Moving Out to All People
Rev. Justin Diraviyam, C.S.C.
Although the history of the Congregation in India dates back to the beginning of the East Bengal Mission in 1852, the Congregation came to South India in particular in 1959.
Since then, the presence of Holy Cross in Tamil Nadu has always been vibrant, whether promoting vocations for the missions in North East India or more recently taking up new ministries such as administering schools, running social and pastoral programs, engaging in interreligious dialogue with people of other faiths, or rendering auxiliary services to the Church.
All three of the Vicatiate’s schools in Tamil Nadu are situated in rural areas and truly strive to empower the poor and marginalized. While still in the embryonic stage, these schools are vibrant institutions nonetheless, and they give a stable façade for the Congregation in the state.
Our pastoral ministry soundly reiterates our desire to move out of the confines of our communities and reach out to people of all kinds and sorts. All four of our parishes are in rural areas where the diocesan priests are not interested in ministering for want of basic structures and comforts. We have by deliberate choice opted to be in those areas where presence and service are needed most. They are also places to promote vocations to the Congregations.
Social ministries run by some of our pioneering religious challenge the prevailing distribution of wealth skewed in favor of the rich and influential. We look for ways to empower the poor through self-help groups and an education that is meaningful and relevant with a pedagogy adapted to the needs of the poor.
We also have a rich tradition of our religious entering into meaningful dialogue with religious leaders of other faiths so that by mutual sharing we can make the message of our Lord more relevant and meaningful in a composite culture.
In our deliberations over the past few years, our community realizes that there is a growing need in India to attend to the needs of families and especially Christian families that go through tremendous struggles to hold on to Christian family values due to globalization and consumerism. It is an increasing way that we as the Holy Cross family seek to bring hope to the families we serve.
Fr. Justin Diraviyam, C.S.C., is the Superior of the Vicariate of Tamil Nadu (Trichy, Tamil Nadu).