KOLKATA, (C.M. Paul) – The Vincentian religious order of Potta and Muringoor fame set up their first house of prayer in Kolkata, 22 January 2012. At a solemn Eucharist presided over by Coadjutor archbishop Thomas D’Souza of Calcutta along with some 20 priests, Vincentian Ashram Kolkata was blessed and inaugurated. Present at the occasion were General Councilor of the Vincentians Fr Mathew Pothalil, provincial of St Joseph’s Vincentian province Fr George Arackal (Sr), as well as Mother General of the Missionaries of Charity, provincials of Salesians of Don Bosco and Loreto Sisters, and some 150 laity and religious.
The Vincentian ashram was the generous gift of Mrs Mary Catherine Sinha wife of late Adhis Chandra Sinha who donated her two storey villa and half acre property for adoration and prayer. While Mrs Sinha occupies the top floor, the ground floor and a two storey outhouse is given to the Vincentians who prayed for many years to start their ministry of spiritual animation in Kolkata.
Incidentally, Mrs Sinha who attended the Wednesday prayer meeting of the CCCRS (Calcutta Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services) at Sacred Heart Church Dharamthala under the direction of Salesian Fr. C.J. Sebastian is alleged to have had a vision to donate her property for Eucharistic adoration, prayer, intercession and counseling. The ashram situated near Minto Park locality on Sarat Bose Road falls under the territorial jurisdiction of St Thomas Parish Middleton Row.
The Vincentian Congregation (VC) is a clerical society of Syro-Malabar Church of Pontifical right with it’s generalate at Edapally in the archdiocese of Ernakulam-Angamaly. It was founded on 20th November 1904 as an ashram at Thottakam near Vaikom (Kerala) by Fr Varkey Kattarath. Their religious life is based on the common rules of St Vincent de Paul founder of the Congregation of the Missions.
The VCs were raised to Pontifical right on 11 February 1968 when they were entrusted with Satna mission in Madhya Pradesh. In 1990, the VCs were divided into three provinces. Currently the VCs have two bishops, 455 priests, 168 major seminarians and 191 minor seminarians working in 77 centres in India (Kerala, Tamilnadu, M.P., Maharashtra, Andhra, Paschimbango) and abroad (East Africa, Brazil, Europe and North America).
In October 2006, the VCs started their first foundation in Paschimbango at Jalarkhalli near Krishnagar. Their Bengali publication from Jalarkalli Retreat Centre today has over 6,000 subscribers running into some 60,000 (sixty thousand) readers. The VCs have a third centre in Paschimbango at Chopra in Raiganj diocese.
The VC charism includes evangelization, helping clergy in pastoral activities, retreats, intercession, adoration and counseling. The Kolkata ashram under the leadership of Fr Cherian will hold daily public Eucharistic adoration from 8 am to 8 pm with the recitation of the Divine Mercy Chaplet from 3 pm to 4 pm. The Kolkata ashram comes under St Joseph’s Province Kottayam.