The National Coordinator(s) of PMI: Transferring the Mantle of Authority
“The charming gardener who made the souls blossom”. With tears in our hearts, the Prison Ministry India family gathered to bid farewell to Fr. Sebastian Vadakumpadan, the National Coordinator. The Holy Eucharist, on the day, was celebrated by Fr. Sebastian and the co-celebrants were Fr. Varghese Karippery – the founder of Prison Ministry India, Fr. Francis Kodiyan MCBS – the newly appointed National Coordinator, Fr. Stanley MSC – the newly appointed Assistant National Coordinator, and priests from the nearby communities in Bangalore and closely associated with PMI. After the homily, Sr. Fidelis HC, the pioneer of Prison Ministry, Bangalore said a few words appreciating Fr. Sebastian and all the selfless work that he had rendered in the past years towards the growth of PMI. She also welcomed Fr. Francis Kodiyan, after which Sr. Lini MSC, the National secretary gave the introduction to the symbolic Handing Over Ceremony, where Fr. Sebastian handed over the chapel key of the national office, the Holy Bible, and the emblem of Prison Ministry India to Fr. Francis Kodiyan, keeping in mind the principles of PMI (Prayer is our powerhouse, God’s providence is our bank balance, inconvenience is our convenience, begging is our lifestyle). Then the letter from Most Rev Allwyn D’Silva, the Chairman of PMI was read out by Fr. Varghese Karippery (thanking and welcoming letter).
It was a heart-warming and moving moment when everyone greeted Fr. Sebastian and bid goodbye to him. We could not accept the fact and many were in tears - all those who worked with him, neighbours, friends who were a great support to him and to the national office. The tears did not end; that same evening when Fr. Sebastian was ready to leave the children of Kolbe Home, they would not leave him, kept holding on to him, and embracing him tightly, they wept bitterly. The unreserved love of the little ones was just remarkable. Together with every volunteer of PMI, every member from our rehabilitation centres, we say to him, “We miss you!!!” We also welcome with much joy, Rev Dr Francis Kodiyan MCBS, the National coordinator, saying to him, “We will all work together for a noble cause.”
Sr Lini Sheeja MSC
National Secretary of Prison Ministry India