Mary Help of Christians; (1993) 1999: Thanjavur
The Salesian community envisions a faith-filled, educational, cultural and social transformation in and around Madhakottai so that the people, the youth and the students will become witnesses of the Gospel values and in turn transform the society.
The Salesian community will continually renew itself in the love of Christ and in the charism of Don Bosco and will strive hard to transform the society around by educating the children to grow in faith, in talents and in the social values, by inculcating the young a strong faith in themselves to aim higher, prepare themselves for greater challenges and to become social transformers and by facilitating the growth of the faithful in true Gospel values.
Salesians re-entered Thanjavur in the year 1980 after nearly sixty years of break. They were invited for the first time to do youth ministry and they had begun doing the ministry as they were expected in and around the main parish (present Cathedral) from 1906 to 1922. Again they were welcomed by the first Bishop of Thanjavur Most Rev. Sundaram in 1980 to do youth ministry. The Diocesan youth commission was given to the Salesians to start the ministry. Together with this they began an aspirantate and a matriculation school.
Madhakottai parish was handed over to the Salesians in the year 1981. This was bifurcated from the Cathedral and made into a parish. Interesting to note is that this was a substation in the days of the first Salesians. So in a sense Salesians returned to where they belonged.
Youth ministry has been the main thrust in this new parish. Together with the pastoral ministry Salesians continued their youth apostolate. They are proud to say that after thirty years of ministry the youth in the parish have a standing. All the girls are educated and qualified with master’s degree. Most of the boys as well are qualified with graduation.
Presence of youth is very well noticed in the pastoral and spiritual activities of the parish. They do take their initiative and creative role in the liturgy and other apostolate. A sense of satisfaction and pride thrust the Salesians into all sorts of activities including the social activities. This is very much seen in the annals of the parish.
EARLY SALESIAN PRESENCE IN THANJAVUR
10.04.1906 The Salesians reached Thanjavur under the leadership of Fr. George Tomatis
08.12.1906 Foundation for the permanent residence for the Salesians was laid.
The first Salesians to come to Thanjavur:
- Fr. George Tomatis (leader)
- Fr. Ernest Vigneron (died on 20.11.1907)
- Fr. Richarf Biebyuck (asked to leave India)
- Bro. John Rostango
- Maria Balstra (cleric)
- Adrian Borello (aspirant)
1907 Fr. Mederlet reached Thanjavur
1909 A small school with two classes started in Madhakottai
1910-11 Fr. Mederlet took charge of the Salesian work in Thanjavur
1910 Constructed the Madhakottai Chapel dedicated to Our Lady of Lourdes
1913 Fr. Francis Carpen reached Thanjavur (left India in1914)
1919 St.Michael’s Primary School got Government recognition.
They looked after the parish of sacred heart, which had 50 sub stations. Madhakottai was one of substation of it. Salesians used to come to Madhakottai to celebrate the Holy Eucharist in the old church, built by the Salesians dedicated to Our Lady of Lourdes.
- Had an orphanage
- Were running an industrial school (carpentry, welding and printing)
- Had a youth centre
- Were running a night school
- Were running an elementary school
- Had a unit of the Salesian co-operators
1928 Salesians left Thanjavur. Withdrawal from Thanjavur was painful. (The double jurisdiction system was abolished and a reorganization of the various dioceses was decided upon. Following the decision taken by the Salesian Rector Major Fr. Ricaldone in 1926, the Salesians handed over their institutions in Thanjavur and Santhome, to the diocese of Mylapore. In exchange they received the North Arcot Mission and the Shrine at Bandel. For detailed discussion kindly refer the book by Rev. Fr. T. J. Joseph titled The Salesian History in India).
1980 The Salesians set their foot again at Don Bosco, Yagappa Nagar. They started an aspirantate and Matriculation Higher Secondary School.
22.07.1981 Madhakottai was made a Parish and entrusted to the Salesians by His Lordship Bishop Sundaram, the bishop of Thanjavur, on a temporary basis for a period of three Years. There was already a Church in Mathakottai dedicated to Our Lady of Lourdes. Fr. Provincial took charge of the Parish.
Fr. K.O. Louis the Rector of Don Bosco Yagappa Nagar, Thanjavur, was appointed as the first parish priest of Mathakottai. The Parish was re-dedicated to Sahaya Lourdu Annai.
18.11.1983 Fr. Michael Thomas the Rector of Don Bosco Yagappa nagar, Thanjavur, was appointed as the second parish priest of Madhakottai.
11.12.1983 Fr. Michael Thomas the Rector of Don Bosco Yagappa nagar, Thanjavur was officially installed as the Parish Priest of Madhakottai.
04.07.1984 Bon Secours sisters were ministering the school and were coming from their convent at Pookkara street. But from 1977 on they came to stay in the new convent built in Madhakottai.
19.01.1985 His Lordship Bishop Sundaram laid the Foundation stone for the new Church.
23.08.1985 The Church was blessed and dedicated to Lourdu Sagaya Annai by His Lordship Bishop Sundaram, Bishop of Thanjavur.
16.02.1990 Parish limits were officially demarcated.
07.10.1991 Multipurpose Hall was blessed and opened.
27.10.1991 Inauguration of Don Bosco Health Centre by Most Rev. Gabriel, Bishop of Trichy. The Salesians accepted to look after the administration while the Bon Secours sisters were asked to look after the regular medical service.
24.05.1992 The Parish and the School were entrusted to the Salesian Congregation. To this effect a contract was signed by His Grace Arch-Bishop P. Arokiasamy, Bishop of Thanjavur. The agreement was made for 15 years which was further renewable.
11.06.1992 The upgraded St.Michael’s High school was recognized by the Government.
10.04.1993 23 houses were built for the poorest of the poor at Madhakottai and 10 houses at Kuthencherry.
29.05.1993 Five class rooms were built for the Primary School.
06.02.1994 Multipurpose Parish Hall was built and inaugurated.
24.04.1996 A new Chapel was blessed and opened at Kuthencherry.
08.12.1996 Bethania convent for the old age sisters of Bon Secours congregation was inaugurated
05.01.1997 Don Bosco Dispensary was restarted after a gap of two years. Administration handed over to the Sisters
24.12.1997 A semi boarding was opened and the kitchen, toilets were blessed and opened by Bishop Devadoss Ambrose.
27.06.1999 Very Rev. Fr. Provincial blessed and opened the non-formal school building at Kuthencherry and night study started at Kuthencherry.
1999 Land was donated which could be sold to construct the bell tower.
24.01.2000 Salesian co-operators unit was started.
24.03.2000 The Parish Church was renovated and it was blessed by Most Rev. Devadoss Ambrose, the Bishop of Thanjavur and opened by Very Rev. Fr. James Theophilus SDB, the Provincial of Trichy. Bishop Gabriel consecrated the new altar.
25.02.2001 The new school’s extension with 5 class rooms was blessed & opened by Very Rev. Fr. James Theophilus SDB, the Provincial of Trichy.
10.10.2001 Anbiyams were started (BCC)
2003 The school was shifted to the new building
2007 Compound wall for the school was constructed
2011 Compound wall around the Kuthencherry was constructed and the fence was erected around
20.11.2011 The Servite sisters along with their novices began to reside at Kuthencherry
28.04.2012 Gethsemane Adoration Chapel was constructed with donations from the Parishioners, and blessed by Most Rev. Dr. Devadoss Ambrose, the Bishop of Thanjavur.
15.02.2014 Marian Bishop S. L. Gabriel Memorial Community Hall was blessed and opened by Very Rev. Fr. L. Sahaya Raj – Chancellor of Thanjavur Diocese. This was followed by Solemn celebration of Holy Mass in memory of the late Bishop S. L. Gabriel D.D., Son of the soil.
04.10.2014 Golden jubilee of the profession of Fr. K.O. Louis was celebrated
08.02.2015 The new Parish Council took charge
03.05.2015 Bore well was dug at Kuthencherry for the people’s use
10.05.2015 Don Bosco Bicentenary hall was inaugurated
24.05.2015 Parish Council re-approved by the diocese since the new Parish Priest had taken charge.
PARISH: Madhakottai Parish consists of a main parish (Madhakottai) with one sub-station (Assisi Nagar). The parish has got 568 Catholic families at Madhakottai and ……families at Assis Nagar. There are 25 Anbiams at the main station and one Anbiam at the Sub-station. Parish has prepared the annual plan with regular animations and programmes. Parish has got Legion of Mary, Intercessory Prayer group and other pious associations.There are 120 Children attending the Sunday Catechism classes. The Altar children association is active with 20 members. Don Bosco Junior youth group consists of 16 members and they are registered under Ilamai, Province youth movement.
MICHAEL’S HIGH SCHOOL- has 400 students with 7 aided staff and 14 management staff this year. There are 231 girls and 169 boys studying in the school. There are 88 catholic students and 312 non-Catholics. Scholl has got various groups and movements like Scouts, Guides, JRC, Eco clubs etc. These groups have their regular meetings and their minutes are recorded.From this academic year one sister from Italian Servite Sisters convent at Kuthenchery is teaching in the English section of the High school.
THE R.C.PRIMARY SCHOOL- has got 212 students with 7 staff. It is run with the collaboration of Bon-secours sisters. Salesian family and other religious collaborating in the mission:
PAST PUPIL UNIT:The past pupils of St. Michael’s school are registered as under Past Pupil unit. There are 50 active members now. They gather for their annual general body meeting.Cooperators unit inactive right now. I propose to suppress the present unit and go in for new unit to give life to co-operators.
Lourdu Sagaya Annai Parish
Sarafoji College PO
THANJAVUR – 613 005
Phone: (04362) 227253 Parish
98424 62064 House
E-Mail: Stmichaelmkottai@yahoo.com School