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17-20th December, 2017 at Navjeevan Renewal Centre, New Delhi

Province Development Directors (PDDs) from 19 Provinces and 2 Regions/Missions met for the 10th Annual Meet from 17-20th December at NRC, Delhi to deliberate on various issues in the context of GC-36 on discernment and justice with focus on greater collaboration and networking. The theme of the meet was Development & Sustainability.

An orientation programme for the new PDDs was scheduled in the morning hours from 09.00 to 1.00 PM. Fr. Jorge Serrano, SJ (Assistant Treasurer for Development Resources) has been accompanying the PDDs and was the main resource person who articulated the historical process and goals of setting development offices across the countries. He also explained the important role the PDDS can play in the development planning and resource mobilisation in their respective provinces. Fr. SijiNoorokariyil SJ, PDD Coordinatorexplained the evolving role of PDDS and shared about the good work done by some PDDs in their provinces.

The Meet formally began at 6.00 P.M. on 17th December with a warm welcome to the delegates by Fr. Jose Kuriakose SJ, PDD Delhi Province. Then, Fr. Siji shared the summary report of review of the roles and responsibilities of PDDs which followed by a group discussion and sharing by the participants. The day-2 proceedings began with a brief presentation by FR. Siji contextualising the meeting followed by a Message from Fr. Jeera (Provincial Delhi). Then, Fr. George Pattery (POSA)in his key note address highlighted the role played by Jesuits in the context of GC-36, various processes being underway like REGAE and Strategic Apostolic Planning. He appreciated the role played by Assistancy Development Office (ADO) working with different Provinces and Jesuit Institutions in giving shape to the 3-Pillars i.e.Non-Formal Education, Technical Education and Skill Development and Ecology and Environment in the whole South-Asian Assistancy.

The Core Committee members from the 3-Consultations on 3-Pillars shared the major outcomes and plans for the consideration of PDDs in supporting as well as promoting these Pillars in their respective provinces. The Jesuits working on Non-Formal Education have come together and formed a network called SANKALP for collaboration, learning and sharing as well as fund-raising. Similarly, the Technical Education Group has formed an institution called JESUITEC to further promote this pillar. The Ecology Group will come out with a Jesuit Name for networking and collaboration in near future.

Fr. Sannybhai, Coordinator, JESA presented the work and achievements of LOK Manch as a Jesuit promoted Network on people’s rights and entitlements. There is a lot to learn from the Lok Manch model and experience on networking and collaboration. Later on, Mr. Lourdes Baptista, shared the work done by Jesuits on 2-other priority areas of JCSA i.e. Migration & Refugees as well as Peace and Reconciliation.

The PDDs came out strongly to engage with the ADO on capacity building, learning and sharing, networking, collaboration and developing quality programmes to serve the poor and marginalised communities. It was proposed to undertake mapping of all programmes, Need Assessment and Baseline Studies, Communication Materials development and Resource Mobilisation to strengthen the 3-Pillars in all the Provinces based on needs.

By Manoj Pradhan

AD Office

21 Dec 2017 - 17:04

The consultation on Ecology by the Jesuit Conference of South Asia was held at Indian Social Institute, New Delhi on 16-17 December 2017. It was a coming together of all the Jesuits who are fully involved in Research on Ecology, writers, thinkers, educators and activists. It was an eye opener to see the amount of good work the Jesuit ecologists do in South Asia. Many of our Centres have been acknowledged by the governments and even UN.

The Ecology Consult came up with the following statement.  

"Imbued with the Ignatian charism of finding God in all things and all things in God, inspired by the call of Pope Francis to care for our Mother Earth through his encyclical Loudato Si, encouraged by the commitment of our own Society to protect the earth and heal the broken world and strengthened by the commitment of innumerable number of people who are engaged in environmental protection,18-Jesuits involved in ecological ministry in India, gathered for a deliberation at ISI, New Delhi on 15-16th December, 2017 invited all Jesuits to get engaged in this eco-mission with great zest and enthusiasm.

While appreciating the efforts and actions taken already by some individual Jesuits and Provinces as a whole in the realm of Research, Advocacy, Eco-Awareness, Environmental Spirituality, Relief Works, Rights based Approaches, Organic Farming, Alternate energy, Watershed Management, Biodiversity and Natural resources and other direct interventions, the participants urged all the Jesuits for deeper and stronger involvement.

It was strong expression by the Jesuits of South Asia that survival of human beings in earth depends on judicious use of natural resources and caring for the same. Hence, the delegates urged forurgent and immediate interventions in the following areas:

  1. Immerse our Formees at every stage in eco-spirituality and environmental awareness
  2. Build strong networks and collaboration among all who are working in the realm of ecology and environment to enable sharing of experiences, expertise, resources and to access funding
  3. Develop concrete project proposals to mitigate the environmental problems faced by people, especially the most vulnerable and marginalized communities
  4. Ensure that ecological concerns are cross cutting across all apostolic areas which come under various sectors of the society’s administrative structure
  5. Provinces set up structures and lay down and implement policies to mainstream ecology within the provinces.
  6. Explore newer avenues like climate justice for further promotion.

By Manoj Pradhan

AD Office

21 Dec 2017 - 16:16

Christmas  MESSAGE.

A pall of smog, dust, smoke, exits from vehicles and factories normally hang over the winter Gangetic plains both before and after the winter solstice. The wind blows them away and the sparkling rays of the sun everywhere. One notices the golden orb rising over the hills in the orient, source of the new brilliance.  And revival begins: grass, plants, shrubs, bushes, trees, flowers and fruits. Life activities commences all over. The Birth of Jesus we can compare to that phenomenon of the udaya surya bhagavan (the dawning sun).

Manifold evils like crimes, violence, massacres, suicides, fraud, theft, deception, at one level, envy, jealousy, greed, debauchery, hostility, feud, wars, destruction, depression, at another level. And poverty, exploitation, deprivation, landlessness, resource-lessness etc yet at another—had hung over the humankind. The children of God, ‘created in the image and likeness of the (creating) God’ lived under this pall of gloom and multi-layered darkness. The human persons, born out of the luminous and bliss-filled God of all, but living forlorn, were longing for liberation from manifold captivity. 

The illumined ones, the prophets and sages, across the human family, down through centuries, gave vent to the cry of the souls, prayed:

 “O come to lead the captive from prison; free those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death”—(a line from one of the prayers during the season of Advent).

When the first dawn for a just released prisoner is out after serving the term, when the children rush out of the class rooms after the last hour, when the concentration camps of Hitler were thrown open by the victorious Allies, on all similar occasions the pulsation of hearts reached its zenith. Gloom and exhaustion left behind, joy and celebration ahead.

The celestial figures shed their luminosity over the shepherding group by announcing ‘we bring you tidings of great joy’. The song needs echoing and re-echoing.

One of the earliest roars of the God-seeking sages of India was ‘from darkness lead me to light’. All do experience that inner darkness and consequent restlessness of soul. The same is echoed, perhaps in other ways, when some of the thinkers summarized life as marked by sorrow (Dukham(Siddhartha), or affliction’ ‘klesh-Patanjali). Hardly anyone will challenge their sentiment since their followers abound even now in our land and beyond.

It is against these backgrounds that the “tidings of great joy” was sung out by none other than by a band of celestial luminous figures popularly known as angels. The melody filled the hearts and minds of the shepherds that were tending to their flocks of sheep in the valley, The melody had been echoing down the corridors of time’. The many visitors to homes or churches these days, especially on Christmas night/day will be tickled by the revival of memories when they hear it sung again.

Celebrations, rejoicing, greetings, exchange of gifts, singing of songs are about to take place for almost a fortnight. There will be brightness of faces and thrills in the hearts. The extra-terrestrial beings called angels who delivered an unusual message to struggling world through a shepherd community:

“Behold I bring you tidings of great joy” (Lk 2:10). How to understand this ‘joyful’ message to some night vigil keeping shepherds. It was not to astronomers who are involved, apparently, in observation of cosmic phenomena. Neither to God-seekers ((prophets, sages, rsis..). Nor to scientists or philosophers who are devoted to probing .

Honey bees leave the tiny cell, relishing sweet hope in mind. From flower to flower it reaches out, kissing each flower, humming and thanking, bestowing its service to every flower. They leave, greatly rewarded and enriched. The flowers begin to bloom and function. Fructifying, gradually. From home to home, with lit lantern in hands, the faithful, muffled in winter garments, up the hills and down valleys, knocks at every home and delivers the message; ‘tidings of great joy, received from the angels, verified in the crib, inviting all to come out singing and celebrating.   

Tagore advised the worshipper in the temple: ‘leave this chanting and telling of beads…_.

Similarly the central message of the angels, because of the Birth of Jesus, to the shepherds, needs to be de-coded, transcribed in terms of enhanced human relationship and wafted across hearts, huts, villages, work places, and assemblies is: ‘leave the smoggy den of dislike, hatred, envy, greed, violence, exploitation discrimination, voluptuous grabbing and restlessness and line up to embrace everyone to create a new society where mutual acceptance, service, solidarity, diversity, to the task of building new bridges across divided hearts and homes. And in the worship place they assemble singing: ‘Let us forget ourselves and worship the Lord, Jesus Christ the Lord’.

The honey bee returns with its collection to build new chambers for storing their produce: combs. The worshippers, having done their sacred rituals, leave the sacred places, and gather around fire places, homes, celebration halls, dining halls, village hearths, and begins the their tasks: to build further bridges across the separated and separated hearts, families, neighbourhood…Eventually to new the face of the earth.

That is the dream of God for humanity. Christmas therefore is but a faint intimation of the plan God has for humanity. Merry Christmas.

T. K. John SJ

19 Dec 2017 - 12:35

Assessing the social delivery system of the Jesuit Conference of South Asia (JCSA) and assisted by Jesuits in Social Action (JESA) and the Jesuit-managed Indian Social Institutes of Delhi and Bengaluru, launched a programme under the banner of LOK MANCH (LM; in Gujarati means, “People’s Platform”) on 2 November 2015, after a sixteen-month long preparation. Right now, LM is directed by the National Secretariat headed by the JESA Secretary.

It is a people’s movement for the development of leadership among dalits, adivasis, women, minorities, urban as well as rural poor, and other marginalized communities of various regions, religions, and cultures. It works on the principle of collaboration with like-minded Organizations or persons or agencies, all of whom having a similar ideology or spirituality, and all aiming at social change not bolsters but promotes human dignity.  This interactive network is necessary to succeed in attaining the common objective.  This network consists of a hundred likeminded organizations covering 12 states of India. What makes it special is that it has been owned up by people. “LM is a platform for marginalized people like us to come together to claim our rights, to fight for our rights, to live with dignity,”recalls 27-year-old Kanchan Devi, a beneficiary of the National Food Security Act (NFSA).  She comes from the Musahar community, one of the most deprived communities in Bihar. She has no land or livestock, nor does she have any income other than what she gets as a manual daily worker.  NFSA empowers her and her family not with but through campaign - the right to food.

Vision and Mission 

LM envisions India an egalitarian, just, inclusive, democratic, and secular nation. Its mission is to create a strong national platform for ensuring people’s improved access to Government schemes, and improving the qualities of policies and their proper implementation. That mission is carried out by discovering and training local leaders who will then lobby for the necessary changes with the present Government legal provisions and social schemes, and for the better access of impoverished households to entitlement schemes like the National Food Security Act (NFSA), Schedule Caste Sub Plan (SCSP), Tribal Sub Plan (TSP), Water, Sanitation, Hygiene (WASH) and other Governments Schemes.  These schemes are used as resources and tools to enlighten and empower the grassroots leaders. Grassroots democracy is pivotal to the Nation Building. The people at grassroots should be empowered to develop themselves and their communities.

LM is guided by 11 core values: liberty, justice, equality, fraternity, love, peace, commitment, gender justice, credibility, forgiveness, and excellence. These become operational under certain core principles: decentralization, participative decision making, transparent in accountability, team work, and shared responsibility.

Composition and Administration

The entire country is divided into 4 zones, each consisting of 23 units, each unit having 4 organizations. Out of 100 Organizations that act in partnership, only 44 are Jesuit run.  Each unit reaches out to about 12,000 households, in about 80 villages, with approximately 160 community leaders, and around 80 monitoring persons who can take up their own issues. Altogether a total of 5,520 such leaders will be empowered by the end of three years. They are chosen from among their own communities by the communities themselves, and they are trained to respond to the issues of yesterday, today, and tomorrow.  Their praxis is “action- reflection- action” that was articulated by Paulo Freire in his Pedagogy of the Oppressed.

LM is true to its motto: ‘’together we make a difference!’’ Today, LM covers countless households and enables them to keep from starvation, which is the “unfinished task of the freedom struggle,” according to Fr George Pattery, the President of the JCSA (the Provincials conference of South Asia), who has shown great interest in LM, and encourages fellow Jesuits to implement it on war footing in every village of India.

Thanks to LM, people are organized to represent their concerns and grievances to their elected representatives and to Government bureaucracy.  The dream of LM is to translate into a national movement with people’s leadership being exerted from the bottom of the pyramid.  As the leadership of LM will be taken up by the people, the Jesuits and other collaborators will play accompaniment /complementary role as days go by and be willing to take orders from the leaders! Through LM, gram sabhas (village assemblies) are getting so activated and strengthened so as to work and to rebuild a new home based on human values. LM has shown Jesuits and others a new way of engaging in social action in the country and spreading the theme of GC 36.

For more details and reportswww.hamaralokmanch.net

16 Dec 2017 - 09:28

Christians will be celebrating Christmas. Christmas redefines the impossible in many ways by God being uniquely different from what we would have expected God to be. Mary carries Jesus, God become Man, in her womb for nine long months. God is born, not in a palace nor as a fully grown adult, but as a powerless infant like all other babies. God does not plan a quick visit and return to the comfort of heaven but as Emmanuel, God chooses to make a home with us. God, the most extraordinary, becomes ordinary and chooses to remains with us till the end of time.  The Jews could not accept this very different way of being God. They could not accept that God wanted to establish a love relationship with all people He has created.   

Stories, including stories from the Scriptures, help us to see the reality around and ourselves more clearly and in new ways.Among the many unique features of our Christian Faith, the most fundamental is that it is not based on our belief in God but on God’s incredible belief in us and His unconditional love for us. He became incarnate to help us to believe. The God-child born at Christmas gives us a new paradigm for life and living.

May the Christ-Child bring to birth the ‘child’ in us, that we suppress too often, the playful and joyful child, the child with endless optimism, hope and love, the child who asks how and why questions and seeks answers.  When God is present we cannot but be joyful, for joy is the infallible sign of God's presence. This is precisely the reason for Christmas joy that is revealed in the Christmas event. Make Christmas  a NOW event. Make Christmas EVERYDAY. HAPPY CHRISTMAS TO ALL!

Padmashree Tom Kunnumkal SJ

14 Dec 2017 - 10:15

New Delhi: Indian Vice President Venkiah Naidu on December 12 commended Christians for their service to those on the periphery and share in building a new India.

“The Catholic community is peace-loving and it contributes immensely to nation building,” the vice president told a gathering that the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI) organized to launch Christmas celebrations in the national capital.

“I have been attending Christmas functions at different parts of India as part of my political and social activities. This is the first occasion as the vice president of India that I am participating in a Christmas celebration,” said Naidu, who assumed the second highest office in the country on August 11, this year.

The vice president asserted that Jesus’s message for love and peace is for all seasons, cultures and nationalities. “People all over the world irrespective caste, creed or nationality celebrate Christmas with great joy and gaiety,” the vice president, the chief guest of the program, told the gathering comprising religious, political and social leaders as well as diplomats and media persons.

Christian community, especially Catholics, work for people’s welfare. “They maintain best educational institutions in the country that create awareness about the need for education and education for the needy.”

Christians have opened thousands of dispensaries and hospitals in remote areas and collaborate with the central and state governments. “The Christian community as a whole is assiduously engaged in contributing their share in building a new India which is united and strong,” the vice president said and added that he has personally witnessed how Christian helped in social transformation through formal and non-formal education.

“Education is the most important tool for social transformation. It helps impart values compassion, morality and ethics,” the vice president told the gathering held at the Community Hall of the Sacred Heart Cathedral Church that sits between two top Catholic schools in New Delhi – Columba’s and the Convent of Jesus and Mary.

The 68-year-old national leader urged Christians to continue their service with an added focus on the marginalized sections of society.

Christmas, the festival of love and joy caring and sharing, is time to renew commitment to serve family, community and society, work for social and economic inclusion of all, and promote lasting peace, he added.

Unveiling of Christmas painting

The Christmas message of peace is relevant in these days when people misuse religion. “If you have tension, there cannot be any progress,” the vice president said. He also asserted that no religion preaches hatred or violence

“Religion has nothing to do with terror. Terror is the enemy of humanity,” he said.

The vice president also urged the gathering to distinguish between religion and culture. Religion, he explained, is worship and personal whereas culture is a way of life where people love, share and take care of each other. Explaining further he said, “Suppose you have a chapatti. If you eat the chapatti, it is prakriti (nature), if you snatch a chapatti from another it is vikriti (deviation) and if you share your share with another it is sanskriti (culture).”

He wants every individual to respect, preserve and protect our culture and use the Christmas season to correct “our deviations if any” and spread the message of love through action.

He wants the government, enlightened people, communities and their leaders to help the suppressed and the oppressed come up in life to realize Mahatma Gandhi’s vision of “antiodaya” (rise of the last person).

CBCI president Cardinal Baselios Cleemis, while felicitating the vice president, reiterated the Catholic community’s commitment to the welfare of the country and its people.

“We offer our best wishes, prayerful support, deep commitment even through martyrdom to take the nation to its height of glory,” said the cardinal who hailed the vice president as “a close friend” of every community in the country.

The 58-year-old cardinal, who also heads the Syro-Malankara Church, said the Christian community is in India to give its service to the poorest of the poor.

“The Church India is at the service of the nation. People in the periphery need the Lord’s assurance,” he added.

He urged the government to take necessary steps to bring peace and progress to every citizen going beyond manmade boundaries. The head of the Indian Catholics reminds his countrymen that it is up to them to assure the world that diversity is not an obstacle, but the beauty of divine life.”

The cardinal also used the occasion to request the vice president to press the government to declare the recent Ockhi cyclone as a national disaster. The cardinal, who comes from Thiruvananthapuram, one of the worst affected by the November 30 cyclone, noted thousands of fishermen in southern coastal region have lost everything “except their faith in God.”

He stressed the need for satisfying, stable and long term plan to rehabilitate the affected families.

The cardinal later told Matters India that the vice president promised to take up the matter with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The prelate said he has visited the affected areas twice and that the Church plans various ways to help the families.

Source: Matters India (13 Dec. 2017)

13 Dec 2017 - 05:04

Where does the Trinitarian gaze fall on this Christmas 2017? Where does the incarnation take place? In the sinking boats of the Rohingya community, disowned by Myanmar, chased away by India and welcomed by a fragile country like Bangladesh? In the unending warzones of Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq? In the blood of martyrs like Pansare, Kalburgi, Dabholkar, Gauri? On the unknown faces of those lynched by the cowvigilantes? Indeed the Trinity chose to reach our intimate and vulnerable depths, in the fragility of a helpless Babe. Incarnation takes place in the intimacy and vulnerability of the earthy human depths. Incarnation invites us to become human, as God did, and it is a never-ending process. It began 13.5 billion years ago in the birth pangs of the Big Bang of love. Ever since then, it has been evolving, becoming human. Inhuman inversions slow it down to the freezing point. Yet the evolving energy of ‘fi at’ continues to advance it and makes it present everywhere. So much so, St. John of the Cross had the audacity to say, “All things are God.” (Laudato si: 234) In this universe none is superfl uous. The entire material uni¬verse speaks of God’s love, his boundless affec¬tion for us. Soil, water, mountains: everything is, as it were, a caress of God (Laudato si: 84). We are invited to a global and universal solidarity as everything and everyone is interrelated and inter-dependent. Incarnation is an act of weaving together a new kind of solidarity, where everyone is included; none excluded. “As never before in history, common destiny beckons us to seek a new beginning… Let ours be a time remembered for the awakening of a new reverence for life, the fi rm resolve to achieve sustainability, the quickening of the struggle for justice and peace, and the joyful celebration of life.” (Earth Charter, The Hague, 29 June, 2000) That is Christmas: birthing hope in the midst of despair; birthing love in the face of divisive ideology; incarnating inclusion wherever there is exclusion.

Fr. George Pattery SJ

Provincial of South Asia (POSA)

9 Dec 2017 - 07:23

I am happy to share with you some of my pleasant experiences at the Colloquium for the new Provincials, held from 5 to 18 November 2017, at the Jesuit Curia, Rome. There were 11 new Provincials in our batch. The entire Colloquium was meticulously planned and coordinated by Fr Jose Cecilio Magadia, the Delegate for Formation. Fr Arturo Sosa, our General, accompanied us throughout this two-week-long spiritual journey. He was with us like one among us, as our dear friend and our brother, caring for us, listening to us and encouraging us. His spiritual and intellectual depth, his simplicity, cordiality, his warmth of love, his endearing laughter and his rich sense of humour have left a deep, positive impact on all of us. On the first day, in his inaugural address, Fr General, with his characteristic smile, warmly welcomed us with a gentle reminder saying that provincials are the delegates of the General. “They have been called to carry out, in their respective provinces, the mission of the General which is the mission of the Society and, therefore, they have co-responsibility with me in the mission of the Society and in the mission of the Church.” When asked, “Fr General, you are very cool and joyful. Being the General of such a great Religious Order, don’t you feel that you are carrying a heavy burden on your shoulder especially in the light of decisions of GC 36 and their implications?,” he responded, “I am not alone in my mission; we are journeying together.” A deep sense of collectivity was the focal theme clearly running through his interventions, sharing, homily etc. And the guiding principle of our collective journey is magis, which Message from the Provincial according to Fr General does not mean ‘more’ but ‘better’. Fr. General further drove home to us that this collective journey is undertaken by us to fulfill the mission of Jesus Christ, that does not belong to us exclusively, but something we share with so many men and women, consecrated to the service of others. His remarks constantly reminded us of the call of the GC 36 for collaboration and networking. He also invited us to look beyond to understand that it was high time that we began to look at ourselves as collaborators in the mission of the Jesus Christ. Interestingly, on the sidelines of the Colloquium, some of us had shared among ourselves our strong desire to have an audience with the Holy Father Pope Francis but wondered if it would come true. Given the hectic schedule of the Holy Father and in the context of numerous requests pouring in for an audience with him and for his blessings, we concluded that it was practically impossible. It was at that time that we came to know that one of the participants of the Colloquium, Fr Renzo SJ, the new Provincial of Japan, was a close friend of the Pope, as Fr Jorge Mario Bergoglio, SJ, (the present Pope) had been his provincial. Thanks to his efforts on 13 Nov 2017, the band of new Provincials accompanied by Fr Arturo Sosa, our General, not only had the privilege of an audience with the Holy Father but also concelebrated the Eucharist with him at his residence of Santa Marta in the Vatican. For us, the new Provincials, it was a dream-come-true experience. I will ever cherish the memory of the blessings of Pope Francis and my exchange of pleasantries with him, with my hands experiencing the tight grip of his hands – an experience of spiritual re-energizing. In his homily on the day’s gospel, the Pope reminded the congregation of the dangers of scandalizing others. “So, be careful not to scandalize. Scandal is evil, because scandal wounds - it wounds God’s People where they are most vulnerable, The Provincial and the members of the Curia wish all the readers of the MNL a joyful Christmas and a grace-filled 2018! May the Christ Child and His Virgin Mother bless you and all your dear ones! and strikes the People of God where they are weakest - and many times, the wounds inflicted by scandal are borne by the faithful throughout their lives. Not only does it do harm: scandal is capable of murder - of killing hopes, killing dreams, killing families, killing so many hearts.” The entire group of new Provincials retuned to the Roman curia with a deep sense of pride that our brother Pope Francis is an acclaimed world leader, shepherding the Catholic Church effectively. The entire Colloquium was also a great moment for us to understand, in a broader context of the diversity of the Jesuit Mission, the importance of setting in motion the process of discernment in common in the province adopting an effective methodology of spiritual conversation leading us to discernment of universal apostolic preferences and apostolic planning. The whole Society is now fully engaged in the exercise of apostolic planning in the aftermath of GC 36. The Jesuit Curia also has produced an outstanding document titled, Apostolic Planning for the General Curia of the Society of Jesus – January 2017 – December 2020’ thus giving us a lead and setting an example for the whole Society in the area of apostolic planning.

 

Danis Ponniah SJ, SJ

Provincial of Madurai Jesuit Province.

(Source: MNL Dec. 2017)

9 Dec 2017 - 06:51

(20-Nov-2017)

Twelve new Jesuit provincials from around the world recently gathered at the General Curia for a colloquium for new provincials. On Monday, November 13, the provincials concelebrated the Eucharist with the Pope Francis at his residence of Santa Marta in the Vatican. In his homily on the day's gospel, the Pope reminded the congregation of the dangers of scandalizing others. "So, be careful not to scandalize. Scandal is evil, because scandal wounds - it wounds God's People where they are most vulnerable, and strikes the People of God where they are weakest - and many times, the wounds inflicted by scandal are borne by the faithful throughout their lives. Not only does it do harm: scandal is capable of murder - of killing hopes, killing dreams, killing families, killing so many hearts."

Source: sjweb.ifo news

6 Dec 2017 - 14:51

Description

In the late eighties, while doing doctoral studies at the Gregorian (Rome), one day to my surprise I met Father General Peter-Hans Kolvenbach on the road leading to Bellarmino. He was literally watching the sky through the narrow space of the tall buildings. When I expressed my surprise, he said: “it is good to look at the sky even through the narrows spaces, whenever possible”. That was Kolvenbach; he seemed to place himself in limited space and routine schedule, but through them he tried to look at the vast expanse of the sky! A sort of monasticism of the heart in action! Later when we walked into the dining hall at Bellarmino, he was invited to the head table; he whispered: “I don’t like it; but I will go”. That was Kolvenbach; he seemed to dislike many things; but he liked to do things that were not to his taste; he obliged with a large heart.

 

At another occasion, I was taking my turn for the ‘manifestation’ during the provincials’ meet in Goa. I was surprised to see him waiting for me outside the room. I said: I am delighted to see that General of the Society waiting to receive me! He said: ‘that is the least I can do for you.’ He had the knack to be present to us when we met him, without betraying any personal inconvenience to him. Rarely he went out of the script; when he did, it was often cryptically witty.

In Kolvenabch I found an embodiment of classical tradition and wisdom. Classical in the best sense of the word: articulate and thorough; tradition in the sense of accumulated practices of the many ages; wisdom that is born out of regularity and routine.   In him I found a consolidating figure for the Society that was needed to be consolidated. That he did in his style.

George Pattery, SJ

6 Dec 2017 - 07:33

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