Retired archbishop joins Salesian community exercises

Abp Lucas compliments Fr Johny

BANDEL, (C.M. Paul) – Archbishop Lucas Sirkar on his retirement from Calcutta archdiocese some 100 days ago, has fully inserted into the religious community he once belonged. Punctually attending the tri-monthly recollection day programme today (23 June 2012) at Don Bosco Seminary Bandel, Salesian archbishop Sirkar was seated in the front row along with some 30 confreres who turned up from Hooghly, Nadia and North 24 Parganas districts.
The programme of the day consisted of two presentations on the upcoming 27th General Chapter in preparation for the bi-centenary for the birth of Don Bosco in 2015. Theme of GC27 is: Witnesses to the radical approach of the Gospel. There was also time for Holy Eucharist, confessions and Eucharistic adoration.
The programme animated by former Rector of Bandel seminary and former director of novices Fr N.J. Johny started at 9.15 am ended at 4.15 pm.
Walking along the seminary’s long corridor, archbishop Sarkar dressed in a simple white cassock with no other Episcopal paraphernalia commented on the dwindling number of vocations and formation in the minor seminary. The Salesian seminary at Bandel, at it’s hey days in 1970s had over 200 seminarians.
“I notice three major draw back in today’s formation,” he said listing: 1) lack of manifestation (talk with the Rector), 2) real Salesian assistance among the seminarians, and 3) lack of the presence of Lay Salesian Brothers.”
Archbishop Sirkar, 76 years old, belongs to the historic Marian Shrine community next door in the seminary campus. He has his office on the ground floor in the Retreat House (late Fr Louis Gobbetti’s office) and is available for confessions at the Marian Shrine.
Currently there are 31 aspirants belonging to two batches pursuing the plus two High School studies at the adjacent Don Bosco School Bandel.
This year Bandel seminary sent 12 candidates to Salesian Kolkata pre-novitiate at Savio Bhavan in Azimganj, Murshidabad district. Last year there were 13 candidates from Bandel seminary to the pre-novitiate.

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