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Report of the JEA Triennial at Bhuvaneswar
“If you want to go fast go alone, if you want to go far go together.” With this broad vision on the background the Triennial of Jesuit Schools was held from 6 to 9th October 2017 at Xavier University Bhuvaneswar. The overall theme of the Triennial meet was Our Mission and Our Schools from GC 36 perspective.
The meeting began with a prayer given by the students of Loyola School Bhuvaneswar and a welcome address give by the Rector and Vice Chancellor of the University Fr. Paul Fernandes SJ.
In the key not address Fr. Geroge Pattery SJ the Provincial of India stressed that our students need to experience our concern for their well being. Secondly, the students need to go beyond the text and cultivate a critical mind along with human concern. When the world is witnessing so much of violence and negativity, a culture of death we need to inculcate a aspect of reconciliation and justice and promote a culture of life. Our assistancy is blessed with so many cultures. The students in our schools need to cultivate a habit of appreciating diverse cultures and contribute to each other’s growth. They need to learn to express compassion and concern. We need to universalise the compassion among our students. We in our Jesuit institutions need to educate the children to an integral pedagogy of inter-relatedness, to promote harmony in a world of hate culture. We need to train them to have an art of listening and an art of speaking.
Fr. Errol Fernandes SJ spoke on the topic of discernment at individual, community and institutional level. With various anecdotes and examples he made the session both educative and entertaining. He stressed on the aspects of reconciliation and doing God’s will.
Fr. Jose Alberto Mesa SJ, the international coordinator for education in his address stressed on the need of netoworking and collaboration. Today, our schools need to become agents of reconciliation with God through the promotion of faith, with humanity with the promotion of justice and with creation by addressing ecological concerns. Since we consider the world as our house we can no more remain as citizens but those who embrace the world. In the modern world it is important that we use technology to learn and to teach and achieve our mission. Our schools must foster a care for creation. It is not enough to achieve academic excellence but we need to move towards human excellence. For this we need to be persons who are competent, conscious, compassionate and committed. We need to be at the service of not only knowledge but also at the service of wisdom and joy. We need to teach the students to move beyond the consumerism and promote ‘cura personalis’ (care for persons).
Life has to be filled with happiness and joy. Dr. Fr. Prashant SJ and Dr. Orla Hazra in their address based on the topic “Ignatian Pedagogy a frontier model for reconciliation with creation” spoke on the integration of creation and the challenges that we face. They also pointed out how we as human beings need to feel very much as part of the cosmos and not consider ourselves at the top of the hierarchy and destroy universe. We need to feel the pulse of creation and join our hands in promoting this cosmic harmony.
To break the monotony and to enhance the interactions there were group discussions on how to foster the quality of networking and collaboration. The report of each group was presented in the evening. The discussion and the questions after the reports were very enriching.
The second day began with the prayer song which was followed by a beautiful display of Oriya culture with a variety of dances. The audience was filled with awe at their synchronic movement. Thanks to the administration and students of Loyola school Bhuvaneswar for the wonderful cultural show and fine performance.
The second day was a panel discussion on various themes. The first session was a discussion on collaboration with the larger Jesuit family namely the alumni and the lay collaborators. Dr. Devendra Singh, the president of JAAI (Jesuit Alumnai Association of India), explained on how the alumni can support the schools and together we can achieve better. Ms. Vishaka Sinha narrated her experience with the Jesuits as a lay collaborator while Mr. Ronnie D’Costa spoke on networking is the key for achieving greater impact which he enumerated with various examples. Their experience was definitely enriching and enlightening to strengthen the ties with the past students and lay collaborators.
The second panel discussion was with the Jesuits from the four zones to share their experience with the lay collaborators. Fr. Kennedy from Madurai province shared about the activities held with the Jesuit collaborators in Madurai province. Fr. Durai spoke on the collaboration with the religious people and how they work together to impart a quality education. Fr. Sebstian James from Calcutta expressed his experience of working with the lay people.
In the afternoon to give us a taste of the cultural heritage of Orissa a tour was organized to Sun Temple at Konark. Inspite of the rain it was a pleasant experience to appreciate the artistic beauty of the 13th century monument.
On the third day Dr. Fr. Denzil SJ the director of the Indian social Institute Delhi, explained the challenges ahead of us in the changing political context and how we can respond to the situation. With the present changes in and the new rules and regulations we need to be vigilant and also respond to the situation in an apt way.
This was followed by a group discussion at the zonal level to chalk out a concrete action plan so the meeting can have some concrete effect in our working place. The secretary from each group reported about the possible creative way to materialize the discussion so that it can bear fruit in our school environment.
Fr. Sunny Jacob, the JEA SA Secretary, presented the various activities that are being done at the assistancy level and how we can march ahead for the future. He urged all to work together as a corporate body in the Jesuit Conference of South Asia. He expressed hope to overcome the challenges and march forward true to our charism and tradition.
To sum up the whole event, we had a statement passed in the gathering which was coordinated by Dr. Fr. Kennedy from Madurai Province, helped by a team of experts like PJ James, John Ravi, and JEA Secretary, taking into consideration the proceedings of the meeting and also to setting an action plan for the future based on the ‘Bhubaneswar Statement’.
Thanks to Fr. Sunny Jacob, Our JEA SA Secretary, for over all planning of the Triennial and Fr. Tony Raj P, the PCE of Jameshedpur, Fr. Arockia Das, the local coordinator of XUB, for their meticulous planning and smooth execution.
Victor D Mello SJ