Vellore Diocese



Various commissions are established to coordinate various programmes in the Diocese. Each commission has a secretary who coordinates programmes in the Vicariate and Diocesan level. He also cooperates with corresponding regional commission of Tamil Nadu Bishops’ Conference (TNBC) in macro level.   Various commissions of our Diocese are given below:

Pastoral Commissions

  • Catechism, Catechists & BCC                
  • Evangelization                                        :           
  • Bible                                                                     
  • Liturgy                                                      
  • Family & Health                                      
  • Youth                                                                   
  • Laity                                                                      
  • Dialogue & Ecumenism                         
  • Communication                                     
  • Pious Associations                                             

Social Commissions:

  • Social Service, Justice  &Peace             
  • SC / ST                                                      
  • Labour                                                     
  • Legal Cell                                                 
  • Women                                                   
  • Prison Ministry                                       

Formative commissions

  • Clergy                                                                   
  • Vocation                                                  
  • Pastoral Council                                     


Commission Position Name of the Priest From Image
- Vice President - VG Msgr Rev Fr. John Robert I 01-01-2016 Image
Catechism, Catechists & BCC Secretary Fr. Ramesh L 01-01-2021 Image
Evangelization Secretary Fr. Motchanathan A 01-06-2019 Image
Bible Secretary Fr. Paul Velankanni L 01-06-2015 Image
Liturgy Secretary Fr. Panneerselvam D 01-01-2021 Image
Family & Health Secretary Fr. Gnana Jyothi K S 01-01-2021 Image
Youth Secretary Fr. Jeyaseelan A 01-01-2024 Image
Dialogue & Ecumenism Secretary Fr. Thangaraj M 05-06-2016 Image
Communication Secretary Fr. Sudharson A 01-01-2021 Image
Pious Associations Secretary Fr. Jayaprakasam J 01-06-2018 Image



Commission Position Name of the Priest From Image
- Vice President - VG Msgr Rev Fr. John Robert I 01-01-2016 Image
Social Service, Justice & Peace Secretary Fr. James S 01-01-2021 Image
SC / ST Secretary Fr. Devanesan M 04-08-2019 Image
Labour Secretary Fr. Arockia Raj D 01-01-2024 Image
Legal Cell Secretary Fr. Clement Rosario S A S 01-01-2021 Image
Prison Ministry Secretary Fr. Thangaraj M 15-12-2021 Image



Commission Position Name of the Priest From Image
- Vice President - VG Msgr Rev Fr. John Robert I 01-01-2016 Image
Vocation Secretary Msgr Rev Fr. John Robert I 01-01-2016 Image
Pastoral Council Secretary Fr. Ramesh L 01-01-2021 Image



Commission Position Name of the Priest From Image
Judicial Vicar Secretary Fr. Jagadish A J 01-01-2021 Image
Defender of the bond Secretary Fr. Mathias G 01-01-2015 Image
Judge Secretary Fr. Vincent A 19-01-2018 Image
Advocate Secretary Fr. Clement Rosario S A S 01-01-2021 Image
Notary Secretary Fr. Vino Alphons Xavier P 01-01-2021 Image

Pastoral Commissions

Catechism, Catechists & BCC

The Principal role of Catholic Pastoral Centre is to animate and promote the pastoral, catechetical and evangelical activities of the Diocese. It also coordinates all the Diocesan Commissions namely Bible, liturgy, ecumenism, evangelization, laity, clergy, communication, family life and education. One priest, two nuns and two catechists are working as full timers in the centre. 

Catechism: More than 52,000 children study in the schools run by the Diocese and schools run by religious. Catechism is indeed given prime importance in all the Catholic schools. Teaching catechism is vigorous and well organized and it is bearing maximum fruits. We prepare children for better participation in the Holy Eucharist and other sacraments. 

Catechism Books: Government gives free text books to all the children. Since most of the students are economically very poor, Pastoral centre distributes Catechism and Moral Science books to the Children at a subsidized rate. It also provides them with syllabus and teaching materials.

School Visits: Every year Pastoral Centre team visits all the Diocesan schools and schools run by religious. This team inspects students’ progress, teaching aids, methods, lesson plans, and gives suggestions to enhance the teaching methods of the teachers. 

Catechism Examinations: Every year, a common catechism and moral science question papers are set by the centre for all students studying (3rdstd to 12th std) in Diocesan schools and schools run by religious. Outstanding students are awarded with prizes and certificates.

Catechism for children: To impart catechism and religious education in children’s mind and heart, Pastoral Centre takes a lot of initiatives. Simple biblical stories and parables are taught with the help of pictures, slides, films and songs. Party games are conducted to assist their learning process.

Meetings and Seminars: A seminar for all the school teachers is conducted in Vellore and Thiruvannamalai. All the teachers working in Diocesan Schools are asked to participate in it. It is usually well participated by teachers. A team from Tindivanam Catechetical Centre headed by the Regional Secretary (TNBC) for Catechetics would come and animate teachers for two days every year.  It would help our teachers to teach catechism and moral science effectively.

Annual Retreat: Every year Pastoral Centre in coordination with the Manager of RCM Schools arranges retreats to all the teachers working in our schools to deepen their spirituality. This retreat is conducted in holidays so that all our teachers might participate.  Accommodation is arranged at the pastoral centre. 

Moral Instruction Course: Catechetical commission is very much concerned with the non – Christians students who form the majority of the total strength in our educational institutions. More than 55,000 students are taught moral science while their Christian counterparts learn catechism. 

VBS (Vacation Bible School): Vacation bible classes are conducted on all the parishes from 1st to 15th May every year. Teachers and volunteers are invited to the Pastoral Centre and they are given proper training.  More than 8000 Children benefit from VBS across the diocese and spend their summer holidays in a useful way.

Adult Catechism: The sizable population of Christians is relatively new converts. Hence adult catechism is a much needed activity in our Diocese. Trained and untrained and retired catechists and teachers are involved in this noble endeavour of strengthening the faith of the faithful.

Evangelization Commission – Pastoral Commission 

  • This Commission works along with Catechetical Commission.  Having his office at Madha Hill, Chetpet.

Bible Commission – Pastoral Commission

‘Proclaim the Gospel to the whole world’ (mk16:16) is the aim and the motto of the Bible Commission. In order to work honestly to achieve and proclaim the Gospel to all sort of people in this world, Bible Commission had taken lot of efforts along with Catholic Pastoral Centre in the Diocese of Vellore. 

Members of the Bible Commission: Along with the Bible Commission secretary, there are 8 priests (the representative of 8 vicariates), 16 sisters, 24 lay people representatives and 3 catechists are working in this commission.   

Basic Bible Coaching Session: Every year, Vellore Diocese provides an opportunity to 80 people to learn the Bible and its teachings. This coaching class has been conducted by Tamilnadu Bible Liturgy Catechetics (TNBCLC) Thindivanam, with the help of our Diocesan priests and the representatives of every Basic Christian Communities (BCC) in the parishes. This opportunity is given to all the parishes in our Diocese. Moreover every month this coaching class is being conducted to the catechists in the Diocese. Each year we conduct Bible class in the parishes. For the last seven years in the eight vicariates, this class has been conducted twice in a month. By this sort of coaching classes they could learn the Bible from the beginning to the end. People are being motivated to memorize at least 20 verses from the Bible in a week. 

Bible Seminar: We conducted two big seminars every year to all parishes in our Diocese. In these big seminars, Bible –Quiz was conducted by the members of the Bible Commission. The plan for these seminars is given below:

January                      General Introduction-Old Testament-Introduction.  Bible- Translation, Inspiration, Tradition.

February                    Genesis :1-11chapters &12-50chapters 

March                         Exodus- Vocation, Moses, Covenant 

April                            Prophets-Isaiah, Nathan, Eliza, Elijah. 

May                            Prophets: Ezekiel, Jeremiah, Amos, Jonah 

June                            Psalms-Introduction 

July                              Psalms- The Sacrament of Baptism 

August                        Introduction New Testament: Historical &Geographical  background, Gospel of St. Mark       

September                Gospel of St. Mathew, St. Luke

October                      Gospel of St. John 

November                 Pauline letters 

December                 Revelation   

National Bible Commission Seminar: The Bible Commission members of International Catholic Bishops’ Association (Conference) gave some opportunities to arrange National Seminars to us. It was conducted and well organized in Goa, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chengleput. From our Diocese the secretary of the Commission and two other lay people participated and benefited a lot. 

 Correspondence Bible Course: We are motivating our people to learn the Bible as many ways as possible. St. Paul’s Bible centre paves the way to learn Bible even by post. It provides different classes, Seminars, workshops to know Bible deeply. More than 1oo people are benefited by this scheme from our Diocese. It provides all the books and other materials which will help them to learn the Bible with the historical outlook. 

Vacation Bible School (VBS): Every year this vocation Bible school is being conducted in every parish. To train our teachers, we select well qualified youth boys and girls from each parish. Every year nearly 500 people are attending this class. To organize this sort of Bible schools in the parishes of our Diocese, we provide Bible, teacher’s workbooks, student’s workbooks, saints’ pictures, audio & video cassettes, song books, etc. Therefore every year approximately 8000 children are benefiting by this programme in our Diocese with the help of the commission. 

Proclamation of the Gospel through folklore: There are many folk forms in Tamil Nadu, Such as villu pattu, gummi pattu, kolattam, oyilattam, therukuthu, paraiyattam, and salangaiyattam. We try to expose the Bible values even through these folk forms. We form Bible stories, parables, and miracles in the way even the village illiterates can understand easily. We organize this programme with the help of seminarians, priests, sisters, catechists and the youth boys & girls in the parishes. Every year people organize themselves in Elayagankanni (one of the parishes) and conduct a big sound and light programme during the Easter season. 

Proclamation of the Gospel through Media: We try to proclaim the Gospel by media also, because information technology has been growing so fast. We use cinemas, saints’ movies, social awareness movies, etc to teach Bible to the people. We are insisting our people to observe a day as “Day of Media and Information Technology”. Our priests are encouraged by the Bible commission to release audio- video CDs, which will be helpful to the people to participate in the liturgical celebration meaningfully. 

 Bible Sunday : It is the tradition that every year, the month of September is being celebrated as “As Month of Bible”, and the last weak of the month is allotted to conduct Bible –Quiz, Bible show, exhibition, cultural programmes like biblical fancy dress, singing completion, etc. Every year a biblical topic is chosen, and basing on this theme, banners, Mass liturgy, homily are prepared by the Bible commission and circulated to all the parishes. In ‘Thozhan’ a Tamil magazine, the Bible commission writes different articles based on Bible Sunday. 

Bible Exhibition and Seminars: We encourage our people to know the Bible and to exhibit the biblical values in their lives. We have arranged Bible-exhibition in religious institutions and in some of the parishes in the Diocese. In this Bible exhibition we are able to conduct Bible-Quiz and some other competitions to the parishioners and school children. Most of the people nearly 2000 students benefited from the Bible-Exhibition. 

Achievements of the Bible commission

  • For every parish, we have trained a lay man to teach Bible. 
  • In all our churches Holy Bible is exposed and kept for the public reading. 
  • Around the church campus, the Bible verses are written in the compound walls. It is very useful to the public to read and meditate the Holy Bible. 
  • To sponsor all sort of biblical works, benefactors are being encouraged by parish Bible committee. 
  • We encourage our people to expose Bible in their houses. 

Liturgy Commission – Pastoral Commission

This commission coordinates all the major celebrations of the Diocese under the able guidance of our Bishop and Vicar General

Ongoing Formation: As a part of ongoing formation to priests, every year the commission invites a competent Liturgist for a seminar to all our priests.

Handbook: Under the guidance of our bishop, Commission has come out with a booklet that gives diocesan guidelines for all the liturgical celebrations within our Diocese.

Liturgy Group: By the initiatives of this commission, many parishes have Liturgy Group that prepares and monitors all the parochial liturgical celebrations. Prayer meetings, Lenten pilgrimages, celebrations in Basic Christian Communities, Parochial feasts are duly prepared and presented by Liturgy Group.

Audio CD & Hymn Books: commission has come out two hymn books that could be used in all the liturgical celebrations. Four audio CDs had been produced by this commission.

Participation of Laity: to encourage the laity participation in the liturgy, separate seminars are arranged twice in a year for people at Vicariate centres.

Family & Health Commissions – Pastoral Commission

Globalization has disputed the socio-economic cultural, religious, political and technological fabric of our society impacting the family and its life style. In this context, we see God as the centre of the family.   We have 50 nurse nuns in this commission who coordinate with the secretary. Every vicariate has a priest coordinator who arranges seminars for young people. The main objectives of this commission are:

  • Safeguarding the families from the dangers of unjust socio, political economic and cultural oppression through education, animation and empowerment of women in the families. 
  • Enabling our families to be aware of their mission as domestic Church. 
  • Coordinating different activities going on in our Diocese regarding family apostolate.
  • Creating ways and means to bring about greater unity in the family.
  • Creating healthy relationship between parents and children.
  • Educating the family members about Gospel and human values.

Activities: We conduct the following programmes at the vicariate level: Marriage Preparation Courses and Training Programmes, Value Education and Life Education Programmes, Personality Development Programme, Marriage Enrichment Programme (Couples programme) that covers Family Health, Child Care Guidance, Responsible Parenthood, Marriage Encounter Programme, Family Counselling, Marriage Information Bureau (MIB), Naveena Suyawaram, Family Cell (BCC) and Retreat for Couples

Youth Commission – Pastoral Commission

Diocesan Youth Commission has been initiated in the year 1974 with the goal of organizing, moulding, developing and empowering youth towards a better future.  From then on, it has been doing an excellent ministry of shaping the aims of youth that have been acting as a catalyst of change in the society. The Youth Centre is taking care in three categories of the Youth, namely

  • The Rural YOUTH
  • The Semi Urban YOUTH
  • The student’s Movement, YCS/YSM Movements

The various activities of the commission are classified as follows: National Level, Regional Level, Diocesan Level and Parish Level

Regional Level

Diocesan Youth commission always ties up with regional office and executes the youth activities in the Diocese under the guidance Tamil Nadu Bishops’ Conference (TNBC)

General Body Meetings (GB): General Body Meetings take place twice in a year in month of January and June of every year. The Diocesan Youth Executive Body members participate in all the meetings 

Annual Retreat: Diocesan youth commission conducted annual retreat every year for the youth at diocese level. A good number of youth across the diocese participated and had God’s experience. 

Human Rights Program: Human rights program takes place once in a year in regional level. From each Diocese, those already participated in the same program at diocesan level will be given preference. 8 members (4 boys + 4 girls) will participate. 64 members from our Diocese participated and got awareness from this program in last 7 years. Those participated in the program will be the resource persons at parish and vicariate level for conducting this program.

Cultural Training: In order to sustain and inculcate the various arts of the soil, the regional youth commission conducts cultural training programs once in a year. In that, thappattam, oylattam, karagam, kummy which are traditional arts of Tamils, have been taught.  84 members from our Diocese had trained so far in last 10 years. Some became resource persons and give training to parish youth where ever it needs.

Diocesan Level

The Diocese appoints a young priest as director to the commission, who acts as a full timer. Hence he is able to do this ministry with out any other commitment. Under him two coordinators are working as full timers. Therefore with a team they easily carry out this ministry through out the year. The followings are some major activities that the commission has done in the Diocese for the youth.  

Leadership Training for Young girls: In order to help the young girls to realize the unique gifts they possess and train them to develop their leadership qualities, this program is being conducted every year. 

Human Rights Program: In order to give legal awareness, identify the violation of any sort of human rights and respond immediately to the violations, the commission conducts this program once in a year to the youth.

Rally: To create awareness among public, diocesan youth commission have conducted a number of rallies on the day World Human Rights day(10th December).

Career Guidance: To create job opportunities and give idea about suitable field to youth, this program is conducted in the month of April every year.

Summer Coaching Camp: To increase the learning skills of the poor school going children and reduce the career directional barriers of the children, the commission conducts summer coaching camp for 15 daysevery year in May.

Parish Level

Every year the first Sunday of August is being conducted as Youth Sunday. Youth prepare the Liturgy and celebrate creatively. After the liturgy celebration, they will do different activities. It depends on the need of the parish. Some are as follows: Planting trees, conducting medical camp, distributing cloths to widows, Blood donation camp, and cultural programs on social themes.

Laity Commission – Pastoral Commission

A priest is incharge for Laity commission. Pastoral Centre Director coordinates various activities of this commission.

Seminars for Laity: In coordination with Regional Laity Commission, it conducts Diocesan level seminars at the vicariate centres that enable laity to participate in the mission of the Church with commitment and enthusiasm.

Parish Council: This commission has taken necessary efforts to start parish council and other participatory movements in all our parishes. Elections and installation of parish council are done under the guidance of this commission.

Diocesan Pastoral Council Meeting: periodically, Diocesan pastoral council meeting is held at Bishop’s House. All the Parish Council Vice Presidents, Secretaries, Treasures, and all the Vicars Forane are invited for this meeting. Various problems are discussed here with our bishop and constructive suggestions have been given for the integral growth of the Diocese.

Laity Sunday: Prepared Liturgy for Laity Sunday is circulated to all the parishes. It is celebrated in order to make laity understand their responsibilities in the mission of the Church.

Membership in Diocesan Committees: By the initiatives of this commission, laity participation in the Diocesan Committees namely Finance and project has been encouraged

Dharna & Rally: Laity commission organise dharna and rally when the rights of people are violated and oppression is done against the ordinary folk

Leadership programmes: Parish council leaders and teachers are given trainings for a responsible leadership.

Dialogue & Ecumenism Commission – Pastoral Commission

are in me, and I in you; I pray that they may be one in us, that world may believe they you send me" (1n 17:21). The unity among the Christians is the most important witnessing factor which assures the presence of the kingdom of God here on earth. The Sacred Council exhorts, therefore, all the Catholics faithful to recognize the signs of the times mid to take an active and intelligent part in the work of ecumenism"(U.R. 4). Diocese of Vellore carries out ecumenical activities according to the guidance given by the Magisterium. 

In the district of Thiruvannamalai, Catholic church is the main church, which has got majority of the Christians compare to the other denominations like Church of South India, Arcot Lutheran Church and Pentecostal Churches, whereas in the Vellore District, the Church of South India is also as vibrant as Catholic Church. Evangelical Church and Arcot Lutheran Church are the other main churches in Vellore district. Besides these we have Orthodox Church, Assembly of God, and other Pentecostal churches. The Dialogue & Ecumenism commission had planned for different types programme and worked them out successfully. Rallies, prayer services, seminars, cultural programme etc were some of the programmes. 

Prayer Based Programmes

Charismatic Prayer Meeting: Ecumenical Committee organizes a charismatic prayer meeting for three days every year. This prayer meeting is conducted in a public place in which many number of Christians took part in it from all the churches.

Unity Octave: It is celebrated in the third week of January in a grand manner. Unity octave prayer is recited by the faithful. A combined prayer and worship is animated in the churches. Unity Octave is also celebrated in the Basic Christian Communities too.

Easter Rally: To demonstrate our unity as Christians, during every Easter Sunday, a rally is conducted by the Ecumenical Committee. The rally started at the CSI Church which is located in one end of the Vellore and ended at the Catholic Church which is in the other end of Vellore. Many Christians especially youngsters of all the church take part in the cycle rally.

Educational Based Programme

Christian Unity through Catechism: We have good number of educational Institutions run both by diocese and religious. In all our institutions we have catechism classes in which we insist upon the unity among the Christians. Opportunities are given to other denomination   children to share of their liturgy and ceremonies. This has paved way for the children to have proper understanding towards the other churches.

Priority to Christian Children: Prior importance is given to the Christians children in our institutions in admissions and also other opportunities. We admit other denomination children in our institutions. Same way, Catholic children get admissions in the institutions run by the other churches. This has improved better understanding among us.

Social Issue Based Programme

Procession for Sri Lankan Victims: Christians from different churches come together and conducted meeting for the Sri Lankan Christian victims, who were killed by suisidal bomb blast on Easter Sunday. All Christians participated in the procession of lighted candles.

Visiting the Sick:  Visiting the sick and helping the poor people are taken care of by the pastors of the different churches. Though the pastors and others take care of their own faithful, we extend our lending hands to the other Christians too in the need. Sick people in the CMC (Christian Medical College) are visited regularly and assisted by the pastors.

Social Commission

Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe/Backward Class (SC/ST/BC) Commission 

The Indian society is structured according to the hierarchical caste system that has pushed the Dalits (i.e. broken, crushed people) to the lowest level down the centuries with the denial of right to education, property, development and participation. Dalits who are outside the caste system are exploited and oppressed very systematically. In the Diocese of Vellore, 85% of Catholic populations are from Dalit community. In order to empower these people in all fields, Dalit commission was formed in 1985. From then onwards, it has been working actively for the development of Dalits. This commission has its coordinating office at CODEP (Community Oriented Development Programme) at Chetpet.

Motivation for Community Development

Dalit Lay Leadership Training: Seminar on "Dalit Lay Leadership Training for Development” is organized periodically at CODEP, Chetpet for the effective emergence of Dalit leadership. It is well participated.

Empowerment of the Oppressed: Two-Day seminar on "The Empowerment of the Oppressed" is also conducted periodically at Vellore. There will be good representations from each parish for these seminars

Political awareness for Dalit Youth: One-Day seminar on “Political awareness for Dalit Youth” is conducted at regional level once in a year. Good number of youth both boys and girls usually participate.

Rally to implement Reservation to Dalit Christians: The All India confederation of SC/ST organizations, in collaboration with the CBCI Commission for SC/ST/BC organized Rally and Dharna at Janda Manthar, New Delhi  to table the report of Ranganath Misra commission which recommends reservation to Dalit Christians.

Awareness campaign: In order to create awareness among Dalit Christians about their rights and the report of Ranganath Misra commission, Awareness campaign was organized from 15– 28 February 2010 through out the Diocese. A team of youth  with a  four wheeler - vehicle decorated with suffering Jesus and  Ranganath Misra commission’s report went to all the parishes explained how the Dalit Christians were being denied their rights last 60 years just because they were Christians. It was very much appreciated by the people.

Long march to demand equal justice to Dalit Christians: To implement the prescriptions of the Misra Commission, the Regional Commission decided to organise a long march demanding equal justice to Dalit Christians from Kanniyakumari to Chennai. 

Arrest for the cause equal Justice: On the cause of demanding equal justice, Long Marchers tried to give memorandum to Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu. But the appointment was denied. Hence, the Long Marchers along with the hundreds of people (15 people from our Diocese) started walking to meet the Chief Minister crossing the boundaries. They were arrested. 

Black Day: 10th August of each year was observed as “Black Day” by Dalit Christians in all the parishes to reiterate their anguish over the discrimination meted out by the government of India. Wearing black badges, carrying banners, organizing rallies and public meetings, they condemned the negligence of government in deleting a clause in the Constitution Order 1950 that prevents SC Christians from enjoying economic and educational benefits. At many vicariate centres, rallies were organized with Dalit Muslims. 

Dalit Liberation Sunday: Each year Dalit Liberation Sunday is celebrated in all the parishes in an effort to sensitize local congregations on Dalit concerns. A special prayer was recited for the liberation of Dalits.

Education Empowerment

The commission is very much convinced that education is a tool for social development of Dalits. Dalits children are very much backward in education due to various reasons. Hence the commission launched out many programs to develop educational skills among Dalit children.

Summer coaching camp: Every year, in the month of April, summer coaching camp was conducted for 15 days for Dalit children. Here communication skills, basic computer knowledge, grammar, leadership skills etc are being taught.

Higher education Awareness: Higher education awareness camp is conducted in the month of April.Parents of the participants are also invited to give awareness to them aslo.

Scholarship Program: Every year scholarship is given to the poor Dalit students for their study purposes. Hundreds of poor students benefit from this program.

Labour Commission – Social Commission

Labour commission in coordination with the Regional Labour Commission works for the welfare of labourers and their families. There are three types of labourers: Organised Labourers (Government Employees, Teachers,) Unorganised Labourers (daily wagers, building workers, hotel workers, washer men, etc) and Company Labourers (men working in sugar mills, paper mills, etc.)

Awareness about Government schemes: Government has introduced several schemes for the welfare of these labourers. The principal aim of the labour commission is give awareness among the poor and illiterate labourers about the available schemes of the Government. It also helps them how to go about to get benefit out of these schemes.

Forming Union: This commission helps the unorganised labourers in forming unions which would help them in fighting for their due rights.

Fighting for the Rights of Labourers: This commission organises labourers and demonstrates hunger strike, rally and other non-violence methods,when their rights are denied.

Legal Cell – Social Commission 

"Directory for the Life and Ministry of Priests" released by Pontifical Congregation for the Clergy in 1984 says" It is necessary to organize, meetings in which appropriate themes in Theology, law, spirituality and culture are studied and dealt with in greater depth, as well as those special sessions dedicated to problems in morality, pastoral care and liturgy", Keeping this teaching of Pontifical Congregation for the Clergy as a base, Tamil Nadu Bishops’ Conference have created the Legal Aid Cell (Social commission) in Tamil Nadu State level and  in the Diocese level. 

It is a team work which functions as one family and team. We remain conscious, and exercise our legal ministry as one team. The legal Aid Cell functions on two huge levels.

1. On Tamil Nadu level it functions as global level (Macro level)

2. On the diocesan level it functions in concrete way with intensity on local level.(Micro level)

Activities at Macro Level

Legal Aid Training Programme:  We render Legal Aid Training Programme to all our Priests and religious who work all over in Tamil Nadu State. We conduct seminar in a grand manner regularly and periodically to all the Priests of Tamil Nadu. We conduct "Legal Spirituality" Courses in the Religious Formation Centres, in particular the Novitiates, and major Seminary and study houses like St. Paul Seminary, Trichy, Tamil Nadu. To Deacons, we impart legal knowledge to function themselves as Successful Pastor in Parishes who are well aware of Legal Procedures. After this training they will train up the uneducated and ignorant mass.   

Formation of Laity: We form Catholics of Diocese as worthy citizens who are well aware of Law and cases and Legal procedures. We render Legal aid, Demo Classes, Legal Leadership courses, and Pastoral Level coordinated courses to Families and people in most popular way.

Protection Force: We remain as chosen representatives as "protection Force" of Christian minority Rights. When there is any violation of minority rights by any parties we take up this case to the court and fight for justice.

Activities at Micro Level:

Legal awareness Training Programme: To all our teachers who work in our diocesan institutions we impart Law and awareness pertaining to Education department. We incorporate Legal Spirituality along with Legal awareness. We conduct this Programme in all the religious Formation Centres of our Diocese.

Free legal Aid: All the Legal Team members render legal Aid to all People who approach our Legal help on different levels. We help them out over the phone and through letter correspondence. We reach them out before problem takes place, during needs, and at the critical situations. People approach us on institution level, individual level, and family level. We do help some deserving people who are support-less, abandoned, orphans, runaway persons, widows, aged and street dwellers. We arrange lawyers on lowest legal fee and court fee.

Legal Counselling: In the Legal Aid Office the basic legal counselling and Legal aid course is offered and also the legal advice is concretely given to those people who approach us for Divorce. Free Legal Advice is the most powerful tool offered to them. It is achieved through counselling. When the parties prefer to obtain divorce on the contrary we offer counselling to accept and adopt Legal procedures together with Church teachings and we persuade them to avoid court procedures. In the process they are reunited in marital commitment and family responsibility over their Catholic children. 

We offer continuous counselling advice and suggestions for the unity of the Family. It is highly challenging and useful to them.

Arbitration (Outside Court settlement): The court has instructed and permitted outside court settlement procedures to all (Arbitration). It is settling of a dispute between two parties by Lawyers or any competent person. The Lawyers like us are opted to settle problems between two parties and work out for Peace and union outside the Court. The Purpose of this procedure is to help the poor not to waste their money unnecessarily and make them wait in the long awaited steps of the court and avoid depression, mental stress and human frustrations.

“The Law is in your hands" Action Plan: It is the fantastic plan of reaching out common people. It is materialized on every Sunday morning after the mass, regularly moving from parish to Parish. We conduct legal Aid Seminar under the able Leadership of the local parish priest. The participants are: parish council members, Legion of Mary Leaders and members, Vincent De Paul Association members, and youth. The theme of the Legal Seminar: Legal Procedures: Civil Procedures, Criminal Procedures, Laws that deal with Properties, Consumers' protection laws, and when arrested your right and duties.

It is our important action plan to teach basic Laws to all the Students and Teachers who study and teach in all Catholic schools, high school and higher ­secondary Schools, colleges and institutes. We teach practical laws that serve their life situations while undertaking education. This imparting law course to students is undertaken in consultation with Manager of schools, correspondents and Principals and Head masters of the institutions. 

Women Commission – Social Commission

Under the guidance and direction of Tamil Nadu Bishops’ Council (TNBC) Diocesan Women Commission was started on March 2, 2003 with the aim of making catholic women participate in and lead Catholic and social establishments. 

The principle mission of this commission is to create a society of God’s Kingdom with equality in everything and without any discrimination between men and women. It also motivates them to commit themselves for the liberation of women, to obtain all their rights and to take initiative in all that concern them. 

A sister from the Diocesan Congregation of Sacred Heart Sisters is appointed as the full time secretary who coordinates all the activities. The various activities are given below:

  • Women groups are established almost all the parishes
  • All the women groups are met periodically.
  • Catholic women are motivated to participate in diocesan level meetings, hunger strikes and other seminars
  • Women’s Day, Mothers’ Day, and Girl Children’s Day are celebrated annually in a large scale. Sunday Liturgy is prepared and circulated to all the parishes
  • Seminars are conducted periodically for their awareness
  • They are encouraged to participate in government based Women Self Help Groups to stabiles their economic status
  • Women leadership in parishes and villages are encouraged. We are happy to state that many catholic women with our support and encouragement, contested in local Panchayat Election and elected as Village presidents.
  • Women are guided to join Vocational training centres to make their livelihood
  • When some atrocities are done against women, they are taught to come together and complain in local women police station.
  • Sex education classes are conducted.
  • Yearly once zonal meeting are conducted.
  • For last 7 years women groups are strengthened and remarkable activities are taken, 64 groups and 650 Catholic women are themselves involved in various parish spiritual activities.  
  • Special focus was given for widows.
  • Moral values are improved among young widows and living conditions are also improved.
  • Political knowledge was imparted to Catholic women and they were aware on political situation.
  • Gospel values and basic community involvement in spiritual activities are improved.
  • Young girls Catholic Action Association is formed for development of young Catholic girls.
  • For last 7 years 187 socio-pastoral development trainings are conducted in Vellore Diocese through women commission.

Prison Ministry – Social Commission

Prison Ministry Sunday: With the permission of our Bishop, Prison Ministry Sunday was observed in many parishes in the month of August. During the mass money would be mobilized in Vellore for the rehabilitation activities. Specially prepared liturgy would be sent to all the parishes to animate Prison Ministry Sunday.   

Community College: The Salesians in Vellore region want to involve themselves in setting up the Gandhiji Community College both for men and women prisoners who will be released shortly. Knowing the aptitude of the prisoners we are introducing a special course that will involve a holistic and integral formation for the future. Vellore unit has already introduced home appliance course in all the prison.

Formative Commissions

Clergy Commission – Formative Commission

Vicar General coordinates various activities of clergy commission. 

Formation of Candidates: The clergy commission coordinates the selection process of the candidates for priesthood, their formation in the minor/major seminaries and recommends to the Bishop that they be accepted for priestly ordination. At present the Diocese has 163 diocesan priests, 92 religious priests and 27 religious brothers serving in the parishes, mission centres and institutions. 

 Monthly Recollection: It arranges various programs for the ongoing formation for the clergy. Every month a seminar is arranged for two days on a theological/pastoral theme. It also serves as a monthly recollection for the priests and provides opportunity to make confession. 

Annual Retreat: Every year a five full days retreat is arranged for the all priests in the month of November.

Silver/ Golden Jubilee Celebration:  It also makes arrangement to celebrate the Silver/ Golden Jubilee of the Sacerdotal Ordination of the priests. 

Ongoing Formation for Young priests: It arranges ongoing formation to all the young priests every year. Specialists from various spheres like Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Counselling, Medicine and Human Relationship are invited to animate young priests. It helps young priests to strengthen their divine call and recommit themselves in the pastoral mission of the Diocese.

Vocation Commission – Formative Commission

Vocation is calling of the divine spirit to serve him and the human person. God has blessed us with good vocation continuously. Minor Seminary Rector coordinates the various activities of Vocation Commission.

Vocation Camp: Vocation Camp is conducted in the first week of the month of May. Many candidates, especially from substations of parishes are selected for the priestly formation by selection board headed by our bishop.

Major Seminarians’ Meet: It is held on Easter Monday every year. Bishop with his Curia, meets all the major seminarians both personally and collectively. It is a kind of Get-together that fosters the relationship among seminarians studying in various major seminaries.

Intellectual Formation: Selected candidates, after a year of intensive course are sent to College studies. Diocese meets all the tuition fees. Our bishop allows the candidates to take different subjects (Maths, Computer Science, Physics, Chemistry, Economics, and Commerce) as their major in the College. It helps the candidates in forming their intellectual ability. Recollections are organised for these candidates periodically.

Philosophical and Theological Formation: Diocese sends seminarian after their secular degree to various Major Seminaries for Philosophy and Theology (St. Peter’s Pontifical Seminary-Bangalore, Sacred Heart Seminary-Chennai, St. Paul’s Seminary- Trichy, Good Shepherd Seminary-Coimbatore) Minor Seminary Rector along with Vicar General visits the major Seminarians. Reports of the seminary are carefully monitored and taken into consideration for the promotion of candidates.