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.