Montfort Brothers of St.Gabriel

Synergy - 2012

Inaugural address
Dear Bro. Antony the Local Superior, Dear Bro. Niju the Principal, members of the Provincial Administration, Brothers, Sisters, participants, staff members who have accompanied them and above all my beloved children of Lake Montfort and members of staff .

What is 'Synergy - 2012'? What is it all about? Einstein has said, "Education is all about what remains after one has forgotten what he/she has learned at school". It is a beautiful definition of Education.

We forget most of the things we learn at School. We forget most of the things we are not interested in. I am sure you children are waiting to forget many things you learn at school - to forget mathematics, science, history, geography and all those difficult subjects immediately after your examination! You are waiting for that day! Ask the teachers and Brothers, and I, myself know this truth viz. We don't remember most of those stuff we learnt at school. However, I remember a lot of things which was taught besides the text books, outside the class rooms, between the lessons and that's what we remember. I situate this program Synergy-2012, in the context of this definition by Einstein. It means there is something that we will be definitely be carrying with us, when we leave the corridors of our institutions. This is what we call the essence of Montfortian education. Montfortian education transcends the textbooks, marks, credits and the degrees that you obtain. All schools are giving you the same text books for learning. Some of them may be giving you better facilities and better subject knowledge, but Montfortian education concentrates on something more. Something that you will carry with you, not only after leaving the school, but that which you will carry with you even up to the grave. It is in this context we came up with this beautiful program, wherein we wanted to gather all your potential, all your energies and the sum total of it is brought to focus at 'Synergy'. Perhaps this is the only forum where the Brothers along with the staff and students, in a representative way come together to look at each other and then ask this question, "what are we doing in all our institutions"? What are we striving for? What are our objectives? We have nearly 30 institutions in our province, some of them physically large and catering to so many lakhs of students directly or indirectly. Last year we started this program and it was organized at Anakara as 'Synergy 2011' and we are going to have glimpses of that programme shortly. During Synergy 2011, we did not give any specific theme. We just wanted to experience the joy of seeing our children coming up with some innovative ideas and enjoyable performances.

This year we have broadened its scope by giving three specific areas to our performance. 'Synergy 2012' is focused around St. Montfort, our inspiration and guide. The first part is to compose and render a song on St. Montfort in any language of your choice. We are proud of this great personality but he still remains an unknown saint to many of our students. We are going to hear some fine tunes and melodies with beautiful lyrics. The 2nd part is more important. Who is this man called Montfort? Who is this guiding star? Students are going to put up some short plays depicting the spirituality and charism of this great Saint. Most of you know about microscope and telescope. Well I would say, Synergy - 2012 is nothing but telescoping as well as micro scoping God. For many of us God is far away and when we talk about spirituality of Montfort or charism of Montfort, we are telling how Montfort telescoped God so that we could see Him near us. He looked at God with his own spiritual telescope. Montfort brought God near to us, in his microscopic vision of Him. For most of us God is only a small part in our life, we need to look at him through the spiritual microscope of our lives as Montfort brought the image of God very close to us. Don't worry about the difficult and heavy words, charism and spirituality of Montfort. It simply means how he brought God near to the ordinary people! The third part is about leadership and leaders. In yesterday's newspaper, Mr. Manmohan Singh was telling that India needs more young leaders. He did not say India needs more leaders. He wanted more young leaders. I was very happy to read that item for that's where we are lagging behind. Look at China, US or any of the developing countries like Japan. They are developing not because of their resources but they are moving forward because of the effective leadership by the young people. We would like you all to come out of our schools as 'leaders' and that is our objective. This year, for our General Chapter and the Provincial Chapter we have taken leadership as our theme. Therefore all the Brothers all over the world are reflecting on a theme around leadership and the Chapter calls upon the Brothers to play that role very effectively. It challenges us to be Authentic Leaders to the people around, to the students, particularly to the less privileged and train them to be leaders, so that they will play a lead role in the years to come. If this happens, this country of ours and hence the world will move forward as envisioned by St. Montfort, who is the focus of Synergy 2012.

We are going to see so many 'Montforts' on the stage over here! St. Montfort himself may be surprised, turning pleasantly in his grave or in other words he will definitely look from above with great joy at the talents of you young Montfortians from the Yercaud Province. Therefore, 'Synergy 2012' is inviting and challenging you to become little saints like St. Montfort, doing things like him. When other students are mocking less fortunate classmates or speaking ill of another person, you be on their side. When you are tempted with allurements of the world and its attractions, you become a little Montfort and say I will not become a victim of such temptations and tell your companions not to do such things. Have always a heart for the less privileged, the suppressed, the disabled, physically challenged and those who are really poor. Thus you can all become little saints.

The biggest agenda for God in creating each one of us is not definable, but I can say that the smallest agenda is to become a Saint! Having said that, when I look at all of you, I get a feeling that you are already little Saints! At this Synergy 2012, we must look at St. Montfort from various places and angles and start living up to that. You can go one more step forward and become a St. Montfort, a Gabriel Deshayes, a Marie Louise Trichet, a Mother Teresa, a Nelson Mandela, or Vivekananda. If you are going to be a scientist, you can be an Einstein, or a Leonardo da vinci. You read Einstein or Leonardo da vinci, they will speak about God more than about their discoveries and achievements. To be a leader you need not occupy a position. You can become a very effective leader, wherever you are placed. Even if you are a little boy or a girl in a class, sitting in a corner, you can still be an effective leader. If you are a class leader, you can definitely be an effective leader to the external world. No leader in this world worth mentioning has had a cake walk. St. Montfort had a lot of sufferings, he was abused, pushed out, even beaten up, and poisoned. Mother Teresa, Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi, why, the greatest of all leaders, Jesus Christ himself reached the height of success through suffering and Cross. That's why St. Montfort would declare "no cross what a cross". If you are challenged to be a leader, be sure of sufferings. If you read Abraham Lincoln, it is amazing to note that he was the most abused leader in the world. Those who abused him are forgotten but he is remembered! Therefore dear children, if you suffer, because you stand for principles, be proud about that, don't give up. You are born to be leaders!

This year I have some additional information for you. First of all, we plan to give you special participation certificates which will reach your schools later. Synergy 2012 certificates will be given to all the participants and we are already telecasting this programme through the internet. Our Brothers in Rome are watching this programme even as I am talking to you. Our Province is on the high tech path with Bro. Abraham AM taking steps to make our synergy programme 'online' for everyone all over the world to view it simultaneously. It is also uploaded in the 'YouTube'. Congratulations to Bro. Abraham for his efforts.

My greatest 'joy' is the fact that in addition to all of you present here, those who are viewing this programme online, or in YouTube, will come to know a little more about our hero 'St. Montfort through 'Synergy 2012'. My congratulations to all the participants who have made this possible, and a reality! I request all the Heads of the Institutions to repeat your synergy programme to the entire school community on any convenient date.

I also take this opportunity to appreciate Bro. Antony M P, the Local Superior, Bro. Niju the Principal, community Brothers, members of staff and students for creating such a beautiful ambience for Synergy 2012. I appreciate very much your hard work. I also thank and appreciate the education commission of the Province for all their efforts. Though there was a suggestion from the commission to hold this programme only on alternate years, we did go ahead with it considering the wonderful positive results we are going to harvest in spite of the difficulties and problems we may face. Hence, I bow before you dear children and the participants for your great contribution in making Synergy 2012 a success. All of you including the participants must keep your ears and eyes open so that you could learn something new from others. I have already learnt a lot of things even as we are about to start this programme. Let Synergy 2012 open the doors of discovery in each one of you, the Brothers of the Province, members of Staff and Students.

May God bless you all.
Bro. George Kalangod
Provincial Superior

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Valedictory address
Dear Bro. Antony, the Director, dear Bro. Niju, the Principal, members of the Provincial administration, Principals, Local Superiors, Brothers, participants, members of staff from various Schools and my dear students and staff members of Lake Montfort.

They say that, 'when there is discipline, sound becomes music and ordinary steps will become dance! When there is a discipline, errors and comedies of life will become beautiful dramas and plays. Well, that is what we have seen here for the last two days. To my participants, I would say, don't worry about the quality of your program, all the programs had its own uniqueness, don't compare your programme with those of others. If someone tells, oh! that could have been like this, you made a mistake and so on., don't bother about it. I don't know how many of you noticed even the National flag was once kept upside down, due to the excitement of students! Those who say negative things are not the heroes of life. Our programme was like a coin with 2 sides, the powerful message you have received on one side and the entertainment on the other side. The entertainment is over, it may not linger in your minds any more. You may talk about it some more time, but then, there will be something that you will be carrying home, like a powerful strike of a hammer on your head! You know how difficult it is to forget that! The beautiful message you are carrying home is very important for me.

Now, I have two observations for you all. The first observation is, for the participants and the students of Lake Montfort. Please become creative and innovative. Creativity is very important in our lives. Einstein has said" Imagination is more important than knowledge". What is the greatest quality of St. Montfort? We may say it is his love for cross, wisdom, devotion to Blessed Virgin, love for the needy, and the poor etc. Well, we all accept that but, something that takes us forward is his daringness -'Montfortian daringness', I would say dear children, teachers, and Brothers, create with daringness, don't worry about the failures and limitations.

I cautioned you all yesterday saying that we are going to see many 'Montforts' and you all saw nearly 18 Montforts on the stage! Each 'Montfort' was unique, each of the creations were quite innovative. That reminds me about what happened to Charlie Chaplin. Once there was a big competition in the U.S for a 'Look-like Charlie Chaplin competition'. Charlie Chaplin, a very brilliant man, also dressed himself quietly and registered his name for the competition which the organizers didn't know. When his turn came, he also paraded through the stage and you know, he received only the 3rd prize! If St. Montfort were to come over here and if he were to parade through this stage for a competition, definitely he would have been placed only 19th and that is the quality of presentations that were organized over here! All the credit goes to those creators and innovators, particularly those characters who fitted into the imagination of the teachers and Brothers who were behind this wonderful performance. I was very proud to hear when one of participants remarked a few minutes ago, 'oh, we all thought it is going to be boring', but it was not so! The definition of enjoyment is different from pleasure. Even when you are talking about a tragedy, you can enjoy it, if it is presented properly. Montfort is definitely a great character, a person who has defined by his life, the real joys of life! Please don't sacrifice values and meanings for the sake of an entertainment or a pleasure filled moment that lasts for a while. This is very important particularly for Synergy 2013. When you are working on that, keep this very important maxim in your mind. I know it is very difficult to present a great personality like St Montfort and other great leaders within a restricted period of 6 or 7 minutes. Shorter the presentation, the better it will be. Hence, try to be very conscious of time management dimension when you present your programmes.

As I have already told you yesterday, you will all receive the participants' certificates. Once again, I request all the Local Superiors and Principals to make sure that, I receive a copy of their presentation with all the 3 parts of the program in a CD or in a pen drive. The songs composed and sung by each school were melodious and meaningfully rendered. After seeing the Synergy-2012 programme, I feel there are poets, architects, engineers, play-writes and wonderful personalities among you. Hence, we need to use opportunities like this, to bring out your talents and potentials.

Finally I must thank quite a few people though there is a separate vote of thanks coming up. In my life I have not come across anyone thanking oneself, but then since Bro. Antony is going to give the note thanks, let me start with him. My sincere appreciation to Bro. Antony, the Director of this institution for coordinating the program effectively along with Bro. Niju and also the Brothers from Montfort College who co-sponsored this programme. I also thank the Education Commission, particularly Bro. Varghese Koonamavu, for arranging the beautiful souvenirs and mementos for the participants. I must specially thank the Staff &Students of Lake Montfort for their disciplined presence and behaviour. Children of Lake Montfort are unique and great. The teachers deserve all our appreciation for conducting themselves becomingly. I also appreciate the supportive role of my council in making this programme a success. I was delighted to see nearly 35 Brothers who were present for Synergy - 2012. Your presence has encouraged the participants to reach the desired heights of performance.

We heard a particular phrase reverberating repeatedly throughout this program! We heard from St. Montfort again and again "Open to Jesus Christ", "Open to Jesus Christ". This phrase pierced all our hearts and ears. "Open Jesus Christ" was the powerful message that came across in this program and therefore dear friends & students, open your homes, open your hearts, open your institutions, open your facilities, open your intellectual capacities and yourself, so that the poor may enter in with Him. This is the beautiful souvenir you should take back home.

May the good Lord protect you as you turn your steps back home. May our Mother Mary and St. Montfort walk with you all.

Bro. George Kalangod
Provincial Superior