10 April 2024

L’Osservatore Romano, India, organized a transformative Intensive Program at the Eco-Spirituality center at Sengulam near Munnar in the District of Idukki, Kerala, India, specifically for the Major Superiors of Women Religious in Kerala, India. Originally slated from March 11th to 15th 2024, the overwhelming demand from Major Superiors prompted the extension of the same program again from April 1st to 5th. Themed "Ignite, Inspire, and Empower: Together, We Feel the Heartbeat of the Church," the initiative had a staggering number of 105 participants, boasting the presence of 4 Superior Generals, 25 Provincials, and 76 General/Provincial Councillors.

This immersive program's primary objectives were to equip the Major Superiors with the tools necessary to navigate the mounting challenges confronting religious life globally and to embolden them in fulfilling their duties with efficacy and grace. Leadership, the central motif, was dissected into three distinct dimensions: Institutional Leadership, Personal Leadership, and Extra-rational Leadership. Drawing upon the timeless wisdom enshrined in Biblical teachings and Church doctrines, participants were urged to kindle the flames of inspiration within themselves and their members. Guided by the Holy Spirit's tenets and the Church's authoritative directives as described in Perfectae Caritatis, Superiors were instructed to manage those under their care as Children of God and manage their assets as Ecclesial goods with prudence and fidelity. Besides, the major superiors and members were introduced to the document published by the Dicastery for Communications, Towards Full Presence - A Pastoral Reflection on Engagement with Social Media, as a lineament for Congregations' communication practices.

The curriculum blended theoretical insights with practical directives, furnishing Superiors with the acumen to tackle the myriad issues pervading their daily responsibilities. Interactive sessions, workshops, and deliberations facilitated the derivation of practical and actionable strategies, poised to serve as beacons amidst the turbulent seas of religious administration.

Notably, the program advocated for the practical integration of Synodality, a principle championed by His Holiness Pope Francis, both within and beyond the Synod of Bishops. The initiative sought to equip Major Superiors with the tools necessary to actualize this vision within the fabric of everyday religious life. The importance of “Sentire cum Ecclesia” was insisted on in the class requiring the Major Superiors to be always open to the needs of the local Church and the Universal Church in the inspiring model of St. Teresa of Avila, who had ardently proclaimed, “I am the daughter of the Church”.

The Superiors have intensified their interest in propagating the teachings of the Church through a greater number of subscriptions to L’Osservatore Romano and other documents of the Church. The Major Superiors also have given their whole-hearted support to the ‘One Library for one Parish, One L’Osservatore Romano for one Family’ Program, aimed at bringing the teachings of the Church to each catholic, especially to the younger generation. The Superiors also have promised their support and cooperation in making the reading and understanding of the Documents of the Church through different competitions such as Quiz Competitions.

A novel initiative by Carmel International Publishing House, the publisher of the Pope's newspaper, to bring to the community of the faithful the news of the Holy Church and the sermons of the Pope, unadulterated.

It is proper that the Discalced Carmelites, who have the tradition of being at the service of the Indian Church as Formators to the Secular Clergy and Religious for the last many centuries, are providing such unique and crucial service to the Major Superiors in this way. Rev. Dr. Joseph Edappulavan OCD (the Director of Avila Eco-Spirituality Centre, Sengulam, Rev. Fr. Sebastian Koodappattu OCD, and Rev. Fr. James Alakuzhiyil OCD (The Director of Carmel International Publishing House, Trivandrum that publishes the L’Osservatore Romano) were the animators and resource personnel for this program.