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Shrine of Sacred Heart of Jesus Inaugurated and Rededicated in Shillong
By Fr. V.T Jose SDB
Shillong, Jun. 14. The Shrine of the Sacred Heart of Jesus at Sacred Heart Theological College, Mawlai-Shillong, Meghalaya, India was Inaugurated by Rev. Fr. George Maliekal, Sdb, the Salesian Provincial of Silchar and dedicated during the solemn Eucharistic celebration by Most Rev. Dominic Jala, SDB, DD, the Archbishop of Shillong on 8th June 2014 in the presence of distinguished guests, parish and religious communities in and around Shillong. Rev. Fr. V.M. Thomas, Sdb, the Salesian Provincial of Guwahati also graced the occasion.  It was also the day of pilgrimage of the devotees of the Sacred Heart of Jesus to the Shrine from various parishes and religious communities.
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After the Mass, various religious communities and the Mawlai Parish Community had group adorations. At 2.00 pm, there was public adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and the solemn blessing. The Adoration Service was animated by Rev. Fr. Paul Olphindro Lyngkot, Sdb,  the Vice Provincial of Silchar and the Gospel reflection was given by Rev. Fr. John Madur, the Vicar General and Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Shillong; and the blessing was given by the Archbishop.  Around four thousand persons took part in the event.

The original Shrine of the Sacred Heart was built by the pioneering missionary of Khasi Hills, Servant of God, Constantine Vendrame in 1934. Later on, it was enlarged and beautified. However, in the course of time, the old shrine showed signs of irreparable damage to the main structure and especially to the roof. Hence, it was decided to replace it with a new and larger one.

The process of the restructuring of Sacred Heart Theological College, i.e., the Academic Block, the Platinum Jubilee Memorial Hall and the Shrine, was initiated by Fr. Joseph Almeida, the Provincial of the undivided Province of Guwahati. The decision to build a new Shrine on the site of the old one and to find the necessary finance was taken up by Rev. Fr. George Maliekal, the present Provincial of Silchar and his Council together with the House Council of Sacred Heart Theological College.  Fr. Thomas Pampadyil, the administrator of the College till May 2014, took up the actual responsibility of designing, planning and building the new one in all its detail, aesthetically and economically, including finding the right artisans and workers and also the needed additional finance. The building of the Shrine was also actively supported by the goodwill, prayers and contributions by the devotees of the Sacred Heart in the region.

Though the Shrine is the daily prayer-centre of the Community of the Sacred Heart Theological College, it is also open for adoration and Eucharistic celebration, monthly recollections by parish and religious communities from near and far throughout the year, particularly during the month of June, the month of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
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