THE STORY OF KAIROS
Renny Njarakulam, one of the early Chief Editors fondly recollects the growth of Kairos, especially how God’s grace and providence guided the magazine through tough times.
The 90s were a golden age for Kozhikode Jesus Youth. There were a lot of spirit-filled youth going out to all walks of life proclaiming the Gospel, and as if they had the Midas touch, hundreds of youngsters turned to Jesus. There was the sight of Jesus Youth growing in number and in spiritual depth. Jesus was intervening everywhere. It was like He was giving a whole garden when asked for a single flower. The doors were opened in the parishes, colleges, among the professionals, in tribal areas and the slums. The beginning of Kairos was from the desire to coordinate the works going on in the various ministries of the zone and to confirm their interrelationship and unity.
God transformed the desire for a leaflet into a magazine. A suggestion was put forward that the zonal coordinator (myself) should write something in the pilot issue. But I was not a writer at all. Shortly thereafter, one day after receiving the Holy Communion as I was praying, I got an inspiration to write. The impossible was made possible. My first article for Kairos was written!
Weeks went by after the pilot issue was published. Since the first issue was well-received, there were enquiries for the next one. But the financial obligation of the first issue was still remaining. In truth we knew only one thing to do, say ‘Amen’ to God’s voice, pray and set out with enthusiasm.
There was no money, no articles, no writers, no knowledge of layout and printing, no knowledge of the distribution process in circulation, no knowledge of the government regulations in the publication of a magazine and yet the magazine was released!
After the publication of some issues, the magazine was not moving forward. An opinion arose that I take charge as chief editor. When I said Amen to God’s wish, I had my own plans to get somebody else to write the editorial for me. But God’s plan was something else. He, who anointed the shepherd Amos to be His prophet, although he was not a prophet or a prophet’s son, was asking me to take up the mission of writing. In a prayer meeting I got the message that I myself should write the editorial!
As I had no natural talent for writing, I sat before the Eucharist and cried out. Suddenly I felt as though God had opened the gate of wisdom to me and I wrote! Every time I sat before Him, this happened. God always sent me a flash of new thought. I began to imagine myself holding the hand of my Holy Mother. All the editorials I wrote till 2010 were written in such a manner.
When we got a permanent office for the first time, the first thing we did was to find a room for prayer in the limited space we had. Every time we changed our office, we always set apart a room for prayer. We would sit in the room alone or as a group, telling Him of our helplessness. He would give us all the possible things He could do for us.
Several times we felt that taking the magazine forward was too much of a burden and that we ought to stop. KYCT (today’s KJYC) at that time had limitations in helping Kairos, as they had no fixed source of income. Kairos office rent, the salary of three to four people, expenses of pre-press and printing works, all this needed a huge amount of money every month. It was our habitual programme to wait for a miracle to happen at the end of every month. I will tell you one experience.
After finishing the pre-press work of an issue, it was ready to be printed. We had to pay Rupees fifty thousand to the press for the previous issue without which the new printing would not be accepted. The Kairos team gathered round together the previous night, kneeling and reciting the Rosary fervently. As soon as the prayer was over, a call came from Jesus Youth UAE that they had deposited Rupees fifty thousand in the Kairos account!
Several times we got the message that God would intervene and lift up the magazine. But when the struggles to get on with the magazine deepened, we would lose hope and start thinking of stopping. In all of those times, God would intervene and lead us out of the troubled waters. Once when the burden of Kairos was weighing heavily on my head, I happened to reach Shalom office. As I was talking to Benny Punnathara, he prayed for Kairos and said, ‘God is inspiring you to go on with the magazine.’ I can only think of him with deep gratitude for the revelation of God’s voice through him and for that little amount of money he put in my hands.
The assistance of the Middle East Jesus Youth in the growth of Kairos is critical. In 2007 I undertook a two-month long journey to UAE, Oman, Bahrain, and Qatar with the view of proclaiming the Word of God and for boosting the circulation of Kairos. The two projects to boost circulation, Barber shop scheme (giving free subscription to all the Barber shops in Kerala) and the Christmas gift project (sending a copy of the Christmas issue as a gift for Christmas) were encouraged by them and were a great success. The circulation of Kairos soared up to twenty thousand copies.
Although Kairos struggled for lack of funds, the magazine was growing in quality and standard, which was also a sign that God was holding the hands of Kairos. It developed from a newsletter to a magazine, from black and white to color print and from newsprint paper to film paper. Almost all of the writers in Kairos were newcomers, but their articles, experiences of their own life, observations, reviews and the little short stories were much awaited by both the youth and by the family altogether.
A compilation of all the editorials written by me in Kairos were published as a book titled, Prathyasayude Kiranangal (Rays of Hope) and editorial member, Sunny Kokkappilli’s many books were published.
As the silver jubilee of Kairos is drawing near, we can only look at the growth of Kairos with astonishment and gratitude, just like God nurtured Jesus Youth step by step.
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