In Jamshedpur, the JCSA focuses on the initial formation of Jesuits

By Stanislaus D’Souza, SJ
JCSA President

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.

Among 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 various themes.


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.

The 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.

At 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.

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Posted by Communications Office - Editor in Curia Generalizia
Communications Office
The Communications Office of the General Curia publishes news of international scope on the central government of the Society of Jesus and on the commitments of the Jesuits and their partners. It also handles media relations.

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