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By Our own correspondent

Tiruchy, Tamil Nadu, India, 26 November 2019 -- There are 90 Salesian provinces around the world and each year some of them get a new provincial, to exercise the service of authority for a 6 year period. Each of our 12 EAO provinces would have their experience of the discernment process, that starts with the prayerful sessions usually guided by the Regional Councillor around their province.

The 4th provincial of Tiruchy, Fr. Joseph Anthony (1964-2019) passed away suddenly during the 3rd year of his office on 12 September 2019. The Rector Major requested the former extraordinary visitor to conduct the consultation. The three step community discernment process starts with listening to the current provincial situation, continues with the needs or priorities for the next 6 years, qualities of the provincial and finally with a personal contribution for the Rector Major. The great majority of the confreres gathered in 3 venues: Madurai (South), Tiruchy (Center) and Yercaud (North) with a 90% participation rate. The EAO regional councilor was happy to meet most of the confreres 4 years after the extraordinary visitation that took place in early 2016. The four day consultation visit concluded with the provincial council (Viceprovincial Fr. Agilan Sarprasadam) meeting on November 25.

The youthful, dynamic, rural-based Tiruchy province with 238 confreres (average age 36 years) and 11 novices is located in the Southern part of Tamil Nadu state (India), with 30 communities involved in the beautiful mission mostly in the poor rural areas, with many unique and creative apostolic works for Youth at Risk (HIV, De-Addiction, Street children, Tribal youth), spearheading 'Green' sensitivity with almost 200 Youth Eco-Clubs around the whole province - especially in many villages. The missionary spirit is alive with 12 missionaries ad gentes and 9 temporary missionaries in other parts of India and abroad. Simple and joyful life style, lack of financial resources, growing involvement of the laity as mission partners (2019 Youth Provincial Chapter, first Congress of the Salesian Cooperators) are among the trademarks of this province.

During next winter session of the General Council the Rector Major will conclude the discernment for many other new provincials in four continents: Mozambique, Venezuela, Argentina South, Brazil - Belo Horizonte, Brazil - Porto Alegre, Brazil - Campo Grande, India- Kolkatta, Slovakia, Czech Republic and Austria. Discernment is about prayerful listening, common reflection and searching for the ways of God - we accompany all concerned with our prayers, too!

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