“Shepherds living with the smell of the sheep”

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Pope Francis says, “Priesthood is a call to live with the smell of the sheep.”  priests are the shepherds who constantly assist the faithful in their moments of happiness as well as sorrows, in their health as well as sickness, and in their richness as well as poverty. The priests are not a separate entity, but their identity comes only by being with the people.

As pastoral year Fathers, it was a privilege for us to be in parishes at the beginning of our priestly journey. It enriched our theological and pastoral reflections. We did our parish ministry in different parishes. Fr. Prince worked as Assistant Parish Priest of St. Anthony’s Church, Iduvally of Bhadravathi diocese in Karnataka. He was also in charge of of an orphanage there. Fr. Roy and Fr. Wilson did their ministry in Nedumkandam and Pazhayidam in Idukki diocese. Fr. Jinto did his ministry as the Assistant Parish Priest of St. Thomas Forane ChurchAnakara, in the diocese of Kanjirappally. Frs. Sijo Velladathu and Bijo Vallikkattu did their ministry in the Archdiocese of Ernakulam-Ankamaly. At the end of the first half of the Pastoral Year we all confidently say that our ministry in the parishes were days of blessing. We were busy and fully engaged in the parish activities like daily Holy Qurbana, prayer in family units, catechism, running of different pious organizations, official meetings, constructions, coordination of different projects etc. We all were blessed with good and vibrant Parish Priests who were of great support for us in our ministry. They were good examples for us by being the good shepherds who are always concerned about the people.

As we were back from the Parish Ministry at the end of February we were appointed in different communities – Fr. Prince in Edoor, Fr. Roy in Vadavathoor, Fr. Wilson in Kunnabetta, Fr. Jinto in Podimattom, Fr. Sijoin Mattoor and Fr. Bijo in Chowara. At Present as we are in our own communities, and we really enjoy the Redemptorist Community life. Weare well appreciated and supported as we begin our new way of life as Redemptorists by partaking in all the community activities as well as joining in the various apostolates like missions, youth ministry, etc.

We had an initiation for the second phase of the Pastoral Year with the enriching output sessions of Fr. Joseph V. J our director, Frs. Baby and Poly, our assistant directors and Frs. James and Biju K. With great gratitude we acknowledge the presence of God who leads us. We also thank all the conferees who support us in one way or another. We now begin to write our mission sermons, and the pastoral experiences we had during our parish ministry do help us to be more practical as we write the sermons. We also pray and wish that we may never lose the smell of the sheep so that we could preach the Good News more zealously to the poor and the most abandoned.

Pastoral Year Fathers, Liguori Province, India

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