The historical research, made by Fr. Hendry, centered on Mgr. Louis Mathias SDB, a great French Missionary Salesian sent to India, is a significant and rich contribution to studying the of Salesian Missionary Activity; Indian Salesian History; Transformation of Indian Catholicism in the wake of the proliferation of Indian clergy; Foundations of Madras-Mylapore Diocese; Formation of diocesan Seminarians in Post-Independent and Post-Vatican II India; Contribution of Salesians to the building up of the Chennai Archdiocese etc.
Among the august gathering present to witness the defense and to congratulate Fr. Hendry were, Fr. Alfred Maravilla SDB, Councilor for Missions, Fr. Biju Michael SDB, Regional of South East Asia, Fr. Motto SDB, Church historian working at the historical department of the Generalate (where the new doctor too would soon be rendering his service), Fr. Jayapalan Raphael SDB, former provincial of Chennai and many other Salesian confreres from INM, INT and from the community of Testaccio, Rome.
The academic value of this work is measured quite high on account of the rich archival materials used in this research. The author has travelLed far and wide consulting more than 30 archives and 15 libraries. The relevance of this research gains added momentum as lots of questions are being raised in India regarding the formation of priests. For, this research through the deep insights and far reaching vision of Mgr. Louis Mathias, sets great example for all Bishops and Formators to take special care of the formation of their priests.
We wish Fr. Hendry Selvaraj SDB God’s choicest blessings as he would be making use of his research skills and academic knowledge in the Historical Department of the Salesian Generalate.