Lay Associates in the Jaffna Province
On 23rd February 1864 seven Lay Associates after 4 days of Retreat after Bishop Semeria’s Holy Mass were received as Lay Assoicates. On 09th April 1865 38 children became Children of the Holy Family. From 1866 – 1976 we have no records about the lay Associates. But after the General chapter in 1976, it was for the first time that inaugurated the Lay Associates with a small leaflet that was circulated. As there were no rules or regulations or Statutes, we, ourselves formulated some method for them their spiritual growth and to live the spirit of God Alone, and helped them to live their baptismal commitment more deeply. A short history about the life of our Founder written by Sr. Genevieve was given to them to be studied.
In 1976 a small booklet containing the following: Holy Family spirit, its aim, the Word of God was given to them to be read, reflected and shared and also feast day to be celebrated was printed and distributed among them. This Booklet was the guideline for their life as lay Associates.
In 1977, in the village of Manipay Sr. Ida Joseph and Sr. Romauld Manuelpillai animated and formed the 7 Lay Associates who made their commitment.
In 1978, the teachers from the Tamil Maha Vidyalayam in Jaffna and Advanced Level students twenty were in formation under Sr. Fabian and 16 of them made their commitment.
In 1979, in Passaiyoor, about 40 Parishioners men and women were in formation under Sr. Vincent and in 1980, 21 of them made their commitment.
In the Holy Family Congress held from 02nd –13th August 1980 Mrs. Juliana Aloysius represented the Lay Associate for the first time in the Congress. Sr. Marie Paul Chauvin was the Mother General, delivered two important talks relating to the Lay Associates 10 about the Sisters animating and the other about the Lay Associates their aim, their involvement and this helped the Lay Associates to grow in their vocation.
In the 3rd Asian Lay Associates Congress, Mr. Linus Manuelthanmby was elected as Asian Leader for the Lay Associates. In August 2002, the Statues for the Lay Associates “A Way of Life” was given to the Lay Associates by Sr. Margaret Muldoon, who was the Superior General
In 2005, in preparation for their 25th Silver Jubilee, they prepared themselves through a retreat preached by our Priest Associate, Rev. Fr. Jebaratnam in Chatty in the Church of Our Lady of Good Voyage, with the National Leader Mr. Linus Manuelthamby they celebrated their Silver Jubilee.
Amidst of all the displacement and problems and even when the Convent too was closed due to the war situation they conducted their meetings in the Church. For the 25th Jubilee year they invited the Apostolic Sisters, Children of the Holy Family and the Lay Associates and they read the record of the works done during the past 25 years and with cultural events and fellowship meal they celebrated their Silver Jubilee.
In the 4th Asian Lay Associates Congress that took place in Pandatrruppu from 18- 23 August 2004 Mr. Linus Mauelthamby resigned from his post as President and Mrs. Regina Ramalingam was elected . In 2009 at the 5th Asian Lay Associates Congress that took place in Wennappuwa, Mrs. Regina Ramalingam was elected as the Asian Continental Leader. In 2012 there are 305 committed members and 88 in Formation.
But today there are 14 Zones in the Jaffna Province