Friday, May 31, 2013



Gujarat Province Sammelan 2013
This Sammelan was, perhaps, the one that had the longest and most participatory preparation. It came as the culmination of a twoyear process of Strategic Apostolic Planning (SAP). The last General Congregation asked for such a planning, and Gujarat province plunged into it under the clear direction and close involvement of Fr Provincial. Several meetings were held in the seven ‘districts’ of Gujarat. The new understanding that all Jesuits in a ‘district‘ are a community, is evolving. The broad-based Province Commission of Ministries (PCM), as the “Advisory or Governing Board” of Gujarat province, is a welcome development towards a more participative decision making process.

Fr General wrote a letter for the occasion. He wrote, “You now come together as a Province to reflect on the fruits of this process (SAP), gather them into decisions and establish strategies to implement them.”

The use of Video interviews made it possible to keep the inputs precise and brief. A cross-section of Gujarat Jesuits were interviewed on their assessment of Jesuit Mission in Gujarat today and on their understanding and experience of Evangelization. Evangelization as sharing of the Good News in diverse ways depending on the context seems to be more accepted now, rather than an Evangelization that aims exclusively on establishing a visible Christian community.

Some ‘emerging challenges’ were also presented and discussed – our Ecological Mission, Youth ministry and Vocation promotion. Awareness, concern and action on Ecology seem to be spreading. Guiding and accompanying the Youth are felt essential in all our institutions. Every Jesuit is called to promote Vocations; our survival is at stake.

Two significant sessions – on Collaboration – were indicative of a realization long overdue. Video interviews and a Panel discussion with women and men from different religions, who work with us, and some ex-Jesuits, were very revealing. Most of them appreciated our Mission, and the inspiration behind it. But most felt that they were kept at the margin, and were not involved as ‘insiders’ in our Mission.

The inputs, discussions and sharing were important. But equally important was the meeting and mingling of the Jesuits in Gujarat. With super roads and fast vehicles, the Jesuits in Gujarat nowadays do not visit each other much, except for ‘work’! The oldest Jesuit, Fr Pariza, and youngest Junior were present. The participation in the discussions of the younger Jesuits was less than the older ones. The attendance was somewhat lesser than expected. The Golden and other Jubilees of our men were celebrated. The POSA’s presence all throughout the Sammelan and his special address on the Universal Mission of the Society of Jesus warmed the spirit of the Gujarat Jesuits.

The ‘software’ team that prepared the Sammelan in minute detail, under the leadership of Fr M I Raj with a committed team, did a commendable job. The ‘hardware’ team under the leadership of Fr Mickey did a great job. In the simmering heat of Ahmedabad (42 degrees) everything was done to keep our heads and bodies cool! The food, the staying and resting facilities were well taken care of by Fr M G Raj.

Let us hope that the sharing and inspiration of the Sammelan would let our Gujarat Jesuit province bloom! (Rappai Poothokaren)

To have a glimpse of the Province Sammelan, you could click on the link given below. 

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