We had a very meaningful Handing over Ceremony between Fr Stany D’Souza and me. The homily by Fr Joe Mathias and the toast by Fr Jossie Lobo set the tone for the celebration. It was a memorable experience for all of us.
How can I summarise Fr Stany’s tenure as Provincial of Karnataka Province? He was a dreamer, always dreaming holy dreams for the Province. He was a leader who had a vision, lived the mission and directed
the Province into the future. He was an overseer, a steward of the charism of the Society. He always inspired us to be faithful to the charism of the Society in its present times. He was also a weaver, one who helped us reconcile and build communities of friends in the Lord and who helped us collaborate and network with different groups. He kept the Province together with his systematic approach, spiritual conversations, Province policies and twinning partnerships. We pray that God may be with him as he takes the challenging task of leading the South Asian Assistancy as POSA and assure him of our cooperation and prayers.
God has blessed the Province with eight new priests – Frs John Baptist, Vinod A.J., Roshan Pinto, Jeevan James, Praveen Martis, Avinash Lobo, Vishwas Misquith and Royston Pinto. They are called to mirror the life of Jesus in today’s times. Taking inspiration from Pope Francis, they are called to be men of the Magis: men of discernment, men of the periphery, men who bear the “smell of the sheep.”
We are in challenging times faced with the corona virus and the virus of centralisation, communalisation, and commercialisation in the country. One of our own Jesuits, Fr Stan Swamy, has been implicated and arrested for working for the uplift of the Adivasis and for fighting for their rights of land and displacement. We are also faced with the challenges of the New Education Policy and the economic collapse in the country. The Hathras incident has once again brought to the fore that gender and caste discrimination and violence is rampant in our country. We need to combat these like warriors with greater focus on our UAPs and KPAPs. What will help us combat these challenges is our deep and personal attachment to Jesus and his mission, being friends in the Lord, discerning the signs of the times, collaborating and networking with faith-based and rights-based groups and having great love for the poor and the excluded. By holding one another in circles of kindness, across all our differences, by standing with one another, and caring for one another, we shall overcome these problems.