Chennai (India). On 24 November 2022, the day of the arrival of six pioneering missionaries in Tamil Nadu – Thanjavur, at the headquarters of the Province of St. Thomas the Apostle (INM) of Kodambakkam, Chennai, the Vicar General of the Salesians of Don Bosco, Fr. Stefano Martoglio, participated in the celebrations for the centenary of the presence of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians in India.
Although the official celebration of the Centenary – has already taken place at the level of the PCI Conference on 3 September 2022, at the Auxilium College Campus of Vellore (INM), in the presence of the Superior General of the FMA Institute, Mother Chiara Cazzuola, and of the Rector Major, Fr. Àngel Fernàndez Artime, each Community took the opportunity to celebrate the anniversary together with the young people, the members of the Salesian Family, the whole Educating Community , collaborators, and children.
The celebration at the Fatima Convent of Kodambakkam had a special tone of joy due to the presence of Sr. Celine Jacob, Visiting General Councilor of the FMA Institute, who had just completed the canonical visit to the INM Province.
In the morning, the high school students performed a series of colorful dances, songs, and skits. In her greeting to the teachers and students present, Sr. Celine encouraged them to continue to be of support to the FMA in carrying forward the Salesian Charism handed down by the pioneer missionaries a hundred years ago.
In the evening, there was a solemn Eucharistic celebration presided over by Fr. Stefano Martoglio, and concelebrated by Fr. Jose Kocham Kunnel SDB, Provincial of the St. Thomas the Apostle Province (INM); the Provincial Vicar, the parish priest, and other priests. The FMA of the O. L. of Fatima Community participated in the Holy Mass, some representatives of the Communities of Chennai, and other religious communities, teachers, students, parents, members of VIDES, Salesian Cooperators, members of the Educating Communities, and the families of the children, thanking God together for the marvels accomplished in the span of 100 years through the Salesian Sisters.
during his homily, Fr. Stefano Martoglio summarized the sentiments of all present in two words: Gratitude and Fidelity. “We must thank God for all His blessings, for Mary’s presence in our homes and for her accompaniment, for the prodigious growth of the mission in India. We must be faithful in living and transmitting the charism of our Founders and of the FMA who preceded us.”
After Holy Mass, there was a brief moment of celebration around the Vicar General, who was honored with a ponnadai, the traditional shawl, and other gifts. Sr. Maria Nirmala Lazar, the INM Provincial, underlined again the joy of having the Vicar General as a guest precisely on the day in which the arrival of the FMA in Thanjavur in 1922 is remembered.
For the occasion, the volume “Beacon Lights Vol. VI” was also presented, with the biographies of five FMA who died from 2019 to 2020, edited by Sr. Viagula Putti.
The evening ended in the Salesian family spirit, with a dinner and greetings, desiring that the 2nd Centenary which is about to start will be full of hope and blessed by the constant presence of God and the motherly presence of Mary.