Saturday, 18 July 2009

At Parigi with the MHMs

Yesterday I had the opportunity to 'preach' the monthly recollection for the aspirants of the Mill Hill Fathers (MHM) at Parigi. It was good, a nice opportunity to spend the day with them living their lifestyle. I should say, they are truly very down-to-earth guys. Not much of fanfare about things and their way of living. Simple life style. I liked what Fr Thaddeus (their rector) had told me earlier: "For now we want to build their faith; priesthood and all that, later. So one thing we are always happy about in the whole formation process: that if a boy leaves the formation house, not wanting to become a priest, he is for sure, a better Catholic than when he entered."

Luckily after long I took the chance to talk in four languages (I had done in three when I was in Nashik). The boys were from UP, MP, Orissa, Tamil Nadu and AP... that too just one month since they joined there. So for most of them, English was 'greek and latin'. I was also happy when the brothers there told me to use some mixed language to make my points clear to the boys. Fr Thaddeus had given me the green signal much earlier. At first they were very serious and totally silent (very unusual for boys that age and just one month old in the seminary). I first introduced myself and told them to relax...nothing much happened. The looks on their faces were very disturbing. But the moment I made a couple of statements in the next 5 minutes in all four languages (English, Hindi, Telugu and Tamil) I could see life surging in on their faces!! I could see them all ears, waiting for the next sentence I would speak in their native language.

Later as I left the place they were all eager to have a word with me... in their own language. Nothing serious, just the joy and thrill of speaking free and clear. But I was very conscious and was prudent in my use of English as the main language. So much for liberating the mind and ... mouth! I hope my presence has also 'liberated' their thoughts on prayer and sharing.

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