LIAT – YOUTH ANIMATION CENTER IN ST. THOMAS PROVINCE

By Dominic Kootiyaniyil CMF & LIAT Youth Team

 

The name LIAT is a Hebrew word, which means “You are Mine” (Isaiah 43:1). It is indeed a fulfilment of the long-cherished dream of youth working in Technopark. Hundreds of techies, families, youths, and children experience the presence of Christ through this centre today. Daily Holy Mass, Confession, Adorations, and frequent fellowship gatherings through this centre helps them to practice their faith in a deeper and joyful way. Behind this dream come true, there exists years of prayers and hard work of many people.

The Claretian association in Trivandrum with the catholic youth movement of Jesus Youth (JY) dates back to 2007, when Fr Thomas Manamel CMF served as the Assistant Director of Sadhana. He rendered spiritual support to Jesus Youth at Technopark. Starting with Fr Thomas, Claretian priests from Sadhana continued their support and service to Jesus Youth. During those years of Jesus Youth’s growth, the selfless service and commitment of Frs Kochikunnel Sabi CMF, Kochumuttom Sam CMF, Kunnath Tuby CMF and Mukalayil Mathews CMF were remarkable.  In 2018, Fr Dominic Koottiyaniyil CMF was formally appointed as the Chaplain of Jesus Youth at Technopark and gradually, Sadhana became a home to Jesus Youth and began hosting regular youth meetings and gatherings.

It was in June 2018, that Fr Dominic CMF felt a strong spiritual need to have a Chapel for Perpetual Adoration, close to Technopark and he started sharing this idea. The first concrete step towards realizing this dream was to start a WhatsApp group called ‘Technopark Chapel’ on 7th June, 2018, with just nine members. The intention of this group was primarily to pray for the realization of the dream Chapel. For Jesus Youth in Technopark, this was Gods answer for their prayers for nearly two decades which started from the very beginning of JY movement in Technopark.

By Divine Providence, in 2019 Very Rev Fr Gonzalo Fernandez CMF, the Vicar General of Claretian Congregation made his Canonical Visitation to Sadhana, Trivandrum. During the Visitation, he had the opportunity to interact with Jesus Youth at Technopark and he encouraged the Claretians to concentrate on youth ministry along with other ministries in Sadhana. In a giant leap towards realizing this proposal, in 2019, the Provincial Government of St Thomas Province approved to go ahead with a ministry to animate to the working young urban population of Trivandrum. The Provincial Government entrusted the Claretians in Trivandrum to identify a suitable location for youth ministry close to Technopark.

LIAT was opened by Rev. Dr. Jose Thenpillil CMF, the Provincial Superior of St. Thomas Province of the Claretians and was blessed and consecrated by His Excellency Mar. Thomas Tharayil, the Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Changanacherry on 23rd October 2021. LIAT Animation Center is erected to the status of residence by the Major Superior of St. Thomas Province on 5th November 2021.  Fr. Dominic Koottiyaniyil CMF Fr. Jacob Mundiath CMF and Fr. Tomcy Palackal CMF were assigned to the residence.

Sharing from Youth

Juhi

Technopark, Trivandrum is considered as the first IT park in Kerala as well as often referred to as the one of Asia’s best IT parks and the largest one in India in terms of built-in place (Technopark). Constantly expanding by standing in the forefront of technological revolution, this place caters thousands of employees every day and the services they provide reach to the nook and corner of the world. At the heart of this massive environment spanned across three phases, today we have a prayer hub called LIAT Animation Centre for youth. LIAT Animation Center, Kazhakkoottam, thus is the answer to a long-prayed petition to the Lord for a house of prayer. Hundreds of Youths come to Technopark straight after their college studies to kick start their career in the IT industry. Also, throughout the year, thousands of people move to this place as part of their career advancement. While dealing with the dynamic work schedules, intellectual ideas, work pressure and so on, many of them struggle to lead a life rooted in catholic faith. This has a huge impact on their personal and family life. The existing ministries of our church struggles a lot to address the specific needs of this community due to their high volatility, dynamic work schedules and accessibility issues. In this context, LIAT youth centre will have daily Holy Mass, Adoration chapel & confession, youth and family counselling – Both available anytime of the day, pilgrimages, short retreats, faith gatherings and so on. The location will help the techies to make use of these facilities in the best possible way, also this will be an accessible location for anyone looking for a spiritual and mental support.

Vishnu Shankar

He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to all creation. – Mk 16:15.

Liat has now become the spiritual hub of IT Talents, Doctors, Nurses, Students, families etc. in one of the most happening cities in Kerala. LIAT and its presence near to Technopark, largest IT Park in Kerala has turned to be the most important centre for youth and families for their spiritual journey providing any time adoration, Confessions, Counselling, etc.

The potential of LIAT is increasing day by day because of the presence of youth and families and its prime location in the capital city. LIAT should become the next Global Evangelization Hub, nourishing talents with their skills and Word of God to preach across the globe.

Few thoughts in my mind are the following – IT Ministering

  1. Making and helping our talents including seminarians and lays to evangelize across the globe leveraging new mode of technology.
  2. Building Teams for indirectly supporting the Christian values by leveraging technology and mass media for communication and making lay training for preaching.
  3. Building small teams to focus more on documenting, Content Building and supporting Christian intellectual contents and pumping it to the internet with Christian moral messages for any current affairs.
  4. LIAT should conduct – Limited numbered retreats for families and Youth not just to solve their problem, but helping them to start a Christ centred living culture and aiding them to start small self-contained evangelization units based on their interest – like doctors on prolife, Scientist on Church Scientific contributions etc.
  5. LIAT is a possibility for making our new generations – Teens to prep on baby steps of making their life Christ Centred and making to take baby steps to start on preaching the Word of God.
  6. LIAT is a possibility for building Apologetics team with our Youth – Helping and raising them to prepare and conduct apologetics sessions, debates, discussions etc.

Hima

LIAT is a spiritual centre for youth and families to spend time with God in front of adoration. Holy Mass, confession, and counselling available on all days is the best highlights of LIAT. Professionals working around Technopark found LIAT as the most convenient place for them to surrender all the loads in front of God and to be with God for some time.

Ajai

LIAT is a space where I can come and pray anytime. I got spiritual inputs and directions from the Claretians, and I also believe that LIAT will help lots of youngsters to live with Christ.

Kazhakoottam (India)

June 15th, 2022.

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