Saturday, October 26, 2013

Conference of European Jesuit Provincials Declaration concerning Syria

Conference of European Jesuit Provincials
Declaration concerning Syria

Rome, Friday October 25th, 2013
We the Jesuit Provincials, as major superiors of the Society of Jesus in the Middle East and in Europe, warmly welcome the Holy Father's recent statement on Syria. With all his strength, he alerted international opinion to the Syrian tragedy and asked "all the parties in conflict to listen to the voice of their own conscience and not close themselves in solely on their own interests" (Pope Francis - Angelus prayer -  1st September 2013). With him, we also declare that "never has the use of violence brought peace in its wake", but that the only way to peace is through the culture of encounter and the culture of dialogue.

Steps toward peace
Therefore, we rejoice that the threat of air attacks against Syria has ceased and we support the launching of the process which aims at the destruction of all chemical weapons found on Syrian soil.  We welcome negotiations for a peace conference for Syria which have now begun and we urge that this peace process moves forward rapidly, courageously and firmly.  We ask all parties in the conflict, as well as the international community,
- to urgently seek  a cease-fire guaranteed by an international authority;
- to establish a road-map to prepare the meeting of all the parties in conflict;
- to convene  the peace conference  to reach a common agreement which safeguards the lives of the Syrian people.

Social and civil mobilization
At the same time, we call once again for mobilization of all civil and social agencies to help the Syrian people face one of the biggest humanitarian tragedies of our century. The care of refugees both within and outside the country (about one quarter of the population), the need for food, medicine and medical aid, freeing detainees and hostages, and the reopening of educational institutions, continue to be urgent needs..

Interests at play
We also wish to draw attention to the necessity of acknowledging and naming the real interests that are at play, both locally, regionally or internationally, and which, unfortunately, do not always correspond with the interests of the Syrian people. In particular, we call for a reflection on the consequences of the production and sale of arms; we call for the cessation of the delivery and the sale of arms to all parties in conflict.                                                     

Necessary discernment
With the wider international community, we would also like to urge the refusal of all support, whether diplomatic or military, for  every  party, which  openly advocates any forms of violence, fanaticism or extremism. Respect for the dignity of the person as well as for human rights should constitute a criterion and a preliminary primary point of reference for all material aid.

Christian communities in Syria
Finally, we point particularly to the ill-treatment and victimisation of Christian communities living in Syria. Present in Syria since the beginning of the Christian era, these communities constitute an inseparable element of its social fabric and its cultural richness and they contribute actively to its development. Solutions advocating the exile or the elimination of these communities are unacceptable.  We want to encourage those Christian communities and to assure them that they can play a valuable role in their societies through faithful witness to the Gospel: a gospel that calls for peace, justice, forgiveness, understanding and reconciliation.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Fr. Terence Lobo – A Successful Pastor and a Spiritual Guide - Fr.Lawrence Dharmaraj s.j

Fr. Terence Lobo – A Successful Pastor and a Spiritual Guide

Fr.Terrence was born in Belgaum and educated in St Paul’s High School. Later he studied in St. Xavier’s College, Bombay, pursuing studies for a degree in mathematics. He had the good fortune of coming in touch with some of the great Jesuit stalwarts of the twentieth century, like Gaspar Balaguer.  However, after acquiring his B. Sc. he joined a multinational company and worked for some years.

As a young man in Bombay, he was very active in the Marian Sodalities along with his relative Lovett Fernandes. Eventually, in 1957, Lovett joined the Jesuits to work in Gujarat. After six years, Terrence followed him and joined the new novitiate at Mount Abu. He received his early training in the Society from a most experienced novice master, Fr Gregorio Conget.  Being a ‘late vocation’, all through the years of formation, he was a big brother and guide to his much younger companions.

An outstanding quality of  Terence was his great facility to mix with all the ethnic groups. This had made him a much loved companion in every Jesuit community where he had been. His religious studies in the national institutes at Shembaganur and Pune gave him the opportunity to have contact with the whole East Asian Assistancy.
For his generation, Terence had been a most successful Pastor. He was known for his availability and he had been assigned to various mission centres and parishes. His services in the rural parish of Vadtal and the urban parishes of Sabarmati and Surat were outstanding.

Fr.Terence was a devout Catholic priest. A man of prayer, he used to be seen with his breviary or Rosary in hand and spending time before the Blessed Sacrament. This had an impact on the life of the people in the parishes. He sat for Confession regularly and thus drew people in his parishes to have recourse to the Sacrament. He spent time reading books and articles and prepared his sermons well. As a pastor, he had been most outstanding in caring for all his parishioners, rich and poor, locals and migrants. He used to visit all of them and offer them spiritual and material help. His capacity for remembering the names of all his parishioners, their place of their origin, and  their various relations was fabulous.

Fr.Terence had been an excellent spiritual guide. At least four young Jesuits have been recruited by him for the Gujarat Province. He had a vast experience in pastoral ministry and many of his old parishioners used  to seek his spiritual help.

Fr. Terence Lobo was a member of Sughadpanth, the Jesuit Pre-novitiate since December 2010. He was a true companion and a friend in the Lord. He was a well-read person. He used to find delights in the works and spiritualities of St Ignatius, St Teresa of Avila and St John of the Cross.

On 2 September 2013, Fr.Terence had an attack of viral fever. First he was taken to Gomtipur and then from there to ‘Life Care-Hospital’. He was in the Hospital for 3 days. Once the fever came down, he could walk and fend for himself. After getting discharged from the hospital, he was brought back to the Prenovitiate. However on 9 September once again the fever came up. He was rushed to Gomtipur and then to Pilar Hospital Baroda on 10 Sept. After an hour in the ICU at Pilar, he was taken to Bhai Lala Amin Hospital, where he was put in Medical ICU and then on a ventilator. He was succumbed to the disease called Guillain–BarrĂ© syndrome (GBS) sometimes called Landry's paralysis or Guillain–BarrĂ©–Strohl syndrome. It is an acute polyneuropathy, a disorder affecting the peripheral nervous system. This disease had already reached his brain stem and  he was treated with a very expensive medicine called Immunorel 5gm for 5days. Later on he was brought to Lady Pilar Hospital for further treatment. He remained in the ICU over a month. Br.Malcolm and others tired their level best to keep him alive to complete his golden jubilee celebrations with his beloved province men in Gujarat. But the Beloved Lord had a different plan and the Lord invited him for a grand celebration with his dear cousin Fr.Lovett and with his very Dear Mother Mary.

Dear Fr.Terence, with heavy hearts we accept our Lord’s plan for you and wish you an everlasting celebrations in heaven!

By: Fr.Lawrence Dharmaraj s.j

Fr.Terence Lobo's Golden Jubilee Message

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Father 'Forgive them-they do not know what they do'