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On this sacred day, we listen to the story of the passion of Jesus as told by John the Evangelist. When you listen to this account, you find it to be simply overwhelming. It is almost too much to take in at once. The passion of Jesus is a gripping drama that reaches down inside of us and evokes our deepest and strongest emotions. It almost defies words of commentary or explanation.

Each of us has stood near the cross at particular moments in our lives. We know this place well. The situation may have involved the serious illness or loss of a family member, grappling with a broken relationship, experiencing a terrible disappointment, facing a disability, a communal riot, unjust persecution, brutal lynching and murder of the 'other' or a thousand other things. Whatever the situation, we know that standing near the cross is indeed a painful place to be. The Gospels do not suppress or gloss over the pain of the cross. In an era in which talk about a Messiah who had been crucified sounded ludicrous to many people, the Christian Scriptures presented the death of Jesus directly and vividly. For Christians, keeping the memory of Jesus’ death is a living reminder that we are never alone as we stand near the cross in our own lives. While our faith does not magically remove the pain of that place, you and I are assured that Jesus, the crucified Son of God, is in solidarity with us at that place. He is intimately close to us because he has experienced that place in the most personal and intense way possible.

Standing near the cross of Jesus is also, however, a powerful place to be. It is powerful not because God finds any joy in human suffering. It was human beings, not God the Father, who put Jesus on the cross. Christianity is not a cult of suffering. Standing near the cross of Jesus is a powerful place to be because it is the place where the power of God is present and at work – quietly, faithfully, patiently at work from within. At his own moment of death, Jesus held on to the hand of his Abba God, and, even in this hour of darkness, experienced communion with this tenaciously faithful God. And God was present and on the move to bring life out of death. The flow of blood and water from the pierced side of Christ is a sign of that new life that will become manifest in the raising of Jesus from the dead.

For us, too, despite its pain, standing near the cross can be a powerful place to be. It is, in our context of unjust treatment, accusation, harrasment, violence, leagal hurdles, hatred and hate violence, killing and ethnic cleansing.....Standing near the cross of Jesus is a painful and a powerful place to be. As we pray this Good Friday, we are invited to stand there with Jesus and his disciples. And we are called to trust that what is happening there is what happens wherever the God of Jesus Christ is present: God is faithfully present and at work to bring life out of death. We believe that this, in fact, is what God does for a living.

29 Mar 2018 - 19:22

Dhaka: Bangladeshi Church is mourning the death of a prominent priest who taught at the country's only major seminary for decades and played a vital role in the translation and editing of important Church documents, including those of the Second Vatican Council.

Father Bernard Palma passed away in Dhaka on March 23 following a cardiac arrest. He was 75.

He was buried at the Holy Rosary Catholic Church cemetery in central Dhaka on March 24 after the funeral Mass celebrated by Cardinal Patrick D'Rozario of Dhaka and attended by thousands of Catholics.

"Father Bernard was a vital to the church and the living embodiment of the spirit of the Second Vatican Council. He was a man of wisdom and prayerfulness. His life and works have made a lasting contribution to the church," Cardinal D'Rozario said during the homily.

Father Palma entered Little Flower Minor Seminary in Dhaka in 1956 and studied at Christ the King Major Seminary at Karachi, Pakistan, from 1965 and in 1971 was ordained a priest 1971.

He studied dogmatic theology at the Pontifical Urbanian University in Rome, where he did his doctorate.

From 1981-2006, he taught at the Holy Spirit National Major Seminary and was editor of various theological publications.

He authored several books and translated into Bengali language the Catechism of the Catholic Church and documents of the Second Vatican Council.

From 2006-2013, he was the spiritual director of St. Joseph's Seminary and retired from active priestly ministry in 2014. 

28 Mar 2018 - 07:10

Two days of Jesuit Conference Core Team on analysing the current issues of the Assistancy met at Delhi on 26 and 27 March 2018. Dr. Rudy Heredia SJ presented the Concept paper on "Another India is Possible: Contradictions and Dilemmas in Indian Society". There was quality intellectual discourse on 6 major areas of concern. As per the purpose of the formation of the Core Team, it will come out with research papers and findings time to time.Out of the 13 members from all over India 11 of them attended this important meeting. The Core Team will deciminate their findings to POSA and JCSA and all the Jesuits in the Assistancy.     

27 Mar 2018 - 14:11

It is said that the title that Ignatius liked most about himself was ‘Inigo the Pilgrim’.  There was this ‘wanderlust’ in him, not just for travelling but for seeking.  Ablaze with God, Ignatius never stopped seeking. God is the ever-greater one, always ‘upsetting’ the point of arrival. Manresa and Montserrat are not past stations for Inigo; they were permanent spaces in him even when he was settled in Rome.                                 

Jesuits are in ever-seeking and eve-finding mode - unsettled settlers, always at home and always on the move.  This dynamic dimension of our call distinguishes us from others.  Pope Francis surprises us yet again in the new Sapientia Christiana, when e says: “The theologian who is satisfied with his complete and conclusive thought is mediocre. The good theologian and philosopher has an open, that is, an incomplete, thought, always open to the maius of God and of the truth, always in development, according to the law that Saint Vincent of Lerins described in these words: annisconsolidetur, dilatetur tempore, sublimeturaetate (Commonitoriumprimum, 23: PL 50, 668)”. Pope Francis seems to have captured this pilgrim mind-set of Inigo: ever seeking, always developing and on the move.

Are we Jesuits losing this pilgrim mind-set of Inigo? Have we become settlers looking for tenure in an institutional set up? Or are we perennial seekers? Are we perceived as ‘seekers’ of God?  Or are we seen as ‘vendors’ of religion as Gandhiji had once said of Christian missionaries? Do we have an ‘experience’ of the Ultimate that we want to share with our fellow-citizens, rather than institutional benefits that we want to advertise?

In ‘Why I am a Hindu’, ShashiTHaroor says that he loves Hinduism for its flexibility and open-endedness in belief systems, and distances himself from Hindutva that is so rigid and narrow. Do genuine seekersfind a home with us Jesuits?

We are surrounded by settlers who define the borders and consider others as alien. Cow-nationalism,  saffron-religion and crony-capitalism make perfect bed-fellows. The perennial quest for the Ultimate that marked the soul of India is deliberately forgotten and consciously abandoned for the trivial.

The task ahead for us is to go back to our roots; to rediscover the spiritual quest; to continue travelling. Let us form circles of seekers; citizens of a republic where everyone is welcome; everywhere is home.

George Pattery,sj

 

22 Mar 2018 - 17:30

PROMOTING WRITING SKILLS AMONG THE JUNIORS OF THE ASSISTANCY

In order to promote writing skills among the Juniors of our Assistancy, we conduct every year competitions in essay writing and short story. The topic of the essay competition this year is: “A Jesuit Response to the Prevailing Climate of Divisiveness, Hate and Intolerance”. Short story could be written on any theme. Each Juniorate conducts the competitions among its Juniors and the best two essays and two short stories are selected as entries to the final competition at the Assistancy level. I am happy to announce the results of the competitions held this academic year.

On behalf of the Assistancy I heartily congratulate the winners of the first, second and third places and equally do I appreciate all the Juniors who took part in these competitions. I am grateful to all the Deans of the Juniorate for having encouraged and conducted this to promote writing skills among our Juniors. May they continue to develop their writing skills to communicate the values of life.

  • Raj Irudaya, S.J.

           ADF

ESSAY COMPETITION

 

PLACE

NAME OF JUNIOR

JUNIORATE

FIRST PLACE

Sch. Dominic Dukru, S.J. (KHM)

MUMBAI

SECOND PLACE

Sch. Abhay Kispotta, S.J. (MAP)

PATNA

THIRD PLACE

Sch. Aaron D’Lima, S.J.  (KAR)

TRIVANDRUM

 

SHORT STORY COMPETITION

 

PLACE

NAME OF JUNIOR

JUNIORATE

FIRST PLACE

Sch. Brennan Baptista, S.J.  (BOM)

MUMBAI

SECOND PLACE

Sch. Sushil Hansda, S.J. (DUM)

KOLKATA

THIRD PLACE

Sch. Dominic Sebastian, S.J.  (AND)

KOLKATA

 

22 Mar 2018 - 08:42

(12-Mar-2018)

Father General Arturo Sosa inaugurated the Jubilee Year of Saint Aloysius Gonzaga at the Church of Saint Ignatius in Rome, on 9 March. About 100 priests concelebrated with Father General, and a large congregation participated in the Mass. The Aloysian Jubilee Year will run from 9 March 2018 to 9 March 2019.

Aloysius Gonzaga (1568-1591) gave up a privileged life and a princely inheritance to live the vows of religious life even to the point of contracting the plague because of his selfless care for people already sick with it. He was the eldest son of the Marquis of Castiglione, and heir to the family title. The Gonzagas were known as patrons of Renaissance artists, and they ruled what amounted to a kingdom.

Below is Father General's homily at the inauguration of the Aloysian Jubilee Year.

Fr Arturo Sosa, S.I.
Inauguration of the Jubilee Year of Aloysius Gonzaga
Homily - 9 March 2018
Church of Saint Ignatius
Rome

The youthfulness of Saint Louis Gonzaga is not only a matter of age. It is youth that comes from freedom, the freedom to discern to make decisions in harmony with God's plan, and the willingness to lead a life consistent with the choice made. For this reason, we welcome the happy coincidence of the dates of the Aloysian Jubilee Year, the death of Stanislao Kostka, the Synod on youth, faith and vocational discernment, and the World Youth Day.

The freedom that makes us young people is the result of the liberation that humanity receives from the Incarnation and Resurrection of Jesus. Jesus, the Son, who became one of us, opens the way to liberation, the fruit of love that gives life, because we all have life in abundance. The encounter of every human being with Jesus frees him from everything that prevents him from following the path of the gift of love. The encounter with Jesus changes our way of seeing, what our narrow gaze has imposed upon us.

Liberation in Christ invites us to take the paths we have never imagined before. Roads that we do not know where they will lead us; but it is not necessary to know because this acquired freedom derives from faith, it derives from trust placed only in God, who will guide us with his Holy Spirit. Freedom consists in maintaining our entire trust in God alone, and in letting ourselves be guided towards Him along the paths that he wants to reveal to us at the time.

From the moment he was liberated in Christ, Saint Paul can affirm: I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ--the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. (Phil. 3:8-9)

To make oneself young, leaving infancy behind, means to go out of oneself, to accept that the centre of real life lies outside of us, in the love that we have received. The experience of being loved is the source of the liberation process, with which it is possible to make fundamental decisions. To make an election, in the language of Ignatian spirituality. Young people dream of a different life, better than the one they know around them. Inner freedom awakens the desire to contribute to making this better life real, and leads to the need to choose a way to do so.

Youthfulness is also the ability to discern in such a way as to find, in one's inner movements and in the experiences of one's own history, how the Lord continues to act in the world and confirms the call to follow him. The call to help reconcile human beings with one another, and to take care of our common home, this universe in which we live with such neglect, and also with Him, our creator.

Discernment demands that we live free from the rules that impose offerings and sacrifices on us in the name of God. That we follow love as the only way of true life and the only commandment, as the scribe who asks Jesus to understand well: "Well said, teacher," the man replied. "You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him. To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbour as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices." (Mk 12:32-33). This is what Ignatius calls indifference to any social, family or other kind of pressure that limits the willingness to set out on the road, having as sole guide the Holy Spirit.

Freeing oneself is a process of conversion, through which the experience of the Father's merciful love allows the forgiven sinner to prepare oneself to love one's neighbour as oneself, to listen to the Son's call to offer oneself, to contribute to the proclamation of the Good News of the Gospel. Freedom, experienced as indifference, brings us closer to others, to those who are different, to those who are most in need... to all those who are discarded by a sin that has become a social structure of exclusion. By approaching them as fruit of having experienced the closeness of the Lord, we make ourselves close and ready to be sent, so that we may in all things love and serve.

Young people also have enthusiasm and a strong desire to dedicate themselves totally to accomplishing what has been chosen. For the young man, the liberating experience of mercy, which frees him, is not enough. The conversion that leads him to choose to follow Christ and be sent is not enough. The young man puts all his energy into making real what he has dreamed, desired and decided to do. The young man, as the verse of the Psalm says, which composes the antiphon of today's Eucharist, is the one who has innocent hands and pure heart: he will ascend to the mountain of the Lord, and will remain in his holy place. Innocent hands and pure hearts are the fruit of conversion, which leads to freedom and the desire to love and serve in everything. It is to set out on the road and climb to the mountain of the Lord, collaborating with his mission of reconciliation in this world.

The Eucharist that we celebrate to start this Jubilee Year of St. Aloysius Gonzaga is a good opportunity to ask the Lord for the grace of this youth, with which our heart remains in tune with His plan for the liberation of humanity, and we give ourselves totally to make it possible.

Translated from Italian

 

21 Mar 2018 - 17:19

Pope Francis surprised us in Dhaka: ‘God’s presence is Rohingyas,’ he said. This is a remarkable challenge for us in 2018. We, the Jesuits of South Asia, respond to this challenge by committing ourselves to the Rohingyas sheltered in Cox’s Bazaar in Bangladesh, through JRS. Frs. Jeyaraj Veluswamy and Francis Dores (Calcutta Jesuits, the latter from Bangladesh) are spearheading this mission with the active support from Joe Xavier (Deputy Director, JRS International) and Stan Fernandes (Regional Director, JRS South Asia). We undertake this mission in partnership with Caritas Bangladesh. We wish them well and promise our continued support. South Asian Assistancy is in the process of consolidating the three confluences that we have been witnessing in the last three years: 1) Re-orienting for Greater Apostolic Effectiveness (REGAE Phase I & II); 2) GC 36 Decree on ‘Reconciliation and Justice’, and 3) Apostolic priorities with strategic support from the Assistancy Development Office. These are mutually influencing each other and leading to a consolidation phase. It is happening in three distinct ways: 1) The Second Phase of REGAE is advancing with zonal level consultation animated by Franco Fernando; 2) GC 36 Decree on Reconciliation is being followed up with a Nodal Platform on Peace and Reconciliation based at the LIPI Centre (Kochi) with close collaboration from Indian Social Institute in Delhi; 3) Apostolic priorities are getting focused with emphasis on the three pillars of non-formal education, skills-building and ecology mission. The consolidation phase will get further strengthened with the on-going processes of discernment in all the Provinces and Regions on Universal Apostolic Priorities. We enter upon this consolidation process with discernment in common as our way that will take us to greater collaboration and net-working. Let us study and deepen ‘Discernment in Common’ in 2018. At GC 36 we were introduced to ‘spiritual conversation’ with active listening and intentional speaking as effective means of discernment in common. Let our meetings and deliberations be permeated by a discerning attitude so as to arrive at decisions that are owned up and carried forward by all. May the God of surprises visit us throughout this year with numerous unexpected graces in the process of consolidation.

POSA

19 Mar 2018 - 12:40

Authors' observations show how religion and politics are intertwined on the subcontinent.

Marking Pope Francis' five years in office, two Indian Jesuits have compiled a book collecting reflections of more than 50 church leaders on how they have applied the Jesuit pope's insights in their own lives.Jesuit Fathers Kuruvilla Pandikattu and Father Vadappur Jose, both professors at the Jesuit-run Papal Seminary in Pune city in western India, edited the book, Francis Effect.

The book carries reflections of 51 authors, 49 of them Indians, explaining the influence Pope Francis has had on the Indian Church and society as well as wider matters such as the relationship between religion and science.
 

 

 

Fr. Bhausaheb Sansare releasing the book Francis Effect by and gave first copy to Fr. Sony Chundattu, Principal Christ College.
Jesuit Father Antonio Spadaro, editor-in-chief of the journal La Civilta Cattolica, writes in the foreword that the primary aim of the book remains to disseminate the thoughts of Pope Francis among Indians.

He said the effort will enhance spirituality among practitioners of all faiths in a cradle of civilization that Pope Paul VI described as a nation that had "sought God in constant desire, in deep meditation, in silence and in hymns of fervent prayer."

Cardinal Oswald Gracias, president of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India, describes it as inspiring, while Cardinal Baselios Cleemis, head of the Eastern Syro-Malankara rite, suggests there is "spiritual profit" in store for readers.

The book was released on March 13 at the seminary to mark five years since Pope Francis assumed office.

Papal seminary rector Father Bhausaheb Sansare said Pope Francis draws people to experience God's unconditional love, laying the foundation for inter-faith ministries.

This book, an Indian contribution to the whole church, is an invitation to encounter God, to dialogue with other traditions, to embrace the poor and to promote life, Father Pandikattu said.

Source: UCAN

16 Mar 2018 - 05:53

Noted Hindi Literarian Rev. Fr. Dr. Camil Bulckey SJ (a Belgian Jesuit who arrived in India in the 1930's) died at the age of 76 in Delhi in 1985. He was cremated there itself. After a long struggle, his sacred relics have been brought to Ranchi, his "कर्मभूमि" yesterday by the Air India Flight. Rev. Fr. Ranjit SJ escorted the relics box from Delhi to Ranchi. 

The Ranchi Jesuit Provincial Fr. Dr. J. Marianus Kujur, Director of XISS Fr. Dr. Alexius Ekka, Principal of St. Xavier's College 

In a colourful procession with tribal dancers leading the way, the sacred relics were carried to Manresa House, Fr. Dr. Camil Bulckey Road (the road named in his honour), Ranchi in an open decorated vehicle under the leadership of the Jesuit Provincial and Fr. Ajit. Students of St. John's School and the intelligentsia of Ranchi gathered in large Numbers at Manresa House. 

A brief function was organized at the Manresa House Chapel, where three eminent educationists of Jharkhand paid eloquent homage to the state's Literary Hero. Fr. Bulckey has to his credit the compilation of the English-Hindi Dictionary, the translation of Ram Charit Manas into English, numerous books, publications and research papers in Hindi. He was the Head of the Department of Hindi at St. Xavier's College Ranchi. He represented India in the International Hindi Literary Forums. At a very early age, he had accepted Indian Citizenship.

The sacred relics of Padma Bhushan Fr. Dr. Camil Bulckey SJ were carried in a procession from Manresa House Chapel to St. Xavier's College and laid in a SAMADHI in the campus. His huge idol has been placed on the entrance of the College, below which a grand ceremony was organized, chaired by His Eminence Telesphore P. Toppo, The Cardinal. 

Several eminent Hindi Literarians and Scholars from Shyama Prasad Mukherjee University, Sidho-Kanho-Murmu University, Neelamber Pitambar University and Vinoba Bhave University, apart from Jesuit Priests praised the works, life and times of Fr. Bulckey. All speakers reiterated that now Ranchi is complete, and the journey of Fr. Dr. Camil Bulckey has also been completed, once his sacred remains have become one with the soil of Ranchi. 

Jesuit Alumni in good numbers from St. Xavier's School Doranda, St. Xavier's College, XISS, St. John's High School and Prabhat Tara School graced today's function. 

We, as Jesuit Alumni, owe our heartfelt tributes to all the Jesuit Fathers, who have sacrificed their, lives, their families and themselves for our good ! 

Dr. Devendra Singh

JAAI National President

 

14 Mar 2018 - 18:07

As part of the ongoing programme for Re-orienting the Jesuit Conference a Three days of intense Reorienting for Greater Apostolic Effectiveness (REGAE) was held at XLRI, Jamshedpur. This was for the Central Zone which consists of Jamshedpur, Dumka, Hazaribag, Madhyapradesh and Ranchi Provinces of the South Asian Conference. Each province were represented by 7 'significant' Jesuits from varied apostolates and 3 Common House representative (Rector of DNS Pune, Rector of VJ, Delhi and JEASA Secretary), along with POSA, Rev. George Pattery. 

The coordination committee consisted of Fernando Franco, RC Chacko, Jossie De Mello, Francis Minj and Joe Arun. They prepared the entire 3 days so meticulosly and truely Ignatian way. The entire process of discernment was through spiritual conversation, prayer, sharing in groups and active listening. Every one was so touched by the way the Spirit of God worked in each and everyone. We were initiated to the Discerning Mission and Governane in the Jesuit Conference of South Asia.

The entire excersice was aimed at prioriticing the Assistancy thrust in Mission and Zonal and Province level implementation of it. In and through the process, participants of the Central Zone workshop took responsibility for designing, planning and conducting the Zonal programmes. We decided to train all our members of the Zone through 18 such training programmes in the duration of next 10 months. To that we have identified trainers from each province, and places for the meetings. 

In the South Asian context and the demands of the GC 36 invites us all to be more effective, Ignatian oriented, and consolidating our mission by joining together as a universal body. As a body of Central zone, considering the demographic and geographic challenges, it warrents us to be more sharing and caring in mission to be more effective and affective.

In the words of our POSA, George Pattery, "the discussions, and process adopted were of high quality and truely Ignatian. A genuine will to work as a universal body in the Central Zone was manifested by everybody. There the Finger of God was active in guiding us all from the beginning till the end'. The Conference and the Zone got a clarity orientation in mission and missioary thrust through this REGAE.  

Sunny Jacob SJ

12 Mar 2018 - 07:12

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