July 3, 2013 is a solemnity for India since we are celebrating the great feast of St. Thomas, the apostle of India. We are proud to call this auspicious day our “foundation day” for our Guanellian Indian Mission. St. Guanella had a desire to go as a missionary when he was a student of theology and he even made a request to his bishop to join the first group of PIME fathers. This dream became a reality in 1986 on July 3rd through Fr. Tito Credaro, SdC and later, Frs. Piero Lippoli, SdC, Domenico Saginario, SdC and other major superiors of the time.
Even though St. Thomas is unfairly nicknamed “Doubting Thomas” because of his skeptical nature, after conviction and out of personal experience of the Risen Lord, he established Christian communities first in Kerala and then he came to Madras-Mylapore where he was martyred and where the Basilica of the National Shrine is today.
We can imagine how he reflected on his own disappointment while the others excitedly discussed Jesus’ appearances. Thomas was speechless with excitement “My Lord and My God.” I always like to quote the phrase of Rene’ Descartes’ ”Cogito, ergo sum” (I think, therefore I am) and St. Anselm’s motto “Fides quaerens intellectum” (faith seeking understanding). Thomas confessed his faith in the Risen Lord. He proved his commitment and unshakeable faith by undertaking an adventurous journey to India and worked hard to win believers.
He was passionate about spreading the good news and he was in touch with the local people and preached to them about Jesus. He respected the local culture, tradition and language. Today, we have a greater need to rediscover our journey of faith like St. Thomas and other missionaries “set out to lead people out of the desert, towards the place of life.”
On this propitious day, let us recall the global nature of our holy founder, “The whole world is your homeland”, and to acquire more consciously that of being a missionary of faith and charity and to rediscover the content of faith that is professed, celebrated, lived and prayed.
Fr. Soosai, Rathinam, SdC – Provincial Superior