On February 9th and 10th the Province of Tamil Nadu took its turn hosting for the first time the Asian Pastors Conference. The meeting, held at Moreau Illam, Fathimanagar near Trichy, was planned and coordinated by Fr. Amalraj, C.S.C., Pastoral Coordinator, and Fr. Ranjith, C.S.C., Superior at Fathimanagar. Thirty-four Holy Cross priests involved in parish ministry from India and Bangladesh participated in the two-day conference.
The conference opened with a prayer service led by Fr. Paulraj, C.S.C. Then Fr. Gaspar Selvaraj, C.S.C., Superior of the Province of Tamil Nadu, delivered an eloquent welcome address, emphasizing Pope Francis’s expectations for all pastors. Fr. Paulraj then introduced Fr. David, CSsR, a redemptorist priest from Bangalore, who was the conference’s main facilitator.
Fr. David began his talk by quoting Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, the former President of India, who said, “The death of a priest is the death of a country.” He inspired the participants to be better pastors by sharing many real-life stories and incidents. He included a number of exercises, which helped the priests understand better the problems they face in their pastoral work and how to deal with them.
Fr. David encouraged those present not to look for resources from outside, but to look within themselves and see how they could use what they already have to serve better in their parishes.
As the conference came to an end, the four Pastoral Coordinators from the participating jurisdictions expressed their gratitude for the conference and looked forward to future gatherings to strengthen the parish work of Holy Cross in Asia.