When I came to this parish in 2016, I was a surprise for you and you were a surprise for me and together we turned this surprise into a myriad, mind blowing, memorable and meaningful experiences.
My focus throughout these 5 years were 3 P's 1. People, 2. Project 3. Policy
(partly because I worked previously in 3 P’s - Prenovitiate, Papal seminary Pune
1. People: The shepherd needs to know his sheep and I managed to connect with people in the parish. I thank God for the gift of relationships. Every family in this parish has become an extended family to me. Without the cooperation of all of you it would have been impossible for me to make this parish achieve greater heights. The number of parishioners was few when I took over but today I leave behind 491 registered families more than 2000 members and many others who come from other parishes for our services. I have visited families, listened to them, understood them and accordingly helped them out. These experiences were rich reflections for me and thereby helped me to relate to my daily and weekly homilies thus bringing it closer home. This is my first experience as a parish priest and I feel very happy that I could achieve to bring up this Jesuit Parish to the fore front with other parishes in Bangalore. Hence, today I leave this parish in the rightful, deserving and capable hands of People centred priest Fr Balaraju.
Since I am a very hands on person, I started taking up some projects - some consecutively, some parallel.
2. Parish Hall
3. Compound wall
4. Planting trees in the cemetery and the parish grounds
6. LCD projectors in the church and classrooms
7. Sound system
8. Leakage problems
10. New notice boards
11. Renovation of presbytery and roofing of the new stage.
12. Putting the lights and ceiling fans
13. Toilet was connected to the public septic tank
14. Building niches, water tank, toilet and running water connection to taps and cleaning the cemetery
15. Interlocking the road leading to the Church from MSJ Road
16. Cabinets in the sacristy, PPs room, and computer room
17. New speakers
18. New parish website
19. Live streaming of the liturgical services since the lockdown March 2020
20. Parish relief social service at the wake of Corona lockdown misery
1. The legal documents of the property like Kaatha were obtained
2. Roostering the Liturgy list
3. Formation of wards with proper structure, records and documentation of family books
4. Systematic documentation of church records along with updating baptism, FHC, confirmation, marriage and death registers
5. Revived the Jesuit Volunteers Group
I feel humbled to have completed these milestones in 4 years 10 months and 5 days. I can't thank God for having given me this opportunity which added value not only to me as a Jesuit priest but much more as a human being. My heart remains grateful to each one of you for walking along with me, behind me, before me and most importantly with me. While I leave behind all of you here in this church, I take your lasting friendship, sincere prayers and wonderful memories with me.
In this process of building up the church as a community of faithful committed and compassionate people of God, incase I’ve hurt any of you by my words and actions, I ask your forgiveness.
I urge you to continue giving the same support and friendship to your new Parish Priest Fr Balaraju, SJ who is a humble, simple, calm and composed in nature.
To conclude, is my last joke as a PP.
There was this couple who loved each other a lot. One day the husband died. After the husband died, she used to sit near his grave and fan him. A passerby saw it and was astonished to see this and said to himself " OMG, this is the heights of a wife's love for her husband." So he went near her and told, " Mam, I really appreciate the love that you have for your husband even after he is no more." The lady replied, " we had an agreement that whoever dies first will not remarry till the cement in the grave is dry. I am only speeding the process.".
Unlike that Lady you do not have to wait for me to take the flight to Delhi. You can start connecting with Fr Balaraju right away.
Thanks a zillion and more and God bless.
Fr Arun Kumar, SJ
05 April 2021