The first missionary religious congregation for women in the history of the Church and the world is the Institute of the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary founded in 1877 by BL. Mary of the Passion, now in the 139th year of its course.

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Invocation

Pongal; a festival of harmony

                                

Pongal  is of prime importance , as it is a day of thanksgiving for the harvest and also to us FMMs as it is in keeping with the chapter theme. God, people, animals, the earth and the harvest are clubbed together giving people a reason to rejoice and thank God for His continuous blessings. The four days of festival is of importance.

Bhogi:  the old and unwanted is cleared making way for the new and fresh start

Pongal:  Toil of long months of labour is over and the harvest is a sign of blessing.When farmers bring newly harvested rice home, using the new rice, the recipe "pongal" is made and offered to God. The sun God moves in chariot driven by seven horses. A picture of the chariot is drawn in an open space when the sun arrives. People place turmeric sprigs andsugarcane and puja is done onto the chariot. People gather in their homes to cook the Pongal dish. Then the dish  is offered to God, they  feed their cattle , sharers of their hard toil and labour and finally is enjoyed by all at home and with neighbours.

     

Mattu Pongal: is a day dedicated to cattle and other animals. The day is marked by the worship of the Goddess Parvati and her son, the elephant-headed Lord Ganesha. This is also the day when cattle- an indispensable part of life in all villages- are bathed and decorated, then paraded through the villages. The procession is followed by cattle races, and in some instances, bullfights which are locally known as 'jallikattu'- bags full of money are tied to the horns of bulls, and young men endeavour to wrestle with the bulls to get the bags off .

Kannum Pongal:The fourth and the final day of the Pongal festival, when the families relax, visit each other and share their blessings.

 

With Francis, let us praise God for Brother Sun, Mother Earth, loving people, beautiful birds and helpful animals. Let the spirit of Pongal pervade right through the days to come.

To the farmers, we owe our gratitude. May the farmers and their hard toil be blessed with timely showers from above.

 

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