The sharing of our charism by lay people was one of the topics discussed in Vijayawada during the provincial Assembly in 1993. The first group in Vijayawada was formed in 1996. At present there are 115 lay associates divided in ten groups, accompanied by the communities present in: Vijayawada, Jangreddigudem, Vegavaram, Srungavruksham, Gudivada and Bhimavaram.
They animate the moments of prayer, missionary rosary and Eucharistic adoration, with a special missionary characteristic. They take active part in the parish life and commit themselves to animate the World Mission Day. Besides, they accompany our sisters for family visits, visits to prison inmates, the homes for the elderly and help the poor, especially the sick.
They also help children and youth in special needs and support them in their education.
At present all the groups meet for moments of formation and sharing.
Sr. Carmel Yettukuri is the provincial coordinator for the groups of Lay MSI.
The group of the Lay of Hong Kong was started in 2004 with a few Catholics who were close to the Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate. They were proposed a journey of knowing the charism of the Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate. Gradually others joined them, coming from parishes where we are present and where we had worked in the past. Generally all are already involved in the pastoral work in their respective parishes. The formation offered to them is based on the Documents of the Church regarding the mission of the laity, on the Founders and their writings and on the MSI charism. The aim is that through their presence, they may help the parish or other places of service to live the missionary spirit. They meet once a month alternating between one meeting of formation and another of adoration; for the adoration also some â€œspiritual columnsâ€ join them. The latter group started in 2011 on the Immaculate Feast, follow the scheme suggested by Mother Igilda. They are divided based on the geographic areas and are kept in touch by some members of the Lay association. Those who can, attend our celebrations (Immaculate feast, Anniversaries, Mandate).
Some of the Lay associates joined us in the pilgrimage to places in China where Msgr. Balconi had lived; some had been also to Italy, the places of our foundation. A small group visited India, the first communities. Such moments have marked profoundly their life. There is a desire to know also other missions and to be able to remain for longer period of time, engaging in a simple service.
The coordinator of Lay MSI group is Sr. Sophia Rani Eruthaya Dhason.
The first group of the province was born in 2006 in Dornakal. Now we have 155 lay associates, divided in 13 groups, each group accompanied by a sister. The groups are divided as follows: Dornakal, Kadapa, Bengaluru, Athavally, Pedaparimi, Vinukonda, Halia, Karungal, Secunderabad, Thipparthy and Tadipathri. In Goa there are 20 spiritual columns. These are lay people who accompany the missionary sisters, above all with prayer, in a journey of discernment. They pray and intercede for various intentions.
They carry out various kinds of works in the parishes, mainly in the fields of liturgical and spiritual animation. They bring awareness of the missionary dimension of faith and help the youth and children to be missionaries. They cooperate in the catechesis and give English lessons to the students of poor villages and carry out programmes of faith formation.
They have created a fund to take care of the education of children and the sick who are in special needs. They visit the homes for the elderly, disabled, the orphans, the hospitals and the prisons.
Sr. Aruna Gujjula coordinates the groups at the provincial level.
On 9th December 2009, a meeting of some parishners was held in the community of Sahibabad. They had expressed the desire to collaborate in the activities of evangelization. From this first meeting in which they had shared their missionary passion, a reflection was started as to how to get the lay peole involved in the activities of the MSI communities, starting from prayer, the first missionary activity.
From then onwards three groups of Lay MSI were formed in: Sahibabad, Rishabdeo and Ralam. Altogether there are about forty members.
They come from different social and cultural contexts. They visit the families, the sick, pray for the missions and missionaries; they share the moments of missionary adoration, opening their prayer for the entire world. They are also involved in the parish activities, above all in the animation of the liturgy and catechesis.
Sr. Shanthi Kathramalah coordinates the groups at the level of the Delegation.
On 8th December 2011, solemnity of the Immaculate, the Lay MSI of the province came into existence.
There is a group in Kalchini, West Bengal, and are well organized with 25 members. They visit Catholic and Hindu families who are in special situations and needs. They pray for the missionary intentions and carry out various activities in their respective parishes.
Another group is just getting started in Ranchi. The sisters of the community are involved and accompany the group of Lay associates.
Sr. Cecilia Rodrigues coordinates the groups at the level of the Province.