Making a significant stride in an extensive process of the reform the “Extraordinary Provincial Chapter 2017” (EPC 2017), the supreme legislative body of the Congregation of Jesus Mary Joseph (JMJ), Guntur commenced on all souls day, 2ndNovember 2017. It was constituted by Ex-officio:Major Superior (Provincial), Junior Mistress, Novice Mistressand Provincial Council and locally elected delegates/representatives. The aftermath of bifurcation of the Indian Province, there were four Provincial Chapters in the span of 30 years ensuing to the 5th Provincial Chapter in Guntur Province.

The Objectives of the EPC2017

  • Christening of the new Congregation
  • Finalising Location of the Operational Head Quarter
  • Deliberation on the Revised Constitutionaldraft
  • Congregational Priorities for the Future Direction
  • Election of the Delegates for Extraordinary General Chapter 2018 (EGC 2018)

The Preparatory Work: 2nd – 4th November 2017

The Reception Committee accorded a warm welcome to all the Provincial Chapter Delegates (PCDs) for the two-day preparatory orientation. When the clock chimed 8.45 P.M on the long awaited day, the vibrant culture and contemporary customs of the country were fused in perfect ratio to honour the delegates. The five symbols viz Temple, PurnaKumbam, Elephant, Deer and Aurovilla, resonating quintuple (a set of five similar things considered as a unit) mission States of our Province: Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Odisha and one Union territory, Pondicherry led procession entered the chapel for celestial blessing. A short prayer service drenched the delegates in the divine presence and the angelic choir accentuated the spirit to different level. The delegates imprinted their palm on a white cloth of their choice of colour to express concord, commitment and total involvement in the Chapter. The delegates called it a night after the pronouncement of blessings of our venerable Founder.

At the crack of the dawn on November 3rd a two-day of Spiritual orientation (recollection and reconciliation) on chapter theme “March Together with Hope towards an Emerging Future” was animated by Rev. Fr. Jaya Raj, SJ, Novice Master, Ananda Jyothi, Numbur. While decoding the chapter theme, the facilitator underlined the three-core strands of the theme:

  • Marching Together – LOVE
  • Living with Hope – HOPE
  • Towards an Emerging Future – FAITH

Rev. Fr. Jaya Raj urged the sisters to imbibe the spirit of the Chapter Theme from the following extracts as we march towards the new horizon:

  • To keep the dynamic conflict arose from the past and the present; take to the future in all the discussions and deliberations.
  • To march together with communitarian love; with personal hope in oneself contributing one’s own capacities towards the faith-filled future that emerges in front of our eyes.
  • To have a Charism lived in the past and living in the present moment and will continue to live out the same Charism of our founder Rev. Fr. Mathias Wolff, SJ.
  • To know in this journey of faith, we are not alone; the God who created us is with us; with his assurance and guidance we move forward towards the emerging future.

He added, “With an unshakable trust in God giving certainty to our endeavors, let us begin our journey of hope with the words of assurance, “Our Life in the Society of JMJ goes on… May we find each other again and again in the Lord and round His Gospel, interpreted in the spirit left to us” – Fr. Mathias Wolff. As a part of recollection the reconciliation service was done symbolically to purify and reconcile oneself with God, one another and with nature.

Sr. Anacleta Boreddy and Sr. Showri Tresa Thuraka, the General Councilors arrived at Provincialate at 07.00 P.M on 3rd November 2017. The Provincial Council, delegates, Snehalaya community and Postulants extended a warm welcome with floral bouquets. A short prayer was conducted by the Reception Committee followed by placing of a card affixed with founder’s message and personal identity in ‘JMJ ARK’ signifying the theme of the Chapter “Marching Together with Hope Towards an Emerging Future”.

November 4th: The day was dedicated for the individual study and scrutiny, and of the vetting of the proposed draft of the new Constitutions and the Congregational Priorities in silence. With instructional guidelines from the President, the proposed documents were under the lens of each PCD for improvement and suggestion and submission. At 4.00 p.m. a cordial welcome was extended to Rev. Fr. Sebasti L. Raj SJ the Chapter Facilitator.

At dusk, PCDs assembled for an hour of adoration and lifted their spirit to the Lord. The symbolic exercise of constructing a home, each one affixed a part of the home from its foundation to its roof expressing and accepting their unique role and responsibility that was required to build up the new face of congregation.

His Lordship, Most. Rev. Bhagayiah Chinnabathini, Bishop of Guntur gave Episcopal Blessings on the eve of Extraordinary Provincial Chapter 2017.

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