A group, which was started with the aim of preparing the younger generation to strictly follow the “Christian way of life” and later transformed into a group to save people, especially young people from alcohol, turns 100 .
The Amalorpava Matha congregation began in the coastal hamlet of Uvari in 1912 after a Jesuit priest started it with the aim of channeling young people with noble qualities in addition to teaching them the way of “Christian living”. When the Rev. Antony Soosainathar, parish priest of Uvari saw several families ruined by alcoholism and gambling, he transformed the Amalorpava Matha Sodality into a movement against alcohol and gambling with the consent of the village elders .
“It happened on August 15, 1922 when Fr. Antony Soosainathar offered Holy Mass during which during the homily he said that the objective of Amalorpava Matha Sodality would be to liberate the citizens of ‘Uvari of alcohol. Members of the congregation will vow before the statue of the Blessed Mother and in the presence of the parish priest once every three months that they will not even touch alcohol and this continues to this day says Rev. Jayanthan, director of Amalorpava Matha Sodality Against Liquor, which was established in 42 parishes of the Diocese of Tuticorin RC in the recent past and has so far rehabilitated 82 people from alcohol.
Marumalarchi General Secretary Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, Vaiko, who organized a 14-day padayatra in Madurai demanding a total ban in Tamil Nadu, started the march from Uvari on December 12, 2012.
“I chose this coastal hamlet to start my padayatra in Madurai for a noble cause and an urgent need as this village saw the institution of a religious group by the Roman Catholic priest Antony Soosainathar on August 15, 1922 to save the fishermen who work hard from alcoholism.Even though this group was started in 1912 by a Jesuit priest with religious aims, it was later transformed to achieve an enviable social cause of saving the villagers, especially the youth from alcohol Therefore, I start my padayatra from Uvari,” Mr. Vaiko said then as he started his mission.
As this anti-alcohol movement turned centenary on Monday August 15, the residents of Uvari held a procession and renewed their vows in front of the statues of Blessed Mother Mary and Rev. Soosainathar that they would never touch alcohol.
“We admit that alcoholism is spreading more vigorously in all villages including Uvari despite our efforts against alcoholism. Apart from alcohol, our young people are now being indulged in other narcotic substances to make our presence more relevant and the situation warrants more work with great intention,” says Rev. Fr. Jayanthan.