Monday, April 30, 2012

Province Days 2012 at Baroda - Fr.Rappai Poothokaren S.J


Some 200 Gujarat Jesuits (almost 70% of the Province) converged at Rosary School, Vadodara, to mingle, relax in each others’ company and share their fellowship. The outcome? A deeper experience of fellowship in the “Society of Love”. A greater sense of belonging to our Gujarat Province. A feeling of close relationship among the group of Jesuits, coming from different parts of India and beyond, that the Lord has selected and put together for His Mission in Gujarat. The young look forward with hope to the future, the middle aged grow in confidence to face the challenges ahead, and the old are happy that the Spirit of the Lord very much alive among us. There are shortcomings and shortages, problems and pressures, challenges and opportunities… What is life worth without challenges!
“Visualizing the needs, challenges and opportunities we are likely to face as a Province ten years from now, and responding to them” was the theme for the Province Days. The movement was “… towards (year) twenty-twenty”.  Nine wise men (Navratna), all in their 40’s, were entrusted the job of planning and organizing. They did a good job. Preparations went on for months – more sharing and praying, less discussions and papers. Novitiate groups from 1981 to 1999 met and shared their visions and dreams for the Gujarat Province of 2020.

A Kaleidoscope of happenings:
- The growth of Gujarat Mission was screened in Black and White, Sepia and multi colour: the beginnings out of the blue, the twists and turns of growth of the Kheda Church among the poor; the rapid and exhilarating expansion of the Adivasi Church in South Gujarat; the slow penetration of the Church in North Gujarat.
- The Novitiate groups (1981-99) presented their dreams, some more gripping than others 
Some men and women, not with the S.J. suffix, urged us move on, suggesting the direction and pace.
- 11 confreres who entered the portals of a Jesuit Novitiate half a century ago shared their ‘call’ and eventful lives in the ‘Company’ of Jesus, gracefully videographed by fresh Jesuits. The Golden Jubilarians were feasted and felicitated, at the Lord’s and life’s table, and on stage.
Fifteen Jesuits with years of experience at different tasks in the Lord’s vineyard expounded their dreams and visions for the decade ahead, based on their own experiences  – challenging, thought provoking and prodding to action.
- Fr Changa, our provincial, put forth his absolute, minimum need, NOW – TEN MORE full-fledged Jesuits. The old can hardly be rejuvenated and the fledglings cannot be made to soar high yet. With focus on 2020, we have to make a concerted and focused campaign to attract, inspire and nurture vocations; it has to be Agenda No. 1, for all.

Two books were released during the province days:
1) Samooh Yatra: Our Journeying Together – A history of most of the Jesuit communities in Gujarat.
2) Globalization, Growth and Employment – A compilation of scholarly writings on the topic edited by Fr Lancy Lobo and Jayesh Shah

No learned papers emerged from the Province days, no Resolutions were made or Action Plans voted on, no paper was wasted and files filled! But Gujarat Jesuits spent two days together in mutual fellowship and companionship – relaxed, sharing, dreaming and hoping.

Rosary School rose to the occasion to host and run everything well. After enjoying all the facilities generously shared, the feeling was that Rosary could be the permanent venue of Province days! All the Jesuit institutions around, and the Rosary Parish and the Bishop’s house, were thrown open to accommodate the participants. The bevy of automobiles squeezed into the Rosary campus vouched for the material blessings the Lord has showered on Gujarat province, and the mobility of her members!
(Rappai Poothokaren, S.J.)

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Shamgahan couples -- Fr.Raymund Chauhan

Shamgahan couples

Many Catholic tribal couples of the Shamgahan Parish have been graced by a variety of experiences of healing during the two charismatic retreats, one in February and the other in March, organized in Giri Mata Dham – Saputara. Once again this year Fr Paresh from Karamsad Parish directed the retreats. The first retreat had 115 couples. These couples went back to their respective homes and shared their first hand experiences with the others and that affected the second retreat where the number swelled to 225.

The Sisters of St Ann played an active role in this whole venture of faith formation in the parish and contributed in many other ways. There is a follow-up programme in the villages of the couples where they will be guided and inspired to cherish and nourish the graces received during the retreats and live a more intimate life with Our Lord and each other in their families and villages. Hats off to the whole parish team without whose support, planning and encouragement this would not have come through. (Raymund)

Saturday, April 7, 2012




Thursday, April 5, 2012

Vyara diary - Fr.Ronnie Saldanha

Vyara diary

RTF Workshops: The second phase of the RTF workshops were conducted in 13 villages of Vyara mission in February 2012. The initial meeting was held at Catholic Church Vyara, where about 120 men and women had gathered. Since the people found it very informative, the first phase of the meetings were held (in May 2011) in all the 21 villages of Vyara. Thanks to the cooperation of the then director of “Shakti”, Fr Stany Jebamalai, and his team comprising of Rameshbhai, Rajeshbhai, Lataben, Sevantiben and company. Fr Arana who attended practically all the meetings was a motivating factor. He added pep and life into the meetings.

Vidyadeep Exposure: 12 girls from Vidyadeep Community College of Bharuch came for an exposure programme for 6 days to one of the villages of Vyara (Amli- Bokadkuda) with slide shows, street theatre, inputs, songs and dance. They enlightened the people regarding health and hygiene. It was a very informative program for the people. Thanks to Sr Maggie DHM and Sr Rani DHM for taking the initiative.

Youth Workshop: To revive the youth group in Vyara, an effort was made to have a workshop for them at Korvi for 2 days. 48 youth took part (20 girls and 28 boys). All were very enthusiastic and promised to be committed. The sessions were conducted by Sr Nancy SU, Sr Savita MSCJ and Fr Ronnie. Follow up meetings in the villages have begun, besides that about 10 leaders form the villages have taken up the job of bringing the youth to the mission centre and they have promised to help out in organizing youth programmes. The next youth gathering scheduled for 2 days (21st and 22nd of April), is a Sammellan at Unai for the youth of Unai, Bardipada and Vyara. We hope these initiatives would unite the youth of our 3 centers and animate their spirit to work towards  local vibrant churches. (Ronnie Saldanha)

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Bharuch Hostelites shine - Fr. Francis Cruz

Bharuch Hostelites shine

The Hostel Students of St Xavier's School, Bharuch, shone out in sports. They bagged awards at the Gujarat State level competition held for schools recently in the following events: Basket ball, Kabbadi, Kho Kho, Skating, Long Jump, High Jump, 100, 200 and 5000 metre races, 4 X 100 and 4 X 400  relay races. They got as many as 113 cheques for their excellent performance. In all 46 pupils had taken part in the. Kudos to Fr Anthony Cruze and Sch Moieson who took a lot of pains to encourage the students to achieve such excellent performances. (Francis Cruz)