Thursday, December 29, 2011

Ordination at Unteshwari - By Prasad Bhai

To view the Ordination ceremony:

Over 2300 laity, 84 sisters, 93 priests, and 2 bishops got together to ordain Kamlesh Kantilal Raval SJ and Kiran Dahyabhai Gohil (orig. Umreth ) of the Gandhinagar archdiocese. Their appointment places, Bhiloda and Deesa respectively, made a good chunk of this melo gathering on the sand-lawns of Unteshwari on 27th. December ’11 at 10.30 am.
Many played their part well in this collaborative achievement: Sr. Binita of Kalol St Ann’s got the entrance dance done; Deesa parish supplied two Chatris for thesamaiyu and two backdrop banners of Jagprakash Isu blessing the two deacons; Mandali Raju SJ guided the Sanman Vidhi of garlands/shawls/sanmanpatra and the release of ‘The History of North Gujarat Mission Vol. II’ ed. Jose Panadan SJ.; Mandali Gariz Bapu arranged sponsors for the bountiful five-course meal; Sandhya Vishram’s Sr. Jyotsna coordinated the choir of Unteshwari youth while Sr. A. Mary arranged the samaiyu baheno; Madhurya Bhavan sisters supplied the impeccable vestments and over-all needs for the Rite and Mass; the Gujarat SJ supplied the Provincial, Socius, and Kamlesh; The Ahmedabad diocese supplied Rev. Bishop Thomas  and Kiran; The Gandhinagar archdiocese supplied the acolytes, a V.G., and Rev. Archbishop and hopefully some of the expenses; Kantibhai and Champaben Raval and Dahyabhai and Susheelaben Gohil offered their sons; Unteshwari parish filled in the blanks; and God, our beloved Bapu, smiled on everything with UPS, water, goodwill, and plentiful outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
The happiest man on earth was Gariz Bapu who quoted Pope Benedict XIV to explain why there is greater joy in one priest’s ordination than in thousands of converts. After three professed sisters, this first ordination from the Ravals mahor maryu on the rooting of the N. Guj. Church.
The next day, 28th. Dec. at Kalol, the same sisters-priests, diocesan-jesuits, N. Guj.-Kheda coworking was repeated. The first mass and the lipsmacking lunch were the fruit of days of hard work of Kalol parishioners with Velankanni, James Savari and Alex Thannipara. The day’s celebrations had three parts: the samaiyu from gate to Church; Kamlesh’s Mass with Archbishop Stanny and Fr. Provincial Changa sj,; and the sanman of all – the ordained, the ordainer, the 12 priests, and the 14 sisters present. The faithful faithfully rendered,”Bolo Isu Bhagwanki Jai, Unteshwari Mataki Jai, Satgurudevaki jai” the number of times over twice the number of those sanmanned. The ceremony ended with a long line of gifts and greetings of those dear to Kamlesh. Kiran’s full troupe attended but had to leave before 2 pm to reach Umreth in time for his first mass at five pm. May Our Lord keep blessing Kamlesh and Kiran on the long road of priestly ministry they have just begun.

Bishop Francis L Braganza, SJ - By Fr.Vincent Saldanha

Bishop Francis L Braganza, SJ
(1922 - 2011)
            Born in Bandra on January 1922 to Leo and Sophia Braganza, Francis was the fourth of ten children five of whom (two boys and three girls) were chosen by the Lord to be religious. Francis and his brother Joe joined the Society of Jesus to work in the vineyard of the Gujarat Mission to ‘till it and it keep it’ in 1938. And did he do it with a vengeance! Ordained On November 1951 he was sent to Columbia University (USA) to do his post graduate studies. He promptly returned to Gujarat to start St Xavier’s College with two other companions. As Joe said “in addition to full-time teaching he was Vice-Principal of the College, warden of the hostel, supervisor of the laboratories, taxidermist, official photographer, hockey coach, chauffeur, handyman and trouble-shooter, to say nothing of his priestly ministries.” But then he had ‘other sheep to tend’ and ‘vineyards to work in.’ So, in 1956 he was appointed Rector of Rosary School, Vadodara, and then became the Vice Provincial of Gujarat from 1962 to 1967. From 1967 to 1970 he was Assistant to the then Superior General of the Society of Jesus Fr. Pedro Arrupe. He spurned the offer become the Bishop of Jamshedpur and returned to the College as Principal from 1970 to 1980. Then he was appointed Bishop of Vadodara in 1987. In 1997 upon reaching 75 he promptly resigned as Bishop.
            He then returned to his first vineyard - St Xavier’s College. He kept himself busy looking after the finances of the College Society for a number of years. He was all of 80 when he took over as the first Director of XICA (Xavier Institute of Computer Application). But during all that time you would find him pottering around the garden of the Xavier Residence helping snails and slugs meet their messy end, turning a leaf inside out to dispatch a caterpillar or worm, or to feel the texture of leaf and flower (to say nothing of the lettuce and the celery, the broccoli and the parsley, the brinjal and the lady finger), speaking to himself or attempting to sing to the plants, keeping the monkeys and peacocks away from the fruits of his garden with a clap of his hands, his stick or his airgun. Often there was a running battle between him and them each trying to outmaneuvre the other. Francis couldn’t sit idle and so kept his mind and heart alert doing sudoku in the warmth of the rising or setting sun.
            Francis had a very sensitive heart. He felt very deeply for the poor, the clergy, the religious sisters and, above all, the Society. He suffered with those who suffered and rejoiced with those who rejoiced. Wherever he went and whatever he did, Francis cared for the people who were under his charge - as a Jesuit, an educationist, a bishop. As Bishop he “organised a network of health centres headed by sisters belonging to various congregations, and proposed schemes to NGOs for their assistance. He also helped and encouraged sisters to start mahila mandals, and saving and lending schemes. He set up a gratuity fund for primary school teachers and catechists, and a group insurance policy for the priests of te diocese.” He would meet well-wishers and troubled souls giving them a patient hearing or a earful, monetary assistance or spiritual advice as required.. He passionately guarded both his garden and the confidential matters people shared with him. He was indeed a man for others - a man for the people! He went about his work quietly and efficiently, with a sense of purpose and commitment and with a deep love for the Lord. He left us suddenly and yet quietly with his boots on to meet his Lord and Master on December 21, 2011.
            He was with us on a mission, and - God knows - he accomplished it with a passion. He taught us to live life with dignity, to face the many worldly cares with serenity. He taught us to find solace in prayer, that there is untold strength in brotherly care. And as we miss his presence among us, we salute him and his legacy as fellow human being, Jesuit and friend.
Fr. Vincent Saldanha, sj    

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Bishop Francis Braganza Passed away

We are sorry to inform you about the passing away of Bishop Francis Braganza around 10.00 a.m on Wednesday 21 December 2011 at Xavier’s residence in Ahmedabad. The funeral will be held on Thursday 22  December 2011 at 4.00 P.M in the Rosary Church Baroda. - Socius.

Bio Data of Bishop Francis Braganza

Bishop Francis Braganza tells his own story

Kindly click on the link given here.

Born:29-01-1922 at Bandra Mumbai
Entered SJ:28-05-1938 at Shembaganur
Ordained as Priest:21 November 1951.
Responsibilities Held:
Professor at St.Xavier’s Ahmedabad 1956-1961
Rector at Rosary, Baroda 1961- 1962
Vice Provincial of Gujarat 1963-1968
Assistant to the General: 1967- 1970
Principal of St.Xavier’s Ahmedabad 1970 – 1980
Bishop of Baroda 1987-1997
Emeritus Bishop: 1998-2011

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Spiritual Exercises In Gujarati Part -3

કામમાં વ્યસ્ત રહેતા લોકો માટે ધ્યાન (રીટ્રીટ) ભાગ -૩

આપણું સદ્દભાગ્ય કહેવાય  કે સમાજમાં અમુક કુટંબો છે જે આપણને પ્રભુના પ્રેમની પ્રતીતિ કરાવે છે. પ્રભુના બિનશરતી પ્રેમનો અનુભવ કરવા માટે  નીચેના વીડિઓ ઉપર ક્લિક કરશો

વહાલા શ્રધાળુઓ

  ઈશ્વરે આપેલ દસ આજ્ઞાઓમાં પ્રેમની આજ્ઞા સર્વોપરી છે. દરેક આજ્ઞા પ્રથમ દ્રષ્ટિએ  જોતા એવું લાગે કે તે નકારાત્મક છે છતા, જો ઊંડાણથી તેની ઉપર ધ્યાન દોરીએ તો ખ્યાલ આવશે કે તે સર્વ પ્રેમનોજ  પંથ બતાવે છે.

  આ બધીજ    આજ્ઞાઓથી કહી શકાય કે ભગવાન આપણી સ્વતંત્રતા ઉપર પ્રતિબંધ મુકવા માંગતો નથી, ઇસુનો પંથ બિનશરતી પ્રેમનો પંથ છે કારણ પ્રભુ ઇસુ પ્રેમ નો અવતાર છે, પ્રેમ સ્વરૂપ  પરમેશ્વર માણસો ઉપર કેટલો બધો પ્રેમ રાખે છે એ માણસો જોઈ શકે , સ્પર્શી શકે ને અનુભવી  શકે એટલા ખાતર  જ  ઇસુ આ દુનિયામાં આવ્યા હતા. કૃશ ઉપર મરણને ભેટીને તેઓ  સૌ માનવીઓ પ્રત્યેના પોતાના અપાર પ્રેમનો પુરાવો આપ્યો હતો અને પોતાના શિષ્યોને એવી આજ્ઞા અપાતા ગયા કે  " મેં જેમ તમારા ઉપર પ્રેમ રાખ્યો છે તેમ તમારે પરસ્પર પ્રેમ રાખવાનો છે "

(માથ્થી ૨૨: ૩૭-૪૦ )નું પઠન કરવાથી વધુ અનુભૂતિ થઇ શકે.

"તારે તારા પ્રભુ પરમેશ્વર ઉપર તારા પુરા હૃદયથી , તારા પુરા જીવથી અને તારા પુરા માંથી પ્રેમ રાખવો .... ને તારા માંનાવ્બંધુ ઉપર તારી જાત જેટલો પ્રેમ રાખવો. સમગ્ર શાસ્ત્રનો આધાર એ બે આજ્ઞાઓ છે "                     

વધુ મનન ચિંતન માટે ઉપરનો  વિડીયો નિહાળશો, આજ ભાગ માટે  વધુ મદદરૂપ થતા પાયાની બાબતો અગામી ભાગમાં રજુ  કરવામાં આવશે.

સાર :

"પ્રેમનો પંથ''  By Fr.Lawrence Dharmaraj s.j આ  પુસ્તકના અનુવાદક રેવ. ફા. ઇસુદાસ ક્વેલી એસ. જે.નો ખુબ ખુબ અભાર.    

આપ સર્વે તરફથી જે મોટો પ્રતિસાદ આ શ્રેણી માટે મળ્યો છે અને  તમે દરેકને ઈ-મેઈલ કરીને  આ શ્રેણી ના ભાગીદાર બનાવ્યા છે તે બદલ BBN  હૃદયપૂર્વક અભાર માને  છે       

Friday, December 16, 2011

The Golden Jubilee of Arrival to India: Fr.Lawrence Dharmaraj and Fr.Civiac

 The Golden Jubilee of Arrival to India:

19 December 2011, deserved to be engraved in letters of Gold and need to be displyed on every Jesuit noticeboard of our province, as it marks the occasion of the golden arrival of our three Spanish Jesuits to India: Fr Dastis Luis, Fr Civiac Joaquin and Fr Inaki Bereciartua.

THE FOUR  DREAMERS - by Fr  Civiac J
It was a windy  and cold morning when  4 young   Jesuits of Castilla Oriental, Spain, were  boarding the  French ship  “Laos” on their way to India.The name of those dreamers were: Fr L Dastis ( already a priest) and  the  Scholastics  I Berechi, J Civiac and L Imaz ( later on left the Society) .  Fr L Dastis was of course, the  Superior. The harbour was Marseille, France. That day was  8 December  1961, the feast of the Immaculate Conception - a most propitious day to start a new life.
The “Marseille-Bombay’s”   11 days journey  was uneventful. Young French  Air-Force officers were with us. They were going to Vietnam. They knew for sure that France was  fighting there a losing  war and that perhaps some of them would die there  for nothing. I was impressed by their sense  of discipline and self-sacrifice.
December 19 was  our day of arrival. It was a splendid morning. Countless  ships were in the harbour. Mumbai  gave us the feeling that it was a  metropolis without  end. All the passengers were on the deck. The silence was absolute: The loud-speakers  of the Laos  were informing  that  the first Indian planes had started that very morning,  bombing military targets in Goa and Diu…!
Fr Fabrat and Br Abril with their perennial smile were waiting for us. According to Br Abril the Customs Officer that would    check   our luggages was a good friend  of him . Our personal luggage, as it was the  rule in those days, was minimum  to say something. But  with us, and I still ignore why in my name, were coming about 40 boxes.
By  09 O´clock  all those 40  cases  were already in the huge Customs  Hall. Only   then our Customs Officer appeared. He was singing  loudly in Spanish “Cielito  Lindo”, --“Beautiful little Heaven—“,one of  my favourite old  Mexican songs. He greeted us  in  Portuguese. We were amazed   and  happy to be  in his hands. Br Abril gave him the list of things contained in  every box and disappeared from the Customs Hall. Mean while Fr Fabrat was our Guardian  Angel.
We were enjoying our first Indian tea,when  we heard through  the loud speakers of the Customs Hall: “Mister  Civiac…!”  We looked at each other. It was our Customs Officer! He seemed  to be pretty  upset.This time he was talking English  and loudly:  “In which language of the world, tape-recorders  and medicines are called by the same word…?”  Aparently list and objects in the containers were not always agreeing.  Neither Fr Fabrat nor me knew what to reply. About  6 or 7 times more  I had to hear that morning  that  “Mister Civiac”  and always with the same  caustic remarks. What was left of  “that good friend of Br Abril”,of his Portuguese  and  of “Cielito Lindo…”?
Meanwhile a Mother Superior appeared there to welcome us. Some of the cases were for them. When talking   with  us she realized that she had forgotten her bag  in  one of the shops. And in the bag  were  some dollars. She  simply smiled: “That money is for the poor”. She didn´t  say a single word more and left to search for the bag. One hour later she was back   with the  bag and the money. She smiled  again: “This money is for the poor.!”  It was  more than obvious  that the Divine Providence was  in  the pocket  of that M.Superior
Br Abril appeared at last when most of the  containers  had been  already  checked up. He didn´t comment  anything about  the  repeated “Mister Civiac”  and  consequent remarks that he himself had to hear too once or twice  more. All the same his  smile had disappeared. He had brought with him several trucks  to take the cases to Anand. After paying the  Customs duties  his smile was  back again:  The Customs  duties had been  as low as possible and  the  whole of “Mister  Civiac” as he knew by now from the Customs Officer himself, had been only a “natak”, a comedy as he had  to  translate for us.
Who can imagine  a more fitting introduction to our new Indian way of life?. To start with we had been  taught  the first  practical lesson about  Indian psychology. Then the Lord had shown us through that M.Superior,  that His Divine Providence   would  be as much part of  our daily life as the  tea at  10 O´clock   or the bargaining  when shopping. Besides that on that day  I had learnt my first Gujarati word…”Natak.’
A Brief Biodata
1.Fr.Dastis Luis
Fr Dstis. was Born and brought up in a family with a long and rich tradition of sturdy catholic faith, vibrant piety, deep devotion and abundant vocations to the priesthood and religious life.
He hails form a very deep religious city-Zaragosa, a city closely linked with great saints in Jesuit history such as Joseph Pignatelli, Francis Borgia and Aloysius Gonzaga.
In Anand he succeeded in combining the coldness of the numbers-keeping accounts and the Zeal and enthusiasm for pastoral work. Later on as a pastor in the places such as Gothada he had shown contagious faith, great courage, constancy, perseverance, determination and enthusiasm.His life as a Jesuit and his work as a missionary are certainly examples that younger Jesuits would want to emulate.
At present he is in Zaragoza, Spain.
2. Fr Joaquim Civiac
It  was in his childhood, from his mother, who was a young widow, that Civiac learnt to face life with grit and determination.
Civiac is not only a multi-linguist, including Greek which he taught as a regent and still keeps fresh by reading the New Testament in Greek daily, he is a ‘citizen of the world’ a native of Spain who has been of service in India, Italy, France and the USA.(California).. riding through unexpected tracks. His first appointment as a young priest was to Milan, for the magazine Missioni.He spent a year (October 1997 to November 1998) in Milan and Paris. He returned to Gujarat for his tertianship. In Ahmedabad, under the direction of the illustrious Fr Conget, he went to the Gujarat Vidyapith for 10 months as a resident student of Gujarati.
 He was then sent to Anklao, on one of those proverbial “stop gap” appointments—which ended up by his being there for over 12 years (1971-1984). Afetr five years of break in Spain and Califonia, he returned to Gujarat, spending few months first in Khambhat, then Vadtal, till he was appointed to kathlal in June 1996.
 Now he is happily serving in the Khambhat mission.

3. Fr  Inaki Bereciaartua
He is  fellow citizen of Master Inigo from whom he seem to have inherited the spirit of indomitable commitment to the mission of Christ. He spent 40 years of dedicated service in the Dediapada Mission. Now this has grown into 3 different mission centres with their education institutions, hostels for boys and girls, convents and a beautiful church and a shrine for Mother Mary at Korvi. Added to these, is the actual economic and social development, result of the various projects related to cattle farming and milk cooperatives that he initiated. At presnt he has moved to a small mission centre ‘Nani Singaloti’ which is the offshoot of the Dediapada mission.


Golden Jubliee of the Unai Mission:- By Fr.Joseph Parmar

Golden Jubliee of the Unai Mission:
By Fr.Joseph Parmar

It was Rev Fr Francisco Zubeldia who began this mission by making trips from Surat by way back in 1959. 

Fr Albert Innurategui bought a piece of land and set up a small hostel-cum-residence called Jivan Jyot Kumar Chhatralaya at Khambhalia(1962), a village hardly a kilometer away from today’s developed Unai town.
The relief operations during the drought stricken years from 1964-67 helped, Fr Albert (1964-67) to emerge as a real Hero and the friend of villagers. Many of the small ‘kachcha’ roads built during those years are still afresh in the memories of the aged here.
This altruistic nature of the missionaries and their endeavours in education through primary schools and  boardings have become a living example of the True disciples of Christ for our people. Fr Francisco Gabbare (1967-68), though did not last long, did contribute through his lively example as a dedicated missionary. His mortal remains at Unai remind us of his dedicated service.
Fr J M  Navarro (1969-79) was another great man in building this mission through his ever enthusiastic nature. From here he penetrated the thick forests of the South Surat District and reached the doors of the Dangs District. He even began Milk cooperatives in some villages of Dangs operating from Unai. Indeed he was a visionary who could look into the future for his people!
Fr Ignas Galdos (1980-2001), with the experience of Zankhvav Mission, he consolidated this mission. With his incessant efforts, he shifted the Khambhalia Primary School to Unai and thus began a new chapter in this Mission. Today, Vidhya Kiran High School (1983), is one of the few who competes for the first rank in the Navsari District. The Jivan Jyot Kumar Chhatralaya and the  Vedruna Niketan Kanya Chhatralaya cater to the needy students from Sagbara Taluka to Songadh and from Uchchal to Nizar talukas of the newly created Tapi Distirct.
The Religious Sisters have been the second-in-command along with their Jesuit missionaries or pioneers  since the beginning of the Mission. The Vedruna Niketan Sisters have remained a constant support through their services to womenfolk, dispensary, etc. Truly, the Unai Mission is the fruit of the dedicated and combined efforts of the committed disciples of Christ –the Priests, the Sisters, the Catechists and a whole hoard of well wishers of the institute in and around Unai. As the Mission celebrates its Golden Jubilee of its inception may the Good Lord reward the generosity of these men and women in His own gracious measure!



By M. Diaz-Garriz SJ


The Italian steam-ship Ugolini Vivaldi weighed anchors at the Bombay harbour in the early hours of 21 December 1951.  On board were 12 young Jesuits from the Province of East Castille (Spain) bound for Gujarat: Francisco Zubeldia, Juan G. Jordana, Luis M. Moreta, Isudas Cueli, Luis M. Zavala, Salaberria, Manuel Diaz-Garriz, Ignacio Galdos, Juan J. Morondo, Joaquim Bandres, Pedro Nagore, Jose A. Arroyo.

This year we celebrate the 60th anniversary of the arrival of these missionary diamonds to our land and soil.


The Spanish Jesuit province of Castille was established by St Ignatius himself.  On 16 July 1948 it was divided into East Castille and West Castille, when it counted more than one thousand members. The Castille Province had been sending missionaries to China from the beginning of the 20th century. At the end of World War II (1939-1945), when China became independent of Japanese occupation, the Jesuits were looking forward to a very bright future in the Chinese missions. Unfortunately, under their legendary leader Mao-Tse-Tung the Chinese communists had started a long and bloody civil war. The continuous advance of the communist troops made it impossible for new missionaries to enter China.

Under these circumstances Fr J. B. Janssens, the General of the Society of Jesus, directed that the newly established East Castille Province should take up missionary work  in Gujarat, which was dependent on the missionaries of the Bombay Mission who were sent from the province of Aragon (Spain).

Spanish Missionaries in Gujarat

The first batch of six Jesuits (all of whom had previously received the formal appointment to China) arrived in Ahmedabad city in February 1949.

Since there were no direct international flights from Europe to Asia at the time, the Jesuits had to change flights several times on their itinerary: Madrid-Rome, Rome-Athens, Athens-Karachi, Karachi-Ahmedabad. The 6 pioneers are: Hilario Azpitarte, Miguel Angel Urrutia, Ignacio Ordonez, Jose Luis Lopetegui, Ramon Eizaguirre and Felix Ilarraz. Of this group, only Fr I. Ordonez is still happily with us.

The second group that came to Gujarat comprised of 22 members. They came by plane in November of that same year, 1949. Accompanying them was the Provincial of East Catille, Fr Fernando Arellano. On that flight with them was the first bishop of Ahmedabad diocese, Edwin Pinto SJ, who had chosen to be consecrated in Zaragoza, Spain, as a symbol of solidarity with the large number of Spanish Jesuits working in Gujarat. Bishop Pinto had been nominated in May 1949 as the first bishop of the newly established Diocese of Ahmedabad, separated from the Archdiocese of Bombay.

The third batch programmed to arrive during the year 1950, in fact was slightly delayed and arrived in India by boat in January 1951.

The diamond jubilarians

The fourth batch is that of this year’s jubilarians.

The 12 Spanish stalwarts from the East Castile Province appointed to the then Ahmedabad Mission, had to first cross the international Bridge between Spain and France at Irun on foot. The European Union did not exist at that time and the international frontiers were taken very seriously. Boarding a train at Hendaya, they travelled the whole length of France to arrive at Genova in Italy 36 hours later.

They left Spain by crossing on foot the international Bridge between Spain and France at Irun. The European Union did not exist at that time and the international frontiers were taken very seriously. They received a warm welcome from the Jesuit community in Genova. On 1 December 1951 they embarked for India on the Italian Steamer Ugolini Vivaldi. On the feast of St Francis Xavier the vessel docked for a day in Naples and the travellers were allowed to go on land and spend the day with their Jesuit brethren there. Then en route the 21-day voyage, the ship had stop-overs at Alexandria, Egypt and Karachi, Pakistan. They finally arrived in Bombay on 21 December 1951.

The group proceeded to Vinayalaya, the Jesuit Noviciate-Juniorate of the Bombay province. The rector, historian Fr Jerome Aixala, joyfully welcomed these very important reinforcements for the Gujarat Mission. He also informed them about a very significant event that had taken place on the feast of the Patron of the Missions, St Francus Xavier, in Anand, Gujarat: the ordination to the priesthood of the first-ever Gujarati priest Fr Basil Lalabhai Parmar!

Brief biodata

(Note: The names are listed according to the order in the photo, from left to right.)

1. Francisco Zubeldia
Born 20-10-1919. Joined SJ 19-9-1935. Ordained 30-7-1950. Died 26-1-2000.
Pioneer of the South Gujarat Missions (Vyara, Mandal…)

Rector of Anand Community.
Parish Priest in Surat.
Secretary to the Baroda Bishop, Rt Rev Francis Braganza and Diocesan Procurator.
His very special and personal apostolate was the Explanation of the Act of Contrition to non-Catholic students. In this personal ministry, he was able to visit  several hundreds of schools and  High Schools and to contact no less than 400 thousand students of the upper  classes.

2. Br Juan G. Jordana (partly hidden by his own cap)
B. 27-12-1919. SJ. 27-3-1947. D. 26.5.2004.

He was a medical Doctor and Dentist and practised his profession for many years in our houses of Anand and Loyola Hall.
Went back to Spain for health reasons in 1982.

3. Luis Maria Moreta
B.10-12-1927. SJ. 26-9-1946. O. 24-3-1961.
Founder of the Ankleshwar Mission.

Assistant Director, Ankleshwar Technical.
He has had a special charism to deal with Youngsters.

4. Isudas Cueli
B. 24-12-1930. SJ. 3-9-1949. O. 24-3-1962.

His name is inseparable from that immense achievement of his, the Sampurna Bible…                           He was PCF for several years and for many more years spiritual Director of many of our Scholastics.

5. Luis Maria Zavala
B. 21-1-1914. SJ. -. O. 1944. D. 4-5-2000.

He joined the Society after being for several years a diocesan priest and personal secretary to the Bishop of Vitoria.
He began as assistant parish priest in Anand. Then parish priest of Mehendabad/ Khatlal. And then for many years assistant at Petlad. Everybody called him the Pavitra Father. He was a gentle saint, a living example of simple piety and union with God.

6. Salaberria
He left for Spain barely one year after his arrival.

7. Manuel Diaz-Garriz
B.  26-5-1932. SJ. 6-7-1949. O. 24-3-1962.
Pioneer in N.G. He thanks our Blessed Mother who inspired and helped him to build Unteshwari.

Assistant Parish Priest of Mandali.
For the last thirty years he has taught Church History in Newman Hall and Sevasi.

8. Ignacio Galdos
B. 31-7-1931. SJ. 3-9-1949. O. 24-3-1962
Founder of Zankhvav, Unai and Bardipada.
Pioneer of inculturation in the field of Adivasi culture in South Gujarat.          

Parish Priest of Bardipada.
9. Juan J. Morondo
B. 25-9-1928. SJ. 7-9-1947. O. 24-3-1961
Taught for 50 years in St Xavier’s – Loyola Hall
Best Teacher Award, Ekalvaya Life –Achievement Award
Harward university (USA) Award for Ideal Inspirer of young talents
Respected as Guru by His Holiness Acharya Tejendraprasad Pande, Supreme Head of the Swaminarayan (Kalupur).
Inmensely dear to his innumerable old students.

At present he is at Javier (Xavier’s Castle in Spain).

[Fr Valentin Oteiza, Director of the Gujarat mission Secretariat in Spain. He had accompanied the group up to Italy].

10. Br Joaquim Bandres
B. 23-8-1929.  SJ. 8-5-1946. D. 14.6.2008

A trained infirmarian who spent years of humble and dedicated service to ours and to the poor people of the surrounding areas in Nadiad and Anand. He was specially dear to our own scholastics in Premal Jyoti. He went back to Spain on medical advice due to a heart condition.  

11. Br Pedro Nagore

He was a specialist in agriculture. His first and only appointment was at Anand.
For health reasons he was compelled to go back to Spain after only 5 years in India.

12. Jose A. Arroyo
B. 28-9-1931. SJ. 14- 9 -1949. O. 24-3-1962

He was an eminent professor of Psychology at St Xavier’s College, Ahmedabad, and an equally eminent Sports Master. He also taught at XLRI Jamshedpur.
He spent many years as professor in several Jesuit Institutions in the US.
Presently he resides in Salvador College, Zaragoza, Spain.    

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Fr. Mathew Kochupura Passed away

Fr.Mathew Kochupura
Born : 03 March 1954
Entered SJ:31 August 1976
Ordained: 15 May 1989
Died: 11 December 2011
We regret to announce the sudden demise of  Fr.Mathew Kochupura (Guj) 57/35,  on 11 December 2011 in Mandali, at 1.30 P.M. The funeral will be held on 12 December in the College Church, Ahmedabad  at 4.00p.m.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Thanksgiving _ Spiritual Exercises in Gujarati Part- 2

Thanksgiving _ Spiritual Exercises in Gujarati Part- 2

ઉપરના  વિડિઓમાં  આણંદમાં થયેલ અકસ્માતમાં ચમત્કારિક રીતે બચી ગયેલ વ્યક્તિની પ્રભુ પ્રત્યેની લાગણી પણ રજુ કરવામાં આવી છે. આગામી ભાગમાં લાંબા સમયથી કોમામાં રહેલ યુવતી અને તેના પ્રત્યે માતા-પિતાનો અગાધ  પ્રેમ રજુ કરવામાં આવશે.

કામમાં વ્યસ્ત રહેતા લોકો માટે ધ્યાન (રીટ્રીટ) ભાગ -૨ 

વિષય- આભાર

આજે પ્રભુનો કેવી રીતે આભાર માની શકીએ તે માટેના પાયાની અને મદદ થઇ શકે તે માટેની  સામગ્રી
ઈશ્વરે બક્ષેલી તમામ શક્તિઓ તેમજ ભેટોની કદર કરું તેમજ તેનું સાચું મૂલ્ય પારખું એવી આજે મારી ઈચ્છા છે. મારી જીવન ની યાત્રામાં સર્જનની આ બધી ભેટોને તે પોષતો રહે છે.

જેમ કુંભાર ઘડાને આકાર આપ્યા કરે છે, જેમ ચિત્રકાર કુદરતી સૌન્દર્યને ચિતરવામાં પીંછી ચલાવ્યા કરે છે, તેમ મને સોળે કળાએ ખીલવવા તે સતત કાર્યશીલ રહે છે.

વધુ મદદ  માટે નીચે આપેલ  શાસ્ત્રપાઠોનું  વાંચન કરી શકાય.

ઈર્મીયા ૧૮ : ૧-૬ ( કુંભાર નો ઘડો )
ઉત્પત્તિ ૧ : ૨૪ - ૨ : ૩ (સર્જનલીલા)

ટેકારૂપ મુદ્દાઓ:

-  કુટુંબનો ફોટો આલ્બમ લો અને એમાં કંડારાયેલી પ્રત્યેક પળોને   માણો ને ઈશ્વરનો આભાર માનો      

- પોતાની જીવન ગાથા ઉપર દ્રષ્ટી  નાંખવી, તેમાં રહેલ અનેકવિધ શક્તિઓની નોંધ કરી એમની  કદર     
- જીવન ગાથામાં વિસરાઈ જવાયેલ મધુર સ્મરણોને ફરી તાજા કરી શકાય 
વધુ માટે વિડિઓ નિહાળો તેનાથી વધુ મદદ મળી શકશે. 

 આ સુંદર શ્રેણી ને સફળ બનાવવા માટે રોમિકા જોન્સન , એકતા પરમાર અને કપીલાબેન આર પરમાર તથા રમેશ યોહાકીમ પરમારના BBN  આભારી છે.

આ શ્રેણીના વિડિઓ યુટ્યુબ  ડાઉનલોડરથી  તમારા માટે  ડાઉનલોડ કરી શકાશે.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

E-Retreat in Gujarati based on Spiritual Exercises Part- 1

E-Retreat in Gujarati based on Spiritual Exercises Part- 1

વિડિઓ ઉપર ક્લિક કરી હવે તમે  જાતેજ પ્રભુમય થઇ  શકો છો

સિદ્ધિઓ  મેળવ્યા પછી પણ કંઇક રહી જાય છે ? કંઇક ખાલીપણું લાગે છે?  એવું તો શું છે કે આત્મા ને શાંતિ નથી ?   આવો, ધ્યાન ધરીએ અને ચકાસણી કરીએ કે તે શું છે.

   ધ્યાનનો પહેલો દિવસ 

ઇસુ મારી કાળજી કાયમ માટે રાખે છે, ભલે આપણે  આપણી અને બીજાની કાળજી અને પ્રેમ રાખવામાં ભૂલી જતા હોઈશું પણ ઈસુની કાળજી અને પ્રેમ કાયમ માટે રહે છે. મોટા ભાગે આપણે પોતાનું અને બીજાનું મૂલ્ય પગારના આંકડાથી, ડીગ્રીના હોદ્દાથી અને કામની સિદ્ધિઓથી આંકતા હોઈએ છીએ. આપણે  કોણ છીએ તે ભૂલી જતા હોઈએ છીએ. આપણે ભગવાનના સંતાનો છીએ અને આપણી કિમંત અમૂલ્ય  છે.
   આ અઠવાડિયા દરમ્યાન આપણે આપણી સાચી વાસ્તવિકતાનો આત્મસાદ કરીએ તો કામની ગુણવત્તા,  દિલમાં શાંતિ, કુટુંબમાં પ્રેમ, નોકરીઓમાં પ્રગતિ સાંધી શકાશે. ભગવાનના સંતાનોને શોભા આપે એવી રીતે રહીએ ત્યારે આપણી અનુભૂતિમાં અને કાર્યમાં ગુણવત્તાભર્યા પરિણામ આવશે.

 કામમાં  વ્યસ્ત રહેતા લોકો માટે ધ્યાનના આ પ્રથમ દિવસે ઈશ્વરના મારા માટેના અગાધ અને અંગત પ્રેમ અને કાળજી હું ફરીવાર તાજગીથી અનુભવવા માંગું છું.

આ માટે મદદરૂપ થઇ  શકે તે માટે નીચેના પાયાના મુદ્દાઓનો સહારો લઇ શકાશે  

મારા જીવનરૂપી ઘડાને આકાર આપવા માટે ઘણો બધો કાચો સમાન એમને એમ પડ્યો છે : એ કાચો સામાન મારા સબંધો હોઈ શકે અથવા મારામાં રહેલી વિવિધ સુષુપ્ત શક્તિઓ કે કળાઓ હોઈ શકે.આ બધી ચિંતાઓમાં ગળાડુબ   એવો હું એ સત્ય ને માણવા આજે  ઈશ્વર સમક્ષ આવું છું: હું ઈશ્વરનું અજોડ સર્જન  છું . હું ઈશ્વરનું  વહાલું સંતાન છું

 પ્રભુ આપણાં દરેકની સંભાળ રાખે છે તે અનુભવવા માટે  આવો થોડીવાર ધ્યાન ધરીએ અને નક્કી કરીએ કે હું પ્રભુ સાથે કેવી રીતે રહી શકું અથવા મારા કામના સમયે પણ હું કેવી રીતે તેમને મારી પાસે રાખી શકું કેવી રીતે હું તેમની  સાથે રહી શકું તે ધ્યાન ધરી તપાસીએ. વધુ માહિતી માટે ઉપર આપેલ સુંદર વીડિઓ નિહાળશો..

વિડિઓને  સુંદર બનાવવા માટે BBNની આણંદની  ટીમ , રોમિકા જોન્સન, એકતા ફિલિપ તથા કેની મેક  અને નડિયાદ સેન્ટ આન્ના સ્કૂલના સિ. સુનિતા, સિ. શારદા અને સિ સુર્યાનો ઉત્તમ ફાળો રહેલો છે.

     "કામમાં વ્યસ્ત રહેતા લોકો માટે ધ્યાન ( રીટ્રીટ )" નામની પુસ્તિકા જે  રેવ. ફા. ધર્મરાજ લોરેન્સ એસ. જે. ની મહેનત અને રેવ ફા. રાયમુંદ  ચૌહાણ એસ જે ના ભાવાનુવાદ છે તેનો ઉપયોગ કરી ખાસ આપનાં માટે દર શનિવારે (નાતાલ સુધી) રજુ કરીશું.

Friday, December 2, 2011

The Season of Advent - Fr.Jerry Fernandes s.j

The Season of Advent
The Latin word “Adventus” means “The Coming”. The Catholic liturgical year ends with the feast of Christ the King. And now the Church celebrates “Advent”, preparing herself for the coming of Jesus, that is, in a state of a “Grace of Waiting”. Very much like the Earth in winter longing for the arrival of Spring, we await our Savior. Advent is not a penitential season like Lent, it is more a happy and optimistic anticipation of the coming of Jesus in the world and in our hearts.
The origins of the season of advent began in the early church when Christmas and the feast of the Epiphany (3 Kings) were celebrated together.  In fact, in the early church, the feast of Epiphany (the Glorious Manifestation of God to the whole world symbolized in the 3 Kings) was more important then the feast of Christmas. Later for some centuries, the church kept advent on a fixed date, November 11th since it was also the feast St. Martin of Tours.  It is only recently about 1000 years ago that December became the season of Advent.
The liturgy of the Sundays in advent stress on different aspects of waiting for Christ and that is why the colours of the vestments keep changing from purple (a deep longing for the redeemer) to crimson rose (a symbol of strong hope like the early rays of the Sun at dawn) to white which is a time of grace to change one’s life and turn to God, the Light of the World. At this stage it is interesting to note that till December 16th the early church waited for the 2nd coming of Christ at the end of time. The final lap of waiting in advent is from December17th to 24th which is the last week preceding Christmas that the liturgy focuses on God coming in the form of flesh and blood through Jesus to enter human history.
But what does advent mean to us in our daily lives?  Advent is a time for cultivating and respecting the Sacrament of waiting.  Waiting is a common experience in life. We stand in queues and wait, we wait for a phone call from our loved ones, and we wait for the dawn to come after a cold, dark night. There is also a sense of certitude that even if the night is dark and lonely we are sure that the dawn will come.  And therefore with faith and hope we wait for the God of Love who rules our lives to bring a light at the end of our dark tunnels of our life experiences.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Sri Lanka- Juniorate - Gavit Kishore

Sri Lanka- Juniorate

At the end of October the Juniorate in Sri Lanka finished its first term. The juniorate was opened on the 4th of July. Fr Provincial celebrated the Holy Eucharist and Fr Oscar (Bom) The junior master introduced the syllabus in his Lectio Brevis. We are 8 juniors from different provinces. Two are from Bangladesh, one is from Bombay, one from Gujarat and four from Sri Lanka. Fr Aloy Vanderwall is our spiritual director and also takes the scripture class on Wednesdays. Fr Oscar our junior master has drilled us in English grammar, composition, phonetics, textbook & public speaking. At present we are even tackling Shakespeare’s Macbeth. Besides we also have had classes on the History and Spirituality of our Society.

On August 26, the province inaugurated its Golden Jubilee year. The juniors were part of the liturgical committee and prepared beautiful hymns under the guidance of Br Patrick. The next three days there was a province assembly where all the Jesuits of the Province came together and shared their views and difficulties about the past especially during the war. On October 26 & 27 when people were celebrating Diwali & New Year in India, we too, celebrated it with our First Term Examination. On the 27th evening we began our Triduum. Fr Lasanta guided us in the Triduum, and on 31 Oct., feast of St. Alphonsus Rodriguez we renewed our Vows. (Gavit Kishor)

Sunday, November 27, 2011


(A Viable Alternative to Secularism in India)

From the above study one might rightly say that Western Secularism, without radical changes in it, is totally out of place in India. Rightly therefore Upendra Baxi states with the support of socio-political thinkers like Madan T. N. and Ashish Nandy:

“Secularism, in the prevailing conditions in South Asia as a generally shared credo of life, is impossible, as a basis of state action impractical, and as a blueprint for the foreseeable future impossible…. Madan describes secularism ‘as an alien cultural ideology, which lacks the strong support of the state:’ ‘secularism’ has become a ‘vacuous word’ and a ‘phantom concept’…”[1]

            This does not mean that we can ignore without serious consequences to national unity and integration, the reality of Religious Pluralism, inter-religious rivalry and the rise of Religious Fundamentalism in practically all the religions of the sub-continent. Our formula, “Religiosity of Dialogal Liberation”, seems to be a right alternative to ‘secularism’, capable of doing justice to the various challenges of the Indian situation of religious pluralism and socio-economic injustice. We use the term “Religiosity” to give the central place to religions respecting the Indian ethos. If this “Religiosity” is dialogal it cannot degenerate into fundamentalism or fanaticism. As we have seen just above, Islam has problems of dialoguing with other religions with a sense of equality accepting their salvific values. Hinduism may find it difficult in collaborating with other religions in liberating people from caste-oppression or economic misery due to their faith in karma, especially sanchit and prarabdha karma. In our effort to face problems of this sort from various religions we shall first deal with the axiomatically accepted view that context changes the text and then consider the praxis of re-reading the non-Christian scriptures from the context.

The Axiom ‘The Context Changes the Text’

One of the chief assumptions of contextual theology is the saying that context changes the text. This assumption is today accepted almost as an axiom. The context of a person is a sort of mental category, a la Kantian Categories, through which the subject tries to reach the Noumenon. Let us take the example of a film like The Bandit Queen. In this film what would strike the high-caste Hindus and what would strike the oppressed caste of Phoolan Devi herself must have been very different. The high-caste Hindus might not have found anything abominable or even strange in the approving looks of the wives of the men who were raping her or parading her naked through the length and breadth of the village. How different must have been the perception, both in details and in substance, of the women of the caste of Phoolan Devi! One might say that in films people would perceive what they are interested in, on the conscious or the unconscious level. This is the psychological aspect of the influence of the context. Oxford Companion to Mind says: “…the direct realism of immediate experience of the object world has been abandoned. It is now, however, fairly generally accepted that stored knowledge and assumptions actively affect even the simplest perceptions.”

Let us take the example of Magnificat about which the Liberation Theologians wax eloquent. Traditionally it was understood as a hymn of praise and thanksgiving sung leisurely by an immaculately conceived innocent village girl. But what a different meaning the poor and the oppressed Christians of Latin America gave to this hymn! They primarily concentrated on the following verses:
            ‘My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord
            and my spirit exults in God my saviour;
            because he has taken upon his lowly handmaid.

            He has shown the power of his arm,
            he has routed the proud of heart.
            He has pulled down princes from their thrones and exalted the lowly.
            The hungry he has filled with good things, the rich sent empty away.
            (Lk. 1:46,47,51,52)

For persons who suffer oppression it is the cry of an oppressed woman for justice. It is a revolutionary song, which needs completely a new revolutionary tune and a thoroughly new interpretation.

But there are other epistemological aspects too in the above-said axiom that context changes the text. From the time of Heisenburg even scientists began to take for granted the subjective elements even in the most ‘objective’ physico-chemical sciences. It is much more so in human sciences like history and sociology. William James used to say that in Love, Politics, and in Religion people prove what they want to prove because they have to prove it. When we are involved with the poor, poverty, misery and oppression have different meanings.

Re-reading the Scriptures

            When we enter into dialogue with other religions, we have to be aware not only of the above axiom but also of the praxis of the Liberation Theologians of re-reading the scriptures. But in the context of religious pluralism and dialogue we are called upon to re-read not only the Bible but also the non-Christian scriptures. As far as the Indic Religions are concerned, as we have seen in our study of Indian Ethos, dialogal attitudes come natural to them. In the past, where the Muslims were a small minority, their talk about dialogue and secularism seems to have been a ploy for survival. Now it seems that a few Western Muslim Scholars began to have sincere dialogue with other religions especially with the Christians. Such dialogues led them to re-read the Quran and they have begun to bring out Quranic texts which are inclusive and inspirational for inter-religious dialogue. Here a few sample texts from the Quran are given:

To you be your way, And to me mine” (Holy Quran, 109:6).

“To each among you have prescribed a Law and an Open Way. If God so willed, He would have made you a single people, but (His plan is) to test you in what He hath given you: so strive as in a race in all virtues. The goal of you all is to God; it is He that will show you the truth of the matters in which you dispute” (Holy Quran, 5:48).

“O mankind! We created you from a single (pair), of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know each other. (Not that ye may despise each other). Verily the most honoured of you in the sight of God is (he who is) the most righteous of you. And God has full knowledge and is well acquainted (with all these things)” (49:13). Cfr. Also 2:213; 10:29; 30:21).

Some Anti-caste texts from the Hindu scriptures:

Here we shall narrate the well-known Upanishadic story which shows how the character of a person determines his caste, not his birth. The story of Satyakama described in the Chandogya Upanishad well brings out this idea (IV:4:5). Satyakama, the bastard son of a low caste woman goes to a Brahmin sage named Gautama with the desire for learning. When he was asked about his gotra (family) he told the truth. Pleased with his truthfulness the guru said: “None but the Brahmana could thus explain. Bring the fuel, my dear, I will receive you as a pupil. Thou hast not departed from the truth”. Gita IV:13 and IX:4:32, could be interpreted in this way.[2]

            Here below a paragraph from Dr. Pandurang Kane, a scholar in Dharmasastra Literature is given. It is the result of the Re-reading of the Mahabharata with an anti-caste mind-set.  

Shanti 188:10 says ‘there is no real distinction between the varnas (since) it was formerly created by Brahma, and has the system of varnas on account of the various actions (of men)’. Shanti (189:4 and 8) avers ‘that man is known as brahmana in whom are seen truthfulness, generosity, absence of wickedness, shame (restraint for avoiding wrong-doing), compassion and a life of austerity; if these signs are observed in a sudra and not found in brahmana, the sudra is not a sudra (should not be treated as a sudra) and the brahmana is not a brahmana. A similar passage occurs in Vanaparva 216:14 and 15[3].

            Recently, I had the privilege of attending an international seminar organized by a group of secular persons from different parts of the world. One of the main topics of this seminar was The Humane face of Socially Engaged Hinduism. The participants including those from the West, were well aware of the common and uncritical understanding of Hinduism, as a world-denying religion with no concern for the sufferings and miseries of fellow human beings, be it poverty, disease or caste-discrimination.

            They were also aware of another uncritical assumption about Hinduism. It is that because of the Hindu belief in Sanchit Karma (accumulated evil effects of the actions of the previous birth) the victims of contagious diseases, social marginalization, economic injustice, etc. suffer in the present birth as a just punishment for their sinful deeds in the previous birth. Hence, we would have no serious responsibility of alleviating their sufferings since they suffer what they deserve.

            A number of scholarly papers could parade numerous scriptural statements from the Vedas to the mediaeval and modern bhakti literature which teach the value of compassion and loving service. Here we shall cite a few of them:

Rigveda (10:117: 3 and 5)

Bounteaous is he who gives to the beggar who comes to him in want of food and feeble.

Success attends him at the shout of battle. He makes a friend of him in future troubles.
Let the rich satisfy the poor implorer, and bend his eye upon a longer way.
Riches come now to one, now to another, and like wheels of cars are ever rolling.

Bhagavad Purana

Na tvaham kamaye rajyam na svargam napunarbhavam, kamaye dukataptanam praninamartinasham
The meaning of this verse in a rather liberal paraphrase is that the Saint begs of the Lord, as the greatest gift and grace, to allow him to share the sufferings of all the people, for he considers this grace greater than that of his own Salvation.

Bhagavad Gita

            Those who work for the total welfare of all beings (loksangraha) (Cfr. 3:20 and 25), are worthy of ‘Salvation’.

            Those who are involved in the well-being of all beings (sarva-bhuta-hite-ratah) are also worthy of ‘Salvation’ (cfr. 5:25 and 12:4).

From the Sacred writings of the Saints

            From Thiruvelluvar :

“To give to the destitute is true charity. All other gifts have the nature of (what is done for) a measured return. (Even in a low state) not to adopt the mean expedient of saying, ‘I have nothing’, but to give is the characteristic of the man of noble birth. The power of those who perform penance is the power of enduring hunger. It is inferior to the power of those who remove the hunger of others”[4]. 

            From the writings of Thirumular:

“Padamada kovil pahavarku onru eel, nadamadakovil nambaarku anka aha.
Nadamakovil namabarku onru eel  padamadakovil pahavarku  atu ame.”
It means that what we offer to the Lord in the temple will not reach our fellow-humans, but what we offer to the walking temple that is our fellow human being will certainly reach our fellow humans, and it may also reach the Lord.” 
            From the writings of Narsinh Mehta:

Vaishnava janato tene kahiye pida paray janere
Paradukhe upakara kare toye man abhiman na anere
(= They are the true Vaishnavas who know the sufferings of others. And if these people do something to alleviate the sorrows of others they do it with no sense of pride or a superiority complex).

Our Formula as an Alternative to Western Secularism:

Religiosity of Dialogal Liberation

            In this formula for the Indian context, religion is brought to the centre in keeping with the spirit of the Indian Ethos. But we give religion this central place in so far as it is in dialogue with other religions without letting it fall into religious fundamentalism. Besides, the various religions are expected to cooperate with one-another for the total welfare of the people and of the nation as a whole. The three concepts in this formula are complementary and mutually enriching.

            We accept the axiomatically considered formula in situations of Religious Pluralism that “To be Religious means to be Inter-Religious”. In situations of Religious Pluralism a fundamentalistic, exclusivistic and self-righteous religion, with no openness for dialogue with other religions, will function like a cancer-cell. A cancer cell is one of the most powerful and the most rapidly multiplying cells. But the fact is that it eventually destroys itself and the body (organism) as a whole, as it happens to any parasite. The reason simply is that a cancer cell does not follow the homeo-static system of the organism, which is responsible for the multiplication and differentiation of the various organs and limbs of the organism. A particular minority community in a nation can take all the advantages of being citizens and the privileges all the minority communities while at the same timework as terrorists and fifth-columnists. The Rightist parties in the Western Europe accuse the Muslims of such parasitic disloyalty. Here I shall cite just a few sentences from a speech by a panicky Rightist MP from Netherlands: “The Pew Research Centre reported that half of French Muslims see their loyalty to Islam as greater than their loyalty to France. One-third of French Muslims do not object to suicide attacks. The British Centre for Social Cohesion reported that one-third of British Muslim students are in favour of a worldwide caliphate” (From the speech delivered in New York by Geert Wilders, an MP from Netherlands). In a country like ours, inculcating and promoting a culture of dialogue on the personal and the institutional levels are of paramount importance.

            Following the example of Aloysius Piereis SJ, we do highlight the Liberative potential of all religions. All the religions in India have the ideals and potential to cooperate with other religions to build India as a prosperous, progressive, well united peace-loving and peace-making great nation.

            Recently the Polite Bureau of the Marxists has publicly declared that it does not oppose true religiosity (spirituality) but opposes mechanical ritualism. Dialogal Liberation implies cooperating with people of other religions to make India a better place to live in and to oppose the dehumanizing factors of Indian society, whatever these things may mean. For instance, so many of us Indians complain about corruption in various sectors of Indian life. If all the Religions in India cooperate to eradicate corruption on the basis of different religions, India will not remain one of the most corrupt countries of the world. Remember, the national ideal expressed in the mantra SATYAMEVA JAYATE has become an empty slogan. The unfortunate thing in our country is that adharma (all kinds of evil) conquers dharma because the so-called religious people are busy with opposing and putting down other religions thereby losing the precious time and energy meant for “dharma samsthapana” or the establishment of dharma with all its values. To fight for the national priorities like ecological balance, national hygiene including the cleaning up the polluted rivers, opposing caste-atrocities and fighting against the adharma of degrading poverty, side-by-side with dehumanizing luxury, all the religions could be brought together. This means that the religion to which we want to give a central place in Indian life is not an escapistic religion but one that can collaborate with people of all the religions of India for a better present and a brighter future.

            Religiosity of dialogal liberation is not an unrealizable Euthopian dream. Let me tell you what happened to me some years back. I was invited by a Catholic priest to inaugurate a bridge in the Kottayam dist. of Kerala. This bridge was built with the cooperation of the Hindu, Muslim and Christian communities. The idea of this bridge was mooted by a Catholic priest in consultation with a couple of Non-Catholic Christian priests, when the government had failed to respond to their applications. This bridge would serve the Hindu pilgrims to Sabarimala by shortening the distance by several miles and by making the route through a less dangerous forest. When the Hindu and Muslim leaders were contacted they were only too willing to cooperate with the Christians. Though the chief beneficiaries of this new bridge were the Hindu pilgrims, all the other communities on the other side of the bridge could get easy access to the nearby town. For the inauguration a sumptuous meal was organized for the thousands of people who took part in building the bridge and the road which connected it to the main road. The meal was prepared by the women from the three communities while the men-folk were still busy with giving finishing touches to the bridge and to the roads. At the end of the meal all were served delicious payasam, a south Indian delicacy. At the end of the inaugural functions, I ended my speech with the following parable:

             Once a man, fairly well dressed, knocked at the door of a house and asked for a meal. The housewife told him that the family had already taken the meal and so she would not be in a position to give him a decent meal respecting his status. Taking out a smooth white stone from his pocket, the guest said, “This magical payasam-stone can produce delicious payasam if you could put a pot of water on the stove.” When the water was about to boil, he put the payasam-stone into the pot.

            Due to the peculiar dynamics of the rural communication system, already some neighbours had arrived to observe the magical power of the payasam-stone. After tasting a little liquid from the boiling pot, he said, “Excellent payasam! But if somebody could contribute a little salt, it would taste better.” After tasting the liquid again, he asked for some rice and some milk. The neighbours began to vie with one another in complying with his polite requests. After tasting the payasam again and again, he courteously requested for sugar and coconut chips and then for some spices like cardamom, cumin seed, pepper and the like. After tasting the payasam getting ready in the pot he said: “I am going to serve the most delicious payasam the type of which you have never tasted. But if somebody would bring some cashew-nuts, I can assure you that it will give you some unforgettable taste”. While keeping on stirring the payasam in the pot he requested the house-wife to make the people sit in a line and give each one a bowl or a cup. He served all of them delicious payasam.

            This parable illustrates the underlying assumption of this paper – that religions are not contradictorily opposed but complimentarily related notwithstanding their serious differences. All the religions in India have the ideals and potential to make India a better, greater and a more united nation. By speaking about Dialogal Liberation we want to point out that here we are not advocating a status-quo religion or an escapistic religion but a religion which is conscious of its duty of dharma-samsthapana in its broadest sense. In a dialogal sense it can include the World Family Ideal, the Christian Kingdom of God Ideal and the Umma Ideal of Dialoging Muslims.
To Conclude
            Right at the outset we tried to understand the Western concept of secularism. In the light of various descriptions and definitions of this concept from different sources, we came to the conclusion that secular ideology in its initial stages was very much materialistic and worldly, and that ‘Lokayata’ would be a right translation of this ‘Western Secularism’. We also saw that the secularism prescribed as pancea for all the ills of Mother India is not a well thought out and philosophically digested ideology, but the fall-out of various anti-clerical, anti-authoritarian, anti-establishment, revolutions and upheavals in the West.

            The result of this ‘secularism-drug’ had been disastrous in the Western ethos notwithstanding its minor gains. As far as India is concerned, the artificial separation of state and religion on secularistic prescription would go against the Indian mind-set and ethos. But the truth is that the communalistic cancer is sapping Mother India’s energies and resources which are needed to help her millions of hungry, naked and homeless children. To make India united, integrated and energetic the formula suggested by us is Religiosity of Dialogal Liberation. This ideal is not very different from the Gandhian sarva-dharma-samabhav or sarva-dharma-mamabhav except that the religions should not stand for status quo but must use their collective energies to build up a better and a greater India according to the ideals of vasudhaiva kutumbakam or Kingdom of God. This ideal is totally against ghettoistic, exclusivistic and self-righteous religious attitudes.

            Training in such ideals and axioms as ‘to be Religious means to be Inter-Religious’, ‘context changes the text’ and ‘re-reading the scriptures’ from the context can promote a culture of Religiosity of Dialogal Liberation. This can be done in the existing national structures like the educational institutions, panchayat institutions, Gandhian institutions like Ashrams and Gandhi Vidyapiths. In some of the educational institution of Western Europe there are centres for training in citizenship substituting the traditional centres for religious teachings (catechism). In India such centres could be started with an emphasis on Religiosity of Dialogal Liberation. Common celebrations of national and religious festivals can inculcate inter-religious values especially among the common folk. Multi-religious symbols could be promoted in the government offices without at the same time giving the freedom of using the symbols of one’s own religion. The mass-media could be encouraged to present India as a mosaic of many religious, ethnic, linguistic and racial groups, as a living symbol to the ideal of unity in diversity, and a model in the process for many nations which are struggling to cope with problems of Religious Pluralism and Religious Fundamentalism.

Amidst the din of communal politics, our suggestion for educating the people in the Religiosity of Dialogal Liberation would be like a cry in the desert. But I firmly believe that sooner or later our traditional resilience and wisdom will triumph. Let us cooperate with our countrymen in the spirit of the Religiosity of Dialogal Liberation to realize the ideal of our ancestors, vasudhaiva kutumbkam and atraiva vishvam bhavati eknidam.

[1] “The ‘Struggle’ for the Redefinition of Secularism in India: Some Preliminary Reflections” in Secularism and Liberation, Rudolf Heredia & Edward Mathias (edit)., New Delhi:: ISI, 1995, p.56.
[2] Cfr. Ishanand Vempeny, “Inspirational in the Non-Biblical Scriptures”, Bangalore: TPI, 1973, p.203. In the same book an effort was made to re-read the scriptures with an anti-caste mind-set. Cfr. ibid., pp. 199-206.
[3] Kane, History of Dharmasastra, vol.5, Poona: Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute, 1962, p.1642.
[4] The version of Andrew and John Lazarus, Madras, The Teachers’ Publishing House, p.47