Men and women with pure love and generosity witness the God and service to the humankind is indeed the best service to God said the Apostolic Nuncio to India Archbishop Rev. Fr. Salvatore Pennacchio. Felicitating the Congregation of the Immaculate Conception (CIC), Madurai, on its centenary here at Nirmala Girls’ Higher Secondary School on Wednesday, he turned the pages of history and talked about the various missionary activities that went on in the historic city of Madurai which had established the Tamil Sangam to promote Tamil Literature.
He talked about Joseph Constantius Beschi (also called as Veeramamunivar) who authored many works in Tamil which helped in spreading the exceptional qualities of the language. He referred to Robert De Nobili, a Jesuit, who during his time had engaged in discussions with heads of other religions in Madurai.
Earlier in the day, Rev. Fr. Dr. Pennacchio released the centenary souvenir and the first copy was received by Archbishop of Madras, Rev. Fr. A.M. Chinnappa, Mylapore.
The CIC had its inception in a small famine stricken village called Panjampatti near Dindigul in the year 1899. Fr. Julius Larmey, S.J., Fr.Augustine Pereira and Fr. Eugene Nespoulous, S.J., were the founders of the CIC and they tried their best and worked among the villagers who suffered in famine. However, the congregation was later shifted to Madurai on July 2, 1911.
Since then CIC has flourished and have set their foot in Zambia, South Africa, Italy, and Sri Lanka during this one hundred years of service to the society.
Kundrakudi Ponnambala Adigalar, in his felicitation, appreciated the work of CIC in the areas of knowledge production and highlighted that it was the Christian missionaries which took education to the unreached spaces and among the dispossessed. He recalled the contributions of Mother Teresa.
A. Syed Khaja Mueenudeen, Government Chief Kazi, Madurai, in his address, stated that to take care of the common man’s problems and work towards providing them a dignified life is the sign of real service.
Rev. Sr. Agnes Xavier delivered the welcome address, Rev.Fr. Peter Fernando, Archbishop Madurai presented the Papal Blessing. Books and compact discs carrying the history of CIC were released.
Others who offered their felicitations include, Rev. Fr. M. Devadoss S.J. Provincial Dindigul, Rev. Sr. Lily Thockanattu, Provincial Bangalore, Rev. Fr. Eugene, Director, pastoral Centre, Zambia, White Chisi, Zambia, Manik Pereira, Madurai Corporation Deputy Mayor, P.M. Mannan, and Commissioner S. Sebastine.