Friday, December 26, 2014

Br.Paul Macwan Passed away on 25 Dec 2014


Br. Paul Macwan (GUJ) 76/53, died in an  accident between Umerpada and Mandvi  this evening on 25 Dec 2014. He was travelling with Fr.Aubrey Fernandes, who is hospitalized now.

The funeral of Br.Paul Macwan  will be held in St.Joseph Church Baroda, on 26 Dec 2014 ( Friday) at 3.30 p.m.- Socius

May the soul of the departed  rest in peace.

Br Paul Macwan SJ

Br. Paul Macwan was inspired to join the Society while he was doing his primary school at Nadiad, by observing the saintly life of Br. Augustine Lobo. He joined the novitiate at Vinayalaya, Mumbai, in 1961.

After spending four years in Vinayalaya, for his noviciate and juniorate, he was sent to De Nobili College, Pune. That was his home for 15 years till 1980. He was moulded there and had been in charge of several offices, including being the first Brother Minister of De Nobili College. He was the founding member of De Nobili College Trust.

In 1980, he was sent to the Thailand Border to serve the refugees of Cambodia and Vietnam, at the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for refugees. Paul was in charge of coordinating the construction works, sanitation, electricity and water supply of the camp for over 50,000 refugees. He received a letter of merit from the UN High Commission and a congratulation letter from the then General Fr. Aruppe.

In 1981, Paul was sent to Dediapada and worked there for seven years as Treasurer, Farm Manager, In Charge of Social Work and Secretary of Adivasi Samajik Kendra Dediapada, Relva and Nani Sigloti. He collaborated with Fr. Berechi in starting the first educational project in South Gujarat, opening three Primary schools, a High school and later on a Higher Secondary school. At the same time He was asked by Fr. Berechi to improve the management of the milk cooperative society. So he went to NDDB, Anand for a course in the relevant skills.

From Dediapada he was sent to Africa (Ethiopia). It was one of his dreams fulfilled. He was given charge as Field Director of JRS, and had to oversee a huge multi project: establishing 70,000 displaced people of that country. The project was contracted with the government of Ethiopia which acknowledged the JRS project as a model project. There too Paul was given a letter of appreciation by the Ministry of Health. The Provincial of East Africa with the approval of the Gujarat Provincial, wanted to send him to Somalia for refugee work there.

In the meantime he was asked to join his tertianship at Bangalore in1989. At Bangalore he also did a diploma course in catechetic. Since he could not obtain a visa to Somalia, he was sent to Khambhat mission in 1990.

At Khambhat he worked for eight years as an Administrator, Treasurer and the director of Agricultural project, building the high school, hostel, renovating the Fathers’ residence and building a compound wall. He was also in charge of buying land and building a school, hostels and a convent at Varasada and the Shrine and the Retreat House in Nagra. He also took care of the construction of the extension of St Xavier’s, Gandhinagar.

The sudden demise of Fr. Herero at Ankleshwar resulted in the transfer of Paul to  take charge of completing the construction of one wing of the Technical school and the fathers’ residence at Catholic Church, Ankleshwar.

In 1998 he was called to Premal Jyoti, Ahmedabad, to work in the Province Curia. He was appointed Province Treasurer, the first Brother to hold the job. He was also the Province Revisor of Arcarum and Domorum and the Director of XKM Vehicle Office. He was a secretary and treasurer of the Province-run trusts including the Secretary of Xavier Kelvani Mandal Pvt. Ltd. He resided with the community of Gurjarvani. There too he was made Secretary of the Gurjarvani Society and given the charge to supervise the building of the Parish Church (Prayer Hall) on the college campus.

Paul had been trustee of several trusts and had taken keen interest in the development of many centres. Paul was very reliable. He was very good in human relationships. He made friends easily and his friendships lasted long. He was a good administrator, and good at organizing things. He was good at accounts. He was creative. He wrote and spoke well, especially in Gujarati. Before joining the Society he had written a play which was staged at the Town Hall in Baroda.

Since Last 20 years he was assisting a centre for the handicapped children run by an ex-Jesuit Brother at Inderanaj in Varasada mission.

In 2010, he was given a year off to study scripture, Catholic doctrine and catechetics to help in the Pastoral line and for his own spiritual good. In 2014, he was appointed, Treasurer, Building Incharge and Farm Incharge at Nanisingaloti.

With best wishes and in Union of Prayers,
Socius- Gujarat Province

Fr.Lawrence Dharmaraj

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Br. Eneriz  Manuel (Manolo)
Br. Eneriz  Manuel (Manolo) (GUJ) 88/67, expired around  2.45 p.m on 12 Nov 2014 in the Hospital at Baroda.

The funeral will be held at 9 a.m in  the  Catholic Church, Anand  on 13 Nov 2014 .
May the departed soul rest in peace.
Fr.Lawrence Dharmaraj SJ

He came to India in 1953 and since then he had been the faithful handyman at Anand Press. His contribution to Anand Press has been enormous not only in solving every kind of mechanical problems but also dealing with many human problems. With his innate gentleness, characteristic simplicity, unassuming personality, genial temperament and unfailing goodness, he had been able to exert a wholesome and pacifying influence on the workers in the press. Even when he had to face unrefined behavior, aggressive attitudes and downright insults, he took it all in stride, never losing his perspective and eventually bringing the recalcitrant back o the path of reason and right conduct. Like the Master who had always been his modal and strength, he had been a man of forgiveness and forbearance, accepting, encouraging and comforting, even those who had been difficult to deal with. He had been very patient in training new recruits, in demanding standards of excellence from the workers and always showing them the way by his own personal example of total dedication. Even though a brand new office was put at his disposal, he preferred to walk around among the workers and the machines.

Though he had been one of the strong pillars of Anand press, for whose phenomenal fame he had been one of the main causes, he had manifested exemplary humility by choosing to avoid the limelight and instead to be content with being an assistant for over 5 decades. Jesuits and coworkers had been edified by his humility, sense of humor, infectious joy and his ability to laugh at himself and make others laugh with him.

Personal Information:
Name: Manuel Eneriz Erdozain
Birth: 28-02-1926
Entered the SJ: 10-01-1947
Final Vows: 02-02-1957

Responsibilities Held:
Asst manager of the press at Anand: 1953-2006

Infirmary at Baroda: 2006- 2014

Wednesday, November 5, 2014



 My dear friends in the Lord, 
A number of heartburns are caused by misunderstandings and thus affecting our ministry. Belief that truth has just one face seems to be a major cause of misunderstandings and frictions. Jainism speaks of Anekaantvaad, Syaadvaad. According to this theory, there are seven different ways of looking at reality. The well-known story of visually challenged persons trying to describe an elephant from the perspective of which part of the body of an elephant they touch, gives a lesson in understanding this theory of multiple perspectives. Just because I am right (from my perspective), does not imply that the other is, by that very fact, wrong. S/he too could be right from her/his perspective. Willing to Listen to the other, intending to understand the perspective of the other may solve a number of problems of community living and ministry. This does not mean there is no absolute truth. It only means that I may not have come to that absolute truth. Understanding this, trying to see things from others' perspectives is the need of the hour. I pray that we learn this art and thus avoid unnecessary heartburns that affect us as individuals and as communities and as a result affect our ministry too. 

November is the month when we remember our ancestors, those who have gone before us. We look at them, first from God's perspective, thanking God for these saintly persons on the 1st day of November, and then on the 2nd, we look at them from our perspective, human perspective, where we see ourselves as unworthy of God and ask God's pardon for their sins and offences. We do so for all our Jesuit companions on 5th and 6th November, respectively. 

This is the right time to think of our own death. We long for life. There is an innate desire in each one of us to become immortal. As someone has said, if you want to keep looking at good things of this life, donate your eyes! Our body is a gift of God. We can donate that body or body-parts to ensure a more wholesome life for someone else. I take this opportunity to remind everyone of a document brought out by JCSA in 2007, "Document on Health". Besides giving tips of healthy living, it encourages everyone to donate body/parts. Those who wish to do so may get in touch with NGOs like Sadvichar or hospitals in their area. Those who wish to donate their body/parts are requested to give details to the Socius. 

By the time you receive this, I will be in Phesama, Nagaland, for the biannual meeting of JCSA. Do keep our Assistancy in your prayers. On 13th Nov, I leave for Rome, via Spain for the Colloquium of newly appointed Provincials. Do keep me and our Province in your prayers. 

May the feast of Christ the King impel us to spread the joy of the Good News as per the contexts and needs of all wo/men of this world. A. M. D. G.

Monday, October 13, 2014

R.I.P:Fr.Corral Jose Antonio (GUJ) 75/59, passed away on 13 Oct 2014

Fr.Corral Jose Antonio (GUJ) 75/59, passed away at 0.30 a.m on 13 Oct 2014 at Jeevan Darshan Baroda. His funeral will be held at 4.00 p.m on 13 Oct 2014, in Rosary Church, Baroda.

Fr.Corral Jose Antonio

Date of Birth: 16-04-1939;  Place:Tudela, Spain
Entered the Society: 07-09-1955; Place: Loyola Spain
Priesthood: 25-12-1969; Tudela, Spain
Final Vows: 15-08-1975; Umerpada
Death: 13 Oct 2014

Responsibilities Held in the society of Jesus:

Asst PP:                                                         Vyara from 1972-1975
Asst PP:                                                         Umarpada from 1975-1976
Parish Priest & Director of Social Work: Umarpada from 1977-1984
Parish Priest & Director of Social Work: Vyara from 1985-1989
Parish Priest & Director of Social Work: Mandal from 1990 to 1996
Asst PP:                                                         Pimpri from 1977-1999
Asst PP:                                                         Mandal from 1999-2006
Asst PP:                                                         Vyara from 2006 –

He was a man of  deep passion for studies and research. Above all he possessed a great spirit of adaptability to mix and live with Adivasis, in order to learn their languages and culture. He took deep interest in the culture of the Adivasis, their myths and stories. In spite of an intellectual bent of mind he could come down to the level of the ordinary Adivasis. He used to warmly relate with everyone with respect. He was a man of great energy and perseverance in seeing through projects that  he had undertaken in spite of great difficulties. He ventured to start a milk cooperative society, the first among the tribals which was then taken up by the government. Besides that he started Jagruti High School with boarding for boys and girls at Mandal.
 Contribution to Tribal studies:
Fr.J.A Corral had been working among the Adivasis of South Gujarat for the last forty  seven years. For long periods of time his work was centred among the Gamits of  Vyara and Songadh talukas. He  had very many opportunities to be present, and to participate in the normal events of adivasi life, work in the fields, work in the forest, religious ceremonies, both communitarian and private, as well as in the activities of leisure, like hunting, fishing, foraging and the like. He had also the opportunity to witness, at grassroots level, the various village social institutions at work. He had also been a witness to the evolution of these Adivasi social institutions during the same period of time.
 He had written several books on tribal studies in Gujarat. The book on “the Gamit World of Meaning – Adivasi Religion and Culture”  ( Tribal sources I and II) were a tribute to the Gamit people.
 Health Hazards
On 30 July 2014, Fr.Corral was brought  to Jeevan Darshan and then he was taken to Pilar Hospital . The Doctors had diagnosed him to be suffering from cancer of the prostate.  He complained of his inability to pass urine and he was shifted to Vadodara to Our Lady of Pilar Hospital, run by Srs of Charity of St. Ann’s. The doctors found a very hard lump in his prostate, making it impossible even to place a catheter in the urinary track and were forced to make a hole to let him pass urine. He also had difficulty in passing stools. But the doctors had managed to help him to pass stools. That had certainly been a great relief for him.

Upon further investigations, they had found that the cancer had spread through the bones all over his body. The doctors at Baroda  tried their level best to contain the cancer.

Indomitable Spirit
Even in his sickness, he showed great desires to meet and to be with the people . He made a short  trip to Mandal and then to Vyara in the company of his niece who came to be with him from Spain. People thronged to his residence to have a darshan of the pastor who loved them deeply. He reluctantly left Vyara to attend to his medical treatment at Pilar, Baroda in the first week of September.

The end

Br.Malcolm and his team at Jeevan Darshan tried their level best to contain the cancer that had spread all over his body. His niece from Spain was with him till his last day. Knowing fully well that he had only a few months to live his life on earth with his beloved Jesuits and the people, he had fully prepared himself to meet his creator and the Lord. When the final call came at .030 a.m on Oct 13, 2014 ;  he could say in the words of St.Paul “ So I run straight toward the goal in order to win the prize, which is God’s call through Jesus to the life above” (Phil 3:14).

 By Fr.Lawrence Dharmaraj s.j

Monday, October 6, 2014

An Exclusive Interview with Fr Hedwig Lewis, SJ

An Exclusive Interview with Fr Hedwig Lewis, SJ

Published in DNC Times (Pune)
October 2014

1: Fr Hedwig, on 20 June this year you celebrated the 50th anniversary of your joining the Society of Jesus. Isn’t this another “red letter day” for you?

Well, it’s a golden milestone on which I rest awhile to scan the historical landmarks on my life-map. There are farther horizons to explore and more boundaries to cross.

2: We gather from your website that you were appointed to St Xavier’s College, Ahmedabad, after your ordination in 1977. You have been professor, student counsellor, Vice-Principal and Principal. Also, Rector, Director of the Xavier Institute of Languages and Xavier Centre for Human Resource Development. How do you now perceive that period of your life?

The word perception brings up images of the two men who looked out of prison bars: “One saw mud, the other stars”. I have looked high and low, at my peak moments and my pitfalls, my lights and shadows. I am left with a feeling of fulfilment, because I gave 100% commitment to my mission, and lived out the Ignatian Magis. What I cherish most was the opportunity given me by the Society of being in the service of education in its diversity. And the multi-tasking it involved enabled me to develop my administrative skills, taught me how to handle crisis situations, helped me interact effectively with all classes of people.

3. You had to resign from college and public ministry in 1995 because of a neurological illness. Yet, you have authored over thirty books since then. What has been the secret of your energy and productivity?

I would say ‘deep trust in Providence’. I felt the need of inner strength to transcend my physical disabilities. I was still fresh from my research on the Spiritual Exercises for my book At Home With God, which was published four years earlier. One basic principle that surfaced in my helplessness was that I am a “co-labourer” with God. If I do my best, within my limitations, God will do the rest. This ‘partnership’ worked for me, and for the greater glory of God. My books became my pulpits, my messengers. When the going got tough, I gazed at the picture of The Smiling Christ on the Cross posted on my bookshelf for strength and inspiration. 

4: Looking back at your five decades in the Society, can you recall some of the convictions and motivations you had during formation?

Thanks to this Jubilee Year, I have done some soul-searching of my life as a religious, guided by my sharp visual-memory, and several diaries (that survived the dustbin) containing my emotional responses to events. Let me give you a rough idea of my orientations as a scholastic.
<> I was convinced that Religious life is only for the stout-hearted. Jesus says: take up your cross daily and follow me (Lk 9.23). Whenever I found myself in a comfort zone, I would look around for the “cross” I had dodged… and start afresh. I also used to routinely check whether I was compromising between what was convenient and what was challenging, between striving for perfection and seeking loopholes.
<> AMDG was, and remains, the crucial “compass” and “touchstone” for my attitudes and actions, my self-development and social commitments.
<> I had a passion for wholesome living; that is, developing all-round abilities. I believed it was important to have a craze for at least one extracurricular activity (not a hobby) that would enhance my future ministries. Jesuits who are not “crazy” tend to be lazy. One area I concentrated on was creative writing. Providentially, during Philosophy this talent was noticed, and I was handed charge of editing the province vocation magazine Apostles of Gujarat, as well as the diocesan vocation monthly Children’s Page. In Theology I was given editorship of AVE. Through these opportunities I was able to lay a solid foundation for what would turn out to be, by a twist of circumstances, a writing career. I also developed expertise in counselling through reading and attending seminars/workshops; and skills for youth apostolate.

5: Can you share one significant experience that impacted your life as a priest?

After the ceremony of my ordination on 16 April 1977 at the Goregaon Seminary in Mumbai, while boarding the special bus for the railway station, a teenager approached me and asked whether he could join us. I said yes but paid no further attention to him. The train was not crowded, and my family and friends could sit together. As I turned my head, I noticed the lad a couple of rows away with his eyes fixed on me. I felt some vibes and an inexplicable urge to meet him. I quickly excused myself from the group and sat next to him. He said he was hoping to speak to me. He had been so impressed when he saw me at the altar, he explained, that he felt God prompting him to confide in me. I was deeply touched. I counselled the boy fervently till his home-station arrived. We parted as friends with promises to keep in contact. The story does not end here but for the present I want to share its impact on me.

It may seem like a commonplace incident, but to me it was certainly a “moment of recognition” of my call within the Call. A mysterious transformation was taking place within me during that short encounter. Even as I was conversing I was experiencing the movement of the Spirit in my mind and heart. I suddenly began feeling like a different person. I felt I was no longer in the usual friendly-counsellor mode, but was transformed into a pastor entrusted with a mission to heal a broken world.  

That night before going to bed, my thoughts were not on the euphoric ceremony of the day, or even about the fact that I was a priest at last. I was simply overwhelmed with God’s ‘ordination gift’ to me in confirming my heart’s deepest desire of being recognized as a spiritual director and counsellor.

I had taken for granted that it would be years before I established myself as a counsellor, but the incident in the train revealed that I was already on track. And as if to reassure me, there were more divine surprises in store. A month later when I arrived at the college where I was appointed to teach, I was told I would have to also double-up as Student Counsellor since the former one had unexpectedly left the college. Oh, how my heart bounced on receiving this bonus from Providence! The next thing I know, I was in my predecessor’s trendy office ready to launch my campus ministry. Down the decades, I have held numerous administrative positions, and have been involved in varied activities, but counselling and spiritual direction have remained my forte.

6: Thanks for sharing at such personal depth. One final question: what qualities do you feel Jesuits in training need to develop?

I have been out of touch with scholastics. However, years ago I had given a ‘Recollection’ where my talks provided five pointers for living out the Jesuit charism, under the acronym IGNIS. I trust they are still relevant. I’ll give you an outline from my old notes.

> Impelled by the Spirit. You must be constantly attuned to the promptings of the Holy Spirit, through the daily Examen and prayerful discernment, so as to become more and more spiritual (personal level), more and more compassionate (social outreach).

> Geared for excellence. The emphasis is on “gearing”. This means ‘equipping’ yourselves with professional skills as you strive to become better than your best – in every field, human/spiritual. Gearing prepares you to become life-long learners and to manage yourself. There are superiors and directors of work who tend to be unprofessional in their attitudes and aptitudes. Many either remain non-functional or get burnt out easily for lack of basic managerial know-how.

> Non-Negotiables: do not compromise with anything that obstructs you from living out zealously the Society’s motto of AMDG-Magis.

> Ignatian: Your words and deeds must be branded “Ignatian”, and must clearly reflect Ignatian values and spirituality.

> Servant-leadership: Ever to love and to serve, unconditionally and universally, especially the marginalized at all strata of human society.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014



My dear friends in the Lord,
On Sat 13th September, a little after midnight, Fr. S. Amalraj answered the call to be in the Company of Jesus in heaven. We pray for his departed soul. We have a number of sick in our midst. Besides their own community, the Province Infirmary at Jeevan Darshan, Premal Jyoti, St. Mary's Nursing Home and St. Xavier's College communities are taking care of some of them. I express my gratitude to these communities for taking care of the sick of the Province.
It is true that we have a Province Infirmary to take care of the sick and the aged. The Province will go out of its way to ensure that all the sick and the aged are taken care of in the Province infirmary. However, the primary responsibility of taking care of the sick and the aged members of the community lies with the community. To the extent possible, the sick and the aged should be cared for by the community. But there comes a time when an active community cannot physically take care of the sick and the aged. That is the time to ask the Province to take care of them. I'm sure, the sick and the aged would prefer to be cared for in and by their own communities, to the extent possible.
The sick and the aged, even when sent to the Province Infirmary, still remain members of their particular community. I'm sure all members of the community will want to and do go out of their way to keep in touch with the sick and the aged of their community through phone and visit when possible, in the infirmary or the hospital. They will do well to mention them in their daily prayers both at individual and at the community level. I'm sure most of us do this, but it is always good to keep reminding ourselves of our grateful duty towards the sick and the aged of our community. 
In the understanding of the Society, we work as a community under a Superior. Directors of Works, including PP who are not also Superiors also work under the guidance of the local Superior. Keeping this in mind, communications regarding matters of the community and its ministries should come through the local Superior. When the local Superior signs any such documents, what he is saying is that he has followed due process of consultation and he takes complete responsibility for the communication. This is a help we want to provide the community to discern together, find God's will and follow the same.
October, the month dedicated to Our Lady and recitation of the Rosary is also the month of festivals. We remember the Father of the Nation, Gandhiji and pray that we all follow the path of ensuring that the benefits of freedom go unto this last.
To help us remember this and put into practice, Oct 2 to 8 is celebrated as Joy of Giving Week, now also called, Dan-Utsav. I encourage all to give of their very best and encourage others to do so.
Gujarat celebrates Navratri, the festival of fertility, dance and joy. May the Lord grant plentiful crops and give us the spirit of sharing the goods of this earth with all. May Dashera be a festival for us to overcome evil with good.
On 6th, our Muslim brethren celebrate Bakr Id, remembering the willingness of our Patriarch Abraham to sacrifice his only son. May this celebration lead us to sacrifice our very selves for the Greater Glory of God.
On 8th of this month, Archbishop Stanislaus Fernandes completes 75 years. I urge all to remember him very specially on this day.
On behalf of the Province, I extend our greetings to Bp Thomas Macwan as he celebrates his birthday on 14th.
Fr. General will be present for the JCSA Meeting to be held in Phesama, Nagaland. Kindly keep the JCSA and the whole Society in your prayers.
At the end of October, the Province will host the national JEMAI Convention. Do pray for all our indigenous people and all those who work among them.
I wish you all a Happy Diwali, the festival of lights. May we keep our lamps burning and enlighten the path of all.
Do say a special prayer for our Coadjutor Brothers as we celebrate the feast of St. Alonso Rodrigues.

A. M. D. G.

One Leg In Heaven, The Other On The Move-In The Service of The Lord- Fr.Vincent Braganza

One Leg In Heaven, The Other On The Move-In The Service of The Lord
(Snippets on the life of Fr Sebastian Amalraj, s j)

The news that Fr. Amal had passed away at three am that night, was on the community notice board when i got to the dining room for breakfast on the 13th of September. Curiously he was born on the 13th too but in the month of December, 1946. Three months before he could turn 68 he was gone.

Two photographs went up on the community notice board during the course of that morning. One of ‘Joaquim More’ vintage taken in his novitiate (perhaps before his accident) and the other capturing him in more recent years. Both photographs carried the bright beaming smile one would receive when one greeted him. In both photographs the smile was indelibly the same. The ups and downs of the years did not dim it. Coupled to that smile and equal to it was his full bodied laugh, merry and loud and pouring out invariably from his insides. A number of his friends and companions would mischievously evoke it from time to time over meals or during recreation by reminding him of a sentence he never carried out “i will take the first bus
back.” It was a sentence that was uttered in more innocent years, when he was easily scandalized by the unacceptable utterances of a more hardy companion coming from more urban and less traditionally entrenched background.

Amal himself landed in Ahmedabad, from Kalladithidal, in Ramnad district of Tamilnadu, after completing his
pre University studies, and joined St Xavier’s College as an economics student in the F Y B A in june 1968 for a year. He would return thirty five years later to the Xavier Residence on campus as Rector, and would work at the Behavioral Science Center (BSC), currently christened Human Resouce Development Center (HDRC). When he joined the novitiate in 1969, I was a junior at Premal jyoti, and remember vividly, the unfortunate accident and its aftermath that forced him to interrupt his noviceship. The response to rally around was characteristically remarkable, more so because the recovery was prolonged and made
him endure much. By far the largest part of the years he was appointed to the Xavier Residence Community were spent in leading us, as Rector of the community. One aspect of the leadership he exercised is reflected in the three edifices on the college campus, that came up during his tenure.

All of us recognize that he had a major, significant part in setting them up. They stand in ample proof that he had the will to lead and lead, he did. He had consultations, took the decisions, shouldered the responsibilities that follow-up required, and was ever willing to implement if there was nobody in the community to follow up. Where better endowed Jesuits chose to block with a “why”, Amal, preferred to circumvent and overcome with a ‘why not’. Not every one appreciated this trait, but it must rank as a singular one that everybody cannot lay claim to. When I was appointed principal of the college in October 2008. I especially enjoyed this side of him that encouraged my work, rather than curtailing it. His basic calling as a Jesuit drew him to the social action apostolate. He loved writing and implementing projects to the extent that he once conveyed in a conversation to me, that he was good at it, good enough to get them funded.

During his stint at the BSC and earlier at Ashadeep and at the social center in Surat (essentially three places that he worked through his Jesuit life) he did have several projects funded. I am not in a position to say if all the proposals he made or conceived, actually got funded. The ones that were funded do however vouch for the talent he claimed. One must appreciate this talent in him, especially today when the province is looking keenly for, and promoting project writers! Unfortunately, however, there were fellow social activists who were not always comfortable with his outlook and approach. Perhaps his optimism crashed into
their realism....pessimism?? He faced their music dourly!

In the very first year of his superiorship he had to take up the challenge of the reconstruction and rehabilitation of the Xavier Residence. On paper it sounds like one of those, “so what’s great about that?” task. In practise it meant shepherding a community that ranged from men in their eighties to some in their thirties, across to Premal Jyoti for at least six months, and then back to a more liveable renovated residence. Several among them had been entrenched at the residence for years!! In emotional terms the response to that project carried on many months beyond those six months and spanned the positive and the negative. In all my interactions with him, i sensed that he never let the negatives influence his interactions at the day
to day level in his duties as a superior. When he had to put a member of the community in his place, he did. Me too!! Others who deserve to be mentioned may not want to be!! As if to balance his first years as rector, the latter phase of his superiorship was involved in erecting the two angels on campus: the XICA building, and the college golden jubilee block. Getting these buildings going meant cutting through bureaucratic red tape and straddling administrative hurdles. Whether it was a thick skin or the virtue of humility, God alone can tell, but no inimical official managed to stop him. Thanks to his tenacity and support the foundations to
the two buildings were laid on the 31st july 2010. By the time the buildings were nearing completion he was asked to move back to vidyanagar, to Ashadeep from where he had come to the BSC. Circumstance in the organization decreed that a new leadership was called for. Amal went, left without rancour.

With the smile and beyond the laugh, lived a Jesuit who knew suffering and pain in their stark reality. The trauma of the accident that occurred in the novitiate when he was on his cycle for his weekly catechism apostolate at the Sabarmati power house, he would confess many years later in a community sharing never left him. By dint of the circumstances and events surrounding that tragic happening, Amal lived an important rule of our way of proceeding that we had to commit to memory as novices. According to that rule a Jesuit must be ever prepared to be on the move. An unforgettable image of him for me will always be of him tucked in, in the front seat of his vehicle, with his driver next to him ready to hit the road. So comfortable
was he on the move that he could be sound asleep in that vehicle. Many will of course attest to his ability to sound so loud in his sleep that the rest (pardon the pun) of his neighbours would be disrupted.

His handicap never stopped him. He went on to take his first vows after returning to the novitiate in 1972,
completed his formation, got ordained, studied law and did special studies to equip himself for the social action apostolate. His Jesuit outlook on his apostolic calling took him to the West Indies, Columbia and Ireland, while the rehabilitation of his limbs took him to Spain, more than once. He coupled these visits at times with visits to funding agencies in Europe. Projects at the BSC took him tirelessly up to far points in kutch. He was unstoppable.

In fact in the last couple of years before his transfer he experienced a heart problem requiring the insertion of a stent, and some of us advised the provincial to ask him to live at the residence, for better personal care. Further it was suggested that his travelling should be curtailed heavily. He pleaded with the provincial saying “if you stop me from moving i will die. It is the thing that brings me life, and energy.” The provincial relented. I guess he knew that this one Jesuit was one who was not afraid to go. The eulogies at his farewell Eucharist testified to this.

At the cemetery as we were waiting for his body to be interred, a fellow Jesuit asked me whether his artificial leg was in the coffin. My answer was no, it could be of service to someone else in need. But then my mind went back to the days after the accident. In those days i was a junior and then a linguist at Premal Jyoti. We visited him often at the Civil Hospital, confined to his bed, supine, waiting to be mended and healed, never suspecting that the limb that had the lesser injury was actually deteriorating. That was a difficult time for him and for those to whose care he was assigned. In the end that limb had to be severed, but he rose above the resentment that the pain and trauma brought with them. According to the custom of those days the amputated limb would be given burial honours. At that moment, in reflecting back, it struck me that since
those days Amal had one leg in heaven already. Two rough, flat, big, black stones lie fixed to a crude wooden frame with four legs. It is a table whose appearance is deceptive. If you bend down and peer at the underside you will find smooth granite surfaces bearing inscriptions that contain the name …. By the Rector, Fr Sebastian Amalraj, sj….. as a part of them. They are the foundation stones that were blessed to begin work on the new buildings (i have christened them the two angels, because on a quiet moonlit night, their off-white veneer shimmers, and it seems like seraphs have descended to the ground ) on the campus, and were blessed by Amal. Ironically, that wooden frame lay on my daily path to the research center. It lay there for over two months before it disappeared. I had often thought of moving it and saving it for some good purpose. Before i could get down to action, one day it disappeared, and a few days before he died, the stones and the wood found use to become that table...... and Amal having vaulted over with his other leg to meet his maker, looks at the table and smiles that unmistakable smile, and breaks into that roaring laugh and shouts “why not?....everything is possible”. The ugly, the bad, the good. I had to reverse the order, for in life in interacting with him in many a bleak moment, his choice to be optimistic carried the day. Requient in Pacem, Fr Sebastian Amalraj.
By Fr Vincent Braganza, sj.

Monday, September 15, 2014

A thanksgiving note from Mr.Antony ( Late Fr.Amalraj's Nephew)

A thanksgiving note from Mr.Antony ( Late Fr.Amalraj's Nephew)

Dear Fr Vijay and  Fr Sunil,

I have reached Singapore today morning .  Many thanks to  both of you as you  have spent your time and efforts  in organising  all the things that were needed for  the final bid-adieu to Fr Amal , My beloved uncle . My special thanks to Fr Raj and Fr Stanley for their  help in consoling me .

On Behalf of all our family members,  I  would like to thank  Rev Fr Provincial , Rev Fr Bishop and all other Reverent fathers and Reverent sisters for such  wonderful  final mass . Anand Parish community did a fascinating farewell to their priest who worked and lived among them in all his fruitful years . We would like to thank all of the community members for their sincere support and dedication .

I also would like thank you and all other helping hands who have helped Fr Amal during  his final days as he struggled to pull  his aching  body which become uncontrollable by his mind .

Fr Amal lived as a champion for the underdogs and bear the witness for the cross and lived a full  life as a  Jesuit priest. Inspired by the christian principle of Love , he loved the community and captured every one's heart with his untiring work  that he sincerely carried out . He inspired  me by his vision and ideas from my younger days . He always calls his siblings and relatives   occasionally and enquire about their well being which we will  be missing for ever .

The agonising sorrow  that  filled our heart  on 13th Sept 2014  is pressing us hard and it is tough to remove his memories from all of us . The Joyful feeling that  the ever living and mighty god called him to his place and freed him from this worldly chorus overshadows our sorrow as we look forward to move on with our faith that we will meet him at fathers place some day sooner or later .

Please convey our gratitude  and thanks to all the Jesuit community members .Our  best wishes to carry on  the mission of catholic faith in ashadeep and all other places in Gujarat to help the needy ,poor  and  underprivileged .

Let us remember each other in prayer and be in touch .

Lovingly brother

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Jyoti Xavier writes about Fr.Amalraj Sebastian

Jyoti Xavier writes about Amalraj Sebastian:

Dear friends

I came back from my morning walk and came to know that Father Amalraj Sebastian has passed away. It took some time for the sad news to sink in. There was some regret that I had not been able to pick up his phone few days ago. Normally I call him back; but this time with incessant rain and flood, I had failed to call him thus I was totally unaware of him being admitted in Pillar hospital in Vadodara. I missed therefore an opportunity to be with him in the hospital. An elder brother, a dear friend, a colleague I had worked with him is no more. I will miss him and i am sure many who have experienced his love, guidance and friendship.

Amal was physically challenged but that did not prevent him from working. He was a visionary & encouraged others to innovate in the developmental work. He cared for people who worked with him. He also appreciated the service rendered to him by people.

In the society we live in, it is our work, the post we hold that defines who we are. So we are constantly challenged to prove ourselves. But the true enlightenment comes in realization of our inner being. In my own conversation with Amal during the past few months, I picked up strands of such thoughts; a realization that it is in caring and being who we are to each other that ultimately help us achieve our life’s goal.

Amal had a deep interest in working with the youth. His contribution to youth ministry in the Church at large and in the Society of Jesus in particular is noteworthy. He was a mentor and guide to many of us who have worked with youth. In the world where branding is as important as performance, he was a bit out of place, someone who belonged to the old school. He worked silently always keeping the interests of the people and the Society of Jesus he belonged to.

Amal’s style of working is to trust people, delegate power and responsibilities to his colleagues. He believed in sharing and working together with his companions. He encouraged his companions and friends to be visionaries and supported them in their endeavours. He developed tough skin to criticism and showed kindness to his staff, companions and people. He was an institution builder and worked hard to build institutions which are truly serving the poor and the needy. He was a dreamer and worked silently to achieve those dreams. Truly, he lived his life fully and meaningfully. I will always be indebted to him for his encouragement, love and guidance. Goodbye Amal…May your life continue to inspire us in our life.

Monday, September 8, 2014


Last month we reflected on our role as that of trustees, and not that of owners. Trustees must be accountable. The Society has structures of accountability. Each individual Jesuit is accountable to his community through the director of work in matters related to apostolic interventions and in other matters, directly to the local superior and ultimately, to God. The local superior is to discern God’s will for his
community through the community and in a very special way, through the house consult.
But our accountability is not limited to each one of us as an individual but also corporately. Besides the local
communities, various Commissions and District communities are also systems of planning, execution and accountability. In our Province, we have given ourselves a quasi governing body in the form of the PCM. This is another structure for accountability. We have adopted a Vision-Mission-Action Plan. It is up to each one of us as individuals and as communities to ensure we realize this Vision-Mission through an appropriate, context specific action plan and be accountable for the same. The Government rules demand Governing Bodies for all Trusts. These bodies are to meet at least twice a year and become another structure to help accountability. Visitation of the Provincial is another such occasion to look at ourselves as individuals and communities and be accountable.
I call upon each and every Jesuit of the Gujarat Province to make use of these structures of accountability
constructively, use them as means of discerning God’s will all the times and keep on becoming better instruments in the hand of God for His greater glory.As a follow up of the SAP process, we had a one day workshop for PCM and Superiors to reflect on the current contexts and to suggest ways and means to respond to the situation. The Apostolic Exhortation of Pope Francis, “Joy of the Good News” was one of the sources for reflection. Almost every member turned up for the workshop and participated enthusiastically, openly expressing their views on either side. We thank God for this great spirit given to each one of us as individuals and as a Province to show our concern and care and think of ways and means of spreading the Good News in our particular context.
In the SAP process, the Province had raised concerns about our formation structures, especially those of the
Novitiate in Ahmedabad and Theologate in Sevasi. The Formation Commission, in its last meeting, went through the process of Ignatian discernment and has submitted its report. I call up on each member, district, commission of the Province who wish to make his/their personal discernment known, to do so and send a report to me before the next consult. The Consult will take into account all those reports for making the final decision.
I call upon all the Coordinators of Dts and of Commissions to take this process forward, conscientizing ourselves and finding ways and means to proclaim in our specific situation. On the birth anniversary of Dr S Radhakrishnan, we celebrate Teachers’ Day. May we honour our teachers by imitating their virtues, paying them just salaries and remain perennial students, always learning and longing to learn more. Teaching, a
noble profession, has become for some us, a mere job, preferably, a job in a grant-in-aid institution. We need to reflect seriously on how can we ensure that the apostolic aim remains at the centre of our ministry of teaching, irrespective of other considerations.
We also celebrate the Birthday of Our Blessed Mother. May she inspire us to put into practice, her fiat, meditating on her words, “behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it done to me, according to your word.”

Tuesday, August 5, 2014


-Fr. Cedric Prakash sj*

On the feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola, it is important for all of us to reflect on some qualities of this great man who has left such a profound impact on the world he lived in; today, hundreds of years after his death, his legacy continues in many different ways.  The qualities of Ignatius include: 

·         Contemplation
Ignatius was a contemplative - but not in the ordinary and traditional sense of the word. His contemplation was a deep communion with his Lord and Master: Christ Jesus; but it did not confine him to the four walls of the chapel. His Spiritual Exercises steered one beyond the mere gaze of Christ on the cross: it necessitated that one had to move towards the “more” and ask oneself “what I ought to do for Christ?”  For him, it was always “contemplation in action”.

·         Compassion
This movement towards concrete action had much to do with the tremendous compassion Ignatius had for others in his life.  He was compassionate in all that he did: be it in his heroics for the earthly Queen for whom he was ready to die or later on, for those suffering from the plague in Rome. This compassion also becomes the running streak in the Spiritual Exercises which culminates in the contemplation to obtain the gift of love….and the readiness to give of “one’s all!”

·         Courage
Ignatius was a soldier and on the earthly battle field, he showed exemplary courage despite all odds till a cannon ball maimed him for life.  This is when he showed even greater courage to seek God’s will in his life. It was not easy for a man to give up the comforts of this world and to follow Jesus carrying his cross.  All through his life, he faced plenty of hostility but he did so with great determination. He always took an unflinching and courageous stand for what was right and just.

·         Creative
Ignatius was a creative genius. He did things differently. He thought out-of-the-box and did not conform to the mould of tradition.  The Society he wanted to form had to be based on “availability” rather than to subscribe to the rigidity and rituals of the monastic traditions of his day.  This creativity enabled him and his companions to win the hearts of the men and women of his times across the board - the poorest and the most powerful.

·         Companionship
For Ignatius, his Society had to be named ‘Companions of Jesus’: the ability to accompany one another and others on their pilgrimage, on earth.  Very significantly, he called himself ‘the pilgrim’ – a person always on the move. ‘Companionship’ for Ignatius epitomized what Vatican II would speak about centuries later, “the joy and hope, the grief and anguish of the men (and women) of our times, especially of those who are poor or afflicted in any way, are the joy and hope, the grief and anguish of the followers of Christ as will.

So, as we celebrate the memory of this great visionary, let us all humbly ask ourselves whether we are able to give ourselves the possibility of imbibing an iota of his sterling qualities – Contemplation, Compassion, Courage, Creativity and Companionship.  Our world will indeed be a happier place if each one of us tries to do so!
31st July, 2014

(* Fr. Cedric Prakash SJ is the Director of PRASHANT, the Ahmedabad-based Jesuit Centre for Human Rights, Justice and Peace)

Address: PRASHANT, Hill Nagar, Near Kamdhenu Hall, Drive-in Road, Ahmedabad – 380052                               Phone: (079) 27455913, 66522333 Fax: (079) 27489018 Email:

Sunday, August 3, 2014

50 years of the arrival of Fr Diaz Garriz

50 years of the arrival of Fr Diaz Garriz

On 19 June Kalol mission led the celebration of the fifty years of the arrival of Fr. M. Diaz Garriz in the region. The Church has grown with 11 centers in Gandhinagar Archdiocese and 2 in Ahmedabad. A proper celebration of the new Church community is planned for the annual Unteshwari melo which this year 2014 coincides with the celebration of Mahatma Gandhi Jayanti on 2nd October. A meeting of the Sisters and Fathers of the region was held in Kalol on 12 July and the report is herewith attached. Kindly keep 2nd Oct marked in your diaries to participate in the jubilee.

Friday, August 1, 2014



My dear friends in the Lord,
On 7 August as our Parsi sisters and brothers celebrate their new year, we celebrate bi-centenary of the Restoration of the Society of Jesus. In our Province we will celebrate this occasion with a seminar on Restoration on Monday, 18th August. On this day, we will also felicitate the Jubilarians of the Province. The Church has once more trusted us and restored our Society. Now it is up to us to keep living up to that trust. We need to reflect on the circumstances and reasons for suppression in order to learn lessons from that and make sure that history does not repeat itself. We also need to reflect on the circumstances and reasons for restoration and learn lessons for future.
We have been entrusted with a legacy. We are called to be stewards of God's Kingdom. Unfortunately, some times, some of us, seem to forget this basic truth and behave as if we are the owners, or sons of the owner, rather than stewards. This 'son of the owner syndrome' at times leads to unnecessary tensions. We need to reflect on our attitudes to ensure that we are not caught off guard behaving in a manner unsuitable to a steward. Gandhiji understood this Gospel ideal well and used the term 'trusteeship' to express it. Attitude of ownership is likely to lead to arrogance whereas attitude of trusteeship or stewardship is likely to lead to an attitude of service. Such an attitude will engender respect for all our co-workers and that is bound to lead to greater collaboration. One cannot collaborate with the other whom one does not respect.
To realise our vision and mission through concrete action plan as envisaged in the SAP process, we need many and good vocations. Four of our novices, Bhadagi Jayanti, Murmu Christopher, Parmar Hitesh and Pereira Jipson will pronounce their first vows in Belgaum on 31st July. One more novice, Fernandes Patrick will pronounce his vows on Sat 30th August in Sneh Jyoti, Sevasi. He has opted to be a temporal coadjutor. Since there is only one, Alwyn Macwan who has joined the novitiate this year, we have sent him to Belgaum to the common novitiate of the western region. We pray for many and good vocations, especially as temporal coadjutors. 'Each one bring one' would be an appropriate motto to put into practice.
On 6th August, the feast of Transfiguration, we remember bombing of Hiroshima and on 9th that of Nagasaki and pray that we never ever go down that path of mass destruction. On 9th we also celebrate Quit India Day as well as International Day for Indigenous people. Jay Adivasi!
As we celebrate Rakshabandhan on 10th, we pray in a very special way for gender justice.
As we celebrate the Assumption of Our Lady, we pray through her intercession for true in-dependence for our country.
On 17th we rejoice with our Hindu sisters and brothers as they celebrate Janmashtmi. On this day we celebrate Justice Sunday and pray that we participate actively to establish God's Kingdom, based on justice.
On 29th we remember Jains who celebrate Samvatsari and Hindus as they celebrate Ganesh festival.
May this month of festivals lead us to rejoice with all wo/men of good will and actively participate in building God's Kingdom of love, peace and joy, based on justice for all.

A. M. D. G.