Province Pilgrimage to Elakkurichy

Pilgrimage towards Renewed Spirit
The Grand Finale of the Ignatian Year at Elakurichi

Celebrating the grand finale of the Ignatian Year 2021-22, the members of the entire Jesuit Chennai Province along with the representatives of the Jesuit collaborators marched together as co-pilgrims towards the Shrine of Adaikala Annai at Elakurichi of Kumbakonam Diocese. This historic event took place on Sunday 24 July 2022 with a solemn and meaningful Eucharistic celebration with Fr. Jebamalai Irudayaraj, Provincial, as the main Celebrant. Fr. Thangasamy (Parish Priest) and Fr. Aruldoss (Asst PP) joined as concelebrants with Frs. Ilanko Xavier, Irudayam Arul, Leo Anand, Maria Viyahappan Gladwin joining them. In this sacred region on the northern side of the river Cauvery, our forefathers of the Old Madurai Mission in the 17th and 18th centuries pitched their pastoral tent democratizing the Gospel to all people amidst multiple persecutions, and epidemics, floods, famines and conflicts. Elakurichi was the vineyard where our saintly missionary Fr. Constantine Beschi (1680-1747), called Veeramamunivar (the resilient sage), ministered to his flock for nearly 19 years as a pastor, healer, poet, counsellor, teacher and grammarian. It is with the spirit of renewing our Ignatian zeal for radiating the Gospel values through our conversion and commitment all participated in the prayerful pilgrimage seeking the intercession of Our Adaikala Annai at Elakurichi. The brief but significant procession started near the Our Lady of Sorrows, north-point of the campus at 10:45 am with the devotional hymns and Rosary organized by the Jesuit communities from Ooty, Makkampalayam, and Mettupalayam under the guidance of Fr. Soosai Raj. A special prayer to Adaikala Annai was collectively recited for her intercession that even amidst multiple challenges on our way we resiliently follow in the footsteps of her son Jesus. The solemn liturgy was elegantly graced by the angelic choir of the Scholastics of Arul Kadal Theology Centre under the able leadership of Fr. Raj Irudaya and Fr. Sahayaraj Vijayan. The novena prayer was conducted by the Scholastics of Berchmans Illam thanks to the guidance of Fr. Alangaram A. and Fr. Antony Robinson. After doxology, all Jesuits recited in unison the prayer of Consecration of the Society to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
The introductory remarks by Fr. Robin Sahaya Seelan, the shared homily by Fr. Maria Arul Raj, Ms. Mary Shoba (from Thirumanur Parish) and Prof. Edwin Selvam (LCV) and the vote of thanks given by Fr. Provincial and Fr. Thangasamy emphasized on the following dimensions of our life and mission:
• Gratefully commemorating the spirit of relentless service of our Jesuit legacy for radiating the Joy of the Gospel
• Genuinely walking with the marginalized reinforcing the Ignatian spirit of solidarity and synodality
• Gracefully healing the wounded creation and broken humanity with a deep sense of reconciliation
• Generously accompanying the youth and learning from them the openness for empowering them as Ignatian leaders
On this occasion, the Jesuit Chennai Province offered Rs. 5 lakhs to the Parish of Elakurichy and Rs. 5 Lakhs to the
Parish of Thirumanur as the education fund for the Dalit Students. This amount was collected from ‘personal contribution’
of each member of the Province. Fr. Provincial also offered the donation of Rs. 25,000/- towards building the arch for the
Shrine in the Ariyalur – Thanjavur Highways.
Fr. Provincial released the booklet Ignatius For Today, write-ups of Scholastics and the first copy was received by
Fr. Michael Panimaya Raj. Fr. Provincial declared the year 2022-23 as Province Year of Constitutional Values and Fr. Philip
Kumar explained the significance of constitutional values today.
It was a delightful experience indeed to witness all the white-clad young Jesuit pre- novices from both the Provinces
of Madurai and Chennai along with the Scholastics and the young priests energetically jumping into the fray for briskly
serving the festive meal to nearly 300 plus gathering of pilgrims, collaborators and Jesuits. The Ignatian Year Team headed
by Fr. Jerry Rosario meticulously planned the entire event. It is heartening to perceive that the fire of Ignatian zeal is once again ignited in all participants to get back to their mission fields to effectively translate into action the Apostolic Preferences at the universal, provincial, communitarian, and personal levels with a renewed spirit of courage, confidence, creativity and collaboration.

Fr Maria Arul Raj SJ