Star Seminary in Kolkata, and was titled "Synodality: A new mode of being the Church— A call to radicality."

The session was moderated by Father Aniceto Pereira, Rector of St. Pius College, Mumbai, western India.

Reddy expounded the theme, focusing more on areas of radicality required in the seminary formation that synodality demands from every one of the formators.

Jesuit Father Bhausaheb Sansare, Rector of Papal Seminary, Pune, and Father Aleixo Menezes, Rector of Rachol Seminary, moderated the phases of the "Dialogical Session between Rectors and Stakeholders. 

The panelists were Ms. Roaslind D’Cruz, Mr. Farrell Shah, Mr. Ajoy Choudhuri, Mr. Alexander Anthony, and Mr. Shubhodeep Bishwas, who represented the different spheres of lay women, social media, social development activists, diocesan pastoral council, and youth, respectively. 

They shared their expectation that the laity wants priests who have holiness and goodness in both word and deed.

Rectors introduced themselves and shared some of the best practices implemented in light of the statement of XX ARMS National Council for 2021. 

This session was moderated by Dominican Father Ashil Joseph OP, Rector of Gyanadhara Dominican Institute, Goa, western India. 

Father Charles Leon, based on the data collected from the major seminaries, presented a statistical analysis of the nature of seminaries, the strength ratio of formators, spiritual fathers, and seminarians, along with a summary of synodal activities conducted in the seminaries.

Morning Star Inter Diocesan Seminary, Kolkata, performed a cultural program to entertain the rectors.

The second day was shoulder by the Western Region Rectors, and Jesuit Francis Pudhicherry, Rector of De Nobili College, Pune, animated the whole day's programs.

The Latin rite bishops’ Commission for Vocations, Seminaries, Clergy and Religious organized the program.

India has about hundred Catholic  major seminaries. Over 60 major seminary rectors attended the event.

The Association of Rectors of the Major Seminaries (ARMS) includes the rectors of all major seminaries of the Latin Catholic Church in India. ARMS works under the CCBI Commission for Vocations, Seminaries, Clergy and Religious.

It is to foster contact and greater unity among the various houses of priestly formation and to promote mutual enrichment by sharing what is good and useful for priestly formation.

It is to take interest in and to promote the formation of the formators and to function as a link between the CCBI and the various major seminaries and houses of priestly formation of religious congregations.


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