At a time when the media, both print and visual media, sensationalises the news of conflict everywhere fanning further divisions among groups, communities and peoples the CSI Diocese of Madurai-Ramnad seeks to cultivate a culture of peace amidst the people. Backed by an experience of having worked on communal harmony in Mudukulatur area, the Diocese has embarked on an all-important and unique initiative of Peace – this time locating it in Mandapasalai, exactly at the border of the ever sensitive Virudhunagar and Ramanathapuram districts. The program will ultimately cover 60 villages in the areas served by the 8 pastorates in Mandapasalai and its neighbourhood, all within a radius of 25 kilometres.
The program will seek to understand the context of conflict and Peace in the area of operation, to explore the potential of the Church and her partners to be promoters of the Partners in Peace with Justice Program, to train partners in Peace with Justice concept, context, methodologies and formulating programs that sustain Peace with Justice, and to offer programs appropriate to the context in which interested persons from all communities learn to train/ work together as citizens of one country.
The program will function from the Peace Centre that is located in the Bungalow in Mandapasali that was renovated by the Diocese with their own funds. The Peace Centre was inaugurated by the Rt. Rev. Dr. M. Joseph, Bishop of the Madurai-Ramnad Diocese. The Computer Training section was opened by Rev. Asir Ebenezer, Director of CSI – SEVA, Chennai and Tailoring Training section by Advocate C. Fernandas Rathinaraja , Lay Secretary of the Diocese. Rev. D. Devairakkam, Diocesan Treasurer opened the office Block of the Peace Centre.
Leaders of different communities in Mandapasalai attended the public meeting that followed the dedication of the Peace Centre along with members of the local congregation and representatives from the neighbouring pastorates. Women, youth and children participated in good number. Rev. A. David Jebaraj, Clergy Secretary offered an opening prayer. Rev. D. Jayasingh Prince Prabhakaran, Director of the Department of Social & Dalit Concerns welcomed the gathering. Rev. Asir Ebenezer, Director, CSI SEVA explained about the proposed activities of the Peace Centre. Rev. V. Jacob, Registrar of the Diocese read a portion from the Bible portion. Rt. Rev. Dr. M. Joseph delivered the inaugural address emphasising the need of the hour for people of all communities to work together in peace and harmony. Rev. Jothinayagam , Council Chairman conveyed the vote of thanks. This inaugural function concluded with prayer by Rev. Edwin Yesuraj, Deputy Chairman of the Diocese and the benediction by the Bishop. Rev. Stalin Prabhakar, local presbyter and the person currently in-charge of the Peace Centre made the arrangements for setting up the Centre and for the inauguration of the same.
Rev. D. Jayasingh Prince Prabhakarn,
Director, Department of Social and Dalit Concerns.
M. Augustine Ponraj