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.