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Shillong, Aug. 5. Shillong: The first Year Students of Theology at Sacred Heart Theological College, Shillong had an orientation program at Siloam from the 26th to the 28th of July, 2018. The program was animated by Rev. Father George Palamattathil, the Director of Siloam.
First Year Students of Theology with Fr. George Palamattam at Siloam.
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The three days program begins with the first session, where the animator asked the students to have a 'VISION', quoting Abdul Kalam's 'Dream is not the thing you see in your sleep but it is that thing that doesn't let you sleep'. The animator exhorted the brothers to think and plan for priesthood in much more than the ordination way, to feel the need to prepare 'beyond' that which can be expected, and above all, to let that dream or vision keep one active and watchful! A session comprising of writing and sharing in groups concerning the expectations of each theologian in the coming four years of Theologate saw every participant put their heads and hearts to the task.
On the second day the animator animated on the theme 'GOD WILL PREPARE YOU'. The brothers, having expressed the concerns and worries that they have in the present, were rest assured that even though they wouldn't be prepared for certain or many things, the good Lord would surely stretch out His guiding hand and lead His flock on a path that they know not!

Father George outlines few qualities of holy priesthood for the students of theology. He said:
1. The Priest is not the Centre: If a priest thinks he should be 'at the centre' of it all, it means that he's got his basic facts wrong, quoting John the Baptist 'He must increase, I must decrease...''
2. Transforming Oneself from Takers to Givers: Happiness comes from giving. One should always think of what one can give, rather than what one can take. The basic ingredient of happiness is to be able to think in terms of one's generosity when it comes to giving to another in need.  Taking the example of Jesus, of whom was rarely heard as one who 'took' from one who was in great need. On the contrary, Jesus was a ''Selfless Giver'', one who gave to the point of death.  Ultimately, the things we keep with us are the things that we matter-of-factly give away. Let us question ourselves, as a priest what of all that we have kept has unconsciously contributed to our own misery?
3. Produce more Light than Heat: There is a grave need to be a light for others and not a burden.

Right from the morning hours of the last day, the brothers shared inspiring moments of their lives with all. After the sharing, the animator exhorted that each one's journey is extraordinary. It is God who is leading us thus far. We need to be convinced that 'We Are Called'! The 'called' are called in different ways - some rather clear, some unclear, but at the end of the day, each one is called. Quoting St. John Bosco, ''Let nothing disturb you'', the animator added...''because God has called you.'' He also said that there would be many disturbances and distractions all along the way, but one needs to realize that it is a journey worth taking without counting the cost! So in spite of the hardships one might face, to quote, 'You will never reach your destination if you stop and throw stones at every dog that barks'. God has 'big' plans for each of us. We must be ready and yet not take anything for granted!

Besides visiting many other institutions within the vicinity of Siloam, the last daw an interaction with children having disabilities of hearing and speaking (deaf and dumb) was the climax. Three glorious hours of the afternoon was spent learning sign language to help communicate with the children. The brothers put up games, singing and enjoyed joyful interactions with the specially gifted young minds! All returned happy and satisfactorily refreshed that Saturday evening.
(Reported by Dominic Ralte, sdb)


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