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Approval and Inauguration of St. Joseph Vaz Independent Delegation of Claretian Missionaries in Sri Lanka

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The General Council of the Congregation of Missionary Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (Claretian Missionaries) in their recent meeting has decided and approved the creation of New Independent Delegation of Sri Lanka on October 24, on the feast day of St. Anthony Mary Claret, the Founder. The new Delegation is named as St. Joseph Vaz Independent Delegation. The Council also has appointed Fr. Joseph Jeyaseelan as the Major Superior of the New Delegation. The new council members are: Fr. Satheesh Saverimuthu (Econome) and Fr. Milfer Vaz (Consultor).

Claretians have been present in Sri Lanka since 1991. The founding of the Claretian Missionaries in Sri Lanka was an initiative of the German Province of the Claretians. From the time of the beginning until now Sri Lankan region was a part of the German Province. The territory of Sri Lanka was raised to the status of Dependent Delegation of the German Province in 2012.

The recruitment of Sri Lankan students to the Claretians started in 1979. The first students had their formation in India (Philosophy) and the Philippines (Theology) and then they were sent back to Sri Lanka to begin the Claretian Mission in the country.   Claretians from India were assisting in different ways for the establishment of the mission in Sri Lanka.  A few Indians have served in Sri Lanka too, very specially in the area of initial formation of the students. Fr. Cyriac Njayarkulam from India (Kerala) accompanied the first Claretians for long years.

Claretians have been involving in various ministries in the Island. Besides parish Apostolate, one of the first missions established by the Claretians in Sri Lanka is the Claretian Publications. The publication is publishing and distributing religious and spiritual books and Bible Diaries in all three languages used locally.

Another extraordinary Missionary activity of the Claretians in Sri Lanka is VAROD, which rehabilitates the Persons with Disabilities, especially the rehabilitation of disable persons of war.

Claretians are also involved in mission preaching, family and youth animation, psyco- social and counseling programs, activities concernng justice, peace and integrity of creation.

The entire country of Sri Lanka is the territorial jurisdiction of the new Delegation. Currently, Claretians are present in the Archdiocese of Colombo and the dioceses of Jaffna, Kandy, Badulla, Kurunegala, Mannar and Batticaloa.

The new Delegation has 34 priests 4 perpetually professed students and 20 in temporary vows.

The Claretians of Sri Lanka have already started to send Missionaries to other countries. They are now serving in Zimbabwe, Cuba, Antillas and Germany.

The General Council of the Claretians have chosen Sri Lanka as a venue for formation of international Claretian students. Already students from six countries are doing their philosophical and theological studies in Kandy.

The celebration of the inauguration of the new St. Joseph Vaz Independent Delegation took place on 24th October at the Claretian Minor Seminary, Kattuwa (Negombo).

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