Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Fr.Francis Mendonca S.j - By Hedwig Lewis SJ

“Su Sneha Navajeevanaya”


1931 - 2010

By Hedwig Lewis SJ

On his Golden Jubilee in the Society in 2001, Fr Francis Mendonca was asked: Do you have any “motto” for life? His response revealed his personal conviction: “Yes. I’ve composed it in Sanskrit: Su Sneha Navajeevanaya. It means: True Love and Service lead to New Life (Resurrection).”

To live up to his motto, Francis rendered valuable service to the Church and the Society in a variety of apostolates: as lecturer in St Xavier’s College, youth chaplain, retreat director, promoter of Basic Christian Communities and of ‘Jeevan Darshan’; and parish priest. He has lived and worked in different communities, both as superior and as an active member. He took ill on 26 December and was rushed from Waghodia to a hospital in Vadodara. He was put on ventilators and declared dead on 28 December.

New Priest- Fr.Cyprian Monis s.j - Fr.Cedric Prakash

Cyprian Monis was ordained Priest by Bishop Aloysius Paul Dsouza of Mangalore on December 27th..Two other Jesuits for the Karnataka Province were ordained together with him

The Ordination Ceremony ,con celebrated by over 70 Priests, was a solemn and a spiritually enriching event for the large crowd gathered at the St Aloysius College Hall..Cyprian was led to the altar by his aged mother and brother

A tastefully prepared back drop and a choir which led the Congregation in song added to the solemnity of the service, which was completely in Konkani

Apart from the fact that he was ordained ,Cyprian could not hide his delight that there was a fairly large contingent from Gujarat which included. Jerry Sequeira,Lawrence Lobo, Felix Gonsalves,Robert Mascarenhas,Erwin Lasrado,Maxim Crasta,Ronald Sanctis and Cedric Prakash.

Jerry,in shhudh Konkani spoke at the public felicitation Ceremomy which followed the ordinations. All now look forward to Cyprian s first Mass tomorrow which will take in his home parish of St Peter Claver.,Arva...some 60 kms away from Mangalore

Fr. Cedric Prakash sj

Monday, December 27, 2010

G.C.34- A Revisitation! --Kamlesh raval.

Ignatian Assignment Year 2010-2011

The major work of General Congregation 34 has been the revision of our Law and the orientation of our mission for today. It was good on the part of the congregation to evaluate the mission so we could come to know where we stand and to which direction we are heading.
1.United with Christ on Mission

The first decree which is “united with Christ on Mission”. This decree emphasizes on the faith perspective. The decree by this topic does show its concern for the Jesuits in terms of faith of Christ and faith like Christ.

Ignatius our founder presents a Christ who is on the move, traveling through villages and visiting synagogues to preach the Kingdom, going where people dwell and work.

I have seen the Jesuits working in Gujarat from my childhood they all carried this zeal to establish the Kingdom of God. When I did my course with our province historian Fr. M. Diaz Garriz I came to know so many Jesuits who gave their life for the mission of Gujarat. They hade no proper accommodation to live in and no proper food to fill their stomach. In-spite of this difficulties they worked tirelessly to established the kingdom of God. They lived with the people and ate with the people whatever they could get. Today it is concern for the province that we are living and a modern world and so there is a possibility of carried away with the wind of the modern world. When there were no means to approach to people the missionaries went walking or swimming but now when there are means available to reach to the people the question arises how far do we utilize those means? There is a constant complain of the people that they are not visited regularly. So from this decree I want to conclude that though the 34th congregation has given some guidelines we have somehow failed to follow them. We need to bring back that zeal and enthusiasm back in our life for the propagation of faith. Its time that we all say that as pilgrims on Christ’s mission, we are ready to be dispersed to any part of Christ’s vineyard, to labour in those parts of it and in those works which have been entrusted to us.

2.Servants of Christ’s Mission

The very word ‘servant’ is loosing its meaning and essence in today’s world. Son of man came to serve and not to be served. When Ignatius was confirmed in this mission at La Storta, the Eternal Father said to Christ, “I want you to take this man as your servant” it was at the will of the Father that Jesus Christ carrying his Cross as a standard of victory, took Ignatius as servant of his mission, to labour with him under that same Cross until his work is accomplished. It is a vision which confirms the call which Christ the Eternal King, extends in the Spiritual Exercises: “Whoever wishes to come with me has to be content with the same food I eat, and the drink, and the clothing which I wear, and so forth. So too each one must labour with me during the day, and keep watch in the night, and so on, so that later each one may have a part with me in the victory, just as each has shared in the toil.” Sp Ex [93].

If Christ and our founder Ignatius call us to be servants we need to keep in mind the role of a servant and work in the vineyard of God as servants and not as masters or Lord. Jesus has put forward a better example for us to be a good servant. On the day of last supper he had washed the feet of his disciples and had asked them to do like wise. By and large in Gujarat mission I have not observed Priests acting as Masters and Lord of all. We have kept up the identity which the GC 34 has given us as “servants of Christ on Mission”

3.Our Mission and Justice
In response to the Second Vatican Council, the Society of Jesus set out on a journey of faith as we committed ourselves to the promotion of justice as an integral part of our mission.

This is the area which is flourishing in a full swing these days. We have done enough in many ways. The promotion of justice has been integrated into traditional ministries and new ones, in pastoral work and social centers, in educating “men and women for other,” in direct ministry with the poor. The province has many institutions to witness that we are working earnestly for the Justice.

Several social institutes of our province speak on behalf of our ministry in the filed of Justice. Some of the well known institutes are like St. Xavier’s Social Service Society Ahmadabad, “SHAKTI” Legal Aid and Human Rights Centre, Rajpipla Social Service Society etc. These are the centers which are fighting for the rights of the people who can not afford to fight. The only draw back we Jesuits face is that many of us think that when it comes to the question of justice only these handful institutions are to fight for the downtrodden. The decree reminds each one of us that it is each Jesuit’s duty to fight for justice in whatever ministry he is involved in. The school people have to fight for the rights of the children and the pastors have to fight for the rights of their flock. I think if each Jesuit in his own responsive ministry tires to work for the justice I think the whole country will be at peace and people will get their justice.

To fight for the justice of people the requirement for it would be to be one among them. We need to live with them in the reality as Jesus dwelt among us. Our communities should be located among ordinary people wherever possible. I think most of our missions have this type of set up wherein people have an easy access to the Jesuits. The best example I could give is of ‘Ashadeep’. This is the institution where boys and girls feel at home to be with the fathers over there.

GC 34 suggested that during the formation young Jesuits should be in contact with the poor, not just occasionally, but in a more sustained manner. Gujarat Vidya Deep is such an institution from where we the theologians are given a privilege to be with the people on week ends.

4.Our Mission and Culture

The Christian message is to be open to all cultures, bound to no single culture and made accessible to every human person through a process of inculturation, by which the Gospel introduces something new into the culture and the culture brings something new to the richness of the Gospel:

“Through inculturation the church makes the Gospel incarnate in different cultures and at the same time introduces people, together with their cultures, into her own community. She transmits to them her own values, at the same time taking the good elements that already exist in them and renewing them from within”.

I have just come back from South Gujarat. I was sent to Bardipada mission for contextual theological program for 21 days. I have seen that south Gujarat has done justice to the General Congregation 34th in terms of Inculteration. Well not only south Gujarat but the in whole of Gujarat the Jesuits have tired their best to adopt the culture of the people because the Jesuits have understood what GC has to say that “Evangelization is not possible without inculturation. Inculturation is the existential dialogue between a living people and living Gospel.”

GC 34 has given some guidelines in context with the inculturation. We are living in a world which is rapidly changing day by day. Therefore to strike a balance between the local culture and western culture is not an easy task. When we talk about the mission of Gujarat we have local communities and the communities which have migrated from other parts of Gujarat. Now when a priest has to work with this multicultural society he finds it very hard to manage. Most of our Jesuit parishes have managed to keep the culture of the people rather then imposing a foreign culture.

Our province has Jesuits from all over India and that is why there is lot of cultural differences but apart from differences we have been working wonderfully that is because we are taught to adapt the cultures of other people. Right from the beginning of the formation a candidate is given ample opportunities to experience the culture of Gujarat in terms of work camps, mission experience or village experience. The study of theology does provide us with such exposure like Contextual Theological Program wherein a Jesuit scholastic goes to a particular village, studies the people and culture and thereafter presents the paper in the college.

The living example of inculturation is our Liturgy. The Gujarat Jesuits have beautifully involved the culture of people into liturgical celebration. Some of the adaptations are use of shawl during the mass, Arti, Prasad to those who are non Christians etc. The architects of our churches are of local temple styles.

So in conclusion I can say that we the Jesuits of Gujarat Province have done justice to the guidelines given to us by the GC34 for the inculturation.

5. Our Mission and Inter religious Dialogue

General Congregation 34 encourages all Jesuits to move beyond prejudice and bias, be it historical, cultural, social or theological, in order to cooperate wholeheartedly with all men and women of good will in promoting peace, justice, harmony, human rights and respect for all of God’s creation. This is to be done especially through dialogue with those inspired by religious commitment, or who share a sense of transcendence that opens them to universal values.

So far everybody followed St. Cyprian’s words “outside the church there is no salvation” but now the time has changed and there is a new understanding that there is no discrimination about the salvation. We have begun to be united with the other religions too. GC 34 mentions that Holy Father has repeatedly asked Jesuits to make interreligious dialogue an apostolic priority for the third millennium.

The province of Gujarat has considered the words of Holy Father and already taken some steps in the line of dialogue. Fr. Ishanand, Fr. Willaim and Fr. Vijay are doing some work in the apostolate of inter religious dialogue.

Since dialogue is becoming a global concern, such planning should include inter-Provincial and international exchange of persons which is visible in case of Fr. Jimmy Dabhi and Scholastic Sandesh who are rendering their service among the Muslim brethren of Afghanistan.

So I could firmly say that the Province has certainly done justice to the guidelines given to us in regard to inter religious dialogue.


This has been an enriching experience for me as I was writing the Ignatian Assignment on Decrees of GC 34. I had a chance to go through all the decrees and assimilate them for life in order to be strengthen in my future ministry. Finally I could say that yes GC 34 has really put all the Jesuits on a right track in terms of Faith, Justice, Culture and Inter religious dialogue.


Submitted by

Kamlesh K Raval S.J.

III Year Theologian

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

G C 35

Our Mission Statement

Challenges to our mission today:
Sent to the frontiers
In this new world
of worldwide markets ,
and of universal aspiration for peace and well being ,
we are faced with growing tensions and paradoxes
We live in a culture that shows partiality to autonomy and the present
and yet we have a world so much in need of building a future in solidarity ;
we have better means of communication
but often experience isolation and exclusion ;
some have greatly benefited ,
while others have been marginalized and excluded ;
our world is increasingly transnational ,
and yet it needs to affirm and protect local and particular identities;
scientific knowledge has reached the deepest mysteries of life ,
and yet the very dignity of life itself and the world we live in are threatened.

In this global world marked by such profound changes

we want to deepen our understanding of

the call to serve faith,

promote justice

and dialogue with culture and other religions

in the light of the apostolic mandate to establish right relationships
with God, with one another, and with creation

[35 th General Congregation Society of Jesus, 2008, Decree 3]
Jesus: A fire that kindles other fires

of instant communication and digital technology ,

Sunday, December 12, 2010


Times of India;  


Father Joseph Braganza s.j, one of the founding members of St.Xavier’s college, passed away on 11 December at the age of 90. Braganza was known for his contributions towards the education of the poor. An alumni of Columbia University, New York, Braganza taught English in 1956 at the college. He was one of the favorite teachers at the institute. During his tenure at the college as director of sports, he encouraged students to participate in sports. For almost quarter of a century, the college came up triumph in almost many sporting events. He spent several years in Ahmedabad slums teaching the under privileged children.  The college will remain closed on Monday.

Friday, December 10, 2010



S. Arul Rayan

The students today inhabit digital landscape and it comprises generations- not of family- but of technology such as 3G, PS4 and iPhone5. Their world has moved beyond their schools and colleges to encompass a 500 – channel television universe, the global gaming village and the endless internet. The teens of today were born with dial-up internet, learnt to crawl alongside the PC and practiced writing the alphabet on the touch-screens. To this generation of ‘screen-agers’, a world without keypads, joy-sticks, digicams, headphones and LCD and DLC is unimaginable. They view the world differently and connect with each other in unprecedented fashions.

The younger generations growing up with digital and internet technologies are using them for things that were not integral part to the technologies. For example, Facebook was only meant to be a social networking site. Twitter was merely a microblogging platform. And yet, we now see the young users using these spaces for political participation, social transformation and mobilizing of resources.

It is in the context of such generations of students the relevance of the Ignatian pedagogy becomes a matter for contemplation. Here I would like to reflect on the Ignatian pedagogy and the challenges that emerge in the present education system.


Jesuit education systematically incorporates methods from a variety of sources and contributes to the intellectual, social, moral, and religious formation of the whole person. In the underlying principle of Tantum Quantum, that which may work better is adopted and assessed while that which is proven ineffective is discarded.

The Ratio Studiorum of 1599 provided a coherent statement of operating methods and objectives for the hundreds of Jesuit colleges in Europe, Asia and the Americas that constituted a vast and growing education operation. While such a universal curriculum is impossible today, a systematically organized pedagogy whose substance and methods promote the explicit vision of the contemporary Jesuit educational mission is consistent with the Jesuit tradition. Ignatian Pedagogy embodies five key teaching elements: Context, Experience, Reflection, Action, and Evaluation.

Context: What needs to be known about learners (their environment, background, community, and potential) to teach them well? Cura personalis- personal care and concern for the individual- is a hallmark of Jesuit education, and requires that teachers become as conversant as possible with the context or life experience of the learner. Since human experience is always the starting point in a Jesuit education, educators must know as much as possible about the actual context within which teaching and learning take place. Teachers need to understand the world of the learner, including the ways in which family, friends, peers, and the larger society impact that world and effect the learner for better or worse.

Experience - What is the best way to engage learners as whole persons in the teaching and learning process? Teachers must create the conditions whereby learners gather and recollect the material of their own experience in order to distil what they understand already in terms of facts, feelings, values, insights and intuitions they bring to the subject matter at hand. Teachers later guide the learners in assimilating new information and further experience so that their knowledge will grow in completeness and truth.

Reflection - How may learners become more reflective so they more deeply understand what they have learned? Teachers lay the foundations for learning how to learn by engaging students in skills and techniques of reflection. Here memory, understanding, imagination, and feelings are used to grasp the essential meaning and value of what is being studied, to discover its relationship to other facets of human knowledge and activity, and to appreciate its implications in the continuing search for truth.

Action - How do we compel learners to move beyond knowledge to action? Teachers provide opportunities that will challenge the imagination and exercise the will of the learners to choose the best possible course of action from what they have learned. What they do as a result under the teacher's direction, while it may not immediately transform the world into a global community of justice, peace and love, should at least be an educational step towards that goal even if it merely leads to new experiences, further reflections and consequent actions within the subject area under consideration.

Evaluation -How do we assess learner’s growth in mind, heart, and spirit? Daily quizzes, weekly or monthly tests and semester examinations are familiar instruments to assess the degree of mastery of knowledge and skills achieved. Ignatian pedagogy, however, aims at evaluation which includes but goes beyond academic mastery to the learner’s well-rounded growth as persons for others. Observant teachers will perceive indications of growth or lack of growth in class discussions and students' generosity in response to common needs much more frequently.

The challenges today

I dream of an educational system where there is a give and take of knowledge. “The illiterates of the 21st century are not those who cannot read or write but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn.” It is said that ‘to teach is to learn’ and hence the lesson for a teacher is that he/she has to a lifelong learner. Be it from seniors, peers or even juniors, one has to constantly acquire knowledge and keep replenishing and reinforcing academic rigour.

‘Updating’, ‘twitting’, ‘scraping’, are some of the common vocabularies among the contemporary student community. By contemporary I mean the students of the 21st century, to whom technology is affordable and unavoidable. I shall base my reflection keeping in my mind such ‘privileged’ students. The middle class and the rural students have different needs and a detailed research could address them. As the love of God can’t be preached to the hungry and the naked and the homeless, if there is no school to learn the alphabets, then, there is no point in talking about ‘Google’, ‘’ and the like of the technology. When the basic necessities of life are fulfilled, one can talk of both god’s love and the appropriate use of sophisticated technology. What concerns me is the fact that the available technology to the affordable is not utilized to the full.

Gone are those days, I wish that they are really gone, where the intentions of the author of the text was insisted upon. With the developments of the hermeneutics, there are philosophers who emphasize that importance is given to the text and the intentions of the author need not to be known by the reader of the text. Let the text speak! They say. The text speaks to the students in various given context of the individual students. I believe that the interaction between the text and the context is more important than the intention of the author.

In our education system today, it remains a matter of apprehension, if the system is student-centered or teacher-centered? Even though there is a projected, wished-for, ideal phenomenon of student centered education; “Education today, student-centered or teacher-centered” is a topic for a dialectical and a dialogical dialogue. However, at the same time, one must admit that there is a paradigm shift in the teaching-learning process, where there is a move away from the teacher dominated style to a student centered style, where the aim of a teacher is to share and impart knowledge to the students, not just checking their ability to learn by heart. The best learning takes in the student-teacher interaction.

Students of today are better informed. The philosopher Gadamer in his hermeneutics argues that we can never approach a text without a pre-understanding. The students of today come to the classroom with some knowledge of the subject, thanks to the available technology. The knowledge that they come up with may be right or wrong, and that can be rectified in the process of a dialogical learning in the class room. The world over, the participation of students in the education process in increasing and a teacher is gradually assuming the role of a mentor or a coach. No longer is the ‘teacher a sage, but a guide by the side’ who is called upon to facilitate the student’s learning process.

It is time to reflect on the reasons that blocks us from benefiting the blessings of modern technology. Is it fear of mishandling? Or lack of dependence in the teachers on the ability of the students to appropriate the advantages? As men formed in the school of Ignatian discernment, we can educate the student-world to ‘use’ technology in so far as it helps us to gain ‘true’ knowledge, and abstain from it when it leads to ‘destruction’ of any kind.

The relevance of Ignatian Pedagogy today

There is a great need for introducing innovative methods of teaching enhanced by technology. Team teaching, video conferencing, the internet and modern technologies have helped improve the standards of disseminating knowledge. Teaching then, has moved into a fast track where the teacher has to juggle many balls at one go. Keeping abreast with new knowledge, interacting with the industry and corporate world to make the curriculum relevant, building international linkages, carrying out research and mentoring students has become a marathon task. Teachers have to hence multi skill themselves and learn to commit their best to the profession and bring back the shine on what was once known as the ‘noble profession’.

Ignatian Pedagogy promises to help teachers be better teachers. It enables teachers to enrich the content and structure of what they are teaching. It gives teachers additional means of encouraging learner initiative. It allows teachers to expect more of students, to call upon them to take greater responsibility for their own learning.

Ignatian Pedagogy personalizes learning. It asks learners to reflect upon the meaning and significance of what they are studying. It attempts to motivate students by involving them as critical active participants in the teaching-learning process. It aims for more personal learning by bringing student and teacher experiences closer together. It invites integration of learning experiences in the classroom with those of home, workplace, community, and ever-present human need. Ignatian Pedagogy stresses the social dimension of both learning and teaching. It encourages close cooperation and mutual sharing of experiences and reflective dialogue among learners. It relates student learning and growth to personal interaction and human relationships.

Ignatian Pedagogy is a process by which teachers accompany learners in the lifelong pursuit of competence, conscience, and compassionate commitment. Such a pedagogical paradigm can help teachers and learners to focus their work in a manner that is academically sound and at the same time formative of persons for others.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Ordination of Sunil Macwan - Harry Martis

Ordination of Sunil Macwan

Scholastic Sunil Macwan’s ordination was held in Gamdi Anand Parish on 27th of November with great solemnity. It was a day of accomplishment and celebration for Sunil, his near and dear ones and for the church of Gujarat. Bishop Thomas, besides Sunil ordained two more Jesuits for Kohima region, namely Samir and Pravin.

Bishop Thomas, in his homily stressed the importance of priest in the church, role and duty of the priest and also cooperation of the people of the church in promoting and encouraging priests in the mission.

Many faithful took part in the celebration including invitees who came to witness the ordination all the way from kohima. The whole ceremony went without a hitch. One could see the effort and hard work of the priests of Anand Jesuit Community and the people of the Gamdi Anand Parish throughout the celebration. Cudos to all, who have made the day memorable and beautiful!

Sch. Harry Martis SJ

Monday, November 22, 2010

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Being in the Context – An Experience - Sch. Harry Martis SJ

Being in the Context – An Experience
Sch. Harry Martis SJ
A priest is an asset to the Church, the community of believers. The seminarians are nourished and formed to serve the Church in the near future. They are to continue the mission of the Church in the changing times with creative fidelity in all the ways possible, according to one’s own capacity.
Through out the formation of a seminarian, mission exposures, work camps, study camps for the children in the missions, etc are organized to make him familiar with various cultures and customs of the people. During regency one is more exposed to the realities of villages in our missions. Contextual Theology Program (CTP) conducted every year during theological studies at GVD, where a student lives in a village at least for about two to three weeks is meant to provide a context for his theological reflections. Doing theology and simultaneously being in the context is altogether a different experience from doing it in the seminary campus alone.
It was my dream to stay in a village amidst people and pursue my theological studies at least for a semester. I stayed in a village, Umeta, eight miles away from Gujarat Vidya Deep. There is a well constructed chapel with an attached room which was my home from the beginning of this academic year till September 11.
Life in Umeta amidst ordinary people, who struggle to make both ends meet, was very different from the life in the seminary or in a parish compound. Various types of deprivations and inconveniences are integral part of life in a village. Clean drinking water is a dream for the villagers. Inequality is experienced in every aspect of the village life in terms of water facility, quality of streets, availability of streetlights, electricity, houses etc.
The mahollo in which I lived in Umeta is a close knit samaj. News of untoward events spreads very fast there. If something happens to one individual, the whole mahollo becomes aware of it and the life in general will be affected. Being in the village, one cannot avoid being affected by various social evils present there. Problems such as drinking, gambling, unemployment are very much prevalent in the village. Conflicts within families and between families are a common phenomenon. The level of school attendance and the quality of education in the village is a matter of great concern. I tried to respond to that in my own little way by offering tuitions to some children in my free time.
According to Reginaben, the eighty year old wife of the deceased catechist of the village, the whole mahollo was baptized about seven decades ago by the great Jesuit missionary Fr. Carlos Surya. Now most of them have gone back to Hinduism. The remnant Christian community today does not offer any effective Christian presence in the village. In the faith practices of the Christian families in the mahollo, there is much to be desired. These experiences make me reflect upon the relevance of theology which I grapple in my seminary classes.
It challenges me to a greater commitment and greater responsibility in taking my theology studies more seriously. The experience beckons me to go deep in the teachings of the Church regarding issues of life and in the context of the lived experience of the people in the villages.
For a seminarian, theology studies in the seminary can sometimes become only a necessary step for getting ordained, instead of being a careful preparation for priestly ministry. In such cases seminary life appears too long and boring, and petty matters and problems of day to day life big issues. Contact with ordinary people and their real life problems make one realize the pettiness of the issues that one often makes in the seminary.

My brief experience of L.K.Nagar - Sch. Simon Thomas SJ

My brief experience of L.K.Nagar
Sch. Simon Thomas SJ
The vision statement of Gujarat Vidya Deep (GVD) is, “It envisages theologizing in the local languages as far as possible, and in the context of the cultures of Gujarat. This is necessary in order to enable the students to express the word of God and our Christian tradition more meaningfully to the people of Gujarat and to enrich the life of the local churches in all its dimensions.” There is another striking notion which was expressed to us by Fr. Isudas Cueli in our Jesuit novitiate, and I enjoy constantly reiterating it, “If you want to preach Christ in Gujarat, you have to make Christ Gujarati.”
Staying out of GVD campus in a Gujarati locality is a small initiative from the part of two of us, second year students, to become more familiar with the Gujarati language and culture which I am sure, will be helpful in our future ministry. Secondly, we wanted to stay out in order to know and experience the living situations of the lower middle class and poor families. Thanks to the Sneh Jyoti community, Sevasi, my companion Harry and I got an opportunity to stay out and explore our possibilities!
I decided to stay in Luharkuinagar (L.K. Nagar), a chawli that is situated near the Vadodara Railway station. L.K. Nagar is a predominantly Catholic locality with almost forty families, and I stay in Mr. Maheshbhai’s house. Initially the neighbors were astonished to see a brother coming and staying there. I remember the first day of my stay; while I was going with my luggage towards my room, a man from the neighborhood asked Maheshbhai’s mother, “Somebody on rent?” The old lady replied, “Not somebody, he is a brother.” Immediately that person’s approach changed, and a sense of respect towards me became evident, and he welcomed me with a broad smile.
People in L.K. Nagar presently are of reasonably modest economic means. The first generation who settled down there had migrated some 60-70 years ago from Chasi-Charotar area in search of work and settled there in miserable huts. However, today majority of them have come up economically through hard work. Their lives changed not only in economic terms but also culturally. They have become cosmopolitan in their religiosity, fashion, morality and education. This change seemed to have been necessary for their survival in the new situation.
L.K. Nagar is a congested area with houses built in a disorderly way. On its right are the apartments, mainly occupied by the upper class populace and on its left is the Food Corporation of India godown. The city bus stand and railway station are just 1 km away. Since it is in the heart of the city, there is around the clock high-quality electricity. However, water comes for only an hour in the morning. As more than one family stay in a house, a lot of adjustment is done by the families in order to avail water to every family. The average income of the families is around Rs. 6000-7000 per month, and therefore their meals are also very simple with khichdi/chappati and one vegetable.
Concerning the faith practices of the community, they have thrice a week popular devotions like rosary in common, which is mainly attended by the elderly women. School going children are busy with assignments from school as well as from tuitions that they hardly have time to take part in them. The older generation in L.K. Nagar is slowly disappearing, and together with them the traces of their traditional culture. The new generation finds the emerging cosmopolitan culture more appealing. Their worldview is being shaped by the ‘high class’, people of other linguistic communities, as well as television channels.
A serious question arises about whether Christianity, as a religion, will continue to be of significance like before (not only in L.K. Nagar, but in many of our parishes). Given the new context in which these small Christian communities live, will they give sufficient importance to their faith, or will it become just a mere ritual of attending weekend masses and other celebrations? Will being Christian remain just part of their social identity only? Here, I believe, pastoral care plays a significant role. Pastoral care takes concrete shape in the context. Contextualization begins primarily with having respect and love for the people with whom I am working. It also means sharing in their joys and sorrows, and trying to form them in the values of Jesus Christ in their context. My theology studies at GVD helps me in this endeavour by enabling me to elucidate the kingdom values of Christ in a given context.
People in L.K. Nagar have great regard for religious people. I have spent two months here. Though I have not been able to visit all the families due to lack of time and personal shyness, I have experienced the immense deference people have for the religious people. They see a religious as an envoy of God, and want to give the finest treatment to him/her. I am deeply touched by the way Mr. Maheshbhai and his family take care of me. They have accepted me as a privileged member of their family. In all their daily events I am given a position of priority. Every member in the house takes care to make me feel at home in his/her presence. I sometimes wonder whether any other stranger would have been given so much of care, love and concern as I am given. I realize that I am so much taken care of not because of any personal merit but because of the fact that I am perceived as a man of God and they feel happy and blessed to take care of such a person.
The wonderful experience that I am having here is more than Contextual Theology Program and weekend ministry. It is an intense experience of the simple lives of people, or I should say, the Gospel people. Seeing them finding their happiness in the midst of their everyday real struggles, beginning from household chores, welfare of children, coping with serious economic difficulties, and so on, the Sermon the Mount becomes alive to me.

Monday, November 1, 2010

South Asian Jesuits meets in XLRI on Ecology

South Asian Jesuits meets in XLRI on Ecology

Posted on October 30, 2010 by tarumitra

XLRI Jamshedpur, 27 Oct: Over a hundred Jesuit-delegates from all the 20 Provinces of South Asian Jesuit Assistancy met inside their premier Management Institute, XLRI for three days to discuss the core issues of Ecology and Migration.
The attempt was to see the connection among Displacement and Ecology. Somebody put it this way, “Ecological degradation paves way for displacement and migration which in turn makes the poor more vulnerable and poorer.”
Eucharistic celebrations which are usually held indoors, were held outdoors. The idea was to make them carbon neutral. Two of the Eucharistic celebrations co-ordinated by Madurai and Patna provinces were organized outdoors with a twin purpose; going back to nature and reducing the use of the polluting electricity! A scientific calculation showed that the air-conditioned chapel with all the lights would consume nearly 6 KV of power in an hour i.e equal to burning 300 kilograms of coal or cutting down eight grown up trees!
One of those celebrations was centred around the issues of biodiversity. Frs. Tony Penda SJ and K. C Philip SJ coordinated the presentation of the Web of Life with the help of volunteers who took the roles of animals and plants that make up the web. They tied a string from one person to the another who was depended on him for survival. Slowly a well-knit web was produced.
On the second part of the presentation, animals like tigers were removed leaving the web lax and broken. Slowly as dependent plants and animals disappeared and there was no web left on the earth!
The Coordinator of Tarumitra, Fr. Robert Athickal S.J delivered a presentation titled, “The Paradigm of the mosquito: a way of entering into the Web of life.”

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Tertianship Programme - Fr.Sunil Solanki

Recently I came back from the Ignatian Experiment. Being with the intellectually retarded people for a month was an enriching experience. I was surprised to see the people with an intellectual handicap presenting an inspiring model to love and to care for the poor and downtrodden. The brokenness of these people has unveiled the brokenness of my heart.
I have just finished the genesis and the history of our Great Society and now plunged into the Constitution. Studies, experiments and my prayers have brought me closer to God and our Father Ignatius and his first companions. Now I am filled with the Sprit of Ignatius and the zeal for the mission as our St. Francis Xavier had.
Still many more weeks to go to finish the Tertianship Programme I need your prayers to understand and experience our Mother Society better so that I do everything for the Greater Glory of God.
Fr.Sunil Solanki S.J

Monday, September 27, 2010


In September a series of programmes were organized for novices in Sadhanalaya. These began on 27th of august. Late august and early September brought very significant learning experiences for us. All the novices were guided under the banner of ‘Personality Development’ by the acting socious Fr. Philip Terrasa. The purpose of the course was to know oneself and one’s companions and enhance each one’s personality to foster a real Jesuit spirit in the 21st century.

On 8th September we celebrated the feast of the Nativity of our Lady. The 2nd year novices conducted a special rosary connected with the life of our Lady. The same evening we had a “Vatican visit.” All the novices watched a documentary film on Vatican city. We also had a creative play performance on the topic of “The novitiate - past, present and future. At the end of performance all came to a conclusion that in any circumstance the Jesuit spirit must be fostered.

A weekly ’Dhyan Sadhana’ (12th September to 18th September) retreat was given by Fr. Joe Pithekar(Bombay Province). ‘Dhyan Sadhana’ is a meditation based on Pranayana, Vipassana and Centering prayer. It is a method to lead the sadhak to contemplative prayer, prayer of silence, prayer of the heart. It was guided under the theme of “progress in living out my life in Christ will be in proportion to the surrender of my own self- love and my own will and interest.” (Sp.Ex 183, rendering of D. Fleming, s.j)

On 20th September we went to Someshwar, a sacred place on the Godavari river. We witnessed the typical Hindu culture. On 21st evening we visited various statues of Lord Ganesha. Both these visits helped us to know Maharastrian culture.

On 26th a special prayer service was conducted by the novices to celebrate our parish feast. At the end of the celebration a delicious meal was provided by the parish.

Robert (2nd year novice: Sadhanalaya, Nashik.)

Friday, September 24, 2010

All the best!

All the best and Thank you Fr.Ambrose Vedam!
We wholeheartedly welcome Fr Lawrence Dharmaraj, our new socius and wish him the very best in his service to the Province. We take this opportunity to express our sincere gratitude to Fr Ambrose Vedam for the past six years of dedicated service as socius, above all for his spirit of generosity and availability. Ambrose now returns to the Pastoral Centre, Vadodara which was his first love. We wish him God's continued blessings!
Fr.Jose Changanacherry.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Congratulations Rev. Fr.Keith

Congratulations Rev.Fr.Keith Abranches!

Very many thanks for your patient contribution and service to the Church in Gujarat and to the society of Jesus at large as the provincial of Gujarat from 2004 to 2010. The Gujarat Jesuits wish every success in your new assignment as the Rector of DNC Pune from November 2010.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Mahatma and the Cardinal - Fr. Cedric Prakash sj

The Mahatma and the Cardinal

- Fr. Cedric Prakash sj*

On Sunday September 19th, Pope Benedict XVI will beatify John Henry Cardinal Newman in Birmingham, UK. Beatification, is the very last stage before canonization in the Catholic Church, when a person of exceptional holiness and other qualities, is raised to the altars, as a Saint.

What has perhaps not caught the limelight, however, is the tremendous influence which Newman exerted on Mahatma Gandhi. Newman lived in England from 1801 to 1890. As a young professor, in Oxford University, he proved to be one of the foremost scholars and thinkers of his time, who could hold vast congregations of students and intellectuals, spellbound with his depth, erudite and brilliant communication skills.

He was a restless seeker of the truth and in a major shock to the Victorian establishment and intelligentsia of his times, he left the Church of England to embrace Catholicism. During his Oxford days and thereafter, he was also a prolific and incisive writer. His most well-known poem-prayer is ‘Lead, kindly Light’, was apparently penned during his quest to do what is right.

In a matter of time, this poem (first published in 1834) became very popular in literary circles and even in Churches in England and in the United States. Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, who studied in Alfred High School, Rajkot would most probably have come to know about this poem as a school-boy. He would have surely become more acquainted with it as a student of law in London from 1888-1891, just at the time when Newman’s death, would have left a deep void in the literary and religious circles of England.

Later on in South Africa, the tremendous impact this poem had on Gandhi, was obvious from the fact that ‘Lead, kindly Light’ held a unique position as the motto of the Satyagraha movement, which he launched in 1906.

There is an unnerving similarity in the spirituality of both Newman and Gandhi which is reflected in the very first verse of the poem:

“Lead, kindly Light’, amid the encircling gloom,
Lead Thou me on!
The night is dark, and I am far from home—
Lead Thou me on!
Keep Thou my feet; I do not ask to see
the distant scene—one step enough for me.!”

Both Newman and Gandhi went through a process of discernment asking for light before they took a crucial next step in their journey ahead. These ‘enlightened steps’ were indeed turning points, not only in their lives but impacted the lives of several others.  In 1916, after Mahatma Gandhi had established his ashram on the banks of the River Sabarmati, Ahmedabad, ‘Lead, kindly Light’ had a very special place in the daily prayers of the Ashram.

Gandhi had the prayer translated into Gujarati by Narasimharo Divetia; the initial words read ‘Premal Jyoti’ (Light of Love). For more than thirty years, several of Gandhi’s writings and speeches had a reference either to ‘Lead, kindly Light’ or to ‘one step enough for me’.

Once, when asked the reason for his constant references to Newman and the latter’s works, Gandhi quipped,”he is perhaps the only honest Englishman ,I have come across!” On March 10, 1947 Gandhi wrote to Vinobha  Bhave, his closest disciple, “in my prayers, I pray to God to lead me from untruth to truth, isn’t the same idea conveyed in ‘Lead kindly Light’?”

Somehow, we desperately need to listen today, to the prayer and the promptings of Cardinal Newman and Mahatma Gandhi. ‘Satyameva  Jayate!’

18 September 2010

Thursday, September 16, 2010

John Henry Newman- Beatification on 19th September 2010

Premal Jyoti Parivar Celebrates the feast of Cardinal Newman on 17th Sept as a "House Feast"

Premal Jyoti was named as "Newman Hall" after the poet-saint Cardinal John Henry Newman until 1984 and the curia continues to bear this original name even today. Most Rev.Bishop.Francis Braganza s.j was the person behind founding of "Newman Hall".

 The Venerable Newman will be beatified on Sunday 19th September in Birmingham by Pope Benedict XVI, during his visit to U.K

John Henry Newman was born on February 21, 1801 in London. Interestingly he started not as a Catholic, but as a member of the Church of England. As a vicar, Newman exerted a strong spiritual influence on the Church of England.

In 1845, Newman converted to Catholicism from Anglicanism. He founded Oratories of St. Philip Neri in Birmingham and London, and was also the first rector at the Catholic University in Dublin. In 1879, he was made a Cardinal by Pope Leo XIII. Through his writings, he created a greater understanding of the Catholic Church. Cardinal John Henry Newman died in Birmingham on August 11, 1890. In 1893 the first Newman Club was formed at the University of Pennsylvania. They have now spread throughout the country, with over 600 colleges hosting chapters.

In 1991, Newman was proclaimed venerable after a thorough examination of his life and work by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. 

Sunday, September 12, 2010

New Bishop of Rajkot

Fr.Provincial  who was driven by the safe hands of Bro.Malcolm from Ahmedabad and the GVD theology professors from Baroda witnessed the Episcopal Ordination of Most Rev Mar Jose Chittooparambil CMI on 11th September 2010 at Rajkot. In 2008 he was elected the Provincial Superior of CMI St.Xavier’s Province, Rajkot. While being the Provincial he is appointed the Bishop of Rajkot to succeed Bishop Gregory Karotemprel CMI who is retiring after 27 years as the Bishop of the Diocese of Rajkot. Gujarat Jesuits wish both of them a fruitful life in the service of the Lord.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

A tribute to Fr.K.Raj - Fr.Anthony Pichai

I was shocked to hear the sad and untimely demise of Fr.Maria Arul Kulandai Raj, SJ, Director of Xavier Institute of Computer Applicatiion (XICA), St.Xavier’s College, Ahmedabad. I know him since the days when my daughter was a student of St.Xavier’s College till graduation in the year 2005. I had occasions to meet him. He was really a servant of God with simplicity and principles.
His ‘departure’ is a great loss to all of us. We may console ourselves that it may be the Will of God that he was to be promoted to Glory at this young age and that death is not an end but a beginning of life in Heaven. Please convey my heartfelt condolences to his grieved family members and relatives. I know that my words are nowhere to console them, but I pray that Almighty God may give them all strength and courage to bear this irreparable loss. May God fill the hearts of everybody who are in grief with His divine peace which surpasses all understanding. We as the children of God have a hope that he is resting eternally in the bossom of God and one day we will see him face to face.
May his soul rest in peace.
With grief,
PS to H.E. the Governor of Gujarat.

Biography of Fr.K.Raj
Fr.Maria Arul Kulandairaj, popularly known as Fr.Raj succumbed to a heart attack in his sleep in the early hours of the morning of 31st August, 2010. Fr.Raj dedicated his life for the service of the people of Gujarat and joined the Gujarat province of the Jesuit order on the 25th July, 1982. Earlier that year, he had completed his B.Sc. (Maths) at St.Xavier’s college, where he was later appointed as a Lecturer in the computer science Department. He headed the department of the computer science and later went on to serve as Vice-Principal of St.Xavier’s college, from 2004 to 2009. In June 20098, honoring the wishes of the Xavier’s management he resigned his post at St.Xavier’s college and assumed office as the director of the Xavier Institute of Computer Applications, The BCA college of Xavier’s. Fr.Raj earned his MCA Degree at St.Joseph’s Trichy, and had a reputation for his prowess in Electronic equipment and computer technology. He received his ‘Diksha’ as a priest on 25th November, 1995 and as a Jesuit Sadhu on 1st January, 2003. The Xavier’s Parivar mourns the early demise of a faithful member of the family who never hesitated to give of himself unstintingly in the service of the students, staff and alumni of Xavier’s. The Funeral services were held on Wednesday, 1st September in the Xavier’s Church.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Regents gathering at Premal Jyoti - Jobin

Finally, after around three months, we, regents had a chance to escape the boarding treadmill. Regents gathering was organized by PCF, Fr.Lawrence in Premal Jyoti. It began on 21 August with dinner and carried on till the next day evening. We chatted with each other, shared our varied experiences at our respective places and enjoyed ourselves. Fr.Lawrene Dharmaraj gave us his valuable feedbacks and suggestions. Fr.Lawrence Lobo with his magnanimious 'come-come' gesture treated us well in PJ. As partof the gathering we also had a casual visit to Sughd Panth to say 'hi' to our prenovices. Finally, when we departed after the gathering, we had our hearts light,minds refreshed and bodies strengthened to continue regency at our respective places.

Jobin Kaniyarakathu

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A Novel celebration of Freedom --Mr.Vijay Macwan


Yesterday the youth, the children and the elders of Bhumel (about 25 people) gathered to raise a voice against global warming, a voice for freedom from global warming on the feast of Mother Mary and the Independence Day of India. They all planted trees in the Church compound and in the empty places at the graveyard. It was a novel way of celebrating both the feast of Mother Mary and the Independence Day.

ગઈ કાલે ૧૫મી ઓગસ્ત અને પવિત્ર મારિયાના તહેવારના પ્રસંગ નિમિતે ભુમેલના બાળકો, યુવાનો અને વડીલો દ્વારા દેવળમાં અને કબ્રસ્તાનમાં વૃક્ષારોપણ કર્યું. આ પ્રવૃત્તિથી ગ્લોબલ વોર્મિંગ દુર કરવા માટે એક પ્રયાસ કરવામાં આવ્યો.ધરતી માતાને ફરીથી રળીયામણી બનાવવાના ધ્યેય સાથે આશરે ૨૫ લોકો સાથે ભેગા મળીને વૃક્ષારોપણ કર્યું હતું.આ પ્રવૃત્તિનો મુખ્ય ધ્યેય ધરતી માતાને ગ્લોબલ વોર્મિંગથી મુક્તિ આપવાનો છે.

આ સુંદર પ્રવૃત્તિનો શ્રેય શ્રી કાન્તીભાઈ આર. મેકવાન (જેમને આ વર્ષે રક્ષિત ખેડૂત નો અવોર્ડ ગુજરાત સરકાર દ્વારા આપવામાં આવ્યો હતો) અને શ્રી કાન્તીભાઈ એ પરમાર (પેરીશ કાઉનસીલના સભ્ય)તથા શ્રી હસમુખભાઈ વી મેકવાન (પેરીશ કાઉનસીલના સભ્ય) તથા ભૂમેલના બાળકો અને આગળ પડતા યુવાનોને જાય છે.

આવો ધરતી માતાને ફરીથી સુંદર બનાવવાના આ સુંદર અભિયાનને આપણે સહુ ભેગા મળી આગળ વધારીએ.

માતા મારિયાના તહેવારની શુભકામના અને જય હિન્દ.
Happy Feast And Jay Hind
By Vijay Macwan -Bhumel

Thursday, August 19, 2010

2nd Prize for Elocution Competion -Anand Antony

The science department of the Baroda University organized an elocution competition for all the science faculty students in two categories that is in PG and in UG. Scho.Anand secured the 2nd spot in the competition. He was awarded a certificate on 15th of August after the flag hoisting ceremony at the University. In a coming event on 22nd a NGO is planning to distribute prizes for the winners of the same competition at the University.

Anand Antony

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Shri.Umashankar Bhai --- Jayanti Asari S.J

ઉમાશંકર જેઠાલાલ જોશી, ‘વાસુકિ’, ‘શ્રવણ’ (૨૧-૭-૧૯૧૧, ૧૯-૧૨-૧૯૮૮): કવિ, વાર્તાકાર, નવલકથાકાર, નાટ્યકાર, નિબંધકાર, વિવેચક, સંશોધક, સંપાદક, અનુવાદક. જન્મ ઈડરના બામણા ગામમાં. બામણામાં ચાર ધોરણ પૂરાં કરી ત્યાં વધુ સગવડ ન હોવાથી ઈડર છાત્રાલયમાં રહીને પન્નાલાલ પટેલ સાથે અંગ્રેજી સાત ધોરણ સુધી ઈડરની શાળામાં અભ્યાસ. ૧૯૨૮માં અમદાવાદની પ્રોપરાઈટરી હાઈસ્કૂલમાંથી મેટ્રિક.૧૯૩૯માં રણજિતરામ સુવર્ણચંદ્રક, ૧૯૪૪માં મહીડા પારિતોષક, ૧૯૪૭માં નર્મદ સુવર્ણચંદ્રક, ૧૯૬૫માં ઉમા-સ્નેહરશ્મિ પારિતોષિક, ૧૯૬૮માં કન્નડ કવિ કે.વી.પુટપ્પા સાથે વહેંચાઈને ‘નિશીથ’ કાવ્યસંગ્રહને અનુલક્ષીને ભારતીય જ્ઞાનપીઠનું પારિતોષિક, ૧૯૭૩માં સાહિત્ય અકાદમી પારિતોષિક. ૧૯૭૯માં સોવિયેટ લૅન્ડ પુરસ્કાર. ૧૯૮૨માં કુમારન્ આશાન્ પુરસ્કાર. કેન્સરથી મુંબઈમાં અવસાન.
Shri.Umashankar Bhai.
Poets and writers have always enlightened the society through their literary works. Shri.Umashankar Joshi is the one who has contributed immensely to the literary growth of the Gujarati literature.
Shri.Umashankar Bhai was born in Bamana village close to Idar in Sabarkantha district. On the day of his birth centenary celebration, the juniors of the Gujarat province had the privilege of participating in the celebration on 21-07-2010. We participated in the procession which started from his residence and ended in Sahitya Bhavan. All along the procession the participants sang poems such as ‘Malta mali gayi…Gujarat mori mori…’ and raised slogans from the writings of Shri .Umashankar Bhai. At Sahita Bhavan the centenary celebration culminated with eminent personalities such as Shri.Raghuvir chawdhri from the literary world recalled and paid tribute to Shri .Umashankarji for his indelible contribution to the Gujarati literature. The participation in centenary celebration has broadened our knowledge about Shri.Umashankar Bhai and our understanding of the Gujarti Literature. We look forward to many more such events in the future.


Jayanti Asari s.j