I would like to draw a panoramic picture of the Piarist existence in India. Guided by the hand of God in the educational path of our founder St.Joseph Calasanz, we have established 5 missions in India. While whole-heartedly acknowledging the zealous missionary works done by visionaries like Fr. Jose Alfaro and Fr. Antonio Marco, I would like to state that providence of God was so immense that the missions grew faster than they were expected. Thus the fast growth and the various demands of each mission really strained the possible resources and gave many sleepless nights to the younger native piarists. But we always believed and comforted ourselves saying the very words of our heavenly father “this is the work of God and He will look after it providing everything”. As elderly people say, if you believe and live in the providence of God, you will lack nothing. Yes, the present Piarist growth in India is a true testimony of His love.
The first mission in Aroor (Cochin) has two training centers (formation houses) with 40 trainees and 5trainers. The trainees are sent to nearby schools and colleges for intellectual formation and they are given human and integral formation within the campus. As part of training they are given enough opportunities to meet the people and to have compassion for the needy.
The second mission in Kanyakumari started with a training centre is grown bigger including a school and a parish. We have 25 trainees undergoing the basic formation accompanied by 3 trainers. The flow of the students to our new school shows how relevant is calasnzian way of educating the child in the present. Our new energetic and charismatic Piarist presence is acknowledged in this region.
The third mission in Aryanad (Trivandrum) is called “Calasanz Nagar” which means the land of Calasanz. The name is given after a long discussion. By naming this mission this way, we acknowledge that we want the world to notice the educational values Calasanz, are lived in this land in a deeper way. That is why a special privilege is given to the poor and the needy. The children from the poor families are given shelter and food and other necessities freely so that they should live equally as any other student who comes to our school. Though the goal is so solemn and glorious but to actualize it is very difficult. There comes the importance of our brotherly association Itaka which comes with a smiling face and a helping hand to shoulder our burden as much as it could. The timely help they render financially has boosted up the completion of the school on time. Lack of money has forced us to accommodate nearly 30 children, who come from far away, in the school building itself after the class. Though educational rules do not permit this, situation does demand it.
The fourth mission in Bangalore has a training centre and a cultural centre. The training centre has 30 trainees in their final stage of Piarist religious and priestly formation under 2 trainers. They are trained in a renowned college and have adequate opportunities to better themselves for the mission that awaits them. The cultural centre is for the children from neighboring villages to spend their leisure time creatively and usefully. Thus the trainees get another opportunity in the cultural centre to be with children and for the children.
The fifth mission in Kamda (Jharkand) has a school, a hostel and a parish. The tiny school we have, shelter around 600 students though it can hold only 300. We are forced to do that because we want to open the door of education to all children who knock at our school. It is unimaginable and unthinkable for some to realize that our students come from very far. Daily they tread 10 to 15 kilometers to step into our school campus. Due to the quality of our education, our school is overcrowded while nearby schools lack students. A deteriorated hut accommodates about 75 students as hostellers which has a capacity of only 20. But there is no complaint and there will be no complaint. Because the necessity is deeper than the comfort. When necessities are not met, how can we think of comforts? Knowing the gravity of the situation Itaka is collaborating very closely for the growth and development of this mission.
It is a cause of joy to state that we have a solid collaboration with Itaka since 2011. As time passes this integral commitment for the service of our needy neighbour is enriched better and better. This makes us to say loudly and clearly that “…..India shines….” with the help of many helping hands that come together under the umbrella of Itaka. Thanks to every hand that comes to wipe away the tears of the poor and the needy in our mission. May God bless you abundantly.
“It is never too early or too late to serve your Lord in the Children”
Fr.Joseph Binoy Kunnel Sch.P.
Person in charge