Fr. Mathew Thonikuzhiyil (Joyce Francis) was installed the 7th provincial of the Salesian Province of Bangalore on 27 January 2015. In a two-in-one function appreciation and gratitude was showered upon Fr. Thomas Anchukandam, the outgoing provincial, and Fr. Joyce was congratulated and applauded. The function began at 5 pm with the words of introduction by Fr. Thomas Koonan, the vice-provincial. The Holy Eucharist was presided over by Rt. Rev. A. Neethinathan, Bishop of Chingleput and a classmate of Fr. Anchukandam. Fr. Maria ArokiamKanaga SDB, the regional for South Asia, preached the homily, enlisting the qualities of shepherds after the heart of Jesus. After the homily, Fr. Maria Arokiam read out in Italian the official decree of Rev. Fr. Angel Fernandez Artime, the Rector Major, appointing Fr. Joyce as provincial of Bangalore for the period of 2015 -2021. The provincial designate then publicly made the profession of faith and duly signed the documents which were countersigned by Fr. Maria, the delegate of the Rector Major. The theology students of Kristu Jyoti College formed the choir.
The felicitation programme, after the Mass, began with a melodious prayer song in Malayam by the students of Don Bosco Cultural Centre, Vennala, where the new provincial had been serving as rector. After being welcomed with a ponnadai by the new provincial, Fr. Regional explained to the assembly the rationale for his presence on the occasion at the insistence of the Rector Major. He highlighted certain strengths of Bangalore province and thanked and appreciated the commendable ministry carried out by the outgoing provincial on behalf of the province, the Salesian Provincial Conference of South Asia especially as the provincial in charge of DB Tech. Before honouring Fr. Anchukandam with a shawl, the Regional informed the assembly that the Rector Major has appointed Fr. Anchukandam to the Historical Institute of the Congregation in Rome. He has also the task of writing the History of the Congregation in India from 1952. Fr. Maria then described certain salient characteristics of Fr. Joyce and honoured him with a shawl on behalf of the Rector Major and the general council.
Fr. Thomas Tharayil, novice master and former member of the provincial council, thanked Fr. Thomas Anchukandam on behalf of the province. He recalled some of the significant achievements during the tenure of Fr. Anchukandam and elaborated a little on the person of Fr. Anchukandam. He was honoured with a ponnadai by Fr. Thomas Myladoor, the third provincial of Bangalore Province. Fr. Anchukandam expressed his gratitude to all those who helped him in the fulfillment of his ministry. He presented the Provincial Council in front of the assembly and thanked them in person. Master Gichu, a student of Don Bosco Cultural Centre, who has completed 8th grade in piano from Trinity College, London, mesmerized the audience with his piano performance. Fr. Narikunnel Sebastian (CJ) felicitated the new provincial, highlighting certain of his salient human and Salesian characteristics. He was honoured on behalf of the province by Fr. Jose Kuttianimattahil, the fifth provincial of the province. Fr. Joyce declared his resolve to serve the Congregation, the province and the confreres wholeheartedly and proposed the vote of thanks. Individuals and specific groups then had opportunity to greet both Fr. Anchukandam and Fr. Joyce. Before dispersing for dinner, the community sang a song of blessing upon Fr Joyce. The former provincials along with the provincial council members accompanied the new provincial to the Provincial’s Office.
The participants including confreres of the province and members of the Salesian Family – FMA, SMI, MSMHC, Co-operators, Don Bosco Alumni and VDB – were nearly 200. The occasion was graced by the presence of Fr. Raphael Jayapalan and Fr. Devapragasm Joseph, the provincial and the vice-provincial of Chennai respectively and confreres from other Salesian provinces.
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