Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Leaving for 3 Provinces of Kerala India

Month of June was the hectic one. We had two weeks of Council meeting. Then we had one week formation program for the New Provincial Ministers. These three weeks kept all of us busy and on our feet. Physically and mentally one gets tired but at the end of the day there a great satisfaction that overwhlems you. You have a great feeling that you are doing for the Orde which you love from the bottom of your heart. The new aprovincials meeting was a learning week, knowing and encountering days with the provincials. 

The Provincials too were open and ready to learn from the course which has its own value and importance. The new provincials showed great and committed interests in attending and learning from it. The General Minister and councilors were all through the week were with the new Provincial ministers. This has been the practice and it does good for the participants. The presence of the entire coucil encourages the participants. They have moments to meet and dialogue with the councilors and as welll as with the General Minister. 

After this new provincials meeting the councilors one by one are on their way to their respective areas for visitation, chapters and attending assemblies. It is great to visit our friars and be with them to animate and listen to them. 

Brothers Pio and Mark are already in Canada Province, French speaking. The vicar general has already left for one of the Eastern european provinces for pastoral visitation. Br. Raffael is visiting North Italy province. The others are all getting ready to leave this week.

I am leaving this evening for Kerala. I will be making a pastoral visitation of St. Thomas from 2-18th July and from 20-8th August of St. Joseph. From 10-3rd September of St. Francis. I am going to be in kerala for two months. It is mansoon and great climate. Everywhere its green during this time of the year. The hills and mountains look great as they are dressed up well with different shades of green colors. The rivers are now getting filled up with rain water. 

Monday, June 29, 2015

Happy Feast of St. Peter and Paul

Today the City of Rome is enjoying a holiday on the occasion of the feast of  of Sts. Peter and Paul, the great pillars and apostles of the Church. St. Peter lovingly known the builder of the Church and responded to the call of Jesus to allow his person on whom the Church was founded and st. Paul the great Apostle to the Gentiles who persecuted Church, the Lord called, transformed and made him the apostle. They represent the faith of the Church, holy yet always in need of God’s healing grace. The Church is holy because God who gathers us into community is holy. Yet, as a community deeply immersed in the world, we are constantly in need of purification from God.
Today the roads are free as the city celebrated the feast of its Patrons ........
 The Pope celebrated the Mass this morning and during which he gave Pallium to 46 Archbishops from different parts of the world.....
Curia celebrates the feast as well as to celebrate and congratulate one of our Capuchin Archbishop Beato from Tanzania......who received Pallium from the Pope....
 Francisco.....enjoying the noodles prepared by Br. Willie....
 A missionary from Africa....welcomed this morning by African councilor....

 Madagascar Provincial enjoying the snacks prepared by the curia friars.....
 Archbishop Beato......congratulations....best of Luck and good work in the archdiocese....

 Friend of Br Carlos.....joins us for the celebration
Br. Massimiliano, the new College economo.....doing his Italian language course....finishing by end of this week.....he is from Brazil.....we wish and pray for him.....all the best Brother....May the Lord be with you


Sunday, June 28, 2015

New Provincial Ministers visit the General Curia and Lunch

 Guardian welcoming the provincials .....words in Italian and English

 we have a big refectory....60 friars can be accommodated
 Clayton is ice cream seller

 Br. Kees from South Africa custody

 Spanish friars....from Latinamerica


In 1510, the Portuguese conquered Goa and founded their empire I India.  In 1526, some Franciscan priests entered canara and founded three churches around Mangalore.  Lady of Rosary at Bolar, Lady of Mercy at Ullal and St. Francis of Assisi at Farangipet.  The last name means foreigners town {Farangi +pet} land of foreigners. Because it was a Portuguese trade outpost.
Hyder Ali conquered the Bednore kingdom in 1763 when Fr. Joachim Miranda was the parish priest at Farangipet.  Hyder Ali sought his favour and asked for his prayers for the success of his military campaigns and also made votive offerings in Monte Mariano church. His soldiers use to light candles at the foot of mother Mary so that they may win the wars.
However, for his Tippu sultan, Fr. Joachim Miranda was a problem.  He was aware that the priest and Hyder Ali were good friends.  Tippu began showing respect for the priest but was determined to capture Catholics and hold them captive in Srirangapatnam.  Tippu sought from FR. Miranda information about the British General, Mathew.  He refused it give information. Incidentally, while Tippu destroyed all churches in canara, when Tippu’s horsemen arrived to plunder the Monte Mariano monastery, it is known that Fr. Miranda showed the copper plate given by Hyder Ali, authorizing the rights of land for worship.  Hence, the soldier’s spared the monastery from plundering. And also his father’s friendship with Fr. Joachim Miranda.
The nativity of our Lady or the birthday of our beloved mother Mary also called as monthi fest by Mangalorean catholic community is also celebrated as a harvest festival like onam of Kerala, pongal of Andra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.  As per the local history Monthi fest has its origin in Farangipet in the outskirts of Mangalore.  Here Fr. Miranda a Goan priest who lived around 300 years ago, started this practice on top of a hill, on the northern bank of the Nethravathi River where lies an ancient place called Monte Mariano.
It is also known as Mount of Mary.  Oral history goes to state that the nativity festival of our Lady was first celebrated at Monte Mariano to coincide with the annual feast of the church.  The term monthi has been derived from the word Monte and over the years has been modified to be known as monthi fest.
The sources including the other religion neighbours say that the Monthi fest took birth in Farangipet.  It is one of the three designated major feasts of Mangalore Diocese.  The others being the feasts of St. Lawrence at karkala and lady of Pompei at Urva.  Until a few decades ago, monthi fest was celebrated on a grand scale at Monte Mariano, with surrounding parishes too participating.  A large number of devotees from Mangalore, including tile manufacturers and coffee planters, footed it out to Farangipet for the feast.  
Catholics in Tulu Nadu, set to celebrate Monthi Fest on September 8, know it is the day of the Nativity feast the birth of Mary, mother of Jesus.  But, hardly anyone stops to think why it is called monthi fest.  Some research and inquires with people who should know leads to the conclusion that Monthi fest originated at Farangipet about 300 years ago.
 It was started in the month of September because in that month the other religion brethren celebrated their Ganapathi Habba-feast.  It uses to last for 9 days.  All these 9 days they were not eating meat or fish, but only vegetarian.  So Fr. Joachim Miranda strictly followed 9 days novena to be held in honour of Nativity feast. This was followed even lately in our houses.  After blessing the new corn when it is brought to the house our parents were not keeping any kind of non-veg. 
Farangipet is home to an ancient catholic outpost who, at various times, has been, and still is, a church, friary, monastery and seminary.  The official name of the place is Monte mariano- Mount of Mary.  The monthi fest derives its name, from Monte.  It was here that a Goan priest, Fr. Joachim Miranda, started this annual new corn feast.  But, Catholics generally are unfamiliar with the Monte Mariano name and call the place Coventh (convent).  They cannot be faulted because even the RTC, based on ancient land records, notes the owner of the plot as Montu Mary Coventu Devaru.  One thing is all the ancient lands which are under the church or temple the owner is God, Devaru.
Fr. Joachim Miranda built a St. Joseph’s seminary at Farangipet which was later shifted to St. Antony’s Ashram Jeppu and then the present place where the Seminary exits.
The mother Mary’s statue which is now erected at the entrance of the main gate was somewhere on the hill near the church.  In 1945 it was shifted near the main gate.
This Monte Mariano also known as the second cradle of capuchins in India since it housed the only Novitiate of whole of India till 1967.
The monastery is located on the bank of the River Nethravathi high on a cliff.  The breath-taking view of mighty river at the background with lush greenery on the hillock close to monastery transpires one to leap into spiritual mode.  The monastery being thronged by devotees as far away from neighbouring taluks of Bantwal, Putur, Vittal,  Bellore, Sullia and Mangalore to offer prayers. 
This Friary is nearly 10kms away from Mangalore on national highway 48 is also known for its famous Sant mari-Coventheche Vodlen Fest.  It is actually the feast of the patron saint- Francis of Assisi.  There is a wooden carved statue of St. Francis of Assisi which was brought by the Portuguese. 480 years old. No where can we see a statue of St. Francis of Assisi holding a cross and a Bible in his hand indicating a missionary and proclaiming Christ.  It is a miracle statue.  Many faithful including other religion brothers and sisters pay their homage and ask for favours. 
When the capuchins began their Novitiate in 1930 they began the practice of celebrating the feast on the first Thursday after the October 4th, the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi. THEY CELEBRATE IT ON THURSDAY, SINCE THE MONASTERY’S RULE RESTRICTED THEM FROM EATING MEAT ON WEDNESDAYS. OTHER THAN THIS THERE WAS NO OTHER REASON WHY IT WAS CELEBRATED ON A THURSDAY.  Hence, the feast which gives a start to the Voddelm fest season in the entire Mangalore diocese is known as ‘Coventhachem Fest-feast of the Friary.  One of the special features of this feast is that beggars from all over who come to the friary on the festal day were fed in the afternoon.
With the passing of years the devotees for the ‘’Coventhachem Fest’’ became less and less.  It was traditionally celebrated on Thursday.  But Thursday was not a holiday.  The other reason could be there are fewer children in families and the elders go for work.  So there was no opportunity to participate in the feast. Hence, when all people take part, the young, the old and the children there is much joy and celebration.   
Taking into consideration all these reasons of common people’s life, the present superior         {who spent 16 years among the poorest of the poor in Raichur District of Bellary Diocese} and the community took the bold decision with the consultation of deanery priests of shifting this historical feast from Thursday to the first Sunday of October.
 The reason is that today there are classes on Thursday and the elders go for work.  Thus they are unable to attend mass on the feast day.  As a result the present as well as the future generation will not know the history about the celebration of the feast of ‘’Farangipet Coventh’’.  To make it more convenient to all the elders as well as children the celebration of the feat is shifted to Sunday.  Meals are served to all who take part in the festal celebration. 
On Sunday’s people from Omzoor, Merlapadav, Bantwal, Bellore, Fajir, Padil, Mogarnad and Loreto participate in the Holy Eucharist in our chapel.  There is a deep love and veneration for our friary which has come down from our forefathers.
The celebration of the ‘’Montifest’’ started in our Friary in the month of September because the feast of Ganapathi was celebrated by our Hindu brethren in that month.  It lasted for 9 days.  On all these 9 days they ate neither meat nor fish but only vegetable.  Fr. Joachim Miranda began 9 days of Novena in honour of the Nativity of Mary.  This was followed lately in our houses.  The blessed new corn that is brought to houses is consumed by the family members.  There were no non-veg dishes on that day.
The statue of Infant Mary which is preserved in our chapel has an interesting history.  It is from Italy.  It was brought by a family in Nelyadi.  They wanted to donate it to a Church.  Meanwhile they were told by some Mangalorean family that the feast of the Nativity took birth in Monte Mariano Farangipet.  And one fine day with the whole family they visited here donated the statue to us. 
There is a wooden carved statue of St. Francis of Assisi brought by the Portuguese and it is 480 years old.  Nowhere one can see a statue of St. Francis holding a cross and the Bible in his hand.  This shows the missionary life of Francis proclaiming Christ.  It is a miracle statue.  Many people including people of other religions pay their homage to St. Francis and ask for favours.
There is a Commerce School which caters to the need of poor dropout girls in tailoring and Provide computer education too. We have begun a play home too.
Welcome to visit us.                                                  Thanks to all the readers.
Fr. Jerald Lobo, OFM Cap                                                             
St. Fidelis Friary                                                                                          9448758084
Monte Mariano

Farangipet-574 143.

Concluding Eucharist by the General Minister

The meeting of the new provincial got over yesterday evening with an eucharistic celebration presided over by the General Minister. He preached a homily encouraging the provincial to follow the example of Jesus, to be convinced of their role and responsibility of guiding and animating the friars. One week full of talks, discussion and questions and answers made the provincials to re-think about their way of animating the provinces at the moment. Their sharing about the course was positive.
After the Eucharist we had moderate meal....we had some Indian Curries of pork and chicken. The curia members all left for curia and the participants stayed on and Sunday morning will go to the Vatican to be present for the Angelus of the Pope. The provincials are invited for a Lunch to the General curia today.
 Francisco and Jean Marcel, guided n conducted the liturgy during this one week....they helped us to pray better with their music and voices...thank you brothers and God bless you

 Brothers General, Raffale and Custos of Cameroon....concelebating the Eucharist
 The friars participating with full enthusiasm and faith in the Eucharistic celebration

 The General Minister preaching the homily....he is always at his best when he preaches...always with a smile....which makes the listeners to be in tune with him....good preacher and theologian....

 Friars in full attention....hanging on the lips......good thoughts to carry home....

 Oh what words.....can we be like Jesus...do what He did.....Can we confront our brothers with love and service....Can we call a Rod a rod....a snake a snake....or cover up for our own good name at the cost of the Order and the Church...

 The friars are responding the general minister with their full attention.....we wish and pray that the words and admonitions of General minister be put into practice....

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Evaluation of the course and concluding Remarks by the General Minister

 How shall we go home from here, what do you bring to house something new which is rich, what do your suggest for the next year for those who come for this course. What experience has made you rich? Having lived here what is your experience of the prayer, food and the course? What suggestions could you give to better this course? We have every year changed something after taking into the suggestions of the participants.
Take back home that I need to be an example
Days were heavy and long, exhaustive days, little more free times required
We are multicultural fraternity and it was a rich experience
Learnt that provincials do have problems in the province but having courage to confront.
The consciousness of the mission spirit
Wanted to hear the challenges of the Order at present
The difficulties and hardships of the friars in other parts of the world
How to organize, animate and move on in the custody, meeting was an eye opener.
I belong to a larger community than my own small world
I learnt many things during this course which I was not knowing
New and learning experience, celebration of brotherhood, a joy to meet many friars
We heard many beautiful things and now like Mother Mary we need to conceive and put into practice
Let us go down as Jesus told his disciples on the mountain. The disciples wanted to pitch their tents but Jesus took them down…….

Every year it is a different but rich experience
Expected a lot from you the provincials like your challenges and difficulties
Experienced internationality here
the provincials could have presented some information about the province….
Recreation could have been better organized

 General Minister summing up the week.....
 Sergio felt at home in the company of all friars
 Portugal provincial sharing his experience of the week

 Victorrius is making a suggestion