Celebrating the grand finale of the Ignatian Year, the Chennai Province along with some Jesuit collaborators, walked as co-pilgrims towards the Shrine of Adaikala Annai (Our Lady of Refuge), Elakurichi, Kumbakonam Diocese. This historic event took place on 24th July 2022, with a meaningful Eucharistic concelebration led by Fr. Jebamalai Irudayaraj – the Provincial. We recalled how, in Northern Tamil Nadu, our Old Madurai Mission Jesuits democratized the Gospel to all, amidst multiple challenges, with a special focus on the saintly Italian Missionary – Tamil Scholar Fr. Constantine Beschi [Veeramamunivar – Resilient Sage] (1680-1747), who ministered to his flock in Elakurichi.
Our pilgrimage from the north-point of the campus ended with the recital of an intercessory prayer to Adaikala Annai. The angelic choir of Arul Kadal and the novena prayer by Berchmans Illam, enriched the solemn liturgy. The faith sharing by Jesuits and the collaborators emphasized the following:
• Gratefully celebrating the spirit of relentless Jesuit legacy
• Genuinely walking with the marginalized, with synodality
• Gracefully healing the wounded creation and broken humanity
• Generously accompanying the youth towards Ignatian leadership
The Jesuits in one voice, recited the prayer of Consecration of the Society to the Sacred Heart. The educational fund of Rs.10 lakhs for Dalit children, collected from the ‘personal contribution’ of the each member of the Province, was gifted to the Elakurichi and Thirumanur parishes. The special gift of Rs. 25,000/- was offered to the Shrine. Releasing the booklet Ignatius for Today by the Scholastics, the Provincial declared 2022-2023 as the Province Year of Indian Constitutional Values. All the Jesuit pre-novices from both Madurai and Chennai Provinces, served the festive meal to all 400 pilgrims. The IGY Team had the consolation of having reignited the zeal, to effectively carry out our Apostolic Preferences with a renewed Ignatian spirit.
The author is the Director of the Institute of Dialogue with Cultures and Religions (IDCR) at Loyola College, Chennai.