In Jamshedpur, the JCSA focuses on the initial formation of Jesuits
On the occasion of the platinum jubilee of the Province, the Provincial of the Jamshedpur Province invited the Jesuit Conference of South Asia (JCSA) to hold the February 2023 meeting, one of its biannual meetings, in Xavier School of Management, Jamshedpur, a by word for excellence.
The Jamshedpur JCSA meeting was special for many reasons. One of them was that JCSA was held in the ‘Karma Bhoomi’ of Fr. Stan Swamy. It was an added impetus to us to read the signs of the times so as to make our life-mission relevant.
the 27 participants, there were Major Superiors, the Regional Assistants and
others from as far as Rome, Nepal and Sri Lanka and as close as Ranchi,
Hazaribagh and Dumka, including Fr. Vincent Hansdak, the new Provincial of
Hazaribagh Province, a new face among us. Discernment was central to the study of
The schedule although quite tight had space and time for many other things: there was time for the Major Superiors to share their consolations and desolations, challenges and opportunities. There was also time to listen to the Conference Secretaries and the coordinators of forums and networks; through their leadership, they have been accompanying various Jesuits and their ministries in the Conference. Finally, we listened to a host of experts - formators and others - speaking about the specific theme of the meeting, namely, the changing trends and the challenges to early formation in South Asia. The last two days were set apart to integrate the inputs, to discern and to take suitable decisions.
In addition, we also listened to the Regional Assistants, Frs. Vernon D’Cunha and George Mutholil. They touched upon some technical points of the governance; Fr. Mark Ravizza shared information about the formation in the universal Society and his insights to make our formation in South Asia more efficient, but also effective, affective and transformative.
take away of this JCSA meeting is certainly an in-depth understanding about the
early formation, especially the successes and struggles of those in formation
and about the formators’ experience at that stage of formation. There are many
things to thank God for. Still, the context of our Jesuits in formation, the
dysfunctional families, the deluge of social media and technology, and peer
pressure urged us to renew the accompaniment structures, formation programmes
and facilities so that our young Jesuits come out as transformed men with
deeper spiritual and intellectual depth and greater commitment to the Church
and the Society.
Along with the above themes, we also reflected on the misery all around. The devastating earthquake that took more than 41,000 lives and destroyed many properties in Syria and Turkey, the hunger and malnutrition, intolerance and violence that rendered many people in South Asia helpless and hopeless also present in our discussion. It was certainly a challenge to our capacity to discern in common as an apostolic body. However,as our charism and spirituality demanded - Ignatian mysticism, which is called a mysticism of service, a mysticism of the open eyes - we interacted with the world to make a good discernment.
the end of the meeting, as President of JCSA, I am satisfied. I felt that we
had something to feel good about, something to be satisfied with and something to
take with us when we return to our mission. Over the years, JCSA has been
growing as a body, a community of discernment, a space for collaboration and
networking, and a platform for solidarity and co-responsibility. Communication,
consultation, co-discernment and consensus have always marked our meetings. I
believe that this is synodality in practice. We had the glimpse of all this this
time again during our discussion, deliberation and discernment.
Legend has it that St. Ignatius of Loyola sent St Francis Xavier off with the words “ite inflammate omnia.” I believe that he would share the same message with the members of Jamshedpur Province today when we are celebrating our Platinum Jubilee ...
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