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Pastoral Apostolate

Our thrust area draws inspiration from GC 34: Decree 19.

420 1. Approximately 3,200 Jesuits labor in two thousand parishes throughout the world. In recognizing the important service to the Church represented by this investment of manpower, we affirm that "the parish apostolate is not contrary to our Constitutions" and add that, under certain circumstances, it is an appropriate apostolate for carrying out our mission of serving the faith and promoting justice.

421 2. The parish, moreover, offers a favorable context to live with the poor and to be in solidarity with them.

Today people are often surprised to learn that Jesuits with education minister in a parish and often think that the parish is the ordinary ministry of the church and the work of a Diocesan priest. But. Decree 19 of General Congregation 34 provides a clear rationale for parish ministry: the service of faith, the promotion of justice, and solidarity with the poor.

Parish ministry affords us pastors the opportunity to meet people of all stages of faith and touch the heart of the poor personally and communally. Our parish ministry confirms that Jesuits are not only for others but Jesuits are with others.

Our context, challenges, and core issues

  • Accompanying people of God with the Spiritual Exercises and the practice of personal and communal discernment in decision-making.
  • Need for creative ways to reach people and to make them participate actively in liturgies and pastoral activities.
  • The fundamentalist groups interfering with and distracting the normal life of the Catholics in parishes.
  • Need to regularize marriages that are done by the Catholics outside of the Church as well as within the church. In mixed marriages Catholic party does not fulfill their promises of bringing their children in Catholic faith.

Primary objective/ goal

Our primary objective is to empower and encourage the people to realize the importance of their common priesthood and to identify people’s gifts and abilities for works of service.

Strategies adopted

- Calling every member to his or her fundamental baptismal right and responsibility to assume an active role in the parish community.

  • Updating laity in their theology and Scripture.
  • Inculcating laity with the teaching of Vatican II.
  • Educating laity through effective homiletics and seminars.

- Empowering people to take more responsibilities and making them feel that the parish is theirs, not the pastors.

  • Training people in effective and affective leadership.
  • Delegating the important dimensions of management and administration and many other functions to qualified lay secretary.
  • Being formed as pastors in humility and willingness to receive feedback and critique.

- Equipping people to do the various parish activities so that they all must work together as a body for the good of the parish.

  • Organizing annual retreats and Spiritual Exercises in Everyday Life for the lay people in the parish.
  • Imbuing the pastoral council with the skills of discernment.
  • Training catechists in catechetical and theological knowledge through classes and seminars.
  • Consolidating various groups engaged in parish pastoral activities through a regular monthly meeting with them.

- Visiting families in their respective zone to find out their needs and to build a good relationship among them.

  • Visiting families once in two years
  • Celebrating Eucharist at Anpia families.
  • Participating in personal devotion such as rosary, anpia meeting, and enthronement of Sacred Heart etc.
  • Being available for our parishioners at the parish house.

Key shifts we Jesuits follow as pastors

- It is always good to remember that the author of our ministry is God. We are instruments used by Him to touch the lives of people with our service. Our gifts are to be used to minister to people entrusted to our care as pastors.
- Our ministry must be motivated by mercy, compassion and cheerful attitude. Working in a parish is not hard. It simply has to be something we desire to do.
- We should not design the people in our parish to wait around us pastors. We must prepare them for works of service so that the parish may be built up. In this endeavor let us appreciate our unique call as pastors and the processes that God is taking to shape us into Christ-likeness.

Our Parishes

- St. Sebastian Church, Batticaloa
- St. Ignatius Church, Dutch Bar, Batticaloa
- Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Ganthalawa, Kanthale
- St. Anne’s Church, Maliboda
- St. Lawrence Church, Padinawala, Boragas

St. Sebastian’s Church



At the end of 1895 Jesuits came to Batticaloa. They wanted to build an industrial school at Puliyadikuda. Hence in 1897 along with the existing St. Lawrence’ school, they bought seven plots. In 1898, the foundation was laid to build the Industrial school by Rev.Fr. Royer SJ, then Vicar General and the Superior of the Jesuits. However in the year 1899, the Bishop of the Diocese Rt. Rev. Dr Charles Lavinge SJ named the building as St. Sebastian’s Church. As the faithful grew in numbers, Rev Fr. Reichard SJ expanded the church and laid tiles for the roof and furnished with a satinwood altar donated by Dr. H. Moraes, Colonial Surgeon, in thanksgiving for the recovery of his son from a serious illness. On May 19th 1918, Puliyadikudah was declared as a parish. During the floods in 1957 the church was flooded as the Church was near the lake. Hence the need for a new church was felt and Bishop Glennie laid the foundation for a new church. The new church was consecrated on 24th September 1972 and opened for worship. St. Sebastian’s Church is an icon for the city of Batticaloa. This church is known as meen kovil (fish church), as it is designed to look like a fish.

In the year 2000, Kallady Duch Bar St. Ignatius’ church was made an independent parish. Later in 2006, Amirthakali, palameenmadu was separated from Puliyadikudha. In the year 2022 Periyauppodai was separated and declared a new parish.

Currently Puliyadikudah has St. Sebastian’s Church as the parish church and St. Joseph’s Church at Sinnauppodai both consisting of 330 families.

The Parish has both Burger and Tamil families, and is vibrant with many activities. Today, St. Sebastian’s is one of the best organized parishes in the diocese and a center of religious activities.

The FMM sisters have a convent and Senthamarai, a development center for women. The sisters assist the parish priest and support the works of the parish in different ways. Puliyadikudah parish has 6 zones and 18 small Christian communities. There are number of pious associations working in the parish, such as the Legion of Mary, CLC, Sacred Heart Society, Martin De Pores, the Choir, Altar Servers, Small Christian Communities and the Catechists.

Every day morning mass is celebrated at 6 am except on Thursday and Friday. There is an evening mass on those two days. The parish celebrates three masses on Sundays, and Wednesday evening mass is at St. Joseph’s Church, a substation of the main church.

Prepared by S. Ahilaraj, S.J. on behalf of the Pastoral Team