Along with the Chennai Community Sisters, Sr.Helen, Sr. Mary and the Council, Associates anticipated the preparatory celebration of the Bicentenary of our PBN Family on 4th December 2016.
One day before this family event, the associates came to the convent and kept ready the decorations, flex board with the theme embellished creatively and beautifully on it, varieties of gifts and prizes wrapped with colorful papers.
The next day, we had the adoration of the Holy Eucharist. An introduction about the bicentenary celebration and the history of the Holy Family Foundation in the world and in India was given. Five new couples and many new members participated in this gathering and came to know about the Charism and Spirituality of our Ven. Founder. Games and drama were conducted by our associates on the theme ‘LIVE COMMUNION, CELEBRATE FAMILY’. Gifts were distributed to all the members including the Sisters. They distributed the pamphlets to the new members about the Vocation of Holy Family Lay Associates. Finally this special event was concluded with and shared meal joyfully.
A few associates and the sisters shared their experiences as given bellow:
Mrs. Mary Abraham:
“I am so happy to participate in this Bicentenary celebration of our FAMILY and enjoyed our Holy Family Associates’ get together. By giving programme, I have learnt how to respect and how to grow in creating healthy relationships - Communion with my family members, neighbours and with my husband. I have taken the resolution that hereafter I will come regularly to the meetings and to bring new members to our group.
Mrs. Vijaya Maria Johnson:
“Holy Family is a support and refuge to my own family. I feel the belongingness and affection to the group. I feel that all are my brothers, sisters and they are my relatives. Through our Holy Family Associates, I have learnt to live the virtues of the Holy Family. I am doing sacrifices in order to build unity in my family and with our neighbours. I have grown in personal prayer, conducting prayer services in groups and in devotion in the Eucharistic Lord”.
Sr. Suneetha Saila:
“I am happy about the gathering of the Lay Associates on this special occasion. I really enjoyed by their active participation and each one’s valuable presence. It made me to feel our ONENESS and FAMILY SPIRIT. I felt that they are strong and I appreciate each one’s talent and their way of sharing. I found that they are in need of our Sisters’ presence and we are in need of their support for the growth of our FAMILY of PBN. It is my first experience with the Holy Family Lay Associates”.
“On 4th December, at evening our Lay Associates celebrated the opening day of the bicentenary year of our Holy Family Foundation and performed a brief cultural programme. It was a lively programme, meaningful songs, games and dramas gave message and at the same time it was an entertainment to all. As One Family, Sisters too joined them in imitating dialogues and sing songs. A Few new couples and new members from our parish were also present. They came to know the richness, the valuable presence and activities of our Lay Associates and appreciated the Sisters’ ministries.
The theme “LIVE COMMUNINION, CELEBRATE FAMILY” contains meaning to begin our BICENTENARY preparation on the30th. December 2016 – the Feast of our Parish Church dedicated to the Holy Family. A double reason to come together for both the Parishioners and us.
The day followed a series of prayers and celebrations. Sr. Rose Mary led the community prayer in the morning to open the Bicentenary preparation calling every one even the Novices to express gratitude to God for the manifold blessing bestowed upon the Big Family with Five Vocations. With love and gratitude we honored the Holy Family and our dear Founder with floral garland.
At 11 AM we gathered the Children of the Holy Family to have a sit chat about the purpose of the day and made them to recall our Founder’s life and his dream. We invited them for a prayer of thanksgiving in our Chapel. The Holy Family hymn was chanted by them and they promised to attend the meetings regularly. A tea party followed and we enjoyed together. We had another unique sharing with Rose Mary - a physically challenged lady from our Parish - whom we care for the wholistic growth from her childhood. She received a wheel chair presented by a benefactor Dr. Joseph Selvaraj who was motivated by Sr. Helen. The family is ever grateful for providing such a facility for the mobility of this woman.
The climax of the day was the evening beautifully sung Eucharist. It was officiated by the Vicarforane of our area Rev. Fr. Maria Joseph. Our Salasien Fathers - Parish Priest and others concelebrated. Six S.M.A Sisters who are working in one of our Sub stations joined us in this celebration. The Parishioners were happy to raise their voice and praise Jesus, Mary and Joseph. At the beginning of the Eucharist Sr. Vannaka Mary traced briefly the History of our Family and thanked God for the 38 years of our service in Pavunjur Parish. She also explained the meaning of Jubilee and the importance of the preparation to reach year 2020 the 200th year of our Foundation.
After the Eucharist we distributed sweets to all present. The special invitees joined us in the agape laid out by us.
The inauguration of the celebration for the Bicentenary of our Foundation was held in our Community with our lay Associates; priest Associates, children of the holy family and sisters on 30th December 2016 on the feast of the Holy Family.
The celebration started with procession where each person was given the virtues of the Holy family in the symbol of a flower, chanting the Holy Family hymn and ended the procession near the grotto of our lady and placed the flowers at the feet of our lady in the pond. Priest Associates Frs. Servatius , Martin and our Parish Priest celebrated the Holy Eucharist in front of the convent portico, decorated with two banners to give thanks to the Lord for all his goodness, his presence and his guidance since 1820. Then we all walked into our garden to plant a mango sapling as a remembrance of the inauguration of bicentenary celebration. We had a festive lunch thereafter.
On 30th December at 6.00 P.M a high mass was celebrated by our Parish Priest Rev Fr. Maria Michael, Asst. Parish Priest Rev Fr. Anbu Selvam and Rev. Fr. Edward who belongs to the Congregation of Holy Family of Nazareth. We invited the neighboring communities for the celebration. Sisters of Charity, C.M.I fathers and the sisters of Lucia participated. The celebration started with the procession with a short introduction about the bicentenary celebration of our family by Sr. Fatima, Srs.Lali and Ganana Gracy carried the banner bearing the Logo “Live Communion, Celebrate Family”. Sr.Latha carried the Pascal candle, the statue of the Holy Family was taken by the Lay Associate, the lighted candles by other associates and children of the Holy Family and proceed towards the hall, where the children of the Holy family did a welcome dance. The banner was placed in the centre of the stage.
A brief introduction was given by our associate Mr. Amal. Fr. Edward emphasized in his sermon the importance of Faith in each one’s life. An entertainment programme was given by our Children of the Holy Family. Sr. Latha thanked the sisters, fathers, Associates and children of the Holy Family for their presence and participation. Dinner was served for all. As a memento of this function, a sapling of sappotta plant was planted by Sisters, Associates and Asst Parish Priest Rev. Fr. Anbuselvam. The Celebration came to an end with the Holy Family Anthem.
Let us rejoice with our Founder and the Holy Family our Source of Inspiration. As we prepare to celebrate our 200th “Birth Anniversary of our Association” We the Apostolic Sisters, Lay Associates, children of the Holy Family, some of our parish families with the Parish Priest and the neighboring parish concelebrated the Holy family feast mass on 30th December.
We have shared the meaning of our day’s celebration in the mass introduction and the prayer of the faithful. Rev.Fr. Soosaimanikam the parish priest of Sekkakudi said in his homily “Jesus, Mary and Joseph who were always shared their joy and happiness with those who lived around and among them. The values of Holy Family such as simplicity, hidden life and their sharing with ordinary people” were stressed. After the mass we shared our joy by distributing sweets with the people who were present. In the evening in our convent chapel we had the Eucharistic Adoration in union with our worldwide family in prayer. We reflected on the Bicentenary logo “Live Communion Celebrate Family” and also we decided to dedicate the whole year as thanks giving days for the gifts and assurance of God’s presence in our life and Family events. May Jesus Mary and Joseph always be our Guide to lead us towards the New Society in love!
We started our preparatory period with the prayer service in the morning. We gratefully remembered our Founder’s courageous initiative and Jesus’ faithful promise (I am who am) to our family.
Our joy was doubled because of our parish church bears the name of the Holy Family. With our lay associates, parishioners from substations, people from nearby villages, parishes from other religions and sisters from nearby communities joined us to celebrate this event. Flex was prepared with the symbol and logo of our Jubilee and placed it the prominent place in the church.
We had procession from our house to the church by holding flowers and offered them at the feet of the Holy Family statue and prayed. We explained the meaning Jubilee Logo “Live communion, Celebrate Family” also shared about the values and virtues of the Holy Family. At the time of adoration we guided the people to praise and invoke God’s blessings for all the families. Our Lay Associates renewed their promise during the Holy Mass. At the end we enjoyed the meal together and Parish Priest Fr. James gave linen item to all.
RAMANAKKAPETA & MULAGALAMPADU – A.P.
We thank the lord for his blessing and protection for the past years. The celebration has started on December 31st at 10 A.M in Ramanakkapeta community. We welcomed the priests, sisters from Mulagalampadu and our lay associates from different parishes with Sandle paste and kumkum. After a clear introductory message by Sr. Jeya the procession moved to the hall. Welcome dance led the procession. After the Kumba Aarathi we entered the hall for Eucharistic celebration the chief guest blessed the Logo “Live communion, Celebrate Family” as a sign of inauguration of our Bi-centenary celebration. Rev. Fr. Dath VF Nuzvid zonel and Nuzvid parish priest was the main celebrant. Mass Introduction was given by Mr. Elisha, President of lay associates of Ramanakkapeta. Rev. Fr. Sahaya Raj OMI from Musunuru parish priest and Correspondent of St. Eugene English Medium School gave a good message. He said about the Holy Family values and their simple life style, centered on God alone. After the sermon the committed members renewed their promise with joy and conviction.
Sr. Pushpa proposed the vote of thanks to all the Priests, Sisters and people for their prayers and support. The chief guest and all the priests were honored with shawls. This celebration ended up with festive meal. Rev. Fr. Bala OMI the parish priest said a word of appreciation for our selfless service in this parish.
On 29.12.2016 some of us went to visit home to call the people to come and join our celebration. There was mass on 29th December Evening, about 5:30.pm people came one by one and mass started at 6 pm.
In front of our house people gathered we welcomed everybody with sandal paste and kumkum. Entrance song was sung Sr. Jancy read the introduction. Parish Priest in his homily spoke about the life of the Holy Family during their earthly sojourn.
Soon after the mass, Parish Priest called parishioners to wish us by singing Feast day song. After the wishing we shared dinner we ourselves prepared for the people. Sr. Vimala thanked the people and our parish priest for their active involvement in our celebration.
We have started our Bicentenary celebration on the feast of Holy Family. It inspired us and our people. Since the people are not familiar of this feast, we visited the houses in the Parish and invited them for this celebration with the intention to start a group of Lay Associates in this bicentenary year. We also invited OMI Fathers from different places and our Sr. Salomi and Novice Sushma’s families. At 10.30am we had Eucharistic celebration. At the end of the mass we cut the cake and people sang the beautiful tribal cultural wishing song and wished us by telling “Jai Yesu”. After a mass we gave sweets to the people. Later we had meals together with our family members, Catechists, Parish councils and some families from our parish. In the evening our Bishop and three Priests came to wish us. Bishop conducted a meaningful prayer service in which he mentioned that the “Holy Family Sisters are simple, living in a small house just like that of Nazareth and have the ability to become part of any culture, we are happy about your presence and mission in our Diocese, Go Forward.” His words of encouragement revived our Spirit to do our mission in North. We thank our Lord Almighty for the call we have received in our family and He made this day joyful and memorable.