The CNEWA Connection In his ministry to these families, and through his unflagging presence and support, Father Puthenpurayil lives out his vocation — the very calling for which he had so fervently prayed nearly three decades ago.
Among CNEWA’s primary activities in the subcontinent of India is support for the formation of men and women to serve the SyroMalabar and Syro-Malankara Catholic churches, and, in a very particular way, helping young men like Father Joshy to answer the call of priesthood. “As we all know, priesthood is an extraordinary vocation,” writes our regional director in India, M.L. Thomas. “And it is our duty to help the church in the formation of the seminarians. Through the kind generosity of our benefactors from the United States and Canada, CNEWA annually supports 2,300 seminarians studying in 17 major seminaries in India and nearly 575 novices studying in 60 houses of formation. “The formation program for priests and sisters can be a costly affair,” he continues. “To become a priest, a minimum of nine years of schooling is required before ordination — three years of philosophy, one year in service (called a regency period), and more than four years of theological studies. “Today, more than 12,000 priests and 33,000 sisters of the SyroMalabar Church, and approximately 800 priests and 2,000 sisters of the Syro-Malankara Church, are working for God’s people in India and abroad. By the grace of God, there are more candidates joyfully answering the Lord’s call of service.” You can help them answer the call — by placing a call of your own. Call: 1-800-442-6392 (United States) or 1-866-322-4441 (Canada).
n his way through the sprawling settlement, Father Puthenpurayil passes Emmanuel, a sprightly 90-year-old on his daily walk to the church to pick up the Syro-Malabar community newspaper. One of the community’s original settlers, Emmanuel credits his longevity and good health to three things: hard work, a sensible diet and a deep faith in Jesus. As Father Puthenpurayil continues on his way, the village seems to be kicking into its morning rhythms. A group of about 20 students await the bus to their primary school in the nearest town, Palakkayam. Mothers standing with them say their goodbyes as the bus bumps down the road and around a corner. The parish’s main thoroughfare measures about four yards wide. Branching off from the roughly paved road, a whole network of narrow dirt paths crisscross the hilly, jungle landscape. A closer look reveals small, charming houses scattered throughout the bush, with workers dotting the vegetation — planting crops, cutting wood and breaking stones. Some 30 percent of the local population earns a living by tapping rubber trees. Another 20 percent, such as 23-year-old Tinto Phillip, harvest coconuts. Mr. Phillip, a keen athlete, can climb and harvest up to 90 coconut trees a day during coconut picking season. He is known as a good runner and, with his 12-yard throw, the shot put champion of the community. Jose Kollamparabil’s rubber mats glisten in the sun as he hangs them
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