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Papal Seminary stands tall at 125




Papal Seminary in Pune is observing 125th year of its service in moulding priests for the Universal Church.

All that Papal Seminary accomplished and contributed to the Church today is “surely by God's wondrous grace and accompaniment,” a statement issued by the seminary said.

On the occasion, Papal Seminary along with its sister concern--Jnana-Deepa Vidyapeeth -- is holding a seminar, “Ministering to Contemporary Indian Church: Challenges, Opportunities”.

The two-day event will start on Nov 7. Other programs include alumni get together, cultural programs and thanksgiving Mass.

Papal Seminary was conceived in 1878 when Leo XIII became the Pope, who wanted a national seminary for the whole India. 

In his Letter, Ad extremasorientisoras: de collegioclericarum (1893), the Pope announced his intention of founding a new seminary for India, and appealed to the generosity of Catholics. 

On the occasion of his sacerdotal jubilee in 1894, he had these words inscribed on the jubilee medal: "Filii tui India, administri tibi salutis," which means, Your own sons, O India, will be the heralds of your salvation!

It was Archbishop Ladislaus Miachael Zaleski, who executed the plan of the Pope. In 1893, he started Papal Seminary in Kandy in Sri Lanka. At that time India and Sri Lanka were part of the British India.

When India became independent in 1947, it was found strange to have its national seminary in another country. So, the authorities decided to shift the seminary to India and Pune was chosen to house it. 

In 1955, Papal Seminary was shifted to Pune. The Jesuit provincial of Pune, Father Pius Geisal, was entrusted with the task of buying the land and constructing the buildings for the seminary and the Pontifical Athenaeum was shifted to Pune along with the seminary.

A large number of outstanding churchmen received their priestly formation in the seminary. Four Cardinals and 75 Bishops and Archbishops trace their roots to this place.

The motto of the jubilee celebrations is: “Looking Back with Gratitude, Looking Forward with Trust.”

Currently, Papal Seminary consists of 193 seminarians and staff from 62 dioceses and four religious congregations.

Jesuit Father Babhusaheb Sansare, Papal Seminary rector, said that about 20 bishops, including the nuncio and 200 alumni, are expected to take part in the two-day gathering. 

27 Sep 2018 - 06:47

In a meeting for discernment and apostolic planning, Father General Arturo Sosa SJ reminded leaders of the Global Ignatian Advocacy Networks (GIAN) and Social Apostolate Coordinators of the need for “a renewed vision of the deep link between social justice, care for the environment, the struggle for peace and faith.  All this, together, moves people to work for reconciliation among themselves, with creation and God.”  And to bring about change, “we need a kind of passion, a ‘holy anger’… a passion that cries ‘enough.’”

“The GIAN groups are our effort to be a catalyst for this change. I ask you to find the passion and the mission that can re-energise these structures… I know that unless we are focused, specific and targeted, our advocacy will not work well.”

And with preparations underway for the Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops of the Pan-Amazon region that will take place in the Vatican in October 2019, Father General sees this effort by Pope Francis as “a concrete way to help move the Church to implement Laudato Si’” and “also a call to the Society of Jesus to focus on reconciliation with creation as a dimension of the mission we have received.”

The Society of Jesus is currently undertaking a discernment process of their Universal Apostolic Preferences (UAP) that involves a discernment in common, using the GC 36 decrees as a background, Father General’s letter that launched the discernment process, and the initial chapters of the book Shaping our Future.

Ecojesuit shares below a slightly revised version of Father General’s address during the meeting in Rome:

This is a meeting for discernment and apostolic planning and discernment in common means to hear together the Holy Spirit and to make decisions according to the inspiration we feel together.  It is possible only if we gain interior freedom as individuals, as a group, as an apostolic sector of the Society.  It is a conditio sine qua non for this or any group to liberate itself from a sectorial vision of the Society’s mission.  GC 36 is asking this group and the entire apostolic body of the Society to acquire the look of the Holy Trinity.  We are called to look at history with their eyes and find out how we, as a universal apostolic body, can do our best (magis) to make a contribution to the redemption of human beings.  It is also important to remember that discernment in common is a prior condition for apostolic planning.

The next challenging step is apostolic planning.  Both words are important.  The first one is apostolic that means that what we do is not a product of our minds, but a call we receive to be sent to collaborate in the missio Dei.  We are an apostolic body, i.e., a group of people “sent” to be part of a mission.  Therefore, we are not the owners of the mission.  We are followers – disciples of Jesus sent to be witnesses of His Good News.

Planning involves taking seriously this condition of apostolic body.  We are administrators of somebody else’s resources and we are committed to do that work in the best possible way.  We are a group responsible for the call to participate in the reconciliation of all things in Christ.  And so we try hard to do our best.  Following this mission has become, for each one of us and for this group, the deepest sense of why we do what we do.

After the UAP are formulated will come the process of planning how a complex apostolic body like the Society of Jesus can be oriented in the next 10 years.  Provinces, Conferences of Major Superiors, apostolic areas and apostolic works have their own plans.  How can the UAP help the Society in its apostolic planning at all levels to be more focused?  How can the UAP lead us to a better use of our limited resources?

GC 36 confirms and focuses the mission of faith and justice, dialogue and interculturality that inspired our commitment for more than 50 years, since the Second Vatican Council and from GC 32 up to GC 35.  This confirmation means a renewed vision of the deep link between social justice, care for the environment, the struggle for peace and faith.  All this, together, moves people to work for reconciliation among themselves, with creation, and with God.

It is a confirmation of a deep current, of a deep way forward for us, in a world that is at a new moment in history and has become quite different from the world during the post-Vatican II years.  Here is a very important challenge for the apostolic body of the Society of Jesus and for the social dimension of its apostolate: to come to know, understand and share with others what is happening in human history and to find effective ways to help to move it to the reconciliation and justice shown in the Gospel. 

“We come together to form a body of Jesuits and partners in mission organized in such a way that collaboration is a characteristic of the entire apostolic body. Our action is also in collaboration with others within the Church or with those persons and groups struggling for social justice, with peacemakers and with those working for the preservation of the environment.”

Getting out of poverty, the possibility to access quality education, participation in making political decisions democratically: these remain unrealised wishes for the great majority of human beings.  How can we, as a universal apostolic body, improve our commitment to help these desires to be accomplished?  How can we face the ambiguous process of human mobility in the actual world where there are new ways of interaction among individuals and peoples oriented to a more integrated humanity, side by side with people fleeing from war or poverty?  How we can combat the trafficking of human beings and new forms of slavery?

Many other questions about our mission of reconciliation and justice can come from what is going on in the world today.  The GC 36 puts before us a very special one:

GC36 asks Father General to continue to work with Major Superiors and Conferences to promote, within the communities and ministries of the Society, a consistent culture of protection and safety for minors, in keeping with the suggestions of the Congregation regarding formation, community life, ministries and governance.

The promotion of a consistent culture of safeguarding involves the transformation of unjust existing structures and a deep change in every culture.  It also a matter of promoting the human rights of vulnerable people.  And so, I have decided that the implementation of this project be entrusted to the Secretary for Social Justice and Ecology.

Pope Francis has convoked a special Synod in 2019 on Amazonia.  It is a concrete way to help move the Church to implement Laudato Si’.  Maybe is also a call to the Society of Jesus to focus on reconciliation with creation as a dimension of the mission we have received.  It is very clear that Pope Francis is thinking not only about a specific geographical area of the world, but that he also wants to move us to more concrete apostolic actions regarding the care of our common home.  How can we introduce this matter in our discernment in common and apostolic planning?

An important accent put by GC 36 is that we are collaborators with God’s action in history today and we are called to become companions in a mission of reconciliation and justice.  To become companions means that we see ourselves as collaborators.  We come together to form a body of Jesuits and partners in mission organized in such a way that collaboration is a characteristic of the entire apostolic body. Our action is also in collaboration with others within the Church or with those persons and groups struggling for social justice, with peacemakers and with those working for the preservation of the environment.

Globalisation today brings us together across the globe and makes networking easier.  Of course it has also widened the gap between rich and poor so it is not totally a blessing – in fact there are many problems.  But, without doubt, it gives us the ability to be a universal body for mission and our Jesuit networks have opportunities now that 10 years ago did not exist.

Since we are largely organized on province lines, the existence of interprovincial networks can be a challenge.  GIAN, as a relatively new project, is experiencing some of the pains of being an interprovincial network in a largely provincial Jesuit structure.  The issues that GIAN addresses are vital ones:

  • Migration
  • Ecology – care of our Common House
  • Governance of mineral and natural resources
  • The right to quality education
  • Peace and Human Rights

Through Laudato Si’, Pope Francis “also wants to move us to more concrete apostolic actions regarding the care of our common home. How can we introduce this matter in our discernment in common and apostolic planning?”

Through Laudato Si’, Pope Francis “also wants to move us to more concrete apostolic actions regarding the care of our common home. How can we introduce this matter in our discernment in common and apostolic planning?”

These are words on a page.  But they represent so much human suffering.  Think of the wars in Syria and in Kivu, in Afghanistan and Iraq.  Think of the millions on the move, searching for a better life because the world’s political and economic system has failed them totally.  Think of the children without education who have to work from a young age.  Think of people exploited in mines so that people in boardrooms and stock markets can make big profits.

To bring change, we need a kind of passion, a “holy anger” if I can put it that way.  We need a passion that cries “enough.”  We need a passion that mobilises people of faith and all people of goodwill to work together for change.  Because the Gospel is about change, about liberation.

The GIAN networks are our effort to be a catalyst for this change.  I ask you to find the passion and the mission that can re-energise these structures.  I ask you to identify, very specifically, the changes you want in each of these areas and then to map out how to get there with an outline of resources needed and a time frame (which for sure will have to be flexible).  Advocacy is not an easy task and the Society needs to improve the ways we do it.

I know that unless we are focused, specific and targeted, our advocacy will not work well.  The Social Justice and Ecology office here exists precisely to help with such strategizing and help the GIAN groups to find that focus, that passion, that energy, that direction.

I see here people at this table who have great experience in all these areas.  Please use that expertise to bring people to freedom.  Use it to fight for justice.  Pope Paul VI said: ‘if you want peace work for justice’.  We do want peace.  Peace is a Gospel promise, a beatitude “Blessed are the peacemakers”, a fruit of the Resurrection.  And so, our mission for the service of faith and the promotion of Justice is foundational, moving us beyond any ideology to a service of Christ carrying His cross and laboring for the peace that the world cannot give.

Thank you again for your presence here. It inspires me in my work. It gives me the consolation and the energy to tackle the issues that face me here every day.

The Society has a great mission and you, both lay people and Jesuits, are part of trying to take it forward and renew it as you discern, pray and work together so that the frontiers of unbelief and of poverty, of discrimination and injustice can be pushed back and so that people can find true liberation and reconciliation based on the Gospel promise and on the person of the Risen Christ.

Thank you and I wish every blessing for your meeting here and an enjoyable and fruitful time in Rome.

Arturo Sosa SJ

25 Sep 2018 - 06:05
By Prof. Clement Dsouza

Records show that one of the first Jesuit missions started in India with the arrival of Francis Xavier in the 16th Century and their work in the country has continued to spread throughout the years. Altogether, there are currently 18 Jesuit Provinces in India alone comprising about 4000 Jesuits, including the Karnataka Jesuit Province where Jesuit presence is long-standing, with St. Francis Xavier himself and his contemporaries visiting the coast of the then politically unorganised state of Karnataka.

Karnataka Jesuit Province is one of the administrative units of the Society of Jesus, comprising the whole of Karnataka State, except Belgaum District, and having a membership of nearly 300 Jesuits works with a motto of serving the poorest of the poor in various parts of Karnataka where it has been able to light a candle in the dark existence of those who are victims of poverty, injustice, and oppression.

Karnataka Jesuit Missions are involved in educational, social, spiritual and pastoral ministries all over the State. Today they are running more than 60+ institutions like schools, colleges, technical institutions, outreach centres etc.

On the 1st of September, Jesuit alumni got together at St. Joseph’s College Bangalore to form a federation of Jesuit alumni in Karnataka, under the name JAAIKAR (Jesuit Alumni Association of India, Karnataka).

For more information about the work of the Jesuits in Karnataka, please visit
21 Sep 2018 - 08:22


At the end of the Consiglio allargato

Father General's Extended Council met in early September. The presidents of the Jesuit Conferences, which on a geographical basis bring together the Jesuit Provinces of the whole world, participate in this body. We asked three questions of each of the presidents; here are their testimonies.


In your service as JCSA President, what has been, up to now, your main source of “consolation” or of joy?

The wide spread acceptance and practice of spiritual conversation as a significant tool for discernment in common gives me immense joy. It is making a difference in our meetings of commissions and in community life. Everyone is heard and given significance. Everyone is speaking. In the process, community life gets a new meaning. We learn to discover the interior movements within each one and in the group as a whole. Besides, this tool can be easily adapted to our board meetings and discussions in the commissions. Spiritual conversation is giving us a sense of walking with the Spirit.

In the context of your Conference, what are the main challenges you will be facing during the coming months?

The main challenges can be divided into two parts: ad extra and ad intra.

Ad extra: the growing fundamentalism, narrow nationalism and hate campaign that is being promoted by the present regime in India, is a matter of great concern and challenge. The minorities, especially the Muslims, feel alienated. This is not good for the country. As a Conference, we circulated a statement interrogating the ideology of a Hindu nation and we are engaged in on-going study and reflection. This movement is potentially a divisive force that can rupture the social fabric.

Ad intra: As a Conference, we are still struggling to include all the countries of South Asia in our apostolic planning. Our concern is still predominantly centred on India. Secondly, as a Conference we are still expanding and building institutions without a definite apostolic plan. I do hope that once UAP (universal apostolic preferences) are finalized, we will be able to give better focus. Thirdly, again at the level of the Conference, we have to invest our energy in forming a team of lay collaborators.

What will you mainly remember from your participation to Father General’s Consiglio allargato, in relation to the process toward the definition of Universal Apostolic Preferences?

The process that we went through and are going through in arriving at UAP is very satisfying. It gives me immense sense of consolation; in these extended consultations, we have been refining our approach; it has been a learning process. Secondly, I admire the decision that Fr. General took to consult the entire Society on UAP. This gives every Jesuit a chance to be part of this process, with a greater sense of universal body for universal mission. There is a sense of moving together as a body with a definite plan.

21 Sep 2018 - 08:16

An Interview with Father Felix Raj, SJ, Vice-Chancellor, St. Xavier's University By Pawan Dalmia - Editor - We Xaverian 

1) What is your feeling after your dream of St. Xavier's Uniersity is realized?  Its not my dream alone, it is the dream of the whole Xaverian Family, it includes the Jesuits, alumni, alumnae, the people of Kolkata, the Government, including the Honorable Chief Minister and many more.  It is a collective dream, I was there to give a lead; yes the dream has been realized, it has become a reality but the vision 2020 must now take a different shape as vision 2025, because this vision must continue. We are still in the process. Our journey has been a successful one, there has been a lot of development in the university campus; students have been admitted, professors have been appointed, construction of buildings is going on, we are concentrating on offering to our students & faculty, as much facilities as possible for academic teaching, learning, research and consultancy.  I am sure with the support of many people, alumni association & the Xaverians, we will be able to successfully complete this vision and be at the service of thousands of students. I feel very happy that this collective journey has been very fruitful & I am grateful to all those involved & to God almighty for his blessings & guidance.

2) Kindly tell us the story of journey of how your dream of SXUK came into realty?  It is a journey; rather a long journey right from 2010 when we began to expand St. Xavier's College, establishing St. Xavier's University (SXUK) was a part of that expansion, we started working towards that and that's how the journey for the university began.

3) You always say - "if it is God's work, it will happen" ! Will you kindly share this conviction of yours? First & foremost, I am a Jesuit & my primary conviction is that everything I do is God's work, it is God who is working through me, I am only an instrument, this is what Saint Ignatius of Loyola and the Society of Jesus have taught me. If it is God's work, no one can stop it. Everything is possible for God. There are always people who differ from you or disagree with you. That doesn't mean you should stop the work. There will always be some Judases in our mission of announcing God's reign and denouncing evil in us. And around us. I don't think, I had the slightest idea of starting SXUK, it all happened spontaneously; that is why I believe that it is the work of God and so in the last six years we could successfully journey towards this goal of establishing the university. Nothing stopped us because God was there; God has been inspiring us to work for this goal, for this vision. Sometimes, our work may not be God's work, because it may be out of selfish motive or it may be out of self centeredness, egoism might come in, so it may be an individual's achievement, individual mission, but often, if it is an individual's mission, if it is not God's plan, it stops, but whatever is God's work continues. ThenHand of God guides you. God chooses us as his instruments & makes us work; it is He who inspires, so we need to put our total trust in Him and continue the work, He will take care of everything.

4) What are the factors on which you are going to give stress in the teaching, learning process in SXUK? Off course, we need to give focus on different methods of teaching and also more effective ways of learning and facilities are provided taking into account these requirements; classrooms, libraries, research centers, studios, hostels all these are facilities that we offer, for a good academic environment so that teachers can teach well and students can learn.  We have started a good process and I am sure this process will be strengthened as we go on. We started with six courses, now we will have ten courses, five P.G. Courses, five undergraduate courses and an MBA programme; we will have in July 2018 around eleven hundred students. We want to introduce, taking into account the future needs, more courses relevant to our students, so that these courses open up avenues for further studies, research or for proper placement. We are discussing amongst the faculty members, on how and what type of courses we must introduce. We are thinking of starting Ph.D programme from 2019 and a law college in the near future & a sports academy soon.

5) What are the expansion-plans of SXUK? In terms of expansion of the university, we are thinking of academic expansion; by 2025 we must have at least 8,000 students in the university, we must introduce more courses, with CBCS (choice based credit system) & a cafeteria system in which students can choose their courses. We will also emphasise on skill formation, we shall also use the facilities for neighborhood children who want to study; we want to build up a good rapport with the neighborhood, so that SXUK is a center of change and development in the neighborhood. We are also thinking in terms of physical expansion; improvement of facilities, sports facilities, games facilities, hostel facilities, library facilities, research facilities, recreational facilities, medical & health care facilities, placement, proper placement of our students, all these will be looked into as we grow. We are also thinking in terms of collaborating with other universities.

6) Do you have any plan to open a Law School in SXUK in future? Yes, we have a plan to open a law school at Saint Xavier's University & I will be soon appointing a committee to look into it and taking advice from our alumni who are experts in this field. Thank you Pawan. God bless you. By email :

19 Sep 2018 - 19:09

New wine, old wineskins – Past, present and future 

Closing of the Extended General Council

"You don't tear a piece of the future to mend the holes of the present, already old, and preserve the comfort of the known space and the traditional ways of doing."

Father General Arturo Sosa was preaching at the closing of the weeklong Extended Council, which began on 3 September and ended on 7 September at the General Curia, in Rome. In his reflections on the Gospel of the day he said: "Jesus warns us against the temptation to close ourselves in the present for fear of being snatched away by the novelty represented by an uncertain future,"

Referring to the ongoing discernment about universal apostolic preferences of the Society, Father General stated:

"During this week, we have experienced another stage in the long journey of discernment about universal apostolic preferences. We thank the Lord for having accompanied us on this journey and supported us in our search for novelty, so often brought by the freshness and enthusiasm of our companions in the shared mission. We have tried to look at the present human story with the eyes of the Crucified-Resurrected."

In addition, Father General urged the Society to heed the invitation to conversion:

"With the help of those who generously accompanied us in the various sessions - we tried to look at the complex reality of today's world and its tendencies, with the gaze of the crucified-resurrected and our limited reality as a religious and apostolic body. From this gaze the invitation to personal, community and institutional conversion emerged forcefully as a condition for the possibility of serving Christ's mission in the world as part of his sinful Church."

Father Sosa also reminded the Jesuits of the importance of prayer while engaged in the mission of being ministers of reconciliation.

"We have also reiterated the need to heal our wounds and collaborate in the healing of the Church to become ministers of reconciliation in the human story seriously wounded by injustice and sin."

Referring to Saint Paul, Father General urged the congregation to always remember that "We are stewards of the mysteries of God. Attention: stewards, not owners or masters. They are the mysteries of God and must remain so. Paul concludes: what is required of stewards is that each one be faithful. This also requires fasting and prayer, to receive the gift of fidelity in the service of faith and the promotion of justice and reconciliation."

Father Sosa concluded his homily with an expression of gratitude to the Lord.

"With a heart full of gratitude for so many gifts received from the Lord in our journey as an apostolic body and for the graces received during this week, we also turn to Mary and Joseph. They were the couple who knew how to visit the future and prepare new skins to receive the newness of God, so that they may lead us by the hand in the direction of the encounter with Jesus and we can become messengers of hope."

[Original omelia IT]

12 Sep 2018 - 18:08

Mother Teresa was regarded and adored as the ‘Saint of the Gutters’ even when she was alive. Officially acknowledging her as a Saint is a fitting tribute to someone who has meant the world to millions all over, very specially to the poor and the marginalized; to the excluded and the rejected!

Very symbolically, Mother Teresa died on September 5, 1997. ‘Teacher’s Day’ has traditionally been observed in India on September 5 as a tribute (on his birth anniversary) to the late President of India Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, who besides being a great educationist and philosopher, also believed that education is the key to India’s inclusive development. As a young nun in the Loretto Convent, Mother Teresa was trained to be a teacher.

She embraced this profession with great love and dedication. This was evident in the many years she taught in the St. Mary’s Bengali Medium School for girls in Kolkata. When she left the Loretto Sisters in 1948 to found the Missionaries of Charity, she never stopped being a teacher!

She was convinced that the poor children of the slums in Calcutta (her new home) had to be taught the 3Rs (reading, ‘riting and ‘rithmetic) but more than that, she realized that education had to be inclusive and value-based.

For Mother Teresa, Jesus was the Master Teacher; and she did all she could to communicate HIS values to those around her. Over the years Mother Teresa became the embodiment of many values but high among them were the values of Jesus: Compassion, Courage and Commitment.


If ever one would dare give a core competency to Mother Teresa, it is the single characteristic of being a compassionate person. She lived this quality in a way, few humans have ever done; her love for the marginalized and the vulnerable and particularly for the poorest of the poor was boundless. She was able to give and not to count the cost. It was her ability to be compassionate towards others that motivated her to found the Missionaries of Charity. She was effusive in her compassion for others. It was a common sight to see her embracing someone –who lesser mortals would find any excuse to be a mile away from.


It takes courage to answer a call and Mother Teresa demonstrated this value many times over. As a very young European, she left the distant shores of her country to come to serve in India. Living in India in those days was not easy, yet she opted for a tougher life, literally ‘pitching her tent’ among the poorest of the poor in the slums of Kolkata. She had to face several obstacles all through her life but she faced them squarely, proving that she was truly a woman of substance.

She was often accused of “conversion” (that continues even today from the RSS and their ilk). In March 1996 when she visited Ahmedabad, the Municipal Commissioner hosted a reception at his residence inviting several eminent citizens of the city and also the Mayor and her husband to it. The Mayor’s husband wanted to trap Mother with that stereo-typed question, (in full glare of the media) “Mother, why do you want to convert people?” – pat came a reply “who am I to convert?I can never convert. Only God converts! From this moment onwards, I will pray to God to convert you too”. The ‘protester’ stood there just too shell-shocked to say another word! Mother Teresa proved that she had the courage of her convictions!

5 Sep 2018 - 09:05

Dhaka: The Catholic Church in Bangladesh plans to treat the welfare of families and poverty, as well as environmental protection and migrant welfare, as pastoral priorities in the next decade. New guidelines state that such an approach would "give witness" to the Church in the low-lying nation. A 12-point 'mission statement' was issued at the end of a national pastoral workshop of the Catholic Church held Aug. 28-31 at the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Bangladesh secretariat in the capital, Dhaka. It was themed 'Communion: Witness of the Church in Bangladesh.' 
Pastoral priorities are to include spirituality of communion in individual, family and social life as well as the formation of faith, evangelization and pastoral services. Also cited was educational opportunities and values formation together with family life and pastoral services to marginalized communities and the poor. Further, priority would be afforded to socio-economic development and self-reliance, inter-religious harmony and Christian unity as well as enhancing religious vocations and services.  There would also be an emphasis on safeguarding the environment, civic rights' awareness and improving health services, advancing political engagement and the adopting of new technologies as well as use of the mass media. The workshop drew about 200 participants, including all the archbishops and bishops of eight Catholic dioceses, and representatives of clergy, religious and laypeople along with social and political leaders from across Bangladesh. The Church's pastoral priorities aimed to meet challenges of the times, said Holy Cross Archbishop Moses M. Costa of Chittagong, who was the president of organizing committee. The announced priorities would be the Church's guiding light for the faithful to be emboldened through a sense of communion, he said. 
The detailed pastoral guidelines would be distributed with a view to dioceses determining how to implement them, Archbishop Costa told Multi-faceted challenges could result in discord and disunity, he said, adding that great feats could be achieved if people work together. Diocese-wide pastoral workshops would be held to consider the priorities, said Bishop James Romen Boiragi of Khulna in southern Bangladesh, which is vulnerable to climate change. As well as the formation of communion, the resulting diocesan pastoral plan would seek to tackle adverse impacts of climate change, Bishop Boragi told Many Catholics see the pastoral plan as needed, but difficult to implement. "Nowadays, faithful in many places are gradually distancing themselves from clergy and religious, largely because priests and religious are less interested in pastoral and family visits," Babli Talang, an ethnic Khasia Catholic woman from north-eastern Sylhet Diocese told "Also, church officials often fail to take up a strong stance on issues of justice and peace. "Priests and religious need to be close to people in order to make the pastoral plan a reality." While the issuing of pastoral priorities is seen as a positive thing, there are concerns that the Church has in the past been lacking in fulfilling them. "Issues like migration, climate change, concern for the poor and indigenous communities are really important," said Kerubin Hembrom, an ethnic Santal Catholic from northern Dinajpur Diocese. "My concern is church officials cannot fulfil them alone unless laypeople are strongly involved. "In many places, people are not closely attached to the Church despite being members, so the Church has a lot to do to unite people and work for common good." In Muslim-majority Bangladesh, with a population of 160 million, Christians account for less than a half percent or about 600,000 people. The Catholic Church has about 350,000 members, from Bengali and indigenous ethnic groups, in eight Catholic dioceses. 

Source: UCAN

5 Sep 2018 - 08:52

The Church in India on August 25 organized programs in various parts of the country to observe the tenth anniversary of the anti-Christian violence in Kandhamal, a district in Odisha state.

More than 1,500 people attended a function in Bhubaneswar the capital of Odisha.

“We feel the pain of what happened but no anger. Our religion does not allow us to keep anger,” said Bishop Theodore Mascarenhas, secretary general of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI), one of the prelates who attended the program at St Joseph’s High School grounds in Bhubaneswar.

Bishop Mascarenhas thanked God for “the gift of faith” of Kandhamal martyrs and prayed for a change of heart of the perpetrators of the violence. The prelate also prayed for justice for the victims and the “grace for all Indians to live in peace and harmony,”

The theme of the event was “Praying for peace, reconciliation, and harmony.” The CBCI and the Archdiocese of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar, Odisha, jointly organized the program.

A new book on Kandhamal, “Flames of Faith in Kandhamal,” was released on the occasion.

The book’s author Father Udayanath Bishoyi, a native of Kandhamal and professor of theology, prayed for peace in Kandhamal.

In New Delhi, more than 300 people attended a prayer meeting organized the Delhi archdiocese and the Indian unit of Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF). They prayed for the survivors of Kandhamal violence and justice for them. The meeting also prayed for the nation, its leaders, judiciary, law enforcers and the flood-affected people of Kerala.

Kishore Digal, a Kandhamal survivor and a pastor, shared what he and his family experienced during the riots and afterwards.

Human rights activist Father Ajay Kumar Singh explained the current situation in Kandhamal and the state government’s reluctance to pay enhanced compensation to the survivors as ordered the by Supreme Court in 2016. He noted that some people who attacked Christians in Kandhamal were their friends and associates.

New Delhi also witnessed a national “Convention and Exhibition” on Kandhamal violence on August 25.

A group of artists and photographers attended the event pegged “Kandhamal: Never Again” at Constitution Club.

The event captured the ten years since of impunity, communal terror, intimidation, impunity, complicity, an elusive justice, no rehabilitation, and broken lives. The images of paintings and pictures will show the sheltered calmness of the fields and the forests hide a brutal past and an uneasy present.

Some photos exhibited were by photographer and journalist Joe Athialy, who works with the Centre for Financial Accountability. He contributes photos in National Geography Magazine

On August 23, Swami Agnivesh, eminent social activist and Hindu reformist leader, released the Hindi translation of the investigative book ‘Who Killed Swami Laxmanananda?’ by veteran journalist Anto Akkara at a function in New Delhi. A documentary on “Innocents Imprisoned” was screened at the program.

Violence against the Christians of Odisha erupted in Kandhamal district with untold savagery, ‎with ‎Hindu ‎right-wing groups blaming Christians for the August 23, 2008, murder of Hindu ‎leader ‎Swami ‎Laxmanananda Saraswati, despite Maoist rebels claiming the assassination.

More than 100 people were killed and at least 64,000 displaced.

According to local sources, although over 3,300 complaints were made to the police, only 727 cases went to trial in fast-track courts, where more than 88 percent of the accused were acquitted.

Source: Matters India

27 Aug 2018 - 16:17


An endowment fund has been launched to honour the legacy of Fr Adolfo Nicolás SJ, Superior General of the Society of Jesus from 2008 to 2016.  The fund will support the work of the East Asian Pastoral Institute (EAPI), where Fr Nicolás was director from 1978 to 1984.  The mission of EAPI is so close to his heart that after his resignation as Superior General in October 2016, he asked to return to EAPI as spiritual director and consultant.

The Adolfo Nicolás EAPI Endowment Fund was officially launched on August 4 at a testimonial dinner held at the Ateneo de Manila University, hosted by the Jesuit Conference of Asia Pacific and the Philippine Province. More than 100 Jesuits and friends gathered to honour Fr Nico, as he is fondly called, and to bid him farewell as he was to leave for his home province of Japan on August 6.

Several of Fr Nicolás’ friends sent video testimonials.  Among them were current Superior General Fr Arturo Sosa, Regional Assistant for Asia Pacific Fr Danny Huang, Myanmar Mission Superior and former JCAP President Fr Mark Raper and former Japanese Provincial Fr Shogo Sumita.

Fr Nicolás had not wanted a testimonial dinner or to be immortalised in an endowment fund, but he agreed to both because of his affection for EAPI. “We know you are one who does not wish to be in the limelight … but you have allowed it only because you believe it is for EAPI and not for yourself,” said Philippine Provincial Fr Primitivo Viray Jr SJ.

This attitude was, as Jesuit Conference of Asia Pacific President Fr Tony Moreno SJ said, “typical of Fr Nico, always self-effacing, never self-referential”. His humility was clear in his message to the guests, read for him because of his slowed speech.  In it, Fr Nicolás said, “In this distinguished audience, there certainly are those who ask themselves for the meaning of today’s supper. Why a person, Adolfo Nicolás, who otherwise appears to be rather normal, in a time of so many, would give his name to a pastoral Institute and to fundraising? The answer is simple: because he believes in pastoral institutes.”
Fr Nicolás believes that “in Asia it is not enough to say that we must be humble and imbued by the sense of mystery and the like. Rather, we have to show the way, and this is pastoral”.

EAPI serves the local churches in Asia Pacific with its focus on pastoral formation in the spirit of the Second Vatican Council. It envisions a new way of being Church by offering priests, religious men and women and laity a unique experience of learning and formation in community. The endowment fund will be used primarily to provide scholarships for participants from poorer countries and for maintaining the facilities.

Cardinal Charles Maung Bo, Archbishop of Yangon and an EAPI alumnus, flew to Manila for the occasion. “Surely Fr Nicolás will be embarrassed by my words of appreciation. It comes from my heart because I have personally tasted his love for our Myanmar Church,” said Cardinal Bo who is the fund’s honorary chairman.

Cardinal Bo spoke of how EAPI has helped pilgrims like him find healing and a sense of belonging to a universal society. “For many priests and church personnel who came from Myanmar, emotionally, spiritually bruised and broken, the stay in EAPI was comprehensively healing… We went back with a great resolve to be better disciples of Jesus.”

Archbishop Gabriele Giordano Caccia, Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines, gave the apostolic blessing Pope Francis imparted with affection to Fr Nicolás and to all those present.

Cardinal Bo said that EAPI needs to reinvent itself as a new generation of Christians and Church emerges. “Politically and socially the world is on a spiral. Institutions like EAPI are vital. I am glad it is seeking monetary support for new efforts. The name of Fr Adolfo Nicolás is a live wire to this effort.”

The testimonial dinner raised about US$200,000 towards the endowment fund.  “The total target is of course huge, but for this initial phase of fundraising, we have set for ourselves the modest target of about US$1 million,” said EAPI Director Fr Peter Pojol SJ.  He thanked the many people who gave their support.  “We continue to count on you and many others like you to further the work of EAPI and the dream of Fr Nico,” he said. > > >



22 Aug 2018 - 19:32