Fr. John M. Fernandes

As I sit down penning down these words for our website for the first time as a Provincial, I recall the days gone by. I never thought I would be asked to assume this responsibility of service. As I felt a bit inadequate assuming the role,the liturgy of the Eucharistic celebrationfor the Installation of the new Provincial administrationand specifically the Word of God (The Lord delegating Samuel to anoint the shepherd boy David in front of his brothers, cf. 1 Samuel 16) proclaimed that eveningempowered me. In a way, I am experiencing the fact that God has his own ways of taking forward his mission. And yes, God looks forward for our willing and generous collaboration.

As I thank God and dispose myself to understand his designs for us, I want to sincerely acknowledge all the efforts invested by my predecessor, Fr. Peter MeloFernandes. He was called to shoulder the responsibility of leading the Province at a sensitive period. And I know it was certainly not an easy task altogether. But he did respond to this calling with a genuine sense of commitment, sacrifice and love. I also acknowledge the good work of Fr. Stephen Dias as the Provincial Treasurer and Fr. Christopher Masih as the ProvinicalCouncillor and Co-ordinator for Mission Apostolate.

Dear brothers in Christ, I am indeed touched by the fact that you have reposed your faith in me to lead our Province. I desire to be an instrument facilitating all that our Lord has envisaged for us, for his people and for his greater glory. Each one of us is called by the Lord to collaborate and contribute our mite in ushering God’s Kingdom in and through the ministry entrusted to us. I pray and look forward to receive the same generosity and collaboration which we promised our Lord in and through our commitment to this family of the Society of Pilar.

Dear brothers, I attempted to visit all the three Local Houses of our Province this month. I had my maiden visit to the far flung Bakshinagar Local House. I recall with joy that the first member I met was our dynamic and zealous Br. David Masih. He has by now touched the lives of thousands of sisters and brothers through the wonderful ministry of retreat preaching in the diocese of Jalandhar. I also took this opportunity to meet and seek the blessings of the prelates there (Rt. Rev. Franco Mulakkal, Bishop of Jalandhar and Rt. Rev. Ivan Pereira, Bishop of Jammu-Srinagar). The prelates were full of praise for the creativity, commitment and missionary zeal so very evident in the ministry undertaken by our members serving in these dioceses. I received their appreciation, but I must say that our members toiling in these areas deserve all the credit. My visit to the Bathinda Local House was a pleasant experience and amongst all things, Ifelt delighted visiting our young seminarians who are bubbling with joy and enthusiasm and wanting to march ahead with the mission we carry. On the whole, I am truly overwhelmed by the warmth and openness I experienced when I visited the members of our Province.

The past month had the maximum number of birthdays of our priest-members. I am glad I was there for all of their birthdays (those in the Province). Such occasions bring us together and avail us opportunities to affirm our brothers for the wonderful gift of their person to the Province, the Society and the Mission at large. We will very soon have more opportunities for coming together. The forthcoming Annual General Meeting (AGM) and later on the Provincial Chapter of Affairs, which will be convoked very soon, would serve to facilitate our bonding and commitment for the mission of Christ our Lord.

Brothers, by the time you receive this copy, I believe we would be together participating in the AGM. I am sure you would acknowledge with me that there is much achieved and much to be achieved for God’s glory. We have already put our hands on the plough. I wish and pray that we may walk together hand in hand (despite our weakness and shortcomings) and keep God’s vision enshrined in our heart and mind. May the Lord strengthen our bonds of unity and help us to selflessly proclaim the encountered Christ!