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INDIA :  Latin-rite bishops create 2 new commissions By Robin Gomes (Vatican News via CNUA) The plenary assembly of the Conference of Catholic Bishops of India (CCBI) concluded on Jan. 14, establishing the new Commissions for Ecology and Small Christian Communities. The Conference of Catholic Bishops of India (CCBI) that brings together the Latin bishops of the country’s 132 dioceses, concluded its plenary assembly on Monday establishing two new commissions, a CCBI press release said. 143 bishops participating in CCBI’s 31st Plenary Assembly held in Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu state, from January 7 to 14, voted in favour of establishing the new Commissions for Ecology and for Small Christian Communities (SCC).

Ecology - The bishops’ decision to start a Commission for Ecology is in response to the appeal of Pope Francis in his Encyclical Letter “Laudato Si” published in 2015, in which the Pope urges all people of good will to take care of our universe. The proposal was discussed earlier in the 79th Executive Committee meeting of the CCBI held on 1 May 2018 in Bangalore.  Aware of the importance and urgency of responding to the environmental challenges in India and trying to embark on a new path to care for and protect the environment, the Bishops felt the need to establish a commission to deal with the issue. Auxiliary Bishop Alwyn D’Silva of Bombay Archdiocese has been elected the chairman of the Commission for Ecology.

Small Christian Communities - The new Commission for Small Christian Communities is to promote the Gospel values at the grass root level and prepare all faithful to witness the compassionate ministry of the Church in their local life situations. Bishop Ignatius Mascarenhas of Simla-Chandigarh is the chairman of the Commission for Small Christian Communities. 

Bishop Neethinathan of Chingelput diocese  that hosted the weeklong plenary assembly accorded a public reception to the participants on Sunday at the Bishop’s House.  It included a Holy Mass presided over by outgoing CCBI president, Cardinal Oswald Gracias, Archbishop of Bombay. 

CCBI plenary ends - The CCBI plenary assembly came to an end on Monday with a thanksgiving Eucharistic Celebration by the new CCBI president, Archbishop Filipe Neri Ferrão.  During the Mass, the bishops entrusted themselves and their dioceses to Divine Providence and prayed for the people of India.  The bishops also participated in a Eucharistic Adoration and Benediction led by Archbishop George Antonysamy of Madras Mylapore, the new CCBI vice president.  The apex body of the Catholic Church in India is the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI), that bring together the Latin-rite (CCBI) and two eastern rites – the Syro-Malabar and Syro-Malankara Churches that claim their origin from St. Thomas the Apostle.  With 189 bishops from 132 dioceses, the CCBI is the largest bishops’ conference in Asia and the fourth largest in the world. 

The chairmen of other CCBI Commissions are as follows: 

  • Commission for Boundary - Archbishop Filipe Neri Ferrão of Goa and Damon
  • Commission for Bible - Bishop Antonysamy Peter Abir of Sultanpet
  • Commission for Catechetics - Archbishop Thomas Macwan of Gandhinagar
  • Commission for Canon Las and Other Legislative Texts – Bishop Derek Fernandes of Karwar
  • Commission for Ecumenism – Bishop Francis Serrao SJ of Shimoga
  • Commission for Family - Coadjutor Archbishop Sebastian Kallupura of Patna -
  • Commission for Laity – Bishop Eugene Joseph of Varanasi
  • Commission for Liturgy – Archbishop Dominic Jala SDB of Shillong
  • Commission for Migrants – Archbishop Victor Henry Thakur of Raipur
  • Commission for Proclamation – Bishop Raphy Manjaly of Allahabad
  • Commission for Theology and Doctrine – Archbishop Felix Toppo SJ of Ranchi
  • Commission for Vocations – Bishop Udumala Bala of Warangal
  • Commission for Women – Bishop Francis Kalist of Meerut
  • Commission for Youth – Bishop Nazarene Soosai of Kottar

17 Jan 2019 - 08:11

ROME :  Social Justice and Ecology - 50 years of Jesuit Commitment by  Fr. Arturo Sosa S.J. (SJCURIA via CNUA)  A video message from Fr. Arturo Sosa, Superior General. Fr. Sosa declares, “This is not only a time of renewal for our institutions, social centres or for members of social apostolates. It is a moment that must permeate the entire Society of Jesus, all Jesuits and all our partners in the mission.” The three-phase celebration involves Provinces, Conferences and the Universal Society. It will culminate with a gathering of Jesuits and partners in Rome in November 2019; it will be an opportunity to discern the roadmap to implement the Universal Apostolic Preferences that will be announced in February.


10 Jan 2019 - 05:15

The saints were Christians who were "crazy for concreteness," knowing that faith is not an idea, but a relationship with Jesus, which leads to actions that demonstrate love, Pope Francis said.

Celebrating morning Mass Jan. 7 in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae, the pope said the celebration of Christmas is the celebration of a faith that is concrete.

Christians profess their belief that "the son of God came in the flesh, became one of us," he said. "He was conceived in the womb of Mary, born in Bethlehem, grew like a baby does, fled to Egypt, returned to Nazareth, learned to read with his father, to work" — although God, he was also truly human.

The first reading at Mass was a passage from the First Letter of John, which says Christians are commanded to believe in the name of Jesus and love one another, with "concrete love, not a fantasy love," the pope said.

"Concreteness. This is the challenge," he said. "Not ideas and beautiful words."

The first reading at Mass also included John's admonition: "Do not trust every spirit but test the spirits to see whether they belong to God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world."

The Christian life entailed 'spiritual vigilance' as well as faith in Jesus Christ and in charity.

One way to grow in the art of spiritual vigilance was to take several minutes at the end of each day to communicate with God and to ask him to speak to one's heart.

The next step was to follow up on the resulting inspiration by consulting Scripture and a wise spiritual guide.

There were many people — priests, religious, laity — with the ability to "help us see what is happening in our spirit so we do not err."

Pope Francis said at the end of his homily that Jesus became human, born of a woman, who suffered a real death and asked us to love our brothers and sisters concretely even if some of them are not easy to love.

Source: CNS

9 Jan 2019 - 06:03

The Christmas programme began with a welcome address by Fr. Dominic Savio, Principal of St. Xavier's College, Kolkata. Fr. Felix Raj, Vice-Chancellor of St. Xavier's University Kolkata delivered a Christmas message with a brief report of the educational services rendered by the Jesuit Fathers in West Bengal. The Chief Minister spoke in appreciation of the Jesuit work at the College and the University. She welcomed St Xavier's University's decision to introduce law course from July 2019 and asked the University to consider starting a College in Alipurduar. The Chief Minister felicitated Emeritus Bishop Linus Gomes (98), the oldest Bishop in India who stays at St. Xavier's College, Kolkata. Staff reporter - Goethals News, email :


INDIA : Jesuit Law School in Kolkata by Mitta Mukherjee (GOETHALS via CNUA)  St Xavier’s University, Kolkata is planning to set up a Law School and welcome its first batch of students in July 2019.  Father Felix Raj, Vice-Chancellor of the University, said Xavier Law School had been modelled on prominent law institutions such as the Nalsar University of Law, in Hyderabad; National Law School of India University in Bangalore and the National University of Juridical Sciences, Calcutta. Xavier Law School will come up on the university’s 17-acre New Town campus at Rajarhat. The school will offer five-year integrated BA LLB (honours) and B.Com LLB (honours) courses. “The syllabus and the curriculum will be designed to produce competent experts in legal profession with sound knowledge in every sphere of law. After completing the course the students can practice law in court or can work as consultant or join the corporate sector,” Father Felix Raj said. 

Fr Felix Raj - Principal

Photo Courtesy - St. Xavier's College

The university has approached the Bar Council of India, which regulates legal education in the country, for affiliation. Work on setting up the infrastructure is on in full swing, the VC said. “The most important component of any institution of higher education is its library. For a law school, it is important to have a library with an extensive collection of law books and journals,” said Fr. Felix Raj. The law school will have “elaborate arrangements” for organising moot court competitions, which help students develop skills in debating. Students will have to clear an “independent competitive examination”, to be conducted by the university, to gain entry into Xavier Law School. Institutes such as the Nalsar University of Law and the National University of Juridical Sciences admit students through the Common Law Admission Test. The first batch will have 120 students. The university may later increase its intake. Recruitment of teachers will start soon. “Our aim is to engage the best legal experts and academics,” Fr. Felix Raj said. 


7 Jan 2019 - 05:55

The Indian Theological Association (ITA) deeply regrets to hear the sad news of the demise of the great Jesuit and Theologian Fr.Samuel Rayan, S.J. After the blessing of a long and fruit-bearing life, God has called him to enjoy the everlasting blessing of being in the very presence of God. Fr. Samuel has been one of the prophetic architects of Asian/Indian Liberation Theology. In eighties and nineties his active, insightful and inspiring participation and contribution in the Annual Conferences of ITA have highly enriched, challenged and guided the theological deliberations and have left a stamp of Asian and Indian liberation theology. His theologizing sprouting and blossoming from the side of the poor and marginalized, critical consciousness, radical humanism and ongoing interventions of God in today's history has broken a new ground for theologizing in India. He has shown us the way to theologize in today's context for the promotion of the Reign of God. May the liberative and humanistic spirit of Fr.Samuel Rayan continue to inspire and challenge us all.

Raj Irudaya, S.J.


Indian Theological Association

3 Jan 2019 - 08:48

Samuel Rayan SJ:

Condolences Message from P R John SJ, Principal, Vidyajyoti College of Theology, Delhi

The Merciful God has blessed Fr. Samuel Rayan with a long and fruitful life!

Fr. Samuel Rayan is a poet-theologian who worked many years in Vidyajyoti, College of Theology, Delhi and inspired many students to commit themselves to God and His people. I am blessed to be one of his students in the year 1996-1999. He taught me, mission (Mission Dei) is a mystery rooted in the Trinitarian sending within the Divine and the Holy Spirit is renewing the face of the earth: “each particular reality... is on a mission to the rest.... in an intricate web of cosmic interdependence...”


Samuel Rayan is regarded as a human-creative,poet-theologian. He pioneered a new and different approach in theologizing. One encounters in Rayan’s writings truly Indian and genuinely Christian. He is not merely an inner club theologian but who is constantly in touch with the grass-root groups and social activists. Since he is in touch with the grass-root groups so also his theological reflections are embedded in bringing out the underside of the human history namely, the oppression and marginalization.The paramount concern of Rayan is always the human person. According to him the human person is endowed with value and sacredness, rights and dignity. Rayan is truly fascinated by the love of his master Jesus and in the light of this revelation he looks at human person as a pearl. The human person seems to hold the center of values and of concern. Hence, Rayan calls for radical humanism. With Jesus everything must orbit around human person and serve human’s true and total well-being. To devalue human person in favor of power of parliament, profit or prestige, be it sacred or secular would be the ultimate evil, the one thing he would fight to his last breath. Human person is the point to which the sacred as well as the secular should converge in readiness to serve.Rayan describes the human-divine in a poem:

little candle,
i wish you would touch me
with your fiery finger;
clasp me in your blaze,
and kindle at my centre,
till i too glow and melt,
and bear on my heart and head
the searing sorrow of my people,
and thaw in love and dissolve
in service of light and warmth
and fresh dreams and hopes
spread out at their sacred feet (Rayan 1993: 251)

In his death and breath, we have lost a ‘special theologian’ but his inspiration will continue and may his relentless search for humanity will long live! May his soul rest in peace!


3 Jan 2019 - 04:41

Jesuit Father Samuel Rayan, a renowned proponent of liberation theology, died on January 2. He was 98.

He died around noon at Nirmala Hospital, Kozhikode, Kerala, where he was undergoing treatment for old age ailments for months.

Father George Mutholil, Kerala Jesuit provincial, told Matters India that the funeral details will be decided in the evening.

Father Rayan was born on July 23, 1920, at Kumbalam in the Kollam district of Kerala into a family of two girls and six boys. He entered the Kerala province of the Society of Jesus in in 1939. He was ordained a priest on March 24, 1955.

Born in and brought up in a village in Kerala, he devoted many years to the study of Malayalam literature. He mastered Sanskrit and is well read in Indian religions and philosophy.

In 1991, a Festschrift was published in his honor. Bread and breath: essays in honor of Samuel Rayan, S.J., on the occasion of his 70th birth day included contributions by Gustavo Gutiérrez, George Soares-Prabhu, and Jon Sobrino.

Being a radical humanist, Father Rayan was convinced that the human person in community is the object of God’s special love. He spoke for the care of the earth, concern for life and commitment to people. His theologizing is deeply rooted in his life, his land and his commitment to Jesus.

According to Father Rayan, theology is a reminder of the great demands of the Kingdom. For him the central mission of the Christian faith is its insertion into the concrete and daily life of the people, especially of the most marginalized and oppressed members of the social body.

“Rice is for sharing, bread must be broken and given. Every bowl, every belly shall have its fill, to leave a single bowl unfilled is to rob history of its meaning; to grab many a bowl for myself is to empty history of God,” he used to say.

(Curtesy: Matters India)

2 Jan 2019 - 16:43

Card. Charles Bo sdb, (Yangon), New President of FABC pays homage to Asian Liberation Theologian Jesuit Father Samuel Rayan, 2 January 2019. It is with deep sense of sorrow and humility that I dedicate my first message as president of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conference (FABC) to pay homage to a giant of Asian Liberation Theology, Jesuit Father Samuel Rayan who died today on 2nd January 2019. Church in Asia condones the death of leading Asian theologian who died around noon today (2 January 2019) at Nirmala Hospital, Kozhikode, Kerala, India where he was undergoing treatment for old age ailments for months. Being a radical humanist, Father Rayan was convinced that the human person in community is the object of God’s special love. He spoke for the care of the earth, concern for life and commitment to people. His theologizing was deeply rooted in his life, his land and his commitment to Jesus the Liberator. For Fr Rayan the central mission of the Christian faith in Asia is its insertion into the concrete and daily life of the people, especially of the most marginalized and oppressed members of the social body. Fr Rayan used to say, “Rice is for sharing, bread must be broken and given. Every bowl, every belly shall have its fill, to leave a single bowl unfilled is to rob history of its meaning; to grab many a bowl for myself is to empty history of God.” 

2 Jan 2019 - 16:36


Delhi Minorities Commission (DMC) honored Indian Social Institute at its Annual Conference held in Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi on 17 December 2018 for taking up a number of serious studies on many aspects of Indian social situations. 

The citation praised the Institute for engaging with policy makers at the highest levels on behalf people at grass root levels.  Further praising the commitment of the Institute towards sustainable development and social transformation the citation acknowledged that the Institute is fully committed to relevant research, training, publication and advocacy aimed at integral development of marginalized communities, particularly the dalits, advasis/tribals, women, minorities, unorganized and landless laborers, in partnership with academicians, people's movements, human rights organizations and ecological movements nationally and internationally. Fr. Denzil Fernandes SJ, the Executive Director of ISI, received the honor on behalf the Institute in the name of all staff members.

DMC honored several individuals and institutions for their service to the people of Delhi and beyond. Among them were three Delhi Jesuits, Fr. Thomas  V. Kunnunkal SJ, for his contribution to education especially through CBSE and National Open School, Fr. Arunmozhi SJ for his legal interventions on behalf of the poor, and Fr. Victor Edwin SJ for his work in the field of Christian Muslim Dialogue.

18 Dec 2018 - 08:03

“God founded you as Jesuits”, Pope Francis reminds Jesuit students in Rome

On December 3, the Collegio Internazionale del Gesù in Rome celebrated the 50th anniversary of its founding by Fr Pedro Arrupe. Pope Francis received some 60 staff and students from the college’s international community and urged them to base themselves in Jesus, to grow and take root against every spiritual worldliness and to mature in their mission.

The Pope recalled that it was the feast of St Francis Xavier, who wrote to his companions, “I beg you, in all your matters to base yourselves totally in God”. Pope Francis reminded them: “God founded you as Jesuits: this Jubilee is a moment of grace for remembering and feeling you are with the Church, in a Company and with a belonging that has a name: Jesus”.

The Pope also reminded his companions that they are called “to grow, sinking your roots” because “to have roots is to have a well-grafted heart, which in God is able to expand”. The heart that does not expand atrophies, he cautioned.

“To God, semper maior, we respond with the magis of life, with a clear and irrepressible enthusiasm, with the fire that blazes inside, with that positive tension, always growing, that says ‘no’ to any compromise”, he said.

Pope Francis told them, however, that “there is no growth without crisis” but assured them, “do not be afraid as there is no fruit without pruning or victory without struggle”.

He described spiritual worldliness, which leads to clericalism, as the greatest danger of our time, just as Fr Henri de Lubac SJ referred to it as “the worst evil that can happen to us”.

“If the worldliness affects the roots, goodbye fruit and goodbye plant”, said the Pope, but “if growth is a constant action against one’s ego, there will be much fruit.”

He identified two signs of growth: freedom and obedience. These two virtues advance if they walk together, he said. Freedom is essential, because “where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom”. He wished them “to be free sons who, united in diversity, struggle every day to conquer the greatest freedom: that of yourselves”. In this, “Prayer will be of great help”, he said. “It is the legacy that Fr Arrupe left us, his ‘swan song.’”

He continued that just as for Jesus the food of life is to do the will of the Father, they too must obey the Father and of the fathers that the church gives. “Freedom and obedience”, he said, “give life to that creative way of acting with the Superior.”

Finally, he told them: “One does not mature in the roots and in the trunk, but by putting out the fruits, which fertilise the earth with new seeds”. Thus Jesuits are called to be present “at the most intricate junctures, in the border lands, in the deserts of humanity”.

Pope Francis said a Jesuit may find himself like a lamb among wolves, but he should not be like the wolves. Instead, he should remain as a lamb. “In this way the Shepherd will reach him there, where his lamb is.”

Photos courtesy of Collegio Internazionale del Gesù Facebook page

10 Dec 2018 - 05:11