We began Vincentian Mission in Andhra Pradesh with the arrival of two young zealous Vincentian Missionaries on 16th June 1978 at the invitation of His Excellency Most Rev. John Mulagada, Bishop of Eluru Diocese. The pioneers, Rev. Fr. Mathew Kunnel and Rev. Fr. John Karukapilly started their ministry in Eluru diocese stationed in Bhimadole Parish. In spite of scorched heat, different culture, language and people in A.P., they planted the seed of Vincentian mission and bloomed now very well. The success of these missionaries and possibilities ahead inspired the Superiors of Vincentian Congregation to send many more young priests to this Vineyard for good harvest.
At present there are 36 priests working in 11 centers of 6 dioceses in A.P. and Telughana state, and already decided to start a prayer center and mission in Vishakhapatnam Archdiocese. With united effort as a Vincentian family, we spread the love of God and faith in Jesus witnessing the Christian values and Gospel through popular missions, preaching the word of God in our Retreat centers, educational institutions for the poor in villages and less fortunate, village development programs etc.
Andhra Vincentian Mission comprising the houses of Marymatha Province of the Vincentian Congregation in Andhra Pradesh was formed in 1997 and Fr. Paul Puthuva VC was appointed as the first Mission Superior. In the following years Fr. John Kallattil, Fr. John Puthussery and Fr. Francis Naduviledath served as Mission Superiors in Andhra for many years.
In 2005 the Provincial Synaxis decided to raise Andhra Vincentian Mission to the status of a dependant Region. Rev. Fr. John Kallattil VC was appointed the First Regional Superior. On September 27, 2005 Andhra Vincentian Mission was officially raised to the status of a Region in the presence of the General and the Provincial. At the beginning, Vincentian House Edara was used as Regional house and later Regional house was shifted to a rented house at Gannavaram, nearby the present Regional house, Chinnavuttapally. In 2009 February the newly built Regional House was blessed by His Excellency Rev. Dr. Mallavarappu Prakash and opened by Very Rev. Fr. Varghese Puthussery, the Superior General in the presence of Very Rev. Fr. James Kallumkal the Provincial Superior and many Vincentians and well wishers of our Region.
In 2009 Rev. Fr. Francis Naduviledath VC was appointed Regional Superior and was again appointed for another term. In 2013 Rev. Fr. Fancis Naduviledath VC was elected Assistant Provincial Superior and then Fr. Antony Chakkungal VC was appointed acting Regional Superior for the time being, later he was appointed Regional Superior.
|1||Houses and Centers||11|
|3||Popular Mission Center||01|
|5||Mission stations in Villages||70|
|6||English Medium Schools||03|
|7||Telugu Medium Schools||01|
|9||Degree and PG College||01|
|14||Study House for Theologians||01|
|15||Societies for Social and Educational works||04|
|16||Marian Pilgrim Center||02|
If there is anything to go by the saying “a leader is a dealer in hope”, then due recognition must be given for the beginners of our African Mission. Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Rathappillil VC and Rev. Fr. Hilarios Aranjaniyil VC were sent to the African Mission in the year 1975. But the verse “do not now throw away your confidence which will be handsomely rewarded” (Heb 10/35) was fulfilled when two pioneer missionaries of our Congregation, Rev. Fr. James Edavazhithara VC and Rev. Fr. Jacob Athickal VC reached Tanzania on 10th July 1979 for pastoral work in the Diocese of Mbeya. They were entrusted with the Parish of Tukuyu with its 16 mass centers. After two years, Rev. Fr. Thomas Kuzhipala VC joined them. Due to the commendable service of our missionaries, the parish of Kyela with its 26 mass centers was brought under the pastoral care of the Vincentians in the same diocese when Rev. Fr. Luke Mattappillichira VC joined the pioneer missionaries in the year 1985. Unfortunately, Fr. Luke had a fatal attack of malaria fever while he was making his annual retreat along with Fr. Thomas Kuzhippala at Kabanga in the diocese of Kigoma. He breathed his last on January 9, 1986. This did not dampen the missionary spirit of our confreres. Frs. Athickal and Edvavzhithara were encouraged by the new comer Rev. Fr. Thomas Plackal VC. And these three could manage two parishes with their 42 outstations.
As Frs. James Edavazhithara and Jose Adapoor came to the Vincentian House, Katubuka in 1988, it was quite wearying for Frs. Athickal, Thomas Palakkattu and Thomas Plackal to manage two parishes with numerous outstations in the diocese of Mbeya. Consequently, the parish of Kyela was given up in the year 1987 and they concentrated in Tukuyu Parish to make their ministry more effective. When Very Rev. Fr. Thomas Emprayil VC, the Assistant Superior General of our Congregation visited Tanzania, a decision was taken to give back Tukuyu mission as well to the Diocese that more attention could be given to develop Katubuka Mission. When the African Mission came under the jurisdiction of Marymatha Province, Frs. Jose Adapoor and Thomas Palakkattu went back to India. On March 27, 1992 Fr. Thomas Plackal met with a fatal car accident and died on the spot. He was buried near the tomb of Fr. Luke Matappillichira at Kabanga, Tanzania.
Due to the shortage of personnel to look after the parishes entrusted to us, the rest of the missionaries had to wind up their activities in the Diocese of Mbeya and came over to the Diocese of Kigoma in September 1990. In the course of time, more missionaries with zeal and commitment came over to African Mission. Consequently, our service was requested by Bishops in Kenya and Uganda. Needless to say that the arrival of Rev. Fr. Joseph Kurupamparambil VC in our East African Mission in 1992 was timely and speeded up its blossoming. Quite gradual has been its growth. Meanwhile, Vincentian Houses were established, Seminarians were sent to Major seminaries in Tanzania and Kenya for their theology programme. It was in the year 1995 that we started to send seminarians to the African Mission for getting local formation. Very Rev. Fr. George Kammattil, the Provincial Superior had taken definite steps in making the future missionaries acclimatized with the local language and culture through local formation programme. Among those two, one was constrained to go back to India and the other one started his Theology program at Salvatorian Seminary, Morogoro, Tanzania. For three consecutive years, no Seminarian was sent to East Africa. During the time of late Rev. Fr. Alex Aikara VC as the Provincial, the decision of sending Seminarians was reconsidered. Thus after a break of three years, Seminarians were again sent to East Africa, thanks to the vision of late Fr. Alex Aikara to get the African Mission on the fast track of development. This great vision is continued by all other Provincial administrations seriously. At present, out of 25 Priests working in East Africa, 18 of them are fortunate enough to complete their Theology progamme here in East Africa.
The African mission has been shepherded by Rev. Fr. James Edavzhithara VC as Mission Superior for over two decades ever since its inception, because of his love for the mission and genuine spirit of perseverance made the Vincentian mission to continue in Africa. Then it had been under the headship of Rev. Fr .Paul Parekkattil VC from Aug 1, 2001 to September 27, 2004. The mantle fell on Rev. Fr. Vincent Rathappillil when he was appointed Mission Superior on September 27, 2004. The African Mission was raised to the status of a Dependent Region on Oct 24, 2005 by Rev. Fr. James Kallumkal VC, the former Provincial Superior. Rev. Fr. Vincent Rathappillil was appointed Regional Superior on June 11, 2006. Fr. Justin Pokkathumadathil was the Vicar and Fr. Antony Valliparambil was the Secretary. On 15th May 2010 Rev. Fr. Antony Valliparambil took charge as the Regional Superior. Fr. Paul Puthussery was the Vicar and Fr. Joseph Elenjickal was the Secretary. Rev. Fr. Antony Valliparambil is appointed the Regional Superior for another term and Fr. Joseph Pattath, and Fr. Joseph Puthiyaparambil, were appointed Vicar and Secretary respectively.
|#||Region at a Glance||Nnumber|
The charism of the Vincentian Congregation is extended to the African continent through the Vincentian missionaries. We are involved in the parish ministry, retreat centers, popular mission retreats, orphanage for the boys, school etc. It is not an exaggeration to say that the African continent is the most fertile soil for the preaching ministry. People are so receptive to the Word of God. Amidst perennial problems like tribal wars, corruption, economic inequalities, abject poverty, exploitation by the Western power mongers, remote controlled cold wars, drug trafficking, human right violations, uncontrollable escalation of killer diseases like HIV and AIDS, malaria fever etc, common people seek comfort and consolation in Churches and retreat centers. Our preaching ministry is well attended and highly appreciated by ecclesiastical authorities all over East Africa.
i. On June 8, 2007 Vincentian Prayer House Nairobi was blessed by His Grace Ndingi Mwana Nzeki, the former Archbishop of Nairobi Archdiocese. The former Superior General Very Rev. Fr. Varghese Puthussery VC inaugurated the residential block and retreat hall. The project was funded by the family of Glen and Kielty.
ii. On September 8, 2007, the miraculous Medal Shrine at Entebbe was blessed and inaugurated by His Grace, Most Rev. Cyprian Kizito Lwanga, the Archbishop of Kampala, Uganda. Rev.Fr. James Kallumkal VC, the former Provincial Superior attended the function.
iii. On February 23, 2008, the Priests’ residence at Kabulasoke, Masaka, Uganda was blessed by His Lordship Rt. Rev. John Baptist Kaggwa, the Bishop of Masaka. Rev. Fr. Thomas Njarackal VC, the former Assistant Provincial Superior inaugurated the same.
iv. Blessing of De Paul School Uvinza, Tanzania took place on March 7, 2009 by His Lordship Rt. Rev. Protase Rugambwa, the Bishop of Kigoma and the newly constructed School building was inaugurated by the Regional Commissioner of Kigoma Region.
v. Rwentunda Parish in Mbarara is officially handed over to the Vincentians on March 15, 2009.
vi. The blessing of the Divine Mercy Church at Kabulassoke, Masaka is done by Rt. Rev. John Baptist Kaggwa, the Bishop of Masaka. Rev. Fr. James Kallumkal attended the function.
vii. Two acres of land is donated by Mrs. Margaret’ Mummy in Kampala, Uganda and we bought 3 more acres of land adjacent to it in June, 2010. For further expansion of our mission in Uvinza, Tanzanian mission (2012), we bought some more land adjacent to our existing land approximately 57 acres. We also purchased a property of 140 acres in Masaka, Uganda. The minor seminary construction is going on in this land.
viii. The new dormitory for the retreatants in Kabulassoke, Masaka was blessed on October 15, 2010 by Rev. Fr. George Pottayil, the former Assistant Provincial Superior.
ix. On January 16, 2011, Rectory at Kalimoni, Nairobi was blessed by His Eminence Cardinal John Njue, the Archbishop of Nairobi.
x. The blessing of De Paul Boy’s Home (DBH) was held on 14th January, 2012 by His Lordship Bishop John Baptist Kaggwa, the Bishop of Masaka, Uganda and was inaugurated by Very Rev. Fr. Paul Puthuva VC, the Provincial Superior of Marymatha Province. It is the first centre for boys who come from poor families in our Region in the soil of Africa.
Xi. On 19 March 2011 Very Rev. Fr. Varghese Parappuram VC, the Superior General of the Vincentian Congregation laid the foundation stone to the Retreat Centre in Thika. On November 4, 2011 His Excellency Bishop David Kamau blessed the Prayer Hall and Very Rev. Fr. Paul Puthuva officially inaugurated the Retreat Centre. On April 4, 2014 the President of Kenya, His Excellency Uhuru Kenyatta inaugurated the Second phase of our auditorium and it was officially blessed by Very Rev. Fr Varghese Parappuram VC, the Superior General of Vincentian Congregation.
Xii. On 9th June, 2013 His Eminence Polycarp Cardinal Pengo, officially blessed the Minor seminary. Seven candidates were admitted in the first batch among them 5 are from Kenya, and 2 are from Uganda. At present we have eleven seminarians in two batches doing their minor seminary formation in Vikindu, Tanzania. The first batch is going to enter their Novitiate in June, 2015.
Xiii. A retreat centre in the city of Kampala, Uganda was opened on August 15th, 2013 day of assumption of the Blessed Mother in the Archdiocese of Kampala. The new Vincentian Retreat Centre at Nsangi was officially inaugurated by the Provincial Superior on 24th of October, 2014.
Xiv .We are planning to extend our mission to Moshi Diocese, the third diocese in Tanzania, where the Vincentian missionaries are going to do pastoral work from 30th May 2015 onwards.
Xv.His Grace Zacheus Okoth, the bishop of Kisumu, officially invited us to his Diocese during the Diaconate ordination of our Brothers at Vincentian Prayer House Nairobi. Later, he showed a land and existing buildings to be handed over to the Sacred Heart Region of East Africa when we held retreat in his Cathedral at Kisumu.
Xvi.From Sacred Heart Region East Africa two of our Priests did higher studies. Fr. Tomy Pokkathumadathil completed his B.Ed studies from the institute of Don Bosco Fathers, Thura, Megalaya and Fr. Biju Moonjely completed his Licentiate in Moral Theology from Rome and returned back to our Region.
There is a great demand for Vincentian ministries in Africa now. At present, the presence of Vincentians is only in three East African countries namely Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda and we need to spread the Word of God the rest of 51 African countries. We have been getting many invitations from different dioceses and various African Countries but due to lack of personnel we are unable to take up new mission centers.