Marymatha’s motto Pastores Dabo Vobis reminds her of the duty of active involvement in the pastoral field. The program of formation takes utmost care for making the students conscious of the pastoral and social exigencies which they have to address. Marymatha gives supreme importance for the pastoral involvement of the students during their formation. The following attempts were made for the pastoral involvement of the students during this academic year.
Although, seminary formation takes care of the practical dimensions of various aspects, the stress given in the Seminary is more academic. Diaconal internship is a step taken to provide the deacons a life lab experience, before they are ordained priests. The duration of diaconal internship is from 1 st April to 31 st August. The deacons are given sufficient orientation before they begin their diaconal internship. The commissioning Holy Qurbana was celebrated this year by Mar Andrews Thazhath on 31th March 2015 . After breakfast the deacons were taken to their respective parishes by parish priests. The parish priests were also given sufficient orientation regarding the scope, target and methodology of diaconal internship before the deacons were assigned to their parishes. Parish priests were invited twice to the Seminary during the internship to evaluate the programme. The diaconal internship is recognized to be a very effective instrument to give a foretaste of pastoral ministry to the deacons before they are ordained priests. It gives the deacons opportunity (a) to see and learn all the liturgical services, administration of sacraments and sacramentals, (b) the functioning of the associations, organizations, (c) the procedure and functioning of the Yogam, Kudumbakoottayma, (d) functioning of catechism of children, prayer groups, (e) house visiting, tackling of family problems, (f) functioning of the parish office, book keeping, maintaining the registers, administration of financial matters, (g) details of parish planning, (h) organizing events like parish feasts, first Holy communion, annual retreats, conventions, anniversaries, (i) methods of prenuptial catechesis.
The theology students were sent to different parishes of the Archdiocese of Trichur, the dioceses of Irinjalakuda, Palakkad and Muvattupuzha for pastoral involvement. The pastoral ministry is always done under the guidance and strict invigilation of the parish priests. They also submitted to the rector their personal and confidential report regarding the performance of the students. The parish priests who are animating the Sunday pastoral ministries of the students will be invited for a fraternal get-together to the seminary in the month of December every year. This would give them an opportunity to share their views and suggestions on the formation. On Sundays after the sunday ministry, brothers gather as batch and would share their experiences and would pray for the prayer intentions of those whom they met that sunday. In the month of February, at the end of the Sunday Ministry, brothers will gather as batch to evaluate the Sunday Ministry and would share their experiences.
As a part of the diaconal internship deacons would go for a five weeks mission exposure to punjab Mission. The programme consisted of three parts namely (a) missionary orientation which included class on missiology, orientation on the background of Punjab mission and crash language course (b) exposure in the mission stations included two weeks stay with missionaries in the actual mission stations. (c) theological-reflection and evaluation included sharing of the experience of missionaries and the deacons, theological reflection on the mission experience and evaluation of the whole programme. We are grateful to the members of CST who have generously contributed for the success of the mission exposure programme. Deacons would share their mission experience to the community after the mission exposure.
Every year in the month of Spetember brothers for Exposure programme. Both Philosophers and Theologians are given the opportunity to find out their place of work. They lived in groups and earned their livelihood by doing manual labour to experience the hardships of people. It helps them to experience the real struggle and hardships of ordinary people. As a preparation, orientation talks about the purpose of the programme, spiritual preparations in batches etc. help the students to imbibe its spirit. The students as batch would share their exposure experience to the whole community and also would present the Income and expenses details. The income gained through Exposure programme would be spent for Charity works of the Seminary.
As part of the pastoral involvement, every year seminary organizes the parish renewal programme called Sneholsav in the month of December. The entire community would be divided into two groups and they are assigned two parishes. As a preparation, there would be three orientation talks about the purpose of the programme, spiritual preparations in parish wise, Zonal wise, unit wise and group wise etc. help the students to imbibe its spirit. From the day of beginning of preparation till the beginning of Sneholsav, every day brothers will gather parish wise for 45 minutes Eucharistic Adoration and would interceed for the families they are going to visit during Sneholsav. There will be also a follow up programme in the month of January. Sneholsav give the students the opportunity to shoulder personally the responsibility of animating an assigned sector of the parish through various ministries such as Eucharistic celebrations, sacrament of reconciliation, family visits, counselling, age group gatherings, music ministry and preaching the word of God etc.
Marymatha Major Seminary is an accredited unit of Community Aid and Sponsorship Programme (CASP). CASP functions for the education and uplift of the needy children. It has the motto of building up the society through the children. CASP unit has sponsored 101 needy children of three villages namely Kozhukully, Mulayam and Koottala of Nadathara Gramma Panchayath.. They are given a scholarship of Rs.1500/- per annum. This amount is distributed to the children through uniform, textbooks, notebooks, school bags, medical insurance, etc.
The children under the scheme are given special daily tuition. The brothers visit their families and the progress is regularly evaluated. Every Saturday the children in the scheme gather in the Seminary to study and play together. Opportunities are also availed to the children to develop their talents and skills during these gatherings. Under the scheme there are children's sports club and Vayanakoottam. The Seminary maintains a library for the use of the children, which has around 250 books.
The parents of the children under the scheme gathered every alternative month in the Seminary to evaluate the performance of their children. Orientation programmes were held occasionally for the parents on various issues of parental caring.
Navajyoti Grama Vikasana Samithi is the elected representative body of the local people which takes active role in planning and executing the social up-lift programmes for the people of the locality. It is formed with the help of the Social Work Department of Rajagiri College of Social Sciences, Kalamassery. The Seminary closely associates with the activities of Navajyoti Grama Vikasana Samithi and mobilizes the local people as well as financial resources. The Students are instructed and encouraged to visit the families of the regions assigned to them at least once a month. The family visits help the students to know the people around them and their struggles.
In collaboration with CASP - Rajagiri Project, Marymatha Major Seminary and Navajyoti Grama VikasanaSamithi jointly run at Kozhukully a computer training institute, namely, Grammeena Computer Saksharata Kendram. This centre aims at providing basic computer training for the poor at the lowest rate. During this academic year 56 students benefited from this institute.
Under the auspices of CASP, Marymatha Major Seminary and Navajyothi Gramma Vikasana Samithi a summer camp for the children was held from 22nd to 25th of April 2009 . Around 250 children from the vicinity participated in the camp. The camp was conducted under the leadership of the educated students from the locality who have obtained training from the Social Work Department of Rajagiri College of Social Sciences, Kalamassery.
Youth ministry undertook various programmes aiming at imparting Christian values in the youth and inviting the them to actively participate in parish-life. Youth Ministry under the guidance of Fr. Francis Aloor, the director tries to organize the youth in different ways.
A unit of the Jesus Fraternity, the official prison ministry under the auspices of the K.C.B.C., works in the seminary. Members take various initiatives to help the brothers and sisters in prisons. They regularly visit the sub jail and central jail of Trichur and conducts prayer services. Once in a month, the prisoners are prepared for confession and then, the Holy Mass is celebrated. Jesus Fraternity members under the direction of Fr. Roy Mooken, the director regularly visit the sub-jail and Central Jail of Trichur, celebrate Holy Mass and conduct prayer services. On Fridays, Jesus Fraternity Members fast and interceed for the intentions placed in the intention box kept in the chapel. At the end of the academic year the members of this ministry go for annual visit to Jails in various parts of Kerala.
Slum ministry team concentrates on the slums in Liitle Flower Unit, Don Bosco Unit and St. Raphael Unit in Kuriachira parish and Annapara in Kottekad Parish. The members would undertake various orientation programmes for children, youth, and parents to enhance the self esteem and to foster their talents.A team under the guidance of Fr. Chacko Nadakkeveliyil, the director visit these places every sunady afternoon.
The members of hospital ministry under the guidance of Fr. Biju Nanjilath, the director support the aged and ailing in different rescue home and hospitals through their prayer and personal visits. During their free times, they visited inmates of rescue homes and patients of different hospitals.