Matthew’s Gospel gives special attention to the account of Jesus’ walking on the water and reaching the Apostles in the boat. After calming the Apostles’ fear, he accepts the challenge of St. Peter: “Lord, if it is you, bid me come to you on the water” (Mt 14:28). At first, St. Peter walks towards Jesus on the water without any difficulty. “But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, ‘Lord, save me!’ Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him, saying to him, ‘O man of little faith, why did you doubt?’” (Mt 14:30-31). Afterwards, Jesus and St. Peter together get into the boat and the wind ceases. The disciples, witnesses to this great happening, prostrate themselves before the Lord and make a full profession of faith: “Truly you are the Son of God!” (Mt 14:33).

In our times, this experience can be reflected in many of the faithful as well as entire Christian communities, especially in traditionally Christian communities. In fact, because of a lack of faith, various particular Churches are witnessing a decline in sacramental and Christian practice among the faithful to the point that some members can even be called “on-believers”. At the same time, many particular Churches, after initially displaying a great enthusiasm, are now showing signs of weariness and apprehension in the face of very complex situations in today’s world. The New Evangelization is for the Transmission of the Christian Faith. The importance given to the faith is further emphasized by the decision of the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI to celebrate a Year of Faith, beginning on 11 October 2012, to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council and the twentieth anniversary of the publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. The goal of evangelization today is, as always, the transmission of the Christian faith. Evangelization in general is the everyday work of the Church. With the assistance of the Holy Spirit, this so-called ordinary evangelizing activity can be endowed with renewed vigour. New methods and new forms of expression are needed to convey to the people of today the perennial truth of Jesus Christ, forever new and the source of all newness. This renewed dynamism in the Christian community will lead to renewed missionary activity (missio ad gentes), now more urgent than ever, given not only the large number of people who do not know Jesus Christ, but also those already evangelized. The new evangelization is primarily directed to these people so that they can rediscover the beauty of their Christian faith and the joy of a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus in the Church and the community of the faithful.

In the light the Second Vatican Council’s Decree Ad Gentes and the ‘New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian faith (instrumentum laboris)  and seizing and enchasing the prevailing possibilities and experience we wish to set up a regional school of New Evangelization at Arulchandru Nilayam, Paramakudi.


Becoming and Making Disciples


v  To identify interested laity from various dioceses and initiate them into discipleship through training, capacity building and exposure.

v  To encourage the laity so that they may voluntarily commit themselves in the life and mission of the church.

v  To empower the laity to undertake various ministries at the parish and diocesan level.

v  To form the laity as lay evangelizers so that they become effective transmitters of Christian faith through their witnessing life and proclamation.


Ø  To identify interested laity from various dioceses of Tamilnadu and Puducherry through their respective commission for evangelization

Ø  To offer them a planned training and exposure in four phases.

Ø  To facilitate them to make commitment in their respective dioceses as voluntary lay evangelizers and accord them approval.

Ø  To help and guide them to get involved in new evangelization at the parishes and mission centres.

Ø  To offer them regular updating of skills and techniques on evangelization


1.      In the state of Tamilnadu, the diocese of Sivagangai has a unique feature in the field of evangelization that is the formation of laity as evangelizers. The diocese stands in forefront in this endeavour and has proven record of success. So far more than 550 lay evangelizers have been formed in the diocese of Sivagangai and they have in turn assisted to form more than 300 lay evangelizers in other dioceses (Madurai, Trichirappalli, Dindigul, Palayamkottai, Madras-Mylapore, Thanjavur and Puducherry). Many lay groups from other dioceses and religious from various religious congregations have come to Sivagangai diocese namely to Arulchandru Nilayam for training and exposure. Still a good number of lay and religious groups opt to come for training and exposure. Given that the availability of rich human resources and mission opportunities at Sivagangai diocese ensure a conducive atmosphere for acquiring necessary skills and orientation.

2.      The discipleship program thus offered may effectively be coordinated at Arulchandru Nilayam instead of organizing the same at various places due to lack of orientation. Further the participants will benefit more if they are away from their places and come to an exclusive location.

3.      Arulchandru Nilayam is a well known lay empowerment and faith resource development centre in Tamilnadu.

4.      Although a good number of laity are willing to become lay evangelizers, they are not able to commit themselves so, on account of their family and financial situations.  They would rather prefer to become lay evangelizers and serve in their own parishes. Hence, they hesitate to come forward to become lay evangelizers. The proposed school of evangelization will give a way out to them as well.

5.      Two years Lay Catechists training program erstwhile organized by the Regional Bishop’s Conference has been wound up for some years. The lay evangelizers so formed by the proposed school of evangelization will substitute the lay catechists in parishes and mission centres.

6.      By and large, at the parish centres the spiritual needs and animation of children and youth are very well taken care of. But in sub stations there is seldom possibility for the animation of youth and children due to lack of personnel. The laity trained as lay evangelizers at the school will assist the priests in the pastoral program aimed at youth and children in sub stations and mission centres.

7.      One of the greatest challenges faced by the Catholic Church in Tamilnadu is the intrusion of denominational churches into Catholic communities. Absence of regular family visit and strengthening of Basic Christian Communities will check this menace. The lay evangelizers will be of great support to the priests in this regard.

8.      The pastoral limitation propped up by the dearth of vocation to priesthood and religious life may be compensated by the entry of lay evangelizers.

9.      Forming laity as evangelizers is one of the best practices of spiritual empowerment of laity. Hence the proposed school will fulfil the aspirations of the Church vis-a-vis the laity.



The proposed school will be administered by a managing committee. The Bishop of Sivagangai will be the Patron and Chair Person of the Committee. The Provincial Superior of Angelo Province of the Brothers of the Sacred Heart will be the Vice-chairman. The Secretary for the Commission for Evangelization of Sivagangai Diocese will be its Director. The other members of the committee are:

  • Director of Pastoral Centre of Sivagangai Diocese
  • Coordinator of Sivagangai Diocesan Lay Evangelizers
  • Superior of Amaithiyagam – Centre of the Congregation of the Immaculate Conception
  • Two diocesan clergy
  • Two religious personnel (women & men each)
  • Four lay evangelizers ( 2 women & 2 men)
  • Scripture, Theology and Missiology scholars
  • A lay catechist

 Selection Process

 The interested laity will be identified with the help of the Diocesan Commission for Evangelization, religious communities and parish priests.  The identified personnel are evaluated on the basis of family status and moral standing. Thus the selected are admitted into the training program organized in phases. Interested religious nuns may also join the program.

 Course  Cycle

  • The course will be held at Arulchandru Nilayam in four phases and all the programs will be residential.
  • The first three phases will be for four days and will be held once in three months.
  • The fourth phase will be for six days which includes a mission exposure, family visit training and a discernment retreat.

 Course components

 The course will have the following components:

  • Vocation of Laity – Duties and Responsibilities
  • Understanding and living Discipleship
  • Initiating into Jesus’ Experience
  • Prayer intimacy  – ways and methods
  • Knowing and living the Word of God
  • Art of sharing and breaking the Word of God
  • Understanding the Catechism of the Catholic Church
  • Basic understanding of Sacraments – Emphasis on Eucharist and Confession
  • Right understanding on Mother Mary and Saints
  • Gifts and Fruits of the Holy Spirit
  • Awareness on superstitions, social evils and anti-faith practices
  • Evangelization – concepts and methods
  • Skills and Techniques for Evangelization
  • House visiting skills
  • Basic psychology
  • Conflict resolution in families and communities
  • Pastoral animation of Youth
  • Methods of teaching  catechism to children
  • Mission exposure and mission camp

 Resource  Team

  •  A resource team will be formed to facilitate the course with the following composition:
  • Director of Pastoral Centre
  • Secretary of the Commission for Evangelization
  • Secretary of the Commission for Charismatic Renewal
  • Selected Lay Evangelizers from Sivagangai Diocese
  • Lay preachers from other dioceses
  • Lay Catechists
  • Priest, religious and lay women and men specialized in respective disciplines
  • A diocesan priest as a chaplain and confessor.
  • A team of prayer warriors.

 Financial Management

 Necessary infrastructure will be created by mobilizing resources from donor agencies.

Each participant will contribute Rs. 200/- as registration fee.

Travel cost will either borne by the participant or the respective diocese.

Course fee and food and accommodation will be shared by the Angelo Province of the Brothers of the Sacred Heart (50%), lay evangelizers of Sivagangai Diocese (25%) and local donors (25%).

 A full time lay evangelizer will be appointed as treasurer of the School who will manage the finance.

Approval and Attestation

In due course of time, once the program takes off, we might approach the respective bishops through the bishop of Sivagangai to allow the lay evangelizers from their diocese to make solemn commitment so that more number of laity would be attracted.

Through the bishop of Sivagangai, we look forward to obtaining approval from the Tamilnadu Puducherry Bishop’s Conference for the course.