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You are here:Home / Family News / NEF 2015 / Family News - 2015 March 14th / Practicing the Rule
Mar 12, 2015

Practicing the Rule

To simply be a good shepherd

Practicing the Rule

First Betharramite Parish in England, founded in 1909, Droitwich, over the past few years has been having a revival thanks to the presence, of four religious and thanks to the Indian Vicariate that sent one of its religious. From Bangalore, Fr Vincent Masilamani scj, came to take care of the flock in Worcestershire. How does he evaluate his ministry in the light of our Rule of Life?

Article 122. At the request of bishops, religious of the Sacred Heart of Jesus can accept the responsibility of a parish or take on ministries in a parish. In parochial ministry, we work to “procure for others the same happiness” which lives in us. We live in community in simplicity, available to all, with a particular care for the most vulnerable.

 

have been member of the Betharramite Family for 15 years. In these years, I have been involved in various ministries in different cultures. I thought the ministry or pastoral work among the homeless children who were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd in the streets of Bangalore, was a satisfying and fruitful service. At that time being a novice to the religious life, that ministry helped me to hear the voice of the Spirit speaking to deepen the steadfast love for the call of God.

But now as a priest, for nearly 2 years I have been implicated in the pastoral work in the parish. During these years I understand that a parish is a family, one of the living cells of the family of God. In general, the parish is where one might experience what it means to belong to the Church. Each ministry offers joy, happiness, and blessings and also has its own challenges in distinctive way.

However, being in persona Christi, we are called to build a community of faith, of truly faith-filled people. It is there we encounter the living Jesus in the Scriptures, in the Sacraments, in the prayer-life of the community. It is through this ministry we are called to be a communion of faith and witness.

Detail of a mosaic (20th Century)
in the Droitwich parish church

The heart of the catholic belief is that God touches our lives through human signs and gestures. We use signs and symbols to express our inner self to others. Sacraments are the deepest and richest signs of all. Our faith proclaims that Jesus is present in the sacraments.

The heart of the priestly ministry is celebrating the sacraments, through which God touches our lives. In the parish, the sacraments provide key moments in the weekly ministry of my life: The celebration of the Eucharist every day in the Church, as well as the occasional Mass in a school or Nursing Homes, or in people’s houses and visiting sick people at home. In simplicity, we as a community are available to the people through these ministries, by doing this one can experience what is expressed in the rule of life “to procure for others the same happiness”. In the most profound way I say with St Paul, ‘It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.’ (Galatians 2:20).

Finally, I want to remember the words of Cardinal Bergoglio that always magnifies my ministry and my vocation: “A strong priestly heart is able to leap with joy when he contemplates, for example, how his catechists give classes to children, or when he sees his youth group going out at night to take care of those who are homeless.
A priestly heart is strong if he has the ability to be full of joy before the prodigal son returning, when he is patiently waiting in the confessional.
A priestly heart is strong if it allows his happiness to increase with the word of the hidden Jesus, who walks with us, just as on the road to Emmaus.”

Vincent Masilamani scj

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