The Indian Oblate Mission was founded by the then Provincial of Sri Lanka, Fr. Anthony FERNANDO. The first two pioneer missionaries, namely Frs. Emmanuel MARIAMPILLAI and Stanislaus PHILIPS set foot on this sub-continent on 29th June 1968. They were officially accompanied by the then Archbishop of Madras-Mylapore, Most Rev. Dr. R. Arulappa, to Kancheepuram where the Oblate Missionaries were installed in a simple ceremony by the Archbishop on 1st July 1968.
The provincial of the Province of India, Fr. Chinnappan SANDHAPPAN, wrote in the province newsletter, BORN, a letter announcing the inauguration of a year-long celebration of the 50 year presence of Oblates of Mary Immaculate in this vast country. Here are excerpts from his letter.
My dear brother oblates, greetings in the Lord!
Having culminated meaningfully the bi-centenary celebration of our congregation with the IOC in April 2017, we, the oblates in India, step into another milestone in the history of our Indian Province i.e., the 50th year of our Oblate presence in this land of diversity of language, culture and faith. This year of Golden Jubilee was inaugurated on the 29th of June 2017, at our pioneering mission in Kancheepuram. It will continue to have its different phases of celebrations at community, parish, mission and formation/formative levels until the 28th of June 2018.
As we commemorate this significant event our hearts reflect on our legacy etched with faith, being mindful that, “Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labour in vain” (Ps 127/1). We thank the Lord for the innumerable ways in which he has nurtured our province in its pilgrimage with the poor with their many faces and for giving us men who are committed, dedicated and ready to serve the needs of the province in many ways. Their generosity has led our province to open up new and flourishing missions and communities in various parts of India.
On this joyous occasion, we remember with sincere gratitude our pioneering missionaries from Sri Lanka namely, Frs. Emmanuel Mariampillai and Stanislaus Philips who sowed the seeds of the Oblate charism untiringly, through their missionary zeal and commitment, and the many Missionary Oblates who followed them. We too recall and give thanks to God for all our benefactors (Oblates and mon-Oblates), Missionary Associates (MAMI), friends and well-wishers who have constantly supported us through their financial assistance, prayers and encouragement in our mission to the poor, the most abandoned, the children, youth, women and elderly for the past 50 years. We remember them all gratefully and avow them of our continual prayers. (BORN: Bharath Oblate Regional News, June-July 2017)