The JCSA Meeting held in Secunderabad with Fr. General in February 2016 deliberated on the theme: “Intellectual Apostolate – A Learned Approach to all Jesuit Ministries”. Laudaoto Si was taken as a model for a learned approach and it was studied. The socio-pastoral and theological dimensions of Laudato Si were presented respectively by Fr.M.K.George, Provincial of Kerala and Raj Irudaya, ADF. In the deliberations that ensued the presentations, it was also discussed how South Asian Assistancy could respond effectively to Laudato Si. Several approaches and action plans were proposed to be implemented in respective provinces. In order to give a boost to this apostolic venture, a catchy phrase was formulated as Green and Clean South Asia: JCSA for GCSA.
ADF organized a competition among the Scholastics of the three common houses. From the very few entries we got, the Logo designed by Sch. Deva Arockia Stephen, a second year Arul Kadal RTC Scholoastic won the first prize. Hope this Logo will inspire us to put into concrete actions Laudato Si, the landmark and timely encyclical of our dear brother Jesuit Pope Francis.
~Raj Irudaya, SJ Assistancy Delegate for Formation (ADF)
Guided by Maneri contains the fruits of a Sufi wisdom tree whose seed was planted in the fertile soil of the heart of a Jesuit. The seed of Sufi wisdom is from Sharafuddin Maneri, the revered Sufi saint of Bihar, and Paul Jackson is the Jesuit in whose heart this seed was sown. In this book, Jackson shares the fruits of the spiritual wisdom of the Muslim saint that nourished him over many decades.
In his foreword to the book, Christian W Troll, well-known Jesuit scholar of Christian-Muslim relations, writes: “I do not know of any outline of the spiritual path, in all its stages, of an outstanding Sufi that could in any way match the qualities of the present text. Maneri’s teaching is marked by an extraordinary balance, by a remarkable psychological finesse, and, most importantly, by sound and thoroughly reasoned spiritual judgement based on a life of prayer deeply rooted in faith and relentless pastoral service”. Troll highlights Maneri’s teachings in the following words: “[Maneri’s] teaching combines total God-centeredness with the constant emphasis on verification of genuine love of God by service, by the desire to bring comfort to hearts”.
Over the years, Jackson has deeply inherited and has been nourished by the wisdom of the Muslim saint, whom he addresses as ‘my saint Maneri’. Troll emphasizes this in the following words: “... Paul Jackson, since 1961, has shared the harsh climate and stark life-conditions of Maneri’s Bihar. He has emulated Maneri in rigorous study, sustained teaching activity and in relentless service of the people. Not surprisingly, then, that Guided by Maneri presents us with both a uniquely knowledgeable and empathetic insight into a truly great Sufi’s spiritual path as well as the inner striving to understand and emulate him by a congenial Christian disciple and scholar”.
As emphasized by Troll, one of the chief characteristics of Manerian spirituality is bringing loving comfort to aching hearts. Prof. Edward J Alam, of Notre Dame University, Louaize (Lebanon), too, draws attention to this point. In the back cover of the book, he says: “...by allowing the medieval saint to live again in these modern times, Jackson is able, via the message of Maneri, to offer consolation to so many aching hearts—wounded by senseless acts of violence committed in the name of religion”.
While giving the permission, the Nihil Obstat, to publish this book, the Provincial of South Asia, Fr George Pattery SJ, wrote: “The depiction of Maneri’s understanding of discipleship and its demands is well done. The language of the book is simple and makes easy for reading. It will be beneficial to a wide readership”.
The book is available with the Publishers, Gujarat Sahitya Prakash, as well as the Secretary of Islamic Studies Association. For copies, please write to email@example.com
~ Victor Edwin SJ
Patna Province: St. Ignatius School, Aurangabad
St. Ignatius School celebrated the feast of St. Ignatius with great joy and enthusiasm. As a preparation for the feast, the school conducted special assemblies for eight days for the teachers and students. They took special interest to make the assembly more creative and meaningful. Each day one Ignatian theme was chosen for the assembly.
Day 1: Life and conversion of St. Ignatius.
Day 2: Need for Education
Day 3: Promotion of justice
Day 4: Respect for other faiths
Day 5: Care for environment
Day 6: Magis
Day 7: For the greater glory of God
Day 8: Finding God in all things.
All the themes were dramatized during the assembly by the students with the help of teachers, and through this they conveyed the message of Ignatian values. Though 99 % students in the school are Hindus and Muslims, the enthusiasm and interest among the students were praiseworthy. Through our assemblies we try to communicate to the students the values of Christ.
On 30.07.2016 the school celebrated the feast of St. Ignatius, the patron of the school. A spectacular cultural progarmme was arranged by the teachers and students on this occasion and all the Jesuits were well facilitated. Fr. Norbert the superior and secretary of the school delivered an inspiring message to the teachers and students. In his message he highlighted the theme of ‘magis’. He advised the students to do more in everything they do and not to be satisfied with minimum. ‘Develop your personality and excel in everything you do. He encouraged them to develop the attitude of to be more, to be a more loving and a caring person in the society. He also called the students and teachers to make a difference in their lives and the lives of others. In his message he emphasized on the 4 Cs that is compassion, conscience, competence and commitment. Jesuit education always gives emphasis on these 4 Cs.
The students as a token of their love and appreciation to the Jesuit fathers contributed rupees twenty five thousand which will be used for special school activities. The teachers also felicitated all the Jesuits with gifts. Prior to the feast a number of competitions were held and the winners were given prizes on this occasion. Frs. Francis S.J and Michael SJ took extra effort to organize the special assemblies for the feast. Fr. Richard D’Souza SJ, principal expressed his gratitude to the teachers and students through a vote of thanks. Students were given snacks and the teachers had breakfast with the Jesuits.
In the school we give importance to tolerance and respect for all religions by celebrating festivals of other faiths. As I said that majority of our students and teachers belong to Hindu and Muslim faiths there is a bond of unity among the teachers and students. The teachers and students have been taking special initiatives to organize the feast of St. Ignatius and Christmas every year. The teachers and students look forward to this occasion very enthusiastically.
_ Fr. Richard D'Souza SJ
Darjeeling Province: St. Peter’s Higher Secondary School, Gayaganga
The feast of St Ignatius of Loyola, known as ‘Loyola Day’ in the school, was celebrated with lots of enthusiasm by the staff, students and the management. There was a two day- long celebrations on July 29: Classes 5- 8 (for 965 students) and on 30 July: Classes 9, 10, 11 & 12 (for 1150 students). The celebrations included a two hour long variety/cultural entertainment programme. The homilist during the Eucharistic celebration on the final day highlighted the life of the saint. Refreshment was served to all the students and a sumptuous festal lunch to all the staff. A week before the actual celebration of the feast, the Headmaster briefly explained to the staff and students various Jesuit themes and ideals such as Magis, A.M.D.G., the Examination of Conscience, Finding God in All Things, etc. Posters and sketches about St Ignatius were put up.
_ Fr. Cherian Maliekal, SJ
INAUGURATION OF VIDYAJYOTI NIWAS, A HOUSE FOR VIDYAJYOTI’S STUDENT SISTERS
All roads led to Model Town on 10th July, 2016 for the blessing and inauguration of Vidyajyoti Niwas, Delhi, near Naini Lake the newly built Sisters Residence for the students of Vidyajyoti College of Theology. The esteemed dignitaries present were Rt. Rev. Anil J. T. Couto, Archbishop of Delhi Archdiocese, Theodore Collins (CNI), Rev. Fr George Pattery SJ (Provincial of South Asia) and Sr Regis Savarimuthu SMI, Provincial Superior of SMI Delhi Province.
The program commenced with a welcome address by the Rector of Vidyajyoti, Fr Michael Thanaraj followed by the lighting of the lamp by the dignitaries including Sr Floris Kuttiyanal SMI, the Director of Vidyajyoti Niwas. Archbishop Anil Couto then initiated the Rite of Blessing and along with Fr George blessed the entire building. During this time the choir sang appropriate and beautiful hymns giving thanks to the Lord and inviting blessings on Vidyajyoti Niwas. This was followed by addresses by the Archbishop and the Provincial of South Asia, who in their messages reminded us that we are a blessing for each other and expressed their joy at seeing the completion of this necessary and also artistic project.
Nothing is complete without rendering gratitude to those to whom it is due. The Architect, Mr. Vivian Vickers, the Contractor, Mr. Sanjay Mathur, and the Supervisor, Mr. Anurag Gupta, were then felicitated in words and with gifts. Subsequent to that there was the signing of the Agreement between Vidyajyoti and SMI congregation with regard to the administration of Vidyajyoti Niwas. The Vote of Thanks by Fr Leonard Fernando SJ, Principal of Vidyajyoti, completed this short inaugural program. The grand finale was a sumptuous meal partaken by all present.
We were happy to have with us on this auspicious occasion, the Jesuit Fathers from different communities in Delhi, Vidyajyoti Staff and the Sisters from the SMI community, Model Town, and from MC Convent of Majnu Ka Tila, and a few neighbours from the Naini Resident colony within which our building stands. Besides, we were also privileged to have among us our newly appointed Parish Priest of Our Lady of the Rosary Church Fr. Christopher who also is a lecturer at Vidyajyoti College.
Vidyajyoti Niwas - a dream realized, brought together the needs of the student Sisters at Vidyajyoti, for a decent place to stay, and the Jesuits who wanted to make this happen. The work had begun during the tenure of the previous Rector, Rev. Fr Joe Sebastian SJ in 2014.
Thanks to the hard work put in by Fr. Joe and continued by the present Rector, Fr Michael T. Raj, S.J., we the first members of this community (20 women students of Vidyajyoti) are privileged to have this beautiful haven/home, to retire too, after a hardday’s study at Vidyajyoti College. A hearty thank you to Sr Regis and the Sisters of SMI who through the services of Sr Floris Kuttiyanal, collaborate wholeheartedly with the Jesuits in running VJN. We are grateful to all others who have made this possible and invite all of you to F-5/15 Model Town - 1, Delhi 110009.Sr Joeyanna FSP Vidyajyoti Niwas
POSA Circular: 2016/18
23 July 2016
The Cosmic Visionary - St. Ignatius of Loyola
In a quiet, personal, interior journey of many years Ignatius acquired a vision for himself and that became the founding vision for the Company that he founded. Translated into the then existing scholastic vocabulary it read: everything coming from God, everything returning to God; we are crated to reverence and praise (Principle and Foundation).
Everything proceeded, proceeds and will continue to proceed from the One: we are a Universe. S/He continues to bestow this creative, creating energy of love, in a movement of continuous expansion and contraction, that we may expand/contract into the image and likeness of the same One; that we may return to the Origin. There is a cosmic call implied in this vision. Each one expands into the cosmic self and beyond.
We return to the One along with everything and everyone. This return movement, this expansion into the cosmic self is also the enterprise of the same One. That is the enterprise of Christ we are invited into join in. We expand and become the cosmic self along with cosmos. In this enterprise we are responsible for the cosmos and to the cosmos. It is an enterprise Ignatius joined and invites us to join, heeding the call of the eternal King.
Once we are captured by this vision, the entire cosmos becomes our Home; we are at home with everyone and everything, joining them in this enterprise. At the threshold of GC 36, we are called to our ‘Common Homes’. Wherever we are, whoever we are, however we are, we are part of this cosmic enterprise. Find God in everything!
Come on and advance this enterprise, with the outpouring of Mercy, along with Mary Magdalene – the Apostle of the Apostles.
Happy Feast of Ignatius, the visionary CEO of a cosmic enterprise!
-George Pattery, sj, Provincial of South Asia
“WHAT IS IT TO BE A JESUIT TODAY…? ” : This can be an eternal question. The 32nd General Congregation (1974-75) did a soul-searchingly and came up with an enduring definition, to what it is to be a Jesuit. They said, “ A Jesuit is a SINNER and yet, called to be the COMPANION of JESUS, to labour under the CROSS for the service of FAITH and for the promotion of JUSTICE.”
The definition of a Jesuit, got further amplified through successive General Congregations 33rd - 35th (2008). Accordingly, we the Jesuits are called to commit ourselves to working towards, A MORE JUST COSMOS, in synergy with women and men of other Religious and Humanistic convictions, from all Nations and Cultures (GC 35. D.5: 3). A tall - call indeed! It calls for sustained, progressive & prophetic actualization of this mandate.
Let me attempt to imagine, “WHAT WOULD IGNATIUS WISH TO TELL US, THE JESUITS AND OUR COLLABORATORS ON THIS 31ST JULY OF 2016… ? ”
IGNATIUS SPEAKS TO THE JESUITS OF TODAY :
My friends in the Lord, I’m indeed delighted to have this opportunity to connect to all of you. I love each and every one of you and love our Society of Jesus as it is. In my paternal love for the Society and every Jesuit, let me to place before you three challenges.
Your globalized world more complicated than mine ever was, is substantially developed, in many spheres: Science and Space; Commerce and Cosmology; Communications and Transportations and, many more. The net result is, all sorts of comforts and compromises are now easily available, for the asking. Understandable, you are also being driven by that classistic and consumeristic current. Still, I must tell you, it is not at all justifiable..! Remember my words? (Sp. Ex.23) : Use the created gifts of God in so far as they help you come up as a loving and loveable person, and also help you reach the your ultimate goal ..!
There is NO CHOICE here, if you have to be credible witnesses of mine, in line with the AMDG - charism of our least Society. Credibility, is the primary response. You have to walk the talk. I would even say: Walk and then, talk. I’m not here recommending, “asceticism”. Rather, “mysticism”. That means, “profound thinking but plain living”. All, imbued with a certain depth of the Divine. I expect each of you to be a crucial and credible challenge to your contemporary context. What do you say?
If credibility has to characterize the personal life of every Jesuit, “cordiality” with God, with your communities, with your collaborators, is a must. Much more, with the poorest and the powerless! Do young people see us working together, sometimes struggling but still supporting one another, praying together..? Does our apostolic zeal communicate itself to others, so that they too, want to commit themselves to God’s service…?”
Again, the GC 35 (D. 6:14) has insisted on this, asking each and every Jesuit community to explore ways and means of offering hospitality! In all this, where are our communities and movements now…? Make a quick check, please!
This takes us to what our very own Francis is highlighting as Bishop of Rome: “Go to the existential peripheries! Reach out to the neediest! You’ll find life by giving life, hope by giving hope, and love by giving love” (Witnesses of Joy, 2014). He knows what he is saying. And, you know what you should be doing!
Credibility in one’s personal life, Cordiality in one’s collective life are not and should not be for their own sake. Rather, for the sake of our ministerial participation in and a greater, contribution to “ God’s Covenant with Creation” (GC 35. D. 3:36).
In that context, I cannot but refer to my favourite term, MAGIS (Const.588)..! Pedro Arrupe - who is here in heaven with me - had put it quite strongly: “Our least Society is never content with the tried and the tested. New challenges have to be faced. New opportunities have to be welcomed. Ours is a holy boldness, a certain apostolic aggressivity, typical of our way of proceeding”.
Here I have to make a provocative observation : Of late, mediocrity and complacency are creeping into our ministries. Dynamism is diminishing..! Enthusiasm is evaporating..! Am I correct..?
The world you live in favours the imaginative and the innovative, a world whose people grasp for what is creative and transformative. You live in a fabulous age of digitalized wonders and diversified works. Variety is the new beauty now. Correspondingly, you ought to be “men - ever - ready “ for pioneering programmes in productive praxis. They need not be, all the time, special and spectacular. Instead, certain definitive and progressive spontaneity in one’s own given ministries (Sp. Ex. 97). Sure, it has to be led by the following concerns, as you know well : What is the greater good, more fruitful, more universal, and more glory to God..?
Our Francis has dreams, in the same way, for the Church (Evangelii Gaudium, No. 27) and for the Creation (Laudato Si, No. 244). With this broadened horizon of God’s Mission, you are breathing in a privileged atmosphere of Grace. Live it out well, I strongly urge you : ALLOW YOUR JESUITNESS TO BE REVEALED IN ALL ITS BEAUTY POSSIBLE IN “ CREDIBILITY, CORDIALITY AND CREATIVITY.” !
Before winding up, I assure you all of my special whispers to the Lord of History as you’re getting ready for GC 36. Let that event stir you all up with further prophetic radicalism and set you all further on “ Fire for Mission “ (Lk 12: 49). All the very best! Bye, for now..!
-Fr Jerry Rosario, SJ
A Universal Body for a Universal Mission
Renewing Structures of Jesuit Governance and Formation in South Asia
for Greater Apostolic Effectiveness
“Wake up the world!” said Pope Francis to religious women and men.
And to us Jesuits Pope Benedict XVI said, “… the Church needs you, counts on you, and continues to turn to you with confidence, particularly to reach the geographical and spiritual places where others do not reach or find it difficult to reach.” (address to GC-35 on 21 February 2008)
Both Popes situate this clarion call in the context of the urgent global challenges that humanity and the Church face today. We need to wake ourselves up, before we can wake up the world.
Need more effective structures!
There is a growing realization that our present governance structures, evolved to meet the challenges of an earlier age, do not adequately respond to the exigencies of today’s increasingly globalized world. Hence GC-35 called for a serious process of Ignatian discernment in all the Provinces and Regions of the Society, in view of recovering the essential Ignatian-Jesuit spirit of “UNIVERSALITY”. A spirit that is closely linked to our other characteristics: availability to be sent anywhere on mission, pioneering spirit that beckons us to the frontiers, excellence and creativity. The theme will once again figure prominently in GC-36 later this year.
So, under the guidance of the Spirit, we have started on a journey together, to recover this essential Ignatian-Jesuit characteristic. The journey began with the Phesama Statement the Jesuit Conference of South Asia (JCSA) adopted in October 2014. “We are impelled to let go of even successful models, structures and attachments (personal and institutional) which block us from searching for … more universal availability. As we strive for renewal of our structures at the service of our mission, we remind ourselves that we are invited to creative fidelity, leaving aside all traces of mediocrity. We call upon every member of the South Asian Assistancy to enter upon a process of Ignatian discernment to take up frontier missions with ‘commitment, competency and collaboration’. We want to launch structural planning, at the province and the conference levels, keeping in mind the need to optimize our human and material resources.”
JCSA launches a Project
The JCSA then set up three Commissions to work in tandem on this project. A team to guide a Spiritual Animation Process (SAP). A Commission to study and propose possible models of governance suited to our specific situation. A Commission to work on restructuring Jesuit formation. Prof. Bernard D’Samy of Loyola College, Chennai, was requested to conduct a survey by which we would ascertain the mind of Jesuits in the field, on Universality and Restructuring. The scope of this four-pronged approach to ensure that the project leads to concrete decisions to be implemented in practice.
In the preparatory phase of the entire process, in view of preparing a “core team” of animators of the proposed Spiritual Animation Process, twelve Jesuits, some of them experts in Ignatian spirituality, met in Delhi in September 2015. These had a two-day intense experience of the process of prayer and sharing, following the dynamics of the Deliberation of the First Fathers (1539). The purpose was to experience themselves the model of the process to be followed in animating all Jesuits of South Asia, in inter-province groups.
In all the meetings of this preparatory phase, there emerged a clear consensus among the participants as well as in the JCSA that the Spiritual Animation Process (SAP) is the principle and foundation of any restructuring at the practical level: to recover in practice the Ignatian/Jesuit characteristic of universality for greater apostolic effectiveness; the availability on the part of every Jesuit to be sent on mission to any place and any work, even to something for which one has not been trained, a characteristic intrinsic to our vocation, inseparably linked to the Fourth Vow, the Ignatian magis and excellence, pioneering spirit and creativity, characteristics that are deeply embedded in our history and tradition. It was decided to start this process immediately, zone-wise in the whole assistancy, so that the proposals coming in due course from the other commissions would find a climate conducive to implementation.
Things begin to happen!
In the first major step in the SAP was the three-day colloquium in Kolkata, 3-6 December 2015. 43 Jesuits from all provinces of the Assistancy (except Kerala whose representatives could not reach Kolkata due to floods), experienced the bond of “Friends in the Lord” that the First Companions, coming from diverse national, cultural and personal backgrounds, had experienced in 1539. It was not a seminar or discussion, but an Ignatian “spiritual conversation”, praying and sharing in small groups one’s interior movement of spirits. Listening to the Spirit whispering in our hearts, listening to our companions, we re-discovered our shared heritage, our common identity.
The participants, several of whom were confused and sceptical at first, were so deeply moved by the experience, that they themselves have become animators of a similar process in their respective provinces and zones. In the last session devoted to planning for the future, each zone chose two zonal coordinators to organize several two-day cross-province SAP sessions and SAP retreats.
As intended by the JCSA, the SAP has indeed become a movement in the Assistancy, and not merely a set of isolated sessions here and there. With gratitude we recognize the presence and action of the Holy Spirit as we look back and see that indeed much has happened since we started out nearly two years ago on this journey. Until July, about 1200 Jesuits of South Asia have gone through this experience in 25 SAP sessions and 11 retreats, on the theme of universality and renewal of governance structures. For the rest of this year, 21 SAPs and 10 retreats have been announced. The movement is indeed visible, a talking point among Jesuits.
The other Commissions, too, have been working quietly yet systematically. The Fernando Franco Commission (Models of Governance) and the Raj Irudaya Commission (Restructuring Formation), too, have prepared their draft reports to the JCSA. Bernard D’Samy is collating and analysing the results of the survey. On 25-29 August all the Commissions working on the different aspects of this project will meet to prayerfully review the progress made up to now, and to plan the next phase.
The grace we seek
The grace we seek through this Assistancy-wide search is personal and corporate conversion, a change of attitude from any narrow “provincial” vision that may block the needed change, to a vision of universality – always in view of greater apostolic effectiveness.
Such a change of heart on the part of all Jesuits in the Assistancy is a necessary first step leading to a change in our governance structures that can effectively respond to the challenges to our mission today. While a broad outline of possible models may gradually be emerging in our reflection, the final restructuring must take shape from this open-ended process, letting the Spirit guide us.
There can be no growth without the pain of letting go of what holds us frozen in past success-models that might have been necessary and useful once, but are no more relevant today. Else we stagnate, refusing to move on, because we refuse the pain of giving up, of letting go, of changing and growing.
Every Jesuit has a stake in what will eventually be discerned as new models of governance in the Assistancy, including apostolic planning and allocation of resources on a more universal basis, even possible re-drawing of province boundaries. The collective mind of the Jesuits at the grass-roots, emerging from this process of consultation and discernment, will guide the JCSA’s eventual decision on where the Spirit is leading us, – an important aspect of Ignatian decision-making in such important matters. Ignatius believed that superiors do not have the monopoly of the Spirit, and that the promptings of the Spirit expressed through the voice of the companions is part of the process of discernment and decision-making.
Our rich legacy
On-going renewal of our structures of governance and formation for greater apostolic effectiveness is not something new in the Society of Jesus. It is intrinsic to our very identity and our way of proceeding. In the present context of the challenges to our mission that an increasingly globalised world throws up – a Kairos moment in the Church and in the Society of Jesus – this exercise assumes added significance and urgency. Our governance and formation are at the service of mission; and mission is not something frozen and locked in the past. In creative fidelity every General Congregation makes an Ignatian contemplation of the world and re-defines “Our Mission Today”. Accordingly, the structures of our governance and formation, too, must be flexible, must change, lest they block rather than serve effective apostolic response. New wine, new wineskins!
From its origin and through all its history, the Society is a universal apostolic body available for universal mission. A Jesuit joins not a province, but the universal body of the Society. With this essential characteristic, the Society of Jesus has the built-in potential to dialogue with the globalised world of the 21st century. Recalling our heritage and history in his address to the 32nd General Congregation on 3rd December 1974, Pope Paul VI challenged us with a definition of who we are: “Wherever in the Church, in the most difficult and extreme fields, in the cross-roads of ideologies, in the frontlines of social conflict, where there is a confrontation between the deepest aspirations of the human person and the perennial message of the Gospel, there have been and are Jesuits.”
We keep our hearts and minds open to the Spirit, and not to allow ourselves to be “distracted” or influenced by any other consideration than to seek what the Spirit is asking of us.
- Fr Julian Fernandes, SJ
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