Hope for the Church in India

Plans for the Marians' house in India reach decades into the past, and peer half a century into the future. We sat down with Fr. Wojciech Jasi?ski, MIC, a Marian General Councilor in Rome, to find out about the Marians' progress India.

How long have the Marians been in India?
We opened a formation house in Tamil Nadu, India, nearly 10 years ago, but we started searching and discerning the new mission years before.

What was the main motive for a Marian presence there?
Every place where we go - not just India - there's a conviction that we are not going to find priests and bring them to Europe or to the United States, but to root our charism and our presence in the country. This is the main idea, the main desire: to implement the charism of Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which is the essence of the Marian Congregation. We believe that the charism of the Marian Fathers is so rich and so important for the Church. And having seen the gifts, like the beatification and canonization of our Founder St. Stanislaus Papczy?ski, we believe that the Lord wants us to bring our presence, and our charism, to other nations as well.

What is your personal involvement with the Marians in India?
This mission is guided by the General Council of our Congregation from Rome. Because I serve as a member of the General Council and as the General Econome [general treasurer], I'm involved also in guiding the mission in India. On a daily basis I help the mission with donations and bank transfers. So, if they have any projects, it always goes through my office. And then we discuss it in Rome.

Have you been to the mission?
I've traveled to India three times. So, I've seen the minor seminary, which is now finished and in full operation. We have around 40 young men in the house, 35 of whom are discerning their vocation. We have 12 seminarians who have made their vows. Three deacons were ordained in May. We can see the fruits of the work. With ordinations coming soon, we can think about the growth and development of the mission.

What growth do you anticipate?
We are working on another house in the state of Karnataka in a city called Mysuru. We've purchased the land, and we've even started construction. We hope it will be finished in the next year or two. It would allow the seminarians to live in their own house, which is the major seminary for the theologians.

How well is the Marian presence known?
It's known among the religious and the local clergy and the faithful. We've heard many times, especially the other religious or the clergy, telling us that they are so grateful that we have decided to open the house and [that] we decided to start the mission.

What makes them so grateful?
Less than 2 percent of India is Catholic. So, every new movement of every new religious community brings new hope and shows that the Church - although very small in number compared to all of India - is vibrant. Is developing. Is bringing new vocations to the local Church. Is deepening the hope of the evangelization.

So, vocations is a major goal in India?
I would say the main mission now would be the formation of our candidates, our seminarians. But there's also formation of young men who come mostly with the desire to stay with us. We help them to discover their own vocation, not necessarily to live the consecrated life, and we help them with their education. So, even if they leave after a couple of years, they leave with a deeper Christian formation, with some college, and with a good knowledge of English as well.

What would seminarians from India do after ordination?
Those first three deacons will come next year to Rome to take post-graduate studies. They could stay in the General House with us but also, hopefully, visit [the Marian Houses in] Poland or other places where we live and work to help them to grow in their identification as Marians. Then they will try to think about formation and pastoral work in India.

Any other plans?
One of the dreams that we have right now is to establish a Shrine of Divine Mercy. We know that we can make some preparations, but the major pastoral work would have to be carried out by Indian priests. So I assume that we have plans for at least 50 years.

Is there anything special you'd like to say to our readers?
Surely. I would like to thank the members of the Association of Marian Helpers for every support. First of all, for the prayers for the Marians and for our mission in India. And also for the financial support which has helped to build. Like the first house we built, and the new house we will build, and the future development of the churches or a Divine Mercy Shrine - we can do it only because of the donations and the support we receive from donors. So, once again, on behalf of myself and the whole General Council, I would like to say a great "Thank You" for the support and for understanding the need for the Marian house and the presence of the Church in India, which is the Church's mission to bring evangelization and proclamation of Jesus Christ as our Savior.

You might also like...

On Feb. 8, we celebrate the feast day of St. Josephine Bakhita, who was born in Sudan, sold into slavery, and entered a convent after being freed. It is also the International Day of Prayer and Awareness Against Human Trafficking.

We celebrate the Baptism of the Lord on Jan. 8 this year. Jesus's Baptism stresses necessity of the Sacrament in removing original sin.

The perpetual profession of vows, also known as making perpetual or final vows, is the last step in joining a religious congregation. Two Marian brothers will take that “last step” on Sat., Aug. 13 with the Marians: Br. Jason Lewis, MIC, and Br. Ruben Veloz, MIC.