Fr. Aneesh Koovalloor, CRM

January 20, 2016 —How wonderful and pleasant it is when brothers live together in harmony (Ps 133:1). That is the feeling I have when I look back at my past 2 years at St. Joseph Parish, Lodi. My entry into this parish was on the day before the feast of St. Joseph (Labour Day 2013). From then on until today, I am experiencing the providence of God each and every moment of my life. Before coming to Lodi, I had a lot preoccupation about my new assignment as a Parochial Vicar. First of all I have never gone out of India, leaving my family, my community and friends were little painful and especially coming to a new place.But God prepared the way for me to deal with all these new situations and He keeps me happy. For instance when it was the time to board the flight to New York, I could hear my heart beat, but for my surprise I met my aunt in the waiting room.She helped me to find the gate and when I sat down in the seat, the person sitting next to me was my theology classmate a CarmeliteNun. Weren’t these amazing coincidences of God’s providence?

Paulo Coelho in his book the Alchemist says,“Everyone on earth has a treasure that awaits him”. It was my pleasure and my treasure to have my ministry at St. Joseph Parish and also with my brother priests in the United States.My own companions Fr. Michael Marotta, CRM and Fr. Americo Salvi, CRM are two genius priests filled with wisdom and lot of experiences. Always, it is good for a junior priest like me,to have the company of such experienced holy priests. Last year when Fr. Americo celebrated his 60th Ordination Anniversary,I told him “it is a wonderful experience to have the 60th celebration”. With a smile he said, “Keep on going; one day you will reach your 60th without you knowing it”. As the saying goes, “The family that prays together stays together”. That was one of the beautiful things about our Lodi community. No matter how busy schedules were, everyone made time for community prayer. “The religious is a man of prayer. He therefore will have God as the first and principal interlocutor of the day” (Const48).

The presence of our priests and brothers from Ramsey had doubled our happiness. The Company of the young keeps us young. The best example of this is Fr. Ettore Di Nardo. In him anyone could see an enthusiastic and vibrant priest. Not only helping the parish as a Minister but also as an amazing cook. My brother, Fr. Liam Reza Panganiban, also was an inevitable part of our community and our Church. His services at the Church made me think that I have much to learn. My younger brothers also surprised me with their creativity and commitment to Pastoral Ministry.

Very special thanks to Fr. Teodoro Kalaw, CRM, our delegate. His brotherly concern for me and the community was overwhelming. Whenever he visited our parish, the parishioners were overjoyed. Now you can have him as your Pastor and companion in your spiritual journey. Last but not the least I want to thank all my dear ones of St. Joseph Church. For your sincere support,encouragement,love, kindness actually I don’t have enough words to express my gratitude to you.It is the same feeling I had whenever I visited Goose Creek and Spartanburg.What surprised me often was many even know me by name, though I have never been there for long. God bless you ALL.

And if I say of my new assignment as the Spiritual Father and Professor of the Minor Seminarians, it is simply wonderful. You will never know how fast the days are passing, quite busy but I am enjoying it with the company of my fellow priests and the seminarians. Now I have the feeling that I am back to the formation years, because a formator should follow the time table of the seminarians and actually be one among them. Please continue to pray for all the Adorno Priests and Seminarians around the world.

St. Robert Bellarmine says “The school of Christ is the school of love. In the last day, when the general examination takes place …….Love will be the whole syllabus”. Therefore let us love one another as the way Jesus loves us.

May the light of the Risen Christ shine always in our hearts. A. M. R.G.