Fr. Maria Paulraj SVD
Fr. Sanjay Kujur SVD
Fr. John Wakhla SVD
Fr. Babu Karakombil SVD
Fr. Clement Xess SVD
INDIA CENTRAL PROVINCE
Central Indian Province (INC)
Our Journey since 1932
A journey of thousand miles begins with a single step. So began an incredible journey of 12 SVD Missionaries, 10 Priests and 2 Brothers who set out from Germany landed in Indore on November 4, 1932. Propaganda Fide in Rome had approached our Generalate as early as 1913 and offered us a mission District near Patna. Because of World War I, the Society could not honour the contract. In 1927, Rome offered another territory, Indore. The Generalate accepted it but the first missionaries reached India only in 1932. Father Peter Janser was the first superior. In 1936 the SVD Indore Region was officially established by Superior General Joseph Grandel under the leadership of Fr. Peter Jansser, The Indore Region expanded widely under the leadership of Fr. Stanislaus Wald, Fr. Valentine Zimmermann, Fr. Rudolf Schoepe, Fr. Henry Wichelmann, Fr. William Wuelner, Fr. Alois Kloepper and Fr. Anand Anithottathil. The former Indore Region was renamed as Central Indian Province in the year 1975, Fr. Erick Reckwardt as its first Provincial Superior. Then the Province was shouldered by Fr. Leo Cornelio, Fr. Thomas Thalachira, Fr. Ignatius Thottappilly, Fr. Charles Pinto, Fr. Chacko Thottumarickal, Fr. Cletus Colaco, Fr. Arockia Sebastin Durairaj, Fr. Nicholas Martis, Fr. Xavier Thirukudumbam, Fr. Johny D’Souza and presently Fr. Joemon James Alackal is the Provincial Superior. The Province has given birth to India East Province [INE], India South Province [INS] and the new region with the support of INE, namely, India – Guwahati [ING]. Today the Province is spread over the states of Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Delhi and Rajasthan and the members work in the diocese of Indore, Bhopal, Khandwa, Baroda, Udaipur, Jaipur, Delhi and Jhabua.
Sharing Intercultural Mission – Ad Extra
As members of the Central Indian Province of the Society of the Divine Word, we strive to foster unity and harmony in our multi-cultural, multi-religious and diverse situations fragmented by ethnocentrism, fanaticism, discriminations and inequality through dialogue of life and action with all people and become bridge builders. We endeavour to involve all in planning, decision-making and implementations of projects, promotion and evaluation of Apostolates to make the poor and the marginalized communities to be self-affirming and self-reliant.
Personnel (in Active Ministry) (%)
Personnel (Not in Active Ministry) (%)
Personal in active ministry: 2021
132 members (Priests 117 + Brothers 15) [ % is taken with multitasking ]
Dialogue and Ecumenism
Retreat / Spirituality
The SVD Central Indian Province is spread out in the dioceses of Indore, Jhabua, Khandwa, Bhopal, Udaipur, Jaipur, Delhi and Baroda. Evangelization, Dialogue-with Faith and Truth Seekers, People of other Cultures and Poor, Biblical Apostolate, Justice-Peace and Integration of Creation, Communication Media, Mission Animation, Family and Youth and other ministries such as Education, Social, Medical Pastoral and Formation.
The Province’s activities range from primary evangelization to formation of diocesan clergy; from providing quality and value based education promoting initial and integral formation for SVDs, from family apostolate to poverty alleviation; from fostering communal harmony to furthering interdenominational cooperation; from ministering to the marginalized minding the migrants; form providing pastoral care for the faithful preparing personnel for overseas missions from conducting retreat and counseling to promoting contemplative spirituality; from running hostels for students to managing printing press and publication; from administering a state of the art dental clinic to webcasting religious programmes; from answering queries on the Bible and Christian faith to promoting agro based eco-friendly activities; from caring for the spiritual needs of the people promoting interreligious harmony; from writing lyrics to scoring musical notes etc.
Sharing Intercultural Life – Ad Intra
VISION: “THAT THEY ALL MAY BE ONE” (Jn.17:21)
Brothers in temporary vows
Personnel (Not in Active Ministry) (%)
Age and Country
Noteworthy in the province is the large number of Brothers. Most of the Brothers are elderly and retired. Our Brothers work mainly in the press, formation houses and in the school apostolate. Few Brothers are rendering professional services in keeping with the diversified technical training. We have the ASPAC Brothers’ Affairs Coordinator in the person of Br. Kalaimani Paulraj, a dentist by profession, he is also given additional responsibilities as India Sub-Zone Brothers’ Coordinator as well as Province Brothers’ Coordinator. Out of 4 temporary vowed Brothers, one has done Masters’ in Social Work, another one has done B.PED Physical Training, one has completed B.Ed and last one has applied for B.Ed as well as Accounting Training.
Generally confreres come together for common prayer, meditation and for the Holy Eucharist Celebration. Recollections are organized by provincial level twice for SVD and SSpS. Bible sharing is frequently held in our communities. More than 60% per the confreres attend regularly Annual Retreat which is organized every year.
Our community life is enhanced with spiritual activities such as morning and evening prayers together, Bible reading, adoration, Eucharist. There are regular community meetings held by the head of each community or institution. Minutes of meetings are kept and reviewed regularly.
Leaders are encouraged to be animators and coordinators, rather than mere administrators. The province has an annual plan to organize seminar for the head of the institutions/superiors/young Confreres Meet etc.
Confreres contribute their salaries and other form of income to the province. Some are given additional responsibilities to tap income for the province. There are confreres who find different route with the knowledge of the Provincial Superior to tap fund for helping out poor students towards their education. Attempts are made to tap local resources towards self-sufficiency and for our ministries and projects. Smarthak Office was set up in 2004 and is functioning well in the premises of Sat Prachar Press, Residency Area, Indore. The Word Among Us magazine helps the hostels in the province through its subscription and donations.
There are 6 formation houses in the province; initial formation, juniorate, novitiate, philosophy, EIP (Exposure and Immersion Programme) and theology. There are 2 diocesan seminaries under the administration in the Province. Under the leadership of the Province Formation Secretary, the formation programmes are supervised every now and then. 23 confreres are involved in the formation ministry. We have also General Secretary for Formation and Education residing in our province.
Collaboration with Sisters:
Practically in every parish/mission station, we have Sisters working with us and in every school, one or other Sister Congregation is helping us in the apostolate. They are our mission partners. By and large our relation with the Sisters is good enough.
The journey of the Divine Word Missionaries has gone through various bends, avenues and cross roads during the past 89 years in and around Indore. The sweat and toil of the pioneers have not only born fruits but also many of them have also been inspiring examples. Their light was the light for our mission. The 12 SVD Missionaries showed the way and we have been creatively responding to the needs and challenges of people today.
May the darkness of sin and the night of unbelief vanish before the light of the word and the spirit of grace. And may the heart of Jesus live in the hearts of all people.
Br. Raju Soosai SVD