|Mission Parish & Social Apostolate (MANASU)
In 2011, a residence under the name of St. Claret Ashram was founded. It had two associated ministries namely MANASU at Tirusulam and Assisi Care Home at Achirapakkam for HIV infected and affected children. It was erected to the status of house in 2018. In 2019, the name St. Claret Ashram was changed into ‘Claret Niraivagam’. It is located 2 kms away from the Chennai International Airport. The community caters to two specific apostolates:
From Claret Bhavan, Karumathur, the minor seminary formation community was shifted to Kumbakonam on 19th July 1986 with the formation community comprising Fr. Maria Arul the Superior, Fr. Singarayan the Prefect cum Vocation Promoter and Fr. John Pullonparampil the Procurator along with twenty students. The House was inaugurated by Very Rev. Fr. Peter Schutz CMF the General Consultor and blessed by Rt. Rev. Dr. M. ArockiaSamy D.D, the Bishop of Kottar. The Chapel and the Altar was consecrated by Rt. Rev. Dr. Paul Arulaamy D.D, Bishop of Kumbakonam, in the presence of Rev. Fr. Franz X. Dirnberger and Rev. Fr. George Nedumpalakunnel on 8th December 1986. The house was renovated in 2003.
The minor seminary program consists of three years with one year of orientation and two years of higher secondary education at Little Flower Higher Secondary School, Kumbakonam. So far, 616 students have passed through this stage till 2020. Another social initiative of the Province of Chennai in this modern era is to Start “MANITHAM” (Anti-Addiction Centre) at Kumbakonam, which is in the process.
The acronym MANASU is derived from Mana Nala Sugalayam meaning a centre for rescue, recover, rehabilitate and transform the abandoned mentally ill people with the compassionate love of Jesus in the spirit of shared mission. The significant presence of the mentally ill people loitering around the roads of Tambaram area of Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India made us think seriously and impelled us to make a study about them in the suburb of Chennai. Fr. I. Sekar CMF and then Br. Soosai Antony CMF – the qualified social workers, were assigned by the Province to do this task. The study was conducted from April 5th to May 25th, 2010.
Based on this study and its recommendations, the Claretians of Chennai Province appointed Fr. L. Antony CMF and deputed two qualified social workers to rescue, heal and rehabilitate the mentally ill destitute as well to carry out conscientization works on mental illness among the students and employees. This ministry was carried out from June 2010 in a building that belongs to the Claretians in Tirusulam. At present, the ministry has really flourished with modern facilities to accommodate 35 to 50 mentally ill patients at a given time. We are taking care at the average of 30 persons per year. We have reunited 98 persons with their families in 17 states in India so far. At present, we have 31 residents.
St. Antony’s Parish
Tirusulam is a small village, which come under St. Thomas Mount block, Tambaram Taluk, Chingleput District in Tamil Nadu, India. This village is situated just opposite to the International and Domestic Airport of Chennai Metropolitan City. In 1979, there were only 20 Catholic families in Tirusulam. The handful of Catholics took self-initiative to put up a thatched shed for their worship and had invited priests to celebrate Holy Mass whenever the Priests were available. They dedicated the chapel to St. Antony of Padua. Rt. Rev. Neethinathan the local Bishop of Chingleput Diocese considering the need of the spiritual care of the people made it a substation of Meenampakkam Parish.
The priests from Meenampakkam were assisting to the sacramental needs of the people. As the Cathlolic population grew, Rt. Rev. Dr. Neethinathan, the Bishop of Chingleput invited the Claretian Missionaries to work among the people of Tirusulam and made it a quasi-Parish and handed it over to the Claretian Missionaries on 18th June 2017, on the Feast day of Body and Blood of Christ. At present there are little more than 100 Catholic families. The Claretian Missionaries not only cater to the pastoral need and faith formation of the people but also concentrate on people’s socio-economic and over all development.