11. LALGUDI – MANAKAL
St. John Bosco; (1986) 1993: Kumbakonam
We, the Salesians of Don Bosco at Manakkal, Lalgudi, called to be the apostles of the young, guided by the Holy Spirit, following the footsteps of Christ, under the maternal protection of our Blessed Mother and in keeping to the charism of Don Bosco are dreaming and are striving towards the religious formation, the alleviation of poverty and the realization of the holistic growth of the youth in Lalgudi taluk through
- Mary Help of Christians Parish
- Don Bosco Industrial Training center
- Don Bosco High School
- Zatti Boys Home (ZIM)
- Don Bosco Youth Centre & Don Bosco Daily Oratory
The Salesians of Don Bosco, Manakkal, Lalgudi envisage working in a systematic way for the youth and the poor people to effect spiritual growth, education, employment, empowerment and social change in and around Lalgudi taluk through spiritual, educational, technical, economical and psychological interventions.
Manakkal is a part of Lalgudi town panchayat, which is not more than a ½ a kilometer from the Lalgudi railway station. Rev. Fr. Peear Swami was the first person to buy a land here to build a Church. He said a sung Mass on 24th August 1852. In the year 1870 Rev. Fr. Ambrose bought some more land. He built a Church here and blessed it on 24th August 1870. Then again in 1873 he bought another land for Rs.125 and he built a residence for the priests. These initiatives were taken when Manakkal came under the jurisdiction of the Arch-Diocese of Pondicherry. On 1st September 1899 the Diocese of kumbakonam was carved out of the Arch Diocese of Pondicherry and was made into a separate diocese with Most Rev. Bishop Hooko Botero as the first Bishop.
It was during the time of Most Rev. Bishop Peter Francis (1931 – 55) the first Indian Bishop of the diocese; Rev. Fr. Vath built a presbytery for Rs. 4500 and a Church for Rs. 23000 in Manakkal. He also bought a coconut grove for Rs. 2300. On July 25th 1939, Manakkal was bifurcated from Periyavarseeli Parish and was erected as a separate parish with St. Joseph as the patron. Fr. Arockiasamy Nather was appointed as the first parish priest. A boarding for Adi Dravida boys was built and boys were accommodated in the boarding.
ARRIVAL OF THE SALESIANS
The Salesian house at Manakkal, was established on 31st May 1986, entrusted with a parish and an aided Elementary School and confined to the care of Rev. Fr. Peter Mathew as Parish Priest and Correspondent. Two Clerics Bro. Francis Xavier and Bro. Thommai Antony Rajan joined him to pursue their college studies at St. Joseph’s College, Trichy.
Till 1985, the Parish comprised both, caste people and dalits, the former dominating the parish life, while the latter, confined to the fringe line and thus deprived of active involvement in the parish, had never enjoyed a sense of unity with the totality of the people of God. Seemingly, as a solution to the caste problem, the diocesan authorities had the parish shifted to a newly built church in a high class area in Lalgudi 1985, whereby reducing Manakkal church to the status of a sub-station confined entirely to local dalit Catholics. This change of status was very much resented by them. They were however pacified by the diocesan authorities creating in the vision of a bright future with the imminent advent of the Salesians. People had to wait for one full year before the Salesians arrived and the old parish status was restored to Manakkal.
The initial enthusiasm of the parishioners in the newly established Salesian presence was equally accompanied with parochial initiatives taken by Rev. Fr. Peter Mathew. Hardly two years were over before much of that initial excitement subsided. It was because of the false hope that the people entertained the Salesians of the church, as an economic aid society.
INDUSTRIAL TRAINING CENTER
The Lalgudi Don Bosco Society was registered under section 10 of the Tamilnadu Act 1975. As a first step, the Lalgudi Don Bosco Society started an Industrial Training Institute in August 1989. In March 1989 Deacon Joseph Raj arrived at Manakkal for his apostolate and to arrange the tools and machines for the proposed Industrial School. After his ordination, he returned to Manakkal, as the Director of the Non-Formal Industrial School that started functioning on 8th September 1989. Don Bosco Agro-Tech, as the institute was late named, was officially inaugurate on 4th SFebruary 1990. It was a humble beginning with Electrician, Simple Wiring and Mechanic motor trades. But now the institute has expanded. It offer trades like Welding, Diesel, Mechanic Service station, Driving School etc. The well qualified and efficient staff provides quality training in various trades. Since 1989, 2500 trainees have successfully completed their technical education.
In As there was a plea by the people to upgrade the Primary School, Fr. Peter decided to start a new Middle School of Don Bosco in the name 1991 (2nd June). It was stared in the campus of the Salesian residence alone with the RC Aided primary school (started on 25.07.1951). Rather than upgrading the primary school they started a separate middle school with a different name. The school was officially registered on 12.05.1993. Many efforts to get government aid were done by the undivided Madras Province. All of them proved futile as the government said that the recognition would only be granted if we unconditionally sign and give a document stating that we do not ask for any type of aid from the government. The document was initially signed with a hope that as years roll by we would be able to get aid from the government. But to this day the school does not receive any aid from the government. From 1991 the province pays the teachers. At present the province on an average 50,000.00 per month as salary for the teaching and non-teaching staff in the school. The school caters to the really needy and the poor. This can be seen from the statistics of the school. The Don Bosco Middle school was upgraded into a High School in the year 1995.
YOUTH CENTRE & DON BOSCO DAILY ORATORY
Youth Centre has had its ups and downs in Manakkal. It was started in 1986. Regular programmes are conducted and meetings are held. In order to give a good all-round formation to the boys the Don Bosco Daily Oratory was started in the year 2006 in Manakkal Lalgudi by the Salesian community in view of remembering the Salesian presence in India for 100 years (1906). Bro. Sagayaraj Sdb was its first director. Daily games (football and volleyball), motivational seminars, counseling, friendly chats, reading habit in the youth library, prayer experience, social service are the regular features of Don Bosco Daily Oratory.
The youngsters who visit the youth centre and Daily Oratory are very poor but talented in music and games. 80 youngsters attend the daily oratory regularly. They enjoy playing football. A good number of them remain either unemployed or work for little money without any skill. Music and games are their special ability and they learn in no time. A few of them go for local orchestra concerts. They are eager to come up in their life given a proper channel to blossom.
The Salesians are trying their best to give a fitting solution to the problems faced by the people and youth. We offer them academic as well as technical education for their future. The youth centre was running a mini library through which youth could develop their thirst for knowledge and scientific temper. There is a Job opportunity cell named as “Vazhikaatti” (Sign Post) which looks for job vacancies for the unemployed youth who are both skilled as well as unskilled.
ZATTI BOYS’ HOME
In response to the plea for a boarding from the poor young people who found it difficult to come from their homes everyday to the DBITC, a boarding was started in 2003. At present there are 45 students in the Boarding. Poor students who are studying in Don Bosco High School are also in the boarding. Due to lack of infrastructure not many students are accommodated in the boarding. We are taking in only those who are poor and those who are deserving. Some of the boys in the boarding are from broken families, few are orphans and a few are semi orphans from a pathetic family background.
PARISH: Lalgudi Parish consists of a main parish (Lalgudi) with two sub-stations (Poovalur and Pinnavasal). The parish has got 330 Catholic families and 15Anbimas. Parish has prepared the annual plan with regular animations and programmes. Parish got various Legion of Mary, Vincent De Paul, ADMA and other pious associations. There are 65 Children attending the Sunday Catechism classes. The Altar children association is active with 20 members. Don Bosco youth groups consists of 25 members and Savio youth group 18 members.
DBITI–DBITI has four technical trades (Diesel Mech, Electrical, Motor Mech, Welding). There are 224 students (201 in the formal course and 23 for non-formal course) this academic year. There are 14 staff both teaching and non-teaching.
DBHS– DBHS has 121 students with 9 staff this year. R.C.PRIMARY SCHOOL has got 93 students with 4 staff. Both the schools have prepared their annual plan filled with various programmes, animations and competitions.
ZAATTI HOME has 19 students with a full time Salesian assistant.
SALESIAN COOPERATORS – The parish has got a Salesian Cooperators unit with 11 members and ADMA group with 08 members. Rector of the community organises their meeting and animates them. They have their regular meetings.
25, Manakkal, Lalgudi
TIRUCHY– 621 601
Phone: (0431) 2541205 House
78679 46623 School