ABOUT FRIENDSHIP HOUSE
Twenty years ago some priests serving the Church in India contacted a former counselor from Guest House and asked for a treatment program for clergy suffering from the disease of addiction to be started in that country. Tom Garrett was the counselor and in holding true to the tradition of pilgrimage and mission of the Church began a program for clergy which he called Friendship House. The program was based on the tried and tested successful program of Guest House in the United States and adapted to the culture and values of India.
The bishop of the diocese of Mangalore was a very early supporter of the program and offered for the program to be located in a building on some land which the diocese owned just outside the city of Mangalore. Mangalore is in southern India, a port city on the Arabian Sea with a strong Catholic Church and culture.
Friendship House began more on values of service to heal clergy and restore them to ministry than anything else. There was certainly no money and as with Austin Ripley who founded Guest House almost 40 years before, it was through the tenacity, faith and courage of the founder that the program began treating clergy throughout India.
Guest House has been an integral part of this history. Through financial, logistical, managerial and moral support, Guest House been a lifeline for this program while encouraging it’s independence as a program by the Church in India for the Church in India.
Today, 20 years later it has the reputation of a successful program which has begun the healing for hundreds of priests and the restoration of their priesthood and service to the Church. There are two buildings now, one being the living quarters and chapel for the residents and the original building, the office and dining. The diocese of Mangalore with Bishop D’Souza as it’s Shepard has continued to be a wonderful support to the mission of Friendship House, as do many other dioceses in India.
Priests come to Friendship House from all over the country, both diocesan and religious, and usually stay for a period of 90 days. The program includes individual therapy as well as group therapy and is a 12 Step based program. The men attend meeting in Mangalore and at Friendship House. Once a year a reunion is held for graduates of the program, and in 2013 over 20 priests returned to Friendship
House to experience a week of fellowship, retreat and renewal.
The Catholic Church in India is growing and the number of vocations to the priesthood is increasing also. Over 14,000 seminarians are in training in India. There are more than 800 Indian priests serving the Church in the United States. The mission of Friendship House will continue to serve both countries in returning clergy to holy and healthy service.
For more information on support or to make a referral please contact:
President and CEO Guest House, Inc.
CONTACTS IN INDIA
Tom Garrett, Founder
Boniface Andrade, Counselor Phone 04998278941
Maxim D’ Souza, Office Manager Phone 04998278941
Mariashram, Talapady, Kunjathur P.O.
Kasaragod DT.- 671323, Kerala, India