Provincial’s Address delivered on the occasion of the celebration of the First Province Day on 28 Dec 2020: Continuation…
I request all the Superiors, Team Leaders, Coordinators and the Community Focal Persons of PAPs to give priority and concentrate on the implementation of the action plans of the PAPs. The implementation of the Option of the Province and the PAPs need to be given special attention at all levels.
Let us keep in mind to follow the method of Spiritual Conversation in all our decision making discernment processes in the communities and missions. There is a treasure hidden in such a method, which we powerfully realise at every discernment processes.
In the Province, each institution is a gift of God. There is long and beautiful history for every one of them. It is time for us to devotedly strengthen the existing Institutions and Centres, and plan to develop them further to new heights.
Each member of our Province is an expression of God’s love for the humanity. Let us share our love and being together with joy. We are specially invited to take care of our Elders and Jesuits who are sick. Let us try our best to give them maximum care and concern.
I request you to give special attention to our Scholastics in the communities and give them constant guidance for their integral formation. The future relies upon them.
What I admire in all our communities is that there is an enviable level of give-and-take attitude, variety of skills and talents, concern for one another, encouraging and supporting one another, and mutual cooperation in various ministries. And hence, we are able to effectively and promptly respond at the times of crisis and difficult situations. There is a collective effort in all communities.
Yet another important request to all of you is that all the Documents and History of our houses and institutions are to be neatly written, arranged and very systematically kept in our Houses and Institutions. Regarding this a direction will come from the Province Treasurer’s office.
Let us give utmost care in financial accountability and transparency. It can never remain a grey area in any part of our Province. Let us continue to be open to the Superiors, Communities and to the Province.
I request all the Commissions and Communities to focus on discernment, collaboration, and networking in all our activities of Mission and Life. The Superiors/ Team Leaders and Coordinators need to emphasize Jesuits being collaborators with other like-minded groups and network with movements to take up issues that affect our people. Kindly create opportunities to build good relationship with the Teaching and Nonteaching staff, all our co-workers and collaborators.
What is slightly missing in the communities is that ‘touch with others’, especially the poor around us, this is an area that needs special attention. As a sort of neighbourhood ministry, every community can adopt a village or a parish or a panchayat and the members can regularly visit and be in touch with the poor and the marginalized which will in turn help us to deepen our life and mission.
Teaching Jesuits also share other responsibilities in the House and the Institutes. One needs to concentrate on teaching first and be models to other staff in our commitment to teaching and your availability to the students in accompanying them.
Research programs in all our Institutions are to be given importance. As a part of intellectual apostolate, it is our responsibility to get involved in the ‘ministry of research’. That will help us building bridges with the people around us. There is also a dire need for ‘ministry of policy level intervention’.
We are yet to start a Civil Services Coaching Centre in our Institutions. We know how much the young students are attracted towards such trainings and we also feel the need of preparing young men and women to be placed in government jobs. The deserving children of our co-workers and management administrative staff members can be given free education. Is it possible? Can we plan for it? As a token of our commitment to Caste Annihilation, why can’t we give a special preference to the students hailing from inter-caste marriages in admissions and scholarships, and give priority in recruitments to the candidates who have married inter-caste?
Another major recommendation: 2021 is the Ignatian year; let us start doing something concretely so that all who enter the portals of our Institutions and centres should have some personal experience with this great man, our Founder and Master. His life, spirit and values should inspire each and every one of our stakeholders.
Recently, we went through a discernment Process of finalising the Memorandum of Understanding between Madurai and Chennai Provinces at various levels: the Provincials, Province Consults, Joint Consults of both Provinces, Superiors’ Meetings and Joint Superiors’ Meeting of both Provinces and finally the Joint Consult, focusing the MoU on Formation, Human and Material resources, and common programs and collaboration between the two Provinces. It was a great exercise for all of us.
Finally, my dear friends, I have been genuinely cherishing the full support and encouragement of all the members of our Province all these months. The last one year has been a very resourceful one for all of us. The spirit of togetherness and companionship in the Lord is vibrantly experienced at the level of communities, Commissions and Province. I stand here as a witness to this fact. As Fr George, our Regional Assistant said in his inaugural message, we need to always keep up the Spirit of the beginners’ mind, always being open, curious and willing to learn.
Let us continue to walk with the same spirit of Companionship in reaching out to the Dalits, Dalit Christians, Tribals, Migrants, Refugees, Farmers, Women, Fisherfolk, Youth and Children and other marginalized people in creating the Kingdom of God here and now.
Let Our Mother Mary of the Way, lead us, carrying all of us together with her Son, in all our Life and Mission.
Thank you and wish you a yet another year of life full of happiness and God’s presence.