Mangaluru, Apr 27, 2017: A proud day for the Catholic church in Mangaluru; few would probably be aware that a comparatively new Apostolic order of religious, MSIJ - Missionary Society of Infant Jesus, was founded here by a Mangalorean priest Rev Fr.Lawrence Pinto, of Diocese of Lucknow, UP. In this city often called ’Rome of the East’, the mother house of this order located in Bondel parish is closely supported by the Mangalore Diocese it’s Bishop Rev.dr.Aloysius P D’Souza, the clergy, religious and laity, apart from the diocese of Lucknow.
April 26, 2017 - Wednesday, is a red letter day in the annals of this nacent congregation aspiring to serve humanity in special ways. It just harvested it’s very first fruits in two new priests, the first crop of this new promising congregation. Mangalore Bishop with a sense of joy and pride ordained Deacon Ravi Kumar Bathula and Deacon Melwin Basil Pinto, at Bondel St. Lawrence church amidst all solemnity and pomp. Fr Melwyn Basil Pinto is from Hosabettu parish of Mangaluru diocese. He is son of Valerian Pinto and Luisa Pinto and completed his theological education at Nagpur in Maharashtra. Another new priest Fr Ravikumar Bartula is from Challapalli parish of Elluru diocese in Andhra. He is son of Marthamma and late Chinnappa. He completed his theological education in Gnyanapet near Vijayawada in Andra Pradesh. (Fr. Melwin will work in Gulbarga Diocese, and Fr. Ravi Kumar will assist Fr.Lawrence at the Mother House). Monsignor Denis Moras Prabhu, vicar general of the diocese and Fr Lawrence Pinto Founder, were the co-celebrants as also a few other priests. Fr Ronald Serrao, professor of St. Joseph’s seminary Mangaluru led the liturgical ceremony.
The ordination right was conducted in English, a unique and simple liturgy integrated with a solemn holy mass, the different main steps to ordination are :: The Superior of the MSIJ congregation Fr. Lawrence Pinto declares the tested suitability for the priesthood, the candidates step forward and accept the call of Christ; the Bishop exhorts them on their premier role in the church, he examines their commitment and calls upon the holy spirit to fill them, the two ordinates prostrate and the saints of the church are invoked; they pledge to be obedient to the church and it’s representatives; the bishop and all priests present lay hands on their head and bless them individually and the sign of peace is exchanged; they are entrusted with the gifts to offer mass; the hands are anointed with holy oils and they are vested with the priestly vestments for mass and join the Bishop to offer their first solemn holy mass in all it’s pomp and splendour. Finally, in the capacity of priests they give their first official blessing to all present.
The ordination was followed by a tasteful felicitation for the MSIJ founder and the two new first preists and community, all present offwered flowers. Precise honours were betowed on the founder and new priests of the day The congregation was made up of a cross section of local people, nuns and priests. The close family of the two priests was a highlight. In particular it was very edifying to note that several family members of Fr. Ravikumar were there, with his dear mother and elder brother leading, they came all the way from Andhra Pradesh. It is note worthy that elderly priest Fr.Inniaha from Challapalli who was instrumental in tending Fr.Ravikumar’s call to the priesthood was a proud participant.
New apostolic order of religious, MSIJ - Missionary Society of Infant Jesus, Mangalore: Official Information.
The Missionary Society of Infant Jesus(MSIJ), was founded on February 2, 2005 at the ancestral home of the Founder at Kavoor, Mangalore. Bishops Aloysius D’Souza of Mangalore and Bishop Albert D’Souza of Lucknow led the official Foundation Mass. This historical event took place in the presence of the Founder’s brothers, sisters, relatives, friends, priests, religious sisters and parishioners of Bondel Church. Bishop Aloysius D’Souza, being the local competent Ecclesiastical Authority, later granted the Decree of Foundation for the Missionary Society of Infant Jesus in the Diocese of Mangalore on March 16, 2005. Bishop Aloysius P, D’Souza is actively involved in the process of having it recognized by Rome as a Congregation, ’A Society of Apostolic Life’.
1. The Name of the Society : In 1984, in the very first year of the founder’s stay in the United States, he had suffered much as he was new to the country. Having not enough money, nor having an admission to a university, made his life a heavy cross. He was posted at the Holy Cross Parish, in Manhattan, from July 1984 to June 1985. During this period of hardships, he had a mysterious experience. On one Sunday evening, two ladies appeared at the door of the parish house, and presented him with an unusual statue of Infant Jesus. These ladies asked him to pray to infant Jesus to help him come out of his difficulties in life. Fr. Lawrence often relates this story and recounts a number of events in which Infant Jesus had come to his rescue. He feels that the mysterious entry of the Infant Jesus into his life has been the real turning point in his life—in this sense, that he never fears any crisis in life—this is why he has named this congregation (new Order): Missionary Society of Infant Jesus (MSIJ).
2. General Charism : The chief charism is to do pioneering healing-ministry for the emotionally and spiritually affected people (mentally and spiritually challenged) of rural India, including urban poor especially, the marginalized and poor people, the dysfunctional families, couples, disturbed children and youth, men and women in all walks of life, including priests, religious sisters and seminarians, by means of counseling, psychological therapies, spiritual direction, pastoral and formation ministries, in continuation of Our Lord’s healing ministry by means of generous, dedicated and self-sacrificing service of the members of the Missionary Society of Infant Jesus.
2A. Sub-elements of the Charism : Psychospiritual healing ministry remains the main charism of this Apostolic Society; it will strive deeply to involve itself in the works of Christ’s mission of spreading the Gospel to remote areas of this country and Asia. At every mission station or parish they undertake, the Society will also establish counselling facilities to cater to the emotional needs of the parishioners. They will do their pastoral work with an emphasis on family ministry. The Society will also involve itself in the ministry of Formation—Religious formation and Seminary-Formation. The Society will take a greater interest in the Education Ministry especially ‘Special Education’ for mentally handicapped children.
The Society intends, therefore, to train its members, not only just in Philosophy and Theology, but also specialization in Spiritual Theology, Pastoral Theology, Moral Theology and Spiritual Methods of Healing, Social work, Educational Psychology, Family Counselling, Counselling Psychology and Clinical Psychology, including other indigenous methods of healing.
3. Brief History of the Founder : Fr. Lawrence Pinto, the Founder of Missionary Society of Infant Jesus, a priest of the Diocese of Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, had been dreaming of founding a Society of Apostolic Life (similar to a Religious Order) since 1982. His education in Clinical Psychology (Ph.D. at Fordham University, New York, USA), and his experience with emotionally disturbed lay people, priests and religious sisters over a period of 24 years, made him realize that he must offer his life for this unfortunate section of God’s people. His work in the missions of Northern India, and his experience as school-teacher, Principal, Formator, Seminary Rector, and Director of National Vocation Service Centre, Pune, have also made him develop a keen interest in the Pastoral, Educational, Formational, and Family ministries. Vision and the Charism of the Society
4. Counselling Centre at present : For the last 11 years the Society has been running a Counselling centre. Fr. Lawrence, being a trained Clinical Psychologist; he takes five clients per day by appointment for Psychotherapy or Counselling. Priests who need counselling help come not only from India, but also from Sri Lanka and Malaysia. Many religious sisters, married couples, young and old men and women, children come from different parts of India for
psychological treatment. In the last 11 years Fr. Lawrence has counselled about 3000 clients.
5. Admission to the Society : Only those who have completed 17 years of age may apply to the Society to be accepted as candidates. Only those who have passed P.U.C/Intermediate or Graduation may apply to be accepted as candidates.
NOTE : On Wednesdays, the MSIJ, Society has arrangements for offering Mass followed by Novena to Infant Jesus at 5 p.m.all can participate.
Details for contact: Fr. Lawrence Pinto, MSIJ, Founder—Missionary Society of Infant Jesus, Pinto Valley, Kavoor Post, Mangalore—575015