During the month of September, the Congregation of Holy Cross in India celebrated a series of Final Professions, Deaconate Ordinations, and even one Ordination to the Priesthood. Those professing Final Vows and being ordained represent three different jurisdictions: the Province of South India, the Province of North East India, and the Vicariate of Tamil Nadu.
The first and biggest celebration was on September 9, 2020, at Holy Cross Seminary in Pune. Fr. Arun Das, Assistant Rector, presided and preached at the Mass in which six seminarians professed their Final Vows in the Congregation of Holy Cross. Due to COVID restrictions, attendance at the Mass was limited to the seminary community. The Diaconate Ordination took place the following day with the Most Rev. Thomas Dabre, Bishop of the Diocese of Pune, presiding.
Deacon Praveen Bandula, C.S.C., was born on January 12 in the state of Andhra Pradesh and is one of three children. He attributes his strong faith to the spiritual influence of his grandmother. Professing his First Vows in Holy Cross in 2015, he did two years of regency at Ghanpur and St. Louis Church, Dahisar, Mumbai. Deacon Praveen will serve this year at the Pannur-Manvi Mission of the Jesuits in Karnataka.
Deacon Roshan Minin D’Souza, C.S.C., is 31 years old and from Bhatkal, Karnataka. Raised in a traditional, Catholic family, he is the youngest of nine children. Gifted in singing, acting, and maintenance, he made his First Vows in 2014 and has a devotion to the Eucharist. The Infant Jesus Shrine, Bangalore, will be Deacon Roshan’s site of ministry this coming year.
Deacon Jijo Philip, C.S.C., was born on October 18, 1991, and is from the Neelievyal Parish, in the diocese of Idukki in Kerala. Having joined Holy Cross immediately after senior high school, he made his First Vows in 2015. Deacon Jijo says he enjoys community and freely shares his gift of barbering with his confreres. He will serve his Diaconate at the LOGOS Retreat Centre and Parish in Bangalore.
Deacon Manoj Kulanthai Rathinam, C.S.C., is 26 years old and is the eldest of the three sons in a faith-filled family. He was born in Thottiyam, Tamil Nadu. Professing his First Vows in 2016, he values the multi-culturalism and family spirit of Holy Cross. Deacon Manoj enjoys youth work and is especially talented in the areas of media and communication. He will begin his Diaconate ministry at the Sentharapatti Parish in the diocese of Salem.
Deacon Vicky L. Gayang, C.S.C., is 27 years old and is from Meghalaya, India. He is the youngest of six children. After his First Vows in 2016, he did his regency at St. André Parish, Bodhjungnagar. Deacon Vicky considers Eucharist a “power bank” that is the “source and center” of his life. A creative person who is gifted in music, he is grateful for the support he receives from the community. Deacon Vicky looks forward to joining the St. André Center in Aizawl during his Diaconate.
Deacon Friny Peter Ruwnglal, C.S.C., was born on August 16, 1991. Coming from a family of seven children from Saint Dominic Parish Lamphoupasana, Manipur, his elder brother is a Salesian of Don Bosco. He professed his First Vows in 2016 and immediately began his regency in Meghalaya. Deacon Friny Peter enjoys parish ministry and is skillful with guitar. He is pleased to be part of the mission at Holy Cross Parish in the remote area of Koloriang.
Three days later, on September 12, the Vicariate of Tamil Nadu celebrated the perpetual profession of vows and diaconate ordination of Mr. Santhiya Philosan Soosai, C.S.C. The Mass of Final Profession was held at the St. André House Chapel in Vakkampatty with Fr. Panneer Selvam, C.S.C., Superior of the Vicariate of Tamil Nadu, presiding and preaching. The Most Rev. Thomas Paulsamy, Bishop of the Diocese of Dindigul, was the ordaining bishop the following day.
Deacon Santhiya Philosan Soosai came to Holy Cross from Pamben, Tamil Nadu, near northern Sri Lanka where daily Mass, prayer, devotions, and parish activities were part of his family life. Having learned of Holy Cross through a minor seminary student, after attending a vocation camp, he entered formation in 2008. Deacon Philosen is skillful in art, computers, and dance. He will bring these gifts to the Melakovilpatti Parish in the Archdiocese of Madurai.
The Province of North East India also welcomed to the priesthood on September 13, Fr. Lawrence Wanniang, C.S.C., a member of the Khasi tribe of Meghalaya. He was ordained by the Most Rev. Victor Lyngdoh, Bishop of the Diocese of Jowai, at St. Peter's Cathedral in Pyndengre, Nongstoin. The congregation only included 13 priests and close relatives due to the pandemic. Fr. Wanniang will begin his priestly ministry at St. André Parish, Nyapin, Arunnachal Pradesh.