ARULCHANDRU NILYAM is a Catholic Faith Resource Development and Lay Formation Centre. It is a collaborative venture undertaken by the Brothers of the Sacred Heart of Jesus on behalf of the Diocese of Sivagangai. The centre coordinates the diocesan Commission for Proclamation and houses its Secretariat. It engages in multifaceted activities towards empowering the laity by forming them as disciples and lay evangelists in the diocese of Sivagangai and in other dioceses of Tamil Nadu.

This centre was established on November 13, 1978.The motto of the center is, “Becoming and making disciples”. The establishment of this evangelization centre was in response to the emerging need felt in parts of the diocese of Sivagangai during the seventies of the last century, to involve the laity in evangelization and train them for the task. The laity in those areas was only more than willing and ready to be available for training in evangelization and to carry Christ and His Gospel to the villages of the diocese. Also, this was in response to the aspirations of some of our members of the congregation and to the clarion call of Vatican Council II to the members of the religious orders and congregations to return to the spirit of the founders. In the case of our congregation, it was the desire of the founder of the congregation, Rev. Fr. Adrian Caussanel, to be involved in direct evangelization while taking the side of the poor and the oppressed in advocating their fundamental human rights and struggling in solidarity with them towards their sustainable livelihood with dignity. Thus, true to spirit of the founder, the proclamation of Christ, His Gospel and social apostolate on behalf of the poor and the oppressed go hand in hand in our congregation.

This center is the first of its kind in Tamil Nadu to impart training to the laity to serve as lay evangelizers and to take responsibilities in the life and mission of the church as was encouraged by the Vatican Council II (AA. N.1). The centre has been a big success from the start and received overwhelming response from committed laypersons from all social strata and walks of life proving the premise that the time was ripe, in fact over due, for such an initiative. It was heartening to see so many of the laymen and women in spite of their family and social responsibilities and commitments so generously sacrificing their time, energy spending their own financial resources for the sake of evangelization. Of course, the catholic charismatic movement that was spreading and making its impact on the laity during the said period had a role to play in this spontaneous and overwhelming response to be trained and function as lay evangelizers.    Since its inception in 1978, the centre has trained more than 600 lay evangelists and lay Gospel collaborators and sent them, initially, to every nook and corner of the diocese of Sivagangai for preaching the Gospel, later, to the neighboring dioceses as well to preach and to evangelize. The centre has been instrumental in the formation of “Jesus’ Youth”, “Couples for Christ”, “Intercessors” and “Darlings of Jesus”, “New Life Prayer Groups” among the laity to involve the laity at all levels in evangelization. Besides, the center initiated programmes for adopting villages and creating Model Gospel villages, for the purposes of both the spread of the Gospel and social development.

All these efforts have been crowned with success over the period of 35 years. Today the diocese of Sivagangai is the pioneering diocese of all dioceses in Tamil Nadu in the field of lay evangelization on account of the initiatives collaboratively taken by the Brothers of the Sacred Heart. Seeing the success it has had, many other dioceses are following the suit and the bishops concerned are inviting the brothers and the lay evangelizers to undertake a similar venture in their respective dioceses.

In the diocese of Sivagangai, every year our lay evangelists identify interested lay women and men. We offer them one year training and at the end of the training they are accepted as lay evangelists. They take oath in the presence of the Bishop. They are sent to mission when need arises. The number of aspirants to become lay evangelists grows high.

ARULCHANDRU NILAYAM which is one of the communities Angelo Province (www.angeloprovince.org) is an unit of the Brothers of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (www.brothersindia.org) an indigenous Religious Brotherhood Institute founded in 1903 by Fr. Adrian Caussanel, a French Jesuit missionary. The Centre is managed by ANISE, a Registered Charitable Society (Sl. No: 64/2006) under the Tamil Nadu Societies Registration Act 1975

Prior to the bifurcation of the diocese of Sivagangai from the Archdiocese of Madurai, at the invitation of the then Archbishop of Madurai Most Rev. Justin Diraviam,  Brothers of the Sacred Heart  established Arulchandru Nilayam in the year 1978 at Paramakudi. The aims for establishing the centre are :

  • To propagate and strengthen the Catholic Faith in rural villages
  • To empower the Laity in the light of the Second Vatican Council through proper and regular formative trainings and thereby facilitating them to equally and fully participate in the life and the mission of the Church

After the erection of Sivagangai Diocese, the coordination of the Commission for Proclamation has been entrusted to the Brothers of the Sacred Heart and since then the centre has been functioning as its Secretariat.

All along these years, the activities of the centre are being untaken in the name and on behalf of the Diocese of Sivagangai (www.rcdioceseofsivagangai.com) and the Diocesan Commission for Proclamation in collaboration with the committed laity, clergy and the Sisters of Immaculate Conception of Mary (www.cicmadurai.org).