Reviving the Missionary Spirit

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My relationship with the Archdiocese of Detroit began in July 2000 when I was assigned to take care of the small Syro-Malankara Catholic community in Metro Detroit. Since the community was so small, Cardinal Adam Maida appointed me to St. Mary, Port Huron, where I worked as parochial vicar. After three years, I was assigned to St. Clement, Center Line, then St. Athanasius, Roseville, and finally St. Thomas a’Becket, Canton.

It was a time of intellectual as well as pastoral enrichment for me, as I was able to earn a master’s degree in English at Oakland University and then a Licentiate in the New Evangelization at Sacred Heart in 2010.

At Sacred Heart, I encountered some of the celebrated minds of the Catholic Church, especially in the area of New Evangelization. The seminary was well represented when Dr. Ralph Martin, Dr. Edward Peters, Fr. Charles Canoy, and I were able to attend the historic Synod on the New Evangelization in Rome in October 2012. Ever since my studies at Sacred Heart, I have become an ambassador of this institution and always proud to say that Sacred Heart formed my mind to think with the mind of the Church. My doctoral studies at the Angelicum in Rome were an extension of my Sacred Heart education.

At present, I am back in India in the Major Archdiocese of Trivandrum. My main assignment is to coordinate the office work of my bishop, His Beatitude Baselios Cardinal Cleemis. It is a big challenge, as he has to write messages and recommendation letters of all sorts. Also, teaching the theology students at the major seminary is rewarding, especially because of the excitement from my studies and experiences abroad.

I am involved in a few areas that might be interesting for Mosaic readers. In response to the New Evangelization synod, a movement called Suvisesha Sangan—in English, “an association to spread the Good News”—originated in the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church. The aim of Suvisesha Sangam is to revive the missionary spirit of the Church from the grass-root level.

Two men and two women from each parish are selected for formation in order to take up the working of Suvisesha Sangam in their own parishes. After visiting each family in their respective parishes, they form a missionary group of interested people in their parish. The group’s formation includes an hour’s reading of the Gospel daily, frequent reception of the Sacraments of Reconciliation and Eucharist, and active participation in the activities of the local parish, as well as attending the frequent formation program offered to them.

Six thousand members are in Suvisesha Sangan and the final goal is to reach ten thousand such missionaries. I offer three sets of classes in the members’ formation, imparting the teaching of the Church in evangelization and the New Evangelization.

Sacred Heart Major Seminary directly and indirectly influences the Universal Church in fulfilling the God-given mandate of bringing the Gospel to the ends of the earth. I am glad I was able to be part of the seminary’s unique formation program and wish many more people would benefit from it. 

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About Author

Fr. Mathew George Charthakuzhiyil

Fr. Mathew George Charthakuzhiyil belongs to the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church, one of the Eastern Catholic Churches from India. He earned his Licentiate in Sacred Theology from Sacred Heart in 2010. Father assists his cardinal in his home Archdiocese of Trivandrum, India, and teaches at the archdiocese’s seminary.

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