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Islamic Studies Association and Indian Social Institute organizes the First Victor Courtois Memorial Lecture

 

The Islamic Studies Association and the Indian Social Institute jointly organized the First Victor Courtois Memorial Lecture at the Indian Social Institute ​ on 27 January, 2017. Jesuit Father Victor Courtois was a pioneer in Christian Muslim Relations. He was a member of the Calcutta province. He worked tirelessly to build bridges between Christians and Muslims. He emphasized that Christian approach towards Muslims should be marked by respect and love and the gospel love. He anticipated the spirit of Nostra Aetate even before the document was born in the Vatican II. He regularly published The Notes on Islam a periodical that provided reading material that were scholarly as well as pastorally significant helping the readers to know Islam and to love Muslims.

 

Prof. Edward Joseph Alam PhD (Notre Dame University, Louaize, Lebanon) delivered the lecture entitled: Yousf /Joseph in Scripture and Tradition: Symbol of breaking violence of revenge in the three Abrahamic Religions. In his lecture Prof. Edward, in the the context of a René Girard-ian account of the origins of human culture, pointed out that in addition to Judaism and Christianity, Islam also has resources (found in the story of Joseph in the Holy Qur’an) for overcoming the contagious cycle of violence.  Through a Girard-ian analysis of imitation and desire, rooted in an Aristotelian reading of these two categories, both similarities and differences are revealed between Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex and the story of Joseph in order to underscore how, in the latter, the innocence of the innocent victim is revealed and protected resulting in a staunch refusal to allow the tricks of parasitic violence to continue its brutal cycle. Though the emphasis is on the resources found in Shiite Islam, other traditions of Islam and other religious traditions, such as Hinduism and Buddhism, also contain similar resources.

 

In the spirit of Farther Courtois, the Islamic Studies Association honored three Muslim scholars: Associate Professor Khursheed Khan of the Delhi University, Associate Professor Waris Mazhari of Jamia Millia Islamia and Janab Ghulam Rassol Dehlvi, a research scholar in the department of Peace Studies at Jamia Millia Islamia for their deep commitment to interfaith Dialogue. A short video program on the life and work of Victor Courtois too was screened on the occasion.

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Report by Victor Edwin SJ


 

8 Feb 2017 - 08:21

Tarumitra, a movement initiated by a group of children and Patna Jesuit Society under the leadership of Fr. Robert Athickal, SJ in 1988 as a Forum for Environment with wide network across the country (India) has made remarkable contributions in the protection of environment. The Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the United Nations has granted a Special Consultative Status to Tarumitra from Jan 2005. Tarumitra as an organization and movement has been networking with students across the country creating awareness and action on issues such as water, organic farming, vehicular pollution, green belts, eco-spirituality, conservation of bio-diversity, conservation of electricity and promotion of renewable energy.

 

 

Tarumitra has initiated several bio reserves and eco centers. The Jesuit Province of Kerala’s Tarumitra wing organized Eco-Fest in Attappady on 18-19 January 2017. Hundreds of students, environmentalists and social activists from across the country participated in the fest. One such fest just is concluded.

Ms. Devopriya from Tarumitra along with two volunteers Ms. Neha and Rishad were part of the resource team.

Thanks to Fr. Lenin PS and Fr. James Morais and all associated with Tarumitra Family for such a successful and impactful eco-fest.

 

For more information: https://www.facebook.com/tarumitra.india

~Fr Siji Noorokariyil, SJ

 


 

28 Jan 2017 - 15:37

Behind every show of zest and enthusiasm radiant at a gathering of the young, there lurks the mounting hope and tiring attempts of persons to create moments that matter and memories that endure. As Pilgrims poured in from all the Jesuit Provinces and Regions of South Asia; the resultant mélange of Ignatian youth and youth Animators brought to life: MAG+S 2016. A true festivity of faith, in which the Church`s great heritage of communion was mirrored in and beyond the portals of St. Joseph`s College Bangalore.

 

Between the 3rd and 7th of November, numbers nearing 900 responded to the vocation of ‘Giving without counting the cost” through creative service and discerned responses to life situations: ‘En todo amar y Servir’ 

 

In an Atmosphere of Fraternity the gathering welcomed the pro-tem Provincial of the South Asian Assistancy Fr. Keith Abranches, and founder of the New Ark Mission or Home of Hope Mr.T .Auto Raja who inaugurated the event on the 3rd evening. The presentation of Magis Flags by the representatives of different Provinces dressed in their traditional best set the tone for a spectacular evening. After the MAG+S Oath was administered, participants leaned in rapt attention as Mr. Auto Raja engaged with a panel of youngsters responding to their queries and sharing the profound motivation for his mission of service towards the dying and the destitute. His convictions were a testimony of the gospel which transformed and later helped him live its call magnanimously on the streets of Bangalore. A thunderous applause rose to meet him as he encouraged the participants to ‘Live More’ and ‘Be More’ for others.

 

With Praise and worship led by Mrs. Corrine Rasqhuina and her team - long standing friends of MAG+S a dint of prayerfulness was palpable in the air. Pilgrims devoutly welcomed and venerated the MAG+S Cross; their life - support for the journey, a symbolic replica of the WYD cross handed over to the youth on April 22nd 1984 by St. John Paul II.

 

Later that evening she cut the ribbon at the entrance of the Prayer Garden, a silent spot for Contemplation and reflective seclusion for all pilgrims. Many were in awe of the giant Labyrinth extending its invitation to walk closer with the Lord, even if it meant walking in circles.

While seasoned pilgrims effortlessly shook a leg at ice-breakers and caught up with their companions, some strut around the stage whispering “What is MAG+S?” In The Subsequent days, albeit to their delight, they would not merely come to know but learn to live the spiritual dictum of “More” embodied in the “Five Pillars Of MAG+S”

  • Personal Prayers +
  • Apostolic Experiences +
  • Holy Mass +
  • MAG+S Circle +
  • Ignatian Examination of Consciousness

 

From its Inception in 2012, MAG+S South Asia has accompanied thousands of youth using this modus operandi charted by the “Sinner turned Saint’ –Ignatius of Loyola. It has opened many a youthful hearts to the promptings of the spirit that awakens.

 

On the Morning of the 4th, Personal prayer for the participants was enriched by sonorous praise and worship under the open sky. They were exultant when, pro-tem POSA father Keith Abranches celebrated the inaugural mass during which he submitted at the altar, a Diversity of petitions coming from all corners of the Assistancy. These culminated into one single prayer to the Lord for the success of MAG+S 2016 and the fruitfulness of our personal pilgrimage.

 

The gradual unfolding of the five pillars on a daily basis was as solemn and arresting as was it varied. While play-offs between different groups through Games, fun and frolic and cultural programs were the highlights of the evening, the better portions of the day were dedicated to community service and social outreach. Pilgrims actively attended to the terminally ill at Aids wards, leprosy Hospices and Cancer hospitals, some with tears in their eyes. Many were left mum and reticent at orphanages and old age homes, and quite a few returned to their dwellings exhausted after hours of cleanliness and awareness drives. Such display of generosity and selfless giving when strength and energy both were stretched beyond breaking point mirrored an outpouring of grace.

 

One of the Jesuit Co-coordinators emphasized the importance of the Ignatian Experiments in the following words. “…They encompass various activities that will lead to the participant’s personal and spiritual development. One gains the experience of living in community, of working with others, and of reflecting on these experiences. Therefore, the aim of these experiments is not to evaluate success or failure, but to help the participants discover themselves”

To this effect the Penitential Service on the eve of the first Experiments, bolstered the apostolic vigor of the pilgrims A score of priests administered the sacrament of Reconciliation , which was conveniently multi-lingual. A miniature MAG+S cross was handed to each in absolution. The Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament was simultaneously arranged at a different venue. A dash of fervor was seen when creative liturgical celebrations were held outdoors and in different languages. Pilgrims were energetic even at first light as validated on the 5th morning, when they joined Bengalureans on a ‘Fight against Cancer Marathon’ in Cubbon Park at 5:30am. Late in the day they undertook the cleaning of the infamous K.R Market premises, drawing the adulation of the BBMP mayor and the paparazzi’s. To shift our focus slightly, this year’s MAG+S brought to the fore an aesthetic rendition of “Laudato Si” through an inventive Sound and light program. It was delightful to see pilgrims adorning various roles as part of their Art and Theater Experiment. Talk about finding God in all things.

 

Between their Spiritual and Apostolic Demands, participants had a fair share of talks and presentations to attend. In some sessions the crowd flew into splits of laughter and at others they squirmed in their seats. The catechesis intended therefore was impactful and the dialogue enriching. In contrast to the commonplace chatter, MAG+S Circles gave the members time to draw positively form the experiences of one another. Day after day pockets of pilgrim would gather around their animators and reminisce gratefully - the newness of their encounters. Perhaps this was complemented by the Daily Examination of Consciousness. Conducted after supper around the MAG+S cross, at times guided and at times personal, the Cross tugged on organizers and participants alike as they turned towards Gods Presence in remote preparation for the day to come.

 

One might have expected the exuberance to wane on the sunny 7th morning.  “Is it the last day? So soon? Does it come to an end now?” … But the answer was a candid NO. Rangolis and charts dotted the campus, as participants prepared for a final competition thematically titled “More – For the Greater Glory of God”. In effect, they managed to leave an impression of the vitality and color that MAG+S has come to represent. Post the concluding mass, Participants avidly received their awards at the valedictory. The organizers took center stage eventually and the efforts of Fr. Brian Pereira, Mr.Ebenezer Sam and their team of Ignitors were lauded. A few minutes later, the MAG+S after movie thrilled the audience.

Undeniably, 5 days of fellowship and Ministry was coming to a close, but in hindsight, it was this send – off that renewed our pilgrimage towards Universal Service. Been formed – reformed and transformed by a collective experience. MAG+S has consigned to all, the Light that only Christ can give. Bearing a purpose under the banner of His cross now implies that we dazzle the world out of its omnishambles. Our last day together was allusive of embarking on our journey anew!  And thus in the silence of our hearts echo the words that “We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.”

                                                                  Ad Multos Annos

Sch. Reuell Paul S.J


 

 

25 Jan 2017 - 09:12

The NAAC Peer Team visited St. Xavier’s College (Autonomous), Kolkata on the 9th & 10th of January 2017 to conduct the 3rd Cycle of intuitional accreditation. 

The NAAC website has published the accreditation results today, January 24th 2017 and St. Xavier’s College has secured the highest Grade A++ with a CGPA score of 3.77 out of 4. 

It is the highest grade awarded by the NAAC in the 3rd cycle in India. Only two other colleges have secured A++ with 3.76 CGPA, Cotton College in Assam and St. Joseph’s College in Kerala respectively.

Fr. Principal thanked the staff, students, parents, alumni/ae, benefactors and friends for their wholehearted cooperation.  He congratulates all stakeholders and appreciates the success as the fruit of a collective effort. 

Father Raj reiterated that this achievement is yet another milestone in our pursuit of our motto "Nihil Ultra" (Nothing Beyond).

The NAAC Peer Team handed over the final report to the Principal, Fr. Felix Raj on January 10th evening at the Exit meeting in the college auditorium.

-- 

Rev. Fr. J. Felix Raj, SJ
Principal
St. Xavier's College(Autonomous)
30 Mother Teresa Sarani
Kolkata - 700 016
INDIA
Tel: 033-2255 1231 / 1230(D)
Tel/Fax: 033-2287 9966
Res: O33- 2280 2800 / 2255 1235
Websites: www.goethals.in
                  www.sxccal.edu 
                  www.sxccaa.net
                  www.jerichocentre.org

 

25 Jan 2017 - 06:24

Father General has appointed Fr Franck Janin as President of the Conference of European Provincials. Fr Janin is currently provincial of South Belgium and Luxembourg. 

 

Born in France in 1958, Franck joined the Society of Jesus in 1984 in the Province of South Belgium and Luxembourg (BML). Part of his formation was in Toronto, Canada. He was socius of the novice master and novice master in the joint novitiate of North and South Belgium from 1995-2000 after which he joined the team in the spiritual centre of the South Belgian Jesuits near Namur, becoming the Director in 2002. He has been Provincial of BML since 2011.  
 

“I am really honoured and humbled that Fr General has chosen me to take up this mission” said Fr Janin. “Europe is at a key moment in its history. Many people are wondering about its future. However Pope Francis recently said that Europe now “is called to rediscover its proper identity’ and that “this requires recovering its roots in order to shape its future’. I believe that the Society of Jesus, based as we are in so many parts of Europe has a valuable role to play in helping Europe recover these roots. Our spirituality, which helps people find God in their lives in a very personal way and be rooted in Him, which stresses the importance of dialogue between cultures, faiths and religions, which wants to promote reconciliation and justice (GC 36) has something precious to give. The question is how to offer what we have with humility but also with confidence. Europe is looking for a new vision.  My hope is that we, European Jesuits and all of those with whom we share and carry the mission entrusted to us by Christ, together could be more and more a sign that unity and communion are possible.” 

 

Key projects underway in the Conference just now include a project entitled Higher Education for Social Transformation, linking the Jesuit faculties and Universities with the Jesuit social centres. The CEP is currently also running an Ignatian Leadership programme as well as workshops on the safeguarding of minors. 

 

“I am delighted that Franck Janin has been chosen by Father General to be the CEP President” said Fr. John Dardis, the current President.  “He brings many great qualities including those of creativity, energy and real spiritual depth as well as expertise in discernment.  The role of a Conference President involves building relationships among the Major Superiors and helping to promote a more universal vision. I pray that my successor will enjoy his new mission and that he will feel God’s closeness and love as he prepares to take up the role.”

The CEP is composed of 22 provinces and 2 regions and has over 4,000 Jesuits as well as thousands of collaborators.  On July 31st,  the provinces of South Belgium-Luxembourg and France will form one new province; Fr Janin has played a key role in this development. 

Fr Janin will take office in late summer 2017.


 

24 Jan 2017 - 13:18

Rome : 14-Jan-2017

I wish to begin by expressing my gratitude, and how deeply moved I am, to have this opportunity to share with you this moment of reflection and prayer.

This moment presents an important invitation to the Society of Jesus to accompany, with its few resources, and to share in the anxieties and hopes of the refugees here in Italy and everywhere in the world. As you may be aware, I come from Latin America, a continent in teeming with millions of refugees and migrants for the same reasons that we have heard in the moving testimonies of Asiz, Dhurata, Mortezza, Mirvat and Edelawit.

 

I have encountered similar situations on the border between Colombia and Venezuela, where I lived for ten years before being called to Rome. I met entire families that had been forced to abandon everything to save lives threatened by injustice and violence that has taken hold of our societies. I met children and young people who had been forced to become soldiers and to participate in wars so far away from their dreams, thoughts and desires. But importantly, I also encountered the generosity of many families who welcomed the refugees as brothers and sisters in search of a new life. I came across some schools, teachers, Christian communities willing to lend a hand to the new arrivals. Through these encounters, I became more and more aware of the challenges states face in facilitating the legal integration for refugees, which would grant the refugees access to job opportunities and personal development. I have witnessed the human pain resulting from abuse by police bodies and human traffickers.

 

Therefore, the efforts of closely accompanying the refugees and migrants, particularly the young and vulnerable, are close to my heart. I wish to encourage and promote efforts that ensure the protection of life and the hope of the child and adolescent refugees, especially those recruited by traffickers to convert them into the so-called baby-traffickers.

 

It is necessary to promote citizens' movements that put pressure on states and governments of Europe and other parts of the world in order to create safe access to legal channels for children and teenagers forced to leave their homes, their countries, and many times, even their families to make a future elsewhere. The absence of these channels adds new dangers to the path of migrants and increases the injustice suffered by those who have had to flee their homeland. The absence of adequate protection, the difficulty of access to humanitarian visas and efficient policies of social inclusion nourishes one of the greatest scourges of humanity in our times: human trafficking. And that is what we heard in the testimonies of young people today.

 

The political development of Europe has created multiplicity of public institutions that aim at protecting the rights of people, especially children and young people. The increasing flow of migration challenges these institutions to ensure that there is reliable and adequate protection for many who arrive each day to knock on the doors of European countries seeking to be included and not excluded. Europeans, children of a culture that claims human rights as a sign of human and social progress, are invited by migrants to deepen their human and political conscience to demand that governments create reception systems, with facilities adequate and conveniently located throughout their territories to ensure a humane reception of migrants, especially to young people.

 

Europe and all other migrant receiving countries should become a source of pride by creating the circumstances in which those who come find human conditions to rebuild their lives and young people can dream about their future with the ability to make it happen if they too will put in the necessary effort.

 

Dear friends, we are gathered here today in Gesù Church in honour of so many migrants and refugees who are struggling to rediscover the worthiness of their human life. I invite you all to step up your effort to make our societies places of genuine welcome to those who are suffering because of the need to migrate.

 

Thank you so much.
Arturo Sosa, S.I.


 

22 Jan 2017 - 06:29

Jesuits among Muslims in Asia (JAMIA)


Ten Jesuits from Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, gathered at the Archdiocesan Pastoral Institute, Kuala Lumpur, in Malaysia, from 26th – 30th December 2016. It was the second meeting of JAMIA; the first was held in New Delhi 2 years ago. The second meeting was intended not only to share and reflect on the Jesuit’s work among Muslims, particularly in the continent of Asia, but also to discuss the result of GC 36. To follow the good practice in GC 36, at the end of the day, there was occasion to recognize ‘the spirit’s movement’ as well.

That is it; the meeting was begun on Monday, Dec. 26, with the sharing of Fr George Pattery as the provincial of POSA on the concerns from GC 36. We were called to think about ‘dealing with improbable things’, to make a proper apostolic planning, to seek for consolation, to identify with the crucified Lord & people, and to develop ‘apostolic discernment’ as the early fathers of the Society did in Venice.

 

Jesuits are participating in the mission of God, a missio Dei, not their own mission. The Jesuits of JCSA and JCAP who work in interreligious ministry are invited to practice discernment collaboration, and dialogue. The challenge itself is so large, for Islam in Asia has so much to contribute in Christian-Muslim relations. Yet challenge can become opportunity as well. The participants of GC 36 themselves were so moved with the sharing of the delegates from Near East Province; even a letter/document was then written in this background.

 

In the first day, the group also listened to Fr. Juan’s sharing on the mission in Pakistan. One can say that there is no persecution in Pakistan, but a lot of discriminations are actually found there. This is confirmed with the sharing of some Pakistan refugee brothers and sisters in Malaysia. People are threatened with the blasphemy law. There are a lot of interreligious meetings held in a high level, but it hardly reaches the common ground. Jesuits have been called to take part in those challenges. Yet the manpower of the Jesuits is limited. As such, the Church of Pakistan is the community of hope. Reconciliation and peace in Pakistan are not improbable; as it is shown, for example, from Fr. Joseph Kalathil’s work of the Indian-Pakistan Peace Forum.

 

On Tuesday, Dec. 27, the sharing came from Frs. Probash (Bangladesh), Victor, Sch. Midhun (India), Greg Soetomo and Didik (Indonesia). From Bangladesh, one can learn that there is good relation between the Church hierarchy and government. Some theological discussions are held; many NGOs are also helping. National media is very open as well; it regularly telecasts Christian features, like during Easter and Christmas celebration. The Jesuits in Bangladesh are more in number than in Pakistan, but unlike in Pakistan, an apostolate among Muslims still becomes a challenge. In India, certain Jesuit predecessors have opened a way to enter into Christian-Muslim relations. Interreligious ministry is certainly probable in India. Then, from Indonesia, there was an update on the recent situation, especially on the intolerance nuance among some Indonesians. This is due to the case of the Jakarta’s Christian Chinese governor who has been accused of making a blasphemy in relation to a verse of the Qur’an. Beneath the issue is actually a powerful resentment toward the Chinese and Christians. Apart from it, one will find easily that Christian-Muslim relations among common people in the grass root level are not improbable in Indonesia. It is clearly shown from the experience of immersion in various Muslim communities.

 

No doubt, living in an Asian plural society is very challenging. One will have an impression today that many people are feeling ‘threatened’. Although living in large numbers, for example, some Muslim still live as a majority with a minority mentality. But the similar feeling is found among the Christians who are somehow under the threat of Islam. The sharing from some important Malaysian figures, on Wednesday, Dec. 28, due to the effort of Fr. Lawrence Andrew, had opened up the eyes of the group. From Christian side, Dr. Herman Shantri, a Methodist Priest, and Dr. Patricia Martinez, a Catholic expert on Islam, were present. From Muslim side, there were Ustadz Shah Kirit bin Kalkulal Govindji and Mrs. Serina, as a member of the group called ‘Sisters in Islam’ (SIS). “If God is just as Islam is just, why do laws and policies made in the name of Islam create injustice?” This was the burning question faced by the founding members of Sisters in Islam when they began their search for solutions to the problem of discrimination against Muslim women in the name of Islam.

 

On Thursday, Dec. 29, the group dedicated the whole day for figuring out ‘a common plan’ in the field of research and formation. It has finally come to agreement that a medium-term research will be conducted together. This year (2017) will be focused on the collection of the narrations from various communities, and the next year (2018) for analysis and reflection. Some questionnaire has been prepared for it. In the following JAMIA meeting – which is scheduled to take place in the end of December 2018 in Bangladesh – the result will be then presented and discussed. It is expected, furthermore, that it will be written as a book, and will be introduced for public in the year 2019, during the Asian Journey meeting.

 

In the field of formation, young scholastics are encouraged to participate in some training offered in the scope of JCAP and JCSA, such as a summer course in Pakistan, APTEP in Indonesia, and a summer program on Christian-Muslim encounter in India. In addition, Christian-Muslim relations can be also offered as an option for regency.

 

On Friday, Dec. 30, the group made a pilgrimage to Malacca. In this occasion, the group visited a Chinese-style mosque and some precious sites related to St. Francis Xavier.

~Midhun and Heru Prakosa


 

18 Jan 2017 - 09:21

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee was at St. Xavier's on December 23rd evening for the College's annual Christmas Meet. She played Santa Claus to Xavier's promising an annual funding of Rs 7 crores to the new St. Xavier's University. She also announced the allotment of four and a half acres of land to St. Xavier's College in Asansol.

"Our congratulations to St. Xavier's and to Fr. Felix Raj  for the new university.  The foundation stone has already been laid and a lot of money has been spent to get it going. It is a very big project. I was asking Father how much would be spent on salaries of staff," Mamata said.

She then announced with a magician - like flourish: " I can give you a little something. On behalf of our Government, we will give Rs 7 crore annually for the pay package."

A regular guest at the Christmas meet hosted by the Alumni Association of the College, Mamata had played Santa's role in 2012 when she handed over a formal letter to Fr. Felix Raj allocating 16.4 acres of land at Rajarhat for St. Xavier's  University.

Fr. Felix Raj, Principal of the College, thanked the Chief Minister and the State Government for passing the St. Xavier's University Bill 2016 unanimously in the Assembly.  " This sanction is a test, a challenge to all of us. It is a journey of commitment, concern and credibility towards reaching excellence in higher education. We pledge to honour it and raise it to the greater glory of God and to the welfare of the State of Bengal," he said.

Earler Rector Fr. Dominic Savio said an opening prayer invoking God's blessings on all gathered at the meet. Provincial Fr. Jeyaraj Veluswamy thanked the Chief Minister and her Government for the Christmas gift in the form of the St. Xavier's University.

On behalf of the Alumni Association, Firdausul Hasan, the Honorary Secretary presented a statue of Mother Mary with Child Jesus, made in Ausgram, Burdwan. " The vision 2020 of Fr. Felix Raj is becoming a reality. We shall continue to assist our St. Xavier" s University to emerge as one of the centres of excellence in the country," said Hasan. 

The College choir consisting of students from the department of education and XADAM sang melodious carols and hymns as the Chief Minister and others cut a Christmas cake. The Chief Minister offered cake to all on the dais.

 Courtesy: The Telegraph, Calcutta


 

27 Dec 2016 - 06:44

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. Dear POSA, let’s begin with an easy question. What is your impression of GC 36?

GC 36 will be remembered for three key phrases: audacity for the improbable (from the homily of the inaugural mass, presided over by Dominican Master General, Fr. Cordure, O.P.); seek consolation and joy in daily examen (Pope Francis to GC delegates) and we collaborate with others, and not so much others collaborate with us (Fr. Arturo Sosa, sj in his homily at thanksgiving liturgy).

2. What the major areas are of thrust emerged during the GC 36 for the Society?

a) Apostolic Discernment, based on the Venice phase of the deliberations of the First Fathers;  b) integral dimensions  of identity, mission and community; c) care for migrants;  d) care for our common home - ecology and sustainable development,  e) reconciliation as cutting edge of justice.

 

Description: C:\Users\lenovo\Documents\Adolfo1.jpg3. How will you summarise the tenure of Fr. Adolfo Nicolas SJ, our former Superior General? What major contribution stands out during his Generalship?

 Adolfo had great and comprehensive vision that was profoundly theological and inter-cultural.  He was wisdom figure combining the best of the West and the East. He insisted on ‘depth’ in all our engagements.  Probably he could not fully translate his vision into reality as much as he would have loved to.

 

 

Description: C:\Users\lenovo\Documents\images (12).jpg4. Since we got a new Fr. General Fr. Sosa, it is apt that we get an idea of, what priorities for the Society he set forth in your meetings with him. Could you explain?

 Arturo will bring in social sciences’perspective into governance, with greater emphasis on apostolic planning at the universal level. His expertise at the university administration and familiarity with Roman faculties might bring in more focused ‘intellectual thrust’ in Jesuit ways. He would emphasize on ‘collaboration with others’ in our mission which is not ours, but ‘missio Dei’ – Mission of God.

5. In the light of the GC, how can we, the South Asian Jesuits, make our mission more vibrant and meaningful?

South Asia hopes to bring in a dialogue between Restructuring Process (Restructuring for greater apostolic effectiveness - REGAE) and apostolic discernment of GC 36; we need to envisage ‘Assistancy planning’ especially for ecology, non-formal education, entitlements, migration, and reconciliation/intolerance).We need to put in place strategies to take up these issues according to the exigencies of each of the zones. We need to reach out to all the countries of the assistancy with these ‘priorities’, with ‘spiritual depth and academic rigour’.

6. We understand that the GC focused on three areas to be focused; Discernment, Collaboration, and  Networking.  Could you shed more lights on these for us in our Context?

Apostolic discernment (as imaged for us in Venice phase of the First Fathers) is a must. We have been weak on this.Apostolic planning means entering upon a ‘process’ with open-ended circles, without immediately looking for institutionalization. Such a ‘process’ will enable us to search for collaborators, to collaborate with others who are on similar path and search. This will necessarily lead us to net-work with others, especially with Jesuits across the Society. We live and move in an inter-related and inter-dependent world.

Description: C:\Users\lenovo\Documents\images (10).jpg7. We understand that after GC 36 there is a secretariat for Apostolic planning.  How is it going to help the Society, especially South Asia?

Apostolic planning is the key phrase of GC 36. We recognized that such planning is also required at the universal level of the Society. Hence Fr. General pro-actively proposed to have one General Assistant fully devoted to this task; it is Not so much a secretariat but an assistant for planning. It has to evolve gradually.

8. What are your plans to reach out to our neighbouring countries like Bhutan, and Bangladesh? Is there anything that the Educational Secretariat can do in this direction?

None of the other countries of South Asia except India and partly Nepal, has any substantial involvement in education, much less in higher education. JEA could pro-actively look for support in education (formal and informal) in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Pakistan and Afghanistan. This is our specific and urgent challenge.

9. Again, in the light of GC 36 what  message will you give for our men in education? What they can, or they  should differently do from what they are engaged with at present?

Education should prepare men and women with discerning heart and mind. Rather than enabling them to be ‘employable’ we need to capacitate them to ‘listen to the movements of the Spirit with and without, in the interiority of our hearts and in the exterior world of socio-political and cultural movements’. That is the critical and creative Ignatian pedagogy; we need to devise an Integral pedagogy for the inter-related and inter-dependent world/creation of ours.

10. In the light of the growing hostility and suspicion against Christians in South Asia, what proactive steps we must take to enhance our mission more relevant?

In an increasingly intolerant world around us (in South Asia and across the world), we need to explore our mission of reconciliation. Hostility and divisiveness feed on fear. We need spiritual depth and academic rigour to articulate the implications of reconciliation in our world. That is the call of the decree on Life and Mission of GC 36. South Asia has spiritual and religious resources in ‘peace and reconciliation’ with excellent historical models to fall back on.

11. What is your New-Year message for the men in Education in South Asia?

In an increasingly polarising world, our education should instil hope based on inclusiveness; we need to devise strategies for reconciliation with justice and impart a positive vision of an inter-dependent and inter-related world.

12. What is your message for South Asian Jesuits?

Let us develop an integral pedagogy for an inter-dependent and inter-related world, in the increasingly polarising politics of the day. We need spiritual depth and academic rigour in this mission. The dynamics of the Spiritual Exercises is our ‘tool’ and let us sharpen this tool for our mission to enter upon apostolic discernment in and for South Asia.

Description: C:\Users\lenovo\Documents\images (11).jpg

Interviwed by
Fr. Sunny Jacob SJ   

27 Dec 2016 - 06:10

The St. Xavier’s University, Kolkata Bill 2016 was passed unanimously on December 15 in the West Bengal Assembly, paving the way for a new university at New Town, Rajarhat, to meet the growing need for quality facilities and to encourage private investment in the state’s Higher Education. The SXUK will be a private, minority and constituent university. The bill provides that the SXUK may have as many constituent colleges situated within Bengal that are established and administered by the Jesuits.

 

St Xavier’s College Kolkata Educational Trust is the sponsoring agency of the university. It will have the power to manage all higher education institutions run by the Jesuit Trust across the State. The trust will provide instruction, teaching, training and research in various disciplines and specialised field of science, technology, law, management, social sciences, medicine, education, humanities, performing arts and several other areas.

 

The Jesuit Provincial of the Calcutta Province of the Society of Jesus will be the Chancellor ex-officio as the President of the Trust. He will appoint the Vice-Chancellor from among the Jesuits in consultation with the Governing Board. The university will start operating from the 2017-'18 academic session, according to Father Felix Raj, with courses like MSW, M.Com, MA in English, M.A in  Mass Communication, BBA and B. Com.

 

The government had some difficulties with the proposal from the St Xavier's authorities to set up the university on a Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) model on the ground that there is no such precedence. 

 

"St Xavier's college has been recognised as one of the most prestigious educational institutions in the country, and allowing them to open a university will encourage research in various branches of learning and course of study, promote advancement and dissemination of knowledge and learning and extend higher education to meet the growing needs of society," education minister Partha Chatterjee said, moving the bill.

 

"This is a historic moment for all Jesuits in Bengal and St. Xavier's College in particular," said Father Felix Raj, principal of St Xavier's College Kolkata, who has been at the forefront of the initiative to set up the university.

 

"I thank the chief minister, the Bengal Government and all the legislators for being supportive to our cause. Now, we will be able to serve more students and set up another centre of excellence,” added the principal.

 

The alumni of St. Xavier's College welcomed the move. "It is a big day for us and a good start. We shall stand by the Jesuits to make it a world class university, " said Firdausul Hasan, the honorary secretary of St. Xavier's College Calcutta Alumni Association.

 

The Chief Minister, Mamata Banerjee is visiting the St. Xavier's College on December 23 to announce the news and to share the joy with the Jesuits. She has been very supportive of the Jesuit projects in Bengal.  She will join the alumni in a Christmas celebration that evening.

~ Fr Felix Raj


 

20 Dec 2016 - 14:14

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