Pastoral Orientation Centre (POC) is the Secretariat of the Kerala
Catholic Bishops’ Council (KCBC) and the regional pastoral
organization of the Catholic Church in Kerala. The POC under the
auspices of the Kerala Catholic Bishops’ Council is a sign and source
of the dynamism and unity of the Catholic Church of Kerala. It is the
common abode of the three ritual Churches - the Latin, the Syro-Malabar
and the Syro-Malankara and its end is to be at the service of all the
people of Kerala. His Eminence Maxmillian Cardinal de Furstenburg of
the Congregation for the Oriental Churches inaugurated the POC on
February 19, 1968 in order to materialize the spirit of II Vatican
Council, which was a clarion call for renewal within the Church and
dialogue with all sections of human society.
The Origin of POC - A Historial Approach
Pastoral Orientation Centre (POC) is the
fruit of a strenuous and sincere effort from the part of the Church of
Kerala to orient and co-ordinate the various pastoral activities of
the different dioceses, parishes, institutions and individuals in view
of a total pastoral mission within the region of the Church in Kerala.
ThePastoral Orientation Centre
in 1968 at St. Joseph's Pontifical Seminary, Alwaye
Besides organizing conferences and
seminars on Catechetics, Scripture and Liturgy, a training course for
catechists was also proposed to be implemented in the centre. The
delegates felt Alwaye to be an ideal place for the centre both on
account of its unique geographical position and the proximity to the
Pontifical Seminary and other religious institutions. A temporary
advisory body was formed from among the delegates with Very Rev. Fr.
Michael OCD as president, and Fr. Paul Kattissery (Cochin), Fr.
Sebastian Mankuzhikari (Ernakulam), Fr. John Vallamattam (Kothamangalam),
Fr. Sebastian Eerathara (Calicut) and Fr. Joseph Kannath (Trichur) as
members. An executive committee consisting of Very Rev. Fr. Michael
Angel OCD, Fr. Paul Kattissery and Fr. Joseph Kannath was set up to
seek ways and means for the realization of the project. The committee
was also entrusted with the task of contacting the ordinaries who were
not represented in the meeting and to seek their approbation and
collaboration. Fr. Joseph Kannath personally contacted nine more
Bishops of Kerala.
As the proposal was favourably received,
a second meeting of the diocesan representatives was convened on March
28, 1967 at the Pontifical Seminary, Alwaye with Very Rev. Fr. Michael
Angel OCD in the chair. The Archdioceses of Verapoly, Ernakulam and
Changanacherry and the dioceses of Alleppey, Quilon and Trichur also
represented in the meeting. The advisory body was reconstituted with
Very Rev. Fr. Michael OCD as president, and Very Rev. Msgr. Emmanuel
Lopez (Verapoly), Very Rev. Msgr. Reynolds Purackal (Alleppey), Fr.
Sebastian Mankuzhikari, Fr. Mathew Nadakal (Changanacherry), Fr. S.
Eerathara, Fr. Paul Kattissery, Fr. John Vallamattam, Fr. Alphonse
Thundil (Quilon), Fr. Joseph Kannath and Fr. Augustine Xavier (Trivandrum)
as members. The executive committee was formed with Very Rev. Fr.
Michael OCD as president, Fr. Paul Kattissery and Fr. Joseph Kannath
as conveners and Very Rev. Msgr. Emmanuel Lopez and Fr. Sebastian
Mankuzhikari as members. A committee consisting of Fr. Joseph Kannath,
Very Rev. Msgr. Emmanuel Lopez and Fr. Sebastian Mankuzhikari was
entrusted with the task of locating a suitable site.
The endeavors leaped into a new phase
with a catechetical seminar organized by the executive committee from
25 to 28 of October, 1967. 130 persons including priests and religious
from 16 dioceses and 12 religious congregations participated in the
seminar. Rev. Fr. Johannes Hofinger SJ of the East Asian Pastoral
Institute, Manila, the principal lecturer in the seminar, highlighted
the salient features of modern catechesis and elucidated the relevance
of a pastoral orientation centre in Kerala. A special meeting of the
diocesan catechetical directors, religious representatives and group
leaders of the seminar held on October 27, warmly endorsed the move
for a pastoral centre. Very Rev. Fr. Dominic OCD was elected as the
new president in place of Very Rev. Fr. Michael Angel OCD, who had
been elected as the Superior General of the Carmelite Order.
The decisions made in the meeting were the following: a two year
course to be conducted for catechists, to prepare textbooks and
teachers’ guides based on a syllabus common to all the dioceses in
Kerala and to procure audio-visual aids for catechetical needs,
preparing an up-to date Malayalam version for the Bible, setting up of
a marriage counseling bureau, establishing a full-fledged library and
documentation centre at POC and to engage in socio-religious research
for acquiring scientific informations to aid the pastoral activities
in Kerala. Fr. Kannath was entrusted with the task of obtaining the
approbation of Kerala Catholic Bishop’s Conference (K.C.B.C.) for the
regional pastoral centre.
His Eminence Cardinal
Maximilian De Fuerstenberg inaugurates the POC on 19th February
1968, in the presence of the Pro-nuncio, three of the Archbishops and
seven of the Bishops of Kerala, priests, religious and laity
representing the various dioceses, religious congregations and lay
Another great landmark in the history
for POC took place during the meeting of the diocesan directors and
professors of Catechetics, and the members of CBCI Catechetical
Commission held at the National Centre, Bangalore from 25 to 27
November, 1967, in which the representatives from Kerala participated.
The delegates from Kerala unanimously decided to make a definite step
towards the establishment of a regional pastoral centre, and to submit
a formal appeal to the president and members of Kerala Catholic
Bishop’s Conference (K.C.B.C.) for the approval. As directed by the
meeting at Bangalore, the convener submitted a formal request to the
K.C.B.C. regarding the setting up of the Pastoral Orientation Centre,
along with an outline of its objectives and working. The K.C.B.C.
meeting held at Verapoly Archbishop’s House, Ernakulam on 11 January 1968,
considered the request and adopted the momentous decision to set up a
regional Pastoral Orientation Centre for Kerala. The K.C.B.C. decided
the centre to be governed by the statutes to be drawn up and approved
by the hierarchy, and set up a commission to start the centre and draw
up the statutes. The POC was formally inaugurated on 19 February, 1968
by His Eminence Maximillian Cardinal de Furstenberg.
Archbishop Benedict Mar
Gregorious laid down the foundation stone for the POC Building
at Palarivattom on 5th June 1970
Thence, the growth of POC was
remarkable. POC was entrusted with the task of conducting the Kerala
Regional Seminar which took place at Alwaye from 26 to 31 December,
1968. On 22 March, 1969, POC was shifted from Alwaye Seminary to
Manjummel. After functioning at the building of the retreat centre at
Manjummel, it was further shifted to a rented building at Kaloor on 31
March 1970. And on 5 June, 1970 POC reached its final destination at
Palarivattom, when Bishop Gregorios laid the foundation stone for the
new building. On 12 December the same year, Bishop Jerome Fernandez
blessed the new building, and the building was officially occupied on
To serve the church in truth and love.
The mission of the POC is to empower the Church in Kerala for a renewed and committed
Christian life and witness. It is realized through proper
conscientisation and co-ordination of activities of various
commissions and departments by regional pastoral assessment,
communication and formation in leadership, evangelization, ecumenism
and interfaith dialogue, social commitment with special emphasis on
publications of value based education, Bible and regional translation
of the official documents of the Apostolic See etc. The POC
strives to provide proper orientation to the different catholic
organizations, by the activities and initiatives based on the Gospel
of Jesus, relevantly restated by the Second Vatican Council.
conduct investigations, studies and consultations in order to assess
the pastoral situation and to determine the specific tasks which the
pastoral mission of the Church demands.
give orientation and to co-ordinate the various pastoral efforts of
the region in the fields of catechetics, liturgy, social service,
lay leadership, Christian formation, sacred art, ecumenism and
dialogue with people of other faiths and persuasions.
promote and animate pastoral initiatives and collaboration among
priests, religious and laity of the three individual churches in
foster unity among the three Churches by organising different
programmes which will accelerate Catholic unity and will manifest
its signs to others.
enlighten the People of God on their Christian vocation and
responsibility by means of conferences, seminars, symposia,
familiarize the people with the word of God, by making available to
them official and authoritative translations of the Bible in
Malayalam and other suitable publications.
contribute its share in socio-economic development through the
training of resource persons and research programmes.
organise guidance and counselling and family welfare programmes.
undertake programmes for the promotion of ecumenism, dialogue with
people of other faiths and persuasions and other related activities.
provide training and formation to writers and artists.
build up a good library and documentation centre, which will provide
facilities for study and research.
make available to laypersons advanced courses in scripture,
theology, church history, non-Christian religions and social
organize training and service programmes in the different fields of
civic and public life such as labour relations, legislation, legal
aid education, social action and communication media.
collaborate in the implementation of projects and programmes
initiated by the CBCI and to co-operate with other agencies in India
and abroad having aims and objectives consistent with that of the
train lay men and women, particularly the youth, as zealous,
enlightened and dedicated leaders by giving them genuine Christian
formation, with due emphasis on faith, prayer and sacramental life,
enabling them to be effective witnesses of Christ in their personal
and public life.
make available to the public the authentic translations of the
official documents of the Apostolic See in regional language.
acquire and dispose of properties of any kind by way of purchase,
sale, mortgage, gift or otherwise for attaining any of the above
the centre which is in constant contact with the legislative and
executive bodies of the state, to offer them cooperation and
expertise of the Church in various fields, to facilitate their
planning and execution, to convey to them the authentic stand and
feelings of the Catholic community about different issues about
which they are about to legislate.
do all such other things as are incidental or conducive to the
attainment of the above objectives.
Orientation Centre, P.B. No. 2251, Palarivattom, Kochi - 682 025, Kerala, India
Tel : +91 484 - 2805722,
Fax : +91 484 - 2806214
Email : email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org