Having completed his visit of the Eparchy of Bhadravathi, the Major Archbishop was escorted by His Excellency Mar Joseph Arumachadath, the Bishop of Bhadravathi to Kikkeri Mission Station for his two-day long visit of the Eparchy of Mandya.
This was a mission started by the MST Fathers where there is a primary school, Chaitanya Vidya Niketan School, assisted by Sisters of Kristu Dasi. The next stop was the mission station at Hadannur where Fr. Augustin Mundyavil (Kunjachan) has a clinic, especially for treating people suffering from snake bites. The clinic is a refuge for many poor people of the locality who are vulnerable to snake bites during their work in the sugarcane fields. Snehagiri Missionary Sisters assist Fr. Kunjachan in this mission.
From Hadannur the Major Archbishop left for the Bishop’s House of the Latin Diocese of Mysore where he was received by His Excellency Bishop Thomas Vazhapilly, the Bishop of Mysore at his residence and offered a VIP Lunch in his honour. Later the Major Archbishop paid a brief visit to the St. Joseph Cathedral Church which was earlier known as St. Philomena’s Church. At 4.00 p.m, the Major Archbishop arrived at the Provincial House of the CMI Mysore province where he was received by the Provincial Superior Rev. Fr. Joseph Rathapilly and other fathers of the Province. The Major Archbishop addressed the CMI Priests gathered there and thanked them for their missionary work they had put in before the erection of the eparchy of Mandya and appreciated their continued support to the mission now.
Later the Major Archbishop visited the MST Regional House where he was welcomed by Rev. Fr. Sebastian Koottumkal, the Regional Director and the MST Priests in Mandya. It was a very jovial exchange of ideas and sentiments where many expressed the desire of the Syro-Malabar Church paying greater attention to the over 300 missionary personnel of the MST ready to work for the mission, by providing them with new areas for missionary activity. The Major Archbishop acknowledged with gratitude the great missionary work the MST has put in before the erection of the eparchy of Mandya and appreciated the continued support the MST is giving to the eparchy in the present.
Although a bit behind the schedule, the entourage of the Major Archbishop arrived at the Bishop’s House of Mandya where he was welcomed by the Bishop, the Vicar General, the Chancellor and other priests of the area who were also invited for a supper arranged in honour of the Major Archbishop. Although the unexpected rain disrupted the programmes a bit, it could not dampen the high spirit of those who gathered to hear the Major Archbishop. During the supper the Major Archbishop addressed the priests and encouraged them in their arduous mission in the eparchy of Mandya.
After the night rest and breakfast at the Mandya Bishop’s House, the Major Archbishop visited the Jeevan Jyothi Seminary of the MST fathers where the fourth year seminarians are given formation under the guidance of Fr. Joby Koottumkal MST. Although it was a short visit, it made the inmates very happy.
The high point of the visit was the 2nd Diocesan Day celebrations at Henkel, in the Cathedral Church of the Eparchy. The Major Archbishop was cordially welcomed by Fr. Paul Koottala, the Vicar General and the Cathedral Parish Priest. During the Holy Qurbana in which almost all the priests of the Eparchy joined, the Major Archbishop exhorted the congregation to be that little flock of the Lord that bear witness to their Christian faith courageously.
In the public meeting that followed the Major Archbishop was honoured in the traditional Karnataka manner with Mysore Petty and shawl and a basket of fruits. The jubilarians and talents of the Eparchy were honoured and prizes were given for best students of the Catechism classes. The Major Archbishop also blessed the foundation stone for the Little Flower Auditorium of the Parish during the same function.
The afternoon session was set apart for meeting the priests, the religious sisters, the pastoral council, the catechism teachers, etc. which proved to be very enriching for everyone through the interactions and sharings. After visiting the hospice for the terminally ill patients run by the SD sisters, the Major Archbishop and his team left for Eranakulam Bishop George Njaralakkatt and the priests of the Curia accompanying him till Manimooly.