Our Outreach Programmes
Sacred Heart Seminary
Poonamallee, Chennai 600 056
“Ripples of Hope”
Sacred Heart Seminary inaugurated in 1938, is an institution that trains students to be pastors who respond compassionately to the needs of the poor through their dedicated social commitment. This institution has a long history of serving the poor, especially the people who live in the surrounding villages, irrespective of their religious affiliation.
In the process of training students, this institution places a very a strong accent on commitment to community social responsibility, which emerges from the social realities of life. During the six-year period of training, the students have opportunities to participate in different seminars, symposia, and exposure camps, which enable them to connect their personal faith in God with community social responsibility.
Our Social Commitment
The staff and the students take strenuous efforts to establish and build cordial relationship with the people in the surrounding villages. The students of the department of philosophy are engaged in youth animation programme, which is organized in thirteen villages. The programme aims at enriching the life of young boys and girls through interactive seminars, value education and regular games. The students of theology organize evening schools in five villages surrounding the seminary. The socially and economically disadvantaged children participate in the evening school, encouraging them to realize that it is only education that would support them in their dream of self- reliance. The first and second year theologians are actively engaged in social action programmes during the weekends. They go to the most remote villages to be of service to the people who are marginalized and forcefully pushed to the margins.
The Deluge in Chennai
The December Deluge 2015 steeped the people of Chennai in deep trouble. Twenty-two villages surrounding Sacred Heart Seminary were also immersed in water. They were forced to evacuate their homes and find places of safety and shelter. The staff, students and support staff of the seminary responded immediately to the cry of the poor. They open the doors of the seminary to anyone who desired to find shelter and refuge.
We provided shelter and hospitality for more than two hundred people for twelve consecutive days. The number of people seeking refuge and shelter was increasing day by day. We not only took total care of the people who were sheltered at our institution, but our students also visited the people in the surrounding villages who were still staying at home flooded with water. They had to wade through the waters in order to reach the people and provided them with plastic mats, blankets, water, milk and food materials, and sometimes even hot meals.
Ripples of Hope
This effort to reach out to the people with love, mercy and compassion sent ripples of hope. Persons of goodwill and generosity came forward to provide for the basic needs of the people who were sheltered here at our institution. The first initiative came from the staff and students. We took the first step of sharing our resources in terms of time, money and support with our less fortunate brothers and sisters. The local government authorities, the Indian Naval Forces, Voluntary Organizations and people of goodwill contributed their share to this noble cause of responding to the cry of the poor.
A Note of Gratitude
A note of gratitude to all the superiors of the neighbouring community who responded immediately, especially the Brothers of the John of God, and the Carmelites of Mary Immaculate. We wish to express our profound gratitude to Sr. Rita Michael, fsj, the Superior General of the Franciscan Sisters of St. Joseph (FSJ) and the members of the FSJ Family for partnering with us in providing support and relief to all those who have been adversely affected by the flood in Chennai.
We also express our sincere appreciation to the naval officials who coordinated the relief work and provided us relief materials. The government officials of the locality were also involved in alleviating the sufferings of the people who camped at our seminary.
Investment in Terms of Money
It is obvious that responding to emergency situations involves financial commitment. We invested Rs. 5,97,249.00 (USD 8971.00) for twelve days of relief work in terms of cash and purchase of materials. We have presently a reserve of Rs. 1,47,248.00 (USD 2212.00). We wish to extend the Ripples of Hope to the poor people who were offered shelter and hospitality at our institution by way of two proposals.
Construction of new houses for twenty-five families with approved land documents. The size of the house is 10’ x 16’. The approximate estimate for each house is Rs. 2,50,000/- (USD 3759.00)
Repair works for 55 families who have houses with substantial damage, which approximately costs Rs. 25,000.00/- (USD 376.00).
We appeal to you to join hands with us to reach out to the poor by way of rehabilitating them. This is a profound expression of our social responsibility towards our less fortunate brothers and sisters.
You can rest assured that we will give our wholehearted cooperation to you in terms of transparency of transactions and auditing of accounts.
We sincerely pray that God may bless you and your institution a hundred-fold.
In Solidarity with the Poor
Dr. Joseph Felix Michael
Director – Ripples of Hope