The historical pandemic remains as a challenge to the globe. No countries were spared from this deadly invisible virus. 2020 was expected with huge enthusiasm and hope. But it will be remembered as a killer year. I experienced the effect of coordinating and communicating the ordinations of four of our religious. Bishops changed dates, reluctant, refused and finally, four were ordained in three different dioceses with SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) of the government in each place, maintained social distancing, and only ten from the family were allowed to join the event. My traveling to one ordination was risky and I had to go through a lot of hurdles before reaching the venue of the ordination. I experienced quarantine, isolation, and avoidance during this travel, yet the power of the Eucharistic Lord led all our four new priests and me. Here are their experiences.
Fr. Velupila Suresh Babu, sss
I was consecrated by his Lordship Most. Rev. Dr. MD. Prakasam DD. Bishop of Nellore on 19th June 2020. It was a simple but very meaningful celebration along with priests from the diocese and religious congregations, sisters and all the faithful. Even though the present situation is out of our control and there were lots of turmoil due to this Covid-19 pandemic, God made this event possible with a restricted number of people participating. Now I feel very delighted and blessed to be a witness to Eucharistic Lord to make Him known through my work and actions wherever I go. In all these tough and trying moments I was reminded of a verse from the Holy Scripture on the day of my ordination, from Gal 2:20 which says, “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me”. I am proud of my congregation and feel most happy to be a sss priest. Thanks to my SSS family especially the Kristu Jyoti Province.
Fr. Vinay Bandela Joseph, sss
Every deacon has a great dream about the celebration of his ordination. Indeed, it was the same dream that I had about my ordination, the dream of twelve years, to be celebrated in the midst of many priests, religious and the faithful present. In the end, as the world faces the pandemic, my dream was shattered and then dawned on the will of my Master Jesus. Thus, it was the will of my Master Jesus that I must be ordained privately in the presence of my family members.
My ordination reminds me of the ordination of King David. It was fear of King Saul that prophet Samuel came to the house of David secretly to anoint him as king. A king who ruled the people of Israel was ordained in a simple manner. Today, it is fear of the coronavirus that threatened the whole world. This year and my ordination remain historical as the pandemic disturb the whole world. I was ordained privately for the public. I gifted myself fully to Jesus in the midst of Covid-19 challenges. I am most happy to see myself being ordained as a priest of the Blessed Sacrament Congregation. I owe my gratitude to all my confreres in the SSS family in particular the Kristu Jyoti Province.
Fr. Arokia Sebastian Peter, sss
I had a lot of doubts and fear about my ordination in the midst of the pandemic which has shaken the whole world. But I was reassured by my deep faith in the Eucharistic Lord in whom I submitted the entire program connected with the ordination ceremony. When I reflected on my ordination with the scriptural verse from the book of Jeremiah, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope” (29:11). These words gave me hope and strength for my ordination. I fixed my ordination on 3rd July 2020 at Salem Bishop’s house since my native diocese strictly ordered no ordination due to Covid-19. I have to travel 3 hours from my diocese to the neighboring diocese. Only ten persons were permitted from the family. It is convenient to travel to the neighboring diocese.
But the government suddenly announced that one couldn’t travel without an E-pass. In this situation, I had to take an E-pass in order to travel for my ordination with my family and some priests. My application for E-pass was rejected several times. E-pass was granted for wedding, medical, and death purposes. There was no hope to reach the ordination place. I was motivated by my mother’s faith as she told me, “Don’t believe anybody but surrender your faith in the Eucharistic Lord”. Finally, on the evening of July 2nd, I got the E-pass to travel and at last, on the morning of July 3rd, I was ordained by Most. Rev. Dr. S. Singaroyan, bishop emeritus of Salem. I expressed special words of thanks to the provincial superior who was personally present despite the ordeals of his traveling and quarantine in the midst of a lockdown. I am delighted to be a SSS Priest.
Fr. Pillam Joseph Thambi, sss
My experience was like that of our founder Saint Peter Julian Eymard who said: “let me celebrate at least one Mass and die”. It was a similar experience of mine due to this coronavirus pandemic. I do not know whether I will be alive, or I may die before I get ordained. So, I use to think, at least let me celebrate one Mass and die. But God has given me this special occasion. He has protected me under His wings and kept me alive in spite of the coronavirus affecting all around our place to do his ministry. It was my dream and my wish that my ordination would be a grand celebration graced with many priests and many people witnessing and so on. We humans think one thing, but God has His own plans for us.
It was really a simple and meaningful celebration with limited members. It was a great experience of being ordained as a priest of the Blessed Sacrament Congregation. “Do this in remembrance of me” was the theme of my thanksgiving Eucharist. It reminds me of the sacrificial element of His life and the love and the care and the shepherding element have enabled me to come forward to commit myself to the Eucharistic Lord in order to “do this in remembrance of Jesus Christ”. I have experienced that God has His own plans for me. And He has chosen me to walk in His footsteps in spreading the Eucharistic Love. I express my gratitude to all my SSS priests and brothers who journeyed with me in this trying and challenging moment.
August 1, 2020
Father Peter Jayakanthan Dorairaj, sss