Indian Year of Grace 2019: intensive renewal of parish

Every parish forms the foundation to a diocese and to the Universal Church at large by its spiritual commitment.

Jan 12, 2019

PODANUR, India: Every parish forms the foundation to a diocese and to the Universal Church at large by its spiritual commitment. A little parish in South India is probably the first one to have a full year of intensive renewal.

The Mount Carmel parish, Carmel Nagar, Podanur, near Coimbatore, run by the Carmelites of Discalced (OCD) fathers for the past 70 years is known as the Scapular Shrine for its Saturday scapular devotion.

Fr Peter Julian OCD, parish priest, along with assistant Fr Simon OCD, have initiated the Year of Grace -2019. Since this is the 70th year (1949-2019) of the Carmelites’ presence in Coimbatore diocese, Tamil Nadu, this year is being celebrated like the Jubilee Year of Mercy.

On December 31, people from various parts of the city joined in the opening of the Holy Door of Grace, followed by Eucharistic Adoration just before the midnight Mass, with special prayers for one year of pilgrimage with specific focus: God -centred life, personal transformation, family unity and peace, social concern.

Fr Nithiya Sagayaraj, OFM Capuchin, led the large assembly of 4,000 people into meditation, on the involvement of every person into this journey of grace. Being a bilingual parish, this celebration was held both in English and Tamil.

The parish will focus on the spiritual life of individuals and families by enhancing personal and family prayers, devotion to the Eucharist, to the Holy Cross and to Mother Mary. This will be done with the involvement of Basic Christian Communities (BCC). A huge statue of the Holy Cross will be erected in the parish church this year as a part of focusing on a God-centred life. Special crosses will be distributed to families under each BCC unit in the Lent season to help people to be inspired for a life of sacrifice and love.

The parish has plans to revive the personal sanctification of every member through various sectors of the parish – the pious associations, youth, children, parents, elders and the sick through special seminars, prayers and action plans. The 52 Saturday novenas will focus on their transformation in this “Year of Grace.”

Each family in every BCC will spend a day of prayer and fasting, along with prayer and the sacrament of reconciliation, with the circulation of the special Cross carried forward into the families. This day will help them to settle their disputes and misunderstandings and establish peace. A special prayer for the “Year of Grace” will be recited daily in the parish and at home by the families.

In view of caring for creation in this dry area affected by industries, each family will also plant a tree blessed and distributed from the parish.

Every family from this parish will sponsor another family in Kandhamal area in Odisha, Eastern India, through their year-long solidarity. Each family’s contribution will be sent to their co-families during Easter and Christmas.

Even though this is a remote area away from the city, the Carmelite fathers have made it vibrant by other spiritual ministries in the diocese through retreat, preaching, sacrament of reconciliation and pastoral help-outs. Every Basic Christian Community will be involved by turn in the weekly events of the parish. People are enthusiastically involved. -- Matters India

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