The 2022 General Chapter elected Fr. Emmanuel Kallarackal, C.S.C., as First Assistant and Br. Prodip Placid Gomes, C.S.C., as Second Assistant who will form part of the new General Council under the leadership of the Superior General, Br. Paul Bednarczyk, C.S.C., who was elected by the Chapter on Monday, July 1. As the First Assistant, Fr. Emmanuel Kallarackal will also serve as the Congregation’s Vicar.
Fr. Emmanuel Kallarackal comes to the General Council with 38 years of experience as a Holy Cross priest. He has significant knowledge of parish ministry, vocation animation, formation ministry, education, and has served in the past as Provincial of the North East Province.
He was born in the State of Kerala in South India, and has undergraduate degrees in Philosophy and Theology. Fr. Kallarackal also holds a Master’s Degree in Literature from Madras University and a Doctorate in Religious Education from Fordham University.
Br. Prodip Placid Gomes, C.S.C., comes from Nagari in the broad Archdiocese of Dhaka in Bangladesh. Third among six brothers and sisters, he attended St. Nicholas High School run by the Brothers of Holy Cross, and Notre Dame College Dhaka where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree. He earned a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in Education from Khan Bahadur Teachers’ Training which is affiliated with Dhaka University. In addition, he also received training in Spiritual Counseling and Group Dynamics from the Institute of St. Anselm, Kent, in the United Kingdom.
Br. Prodip made his First Profession in Holy Cross in 1986, and his Final Vows in 1990. He has served as a Vocation Promotor, Formator, Headmaster of St. Nicholas High School, Principal of St. Placid’s High School, and up until his election as General Assistant, Principal of St. Gregory’s High School which has more than 4,000 students.
Besides his ministry in education, Br. Prodip has served on the Provincial Council of St. Joseph’s Province for eighteen years, twice as Vicar. He has been active on different education-related commissions such as the Chittagong Archdiocesan Education Commission, Dhaka Archdiocesan Education Commission, and the Bangladesh Catholic Education Board. He brings long-term experience of Holy Cross’ desire and effort to provide a strong education to all people.
According to the Constitutions of the Congregation of Holy Cross, “The superior general is assisted by a general council of four or six members. The first two assistants are elected by the general chapter, the others being appointed by the superior general according to Statute 103(a) as amended. All serve for terms co-extensive with that of the superior general. The assistants hold rank alternately by society [of religious brothers and religious priests], the first assistant always belonging to the society other than that of the superior general” (107).
The reason for the equal number of brothers and priests in the General Council, as well as their alternation in rank order on the Council, comes from the vision and the founding charism of the Congregation’s founder, Blessed Basile Moreau. In the words of the current Constitutions, Blessed Moreau envisioned “a religious Congregation composed of two distinct societies of religious, one of religious priests and one of religious brothers, bound together in one indivisible brotherhood” (6). Since the Congregation’s founding, the General Council has been one of the key manifestations and realizations of Holy Cross’s single brotherhood.
“Our Constitutions say that ‘for the Kingdom to come in this world, disciples must have the competence to see and the courage to act.’ We have demonstrated our competence in envisioning our future, but the next step is courageously to act upon it,” continued Br. Bednarczyk. “Holy Cross is a resilient group of men and I trust we will.”