Having been officially established on January 1, 2023, by decree of the 2022 General Chapter, the new Province of Tamil Nadu in India gathered on the feast day of the Congregation of Holy Cross’s founder, Blessed Basile Moreau, to celebrate its new status. Before becoming a province, the Vicariate of Tamil Nadu had been under the canonical supervision of the General Administration.
The day began with the gathering of all members of the new province in Fahtima Nagar with Br. Paul Bednarczyk, C.S.C., Superior General, and Fr. Emmanuel Kallarackal, C.S.C., First Assistant and Vicar General.
The province members then traveled to the nearby campus of Holy Cross Matriculation Higher Secondary School, Somarasempetta, for the formal celebration of the province’s establishment. The celebration was a wonderful, intimate gathering of Holy Cross religious, area clergy and religious, friends, and students.
Fr. Kallarackal presided at the Mass, while Br. Bednarczyk gave the homily. During the Mass, Fr. Gaspar Selvaraj, C.S.C., professed his faith and took the oath of office as the first provincial superior. Following him, all the provincial councilors did the same. Then Br. Bednarczyk read from the scroll officially declaring the establishment of the Province of Tamil Nadu.
As it was also the feast day of Blessed Basile Moreau, at the end of the Mass, Br. Bednarczyk and Fr. Kallarackal formally opened for the province the year dedicated to the 150th anniversary of Blessed Moreau's entry into eternal life.
After the Mass, there was a short ceremony to thank the invited guests, a cultural program, and a catered meal. This gave the invited guests a chance to express their gratitude and celebrate this great milestone in the history of the Congregation's mission in India.
The other jurisdictions of the congregation in India were well represented at the celebration, including Fr. Simon Fernandes, C.S.C., Superior of the North East India Province; Fr. Lawrence D’Almeida, C.S.C., representing Fr. Roque D’Costa, C.S.C., Superior of the South India Province; and Br. PJ Santosh, C.S.C., Superior of the new St. André Province.
The wider congregation was also present, including Fr. George Kamal Rozario, C.S.C., Superior of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Province; Br. SubalRozario, C.S.C., Superior of the St. Joseph Province; Br. Kenneth Haders, C.S.C., Superior of the Midwest Province; and Fr. John Britto, C.S.C., of the United States Province.
In addition to the Province of Tamil Nadu, the 2022 General Chapter decreed the establishment of three other provinces, all of which came into existence on January 1, 2023: Province of East Africa, Province of West Africa, and Saint André Province of brothers in India.
“Those who have gone before us crossed borders of every sort in order to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ in word and deed. Thanks to their dedication, our Congregation has taken root and expanded in various parts of the world,” stated the 2022 General Chapter in its preamble to the decrees establishing the new province. “We recognize their missionary zeal as we establish new provinces and approve of structures that promise to enhance our efforts to read the signs of the times and be faithful to our mission.”