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MARCH 2016MARCH 2016 Writers’ ForumWriters’ Forum0202
EDITORIALEDITORIAL
Praveen Martis, SJPraveen Martis, SJ
very Christi...
“YES” TO A FRONTIER MINISTRY:
WITH THE JESUIT REFUGEE SERVICE
“YES” TO A FRONTIER MINISTRY:
WITH THE JESUIT REFUGEE SERVIC...
0404 Writers’ ForumWriters’ Forum
Most of the refugees and the Internally Displaced
Persons(IDPs) face acute problems- whi...
0505 Writers’ ForumWriters’ Forum
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—I took the
one less traveled by,
And that has made a...
possibilities provided we are ready to come out of
ourcomfortzones.
We are called in the Jubilee year of Mercy to
be the l...
not hesitate to send his sons to hitherto unknown
territories. Xavier whose heart was larger than the world
traversed land...
Fr Thomas Quadros, SJFr Thomas Quadros, SJ
to their homes and the people they lived with their
families. They have shed th...
“FRONTIERS”
THERE YOU BELONG!!
“FRONTIERS”
THERE YOU BELONG!!
Vishwas Misquith, SJVishwas Misquith, SJ
Confucianism and th...
moving out to the places where people are in need.
We have joined a Society which is universal with a
universal mission. S...
“Your proper place
is on the frontiers.
This is the place of
Jesuits”
“Your proper place
is on the frontiers.
This is the ...
KSJ Writers' Forum - March 2016 Frontier Ministries
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KSJ Writers' Forum - March 2016 Frontier Ministries

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KSJ Writers' Forum - March 2016 Frontier Ministries

  1. 1. MARCH 2016MARCH 2016 Writers’ ForumWriters’ Forum0202 EDITORIALEDITORIAL Praveen Martis, SJPraveen Martis, SJ very Christian is a 'Christopher' says Pope Francis in one of his audiences with the Efaithful in Vatican City this February. In connection with the year of mercy, the Pope teaches that every Christian has another name – Christopher – which means “bearer of Christ”. In his teachings, Pope Francis shows that there is much interplay between mercy and mission. Every mission is mercy broughttolife. The value of mercy becomes very important while reflecting on the topic of frontiers. By inaugurating the year of mercy, the Pope reminds us that the Church is a house of mercy and every Christian is a missionary of mercy. The priests and religious, who are the models of Christian life, need to be true leaders by living genuinely as witnesses ofmercy. T h e G e n e r a l congregations of the Society of Jesus have often defined Jesuit life and mission as “at the new frontiers”.We are called to be on a lookout at the new frontier ministries which involve a constant discerning attitude. The search for the frontiers in our mission is a never ending search which is accompanied by concrete action. Our search for the frontiers and the spirit of readiness to serve ensure that our overall mission in general remains relevant anditis trulyaserviceoflove. What makes a particular ministry or a mission a frontier? A frontier is a place of priority. It is an occasion of pressing need or challenge that awaits a response or attention. Most often, a frontier becomes a mission that is most neglected by the majority. It is a periphery that is crying for attention. Therefore it calls for the people of God to be concerned about the frontiers with the same attitude of mercy with which “the three Divine Persons gazed on the whole circuit of the world” and “decided that the second person should become a human being in order to save the human race” (Spiritual Exercises 102) the call of the frontier is addressed by a response of generous love and service. In the December 2015 issue of KSJ Writer's Forum, we reflected on the topic of “Saviour in Today's World” and we put forward our thoughts on what it means to be 'saved' in today's context.While in that issue we looked at the “saviours”, in this issue we shall fix our attention at the people who await deliverance and emancipation. A frontier is a battlefield for today's saviours and in this battlefield the Good News of Christ brings cure to many of our ills. A final note of wisdom from the Bhagavad Gita. While instructing Arjuna on the right type of charity, Lord Krishna says, “That gift which is given, knowing it to be a duty, in a fit time and place, to a worthy person, from whom we expect nothing in return, is held to be Sattvic.” (BG Chapter XVII verse 20). Lord Krishna's words let us know that we should be doing the right action at the right time for the right people. To be able to know the right things to be done, we need to be men familiar with the murmuringsandtheshouts oftheSpirit.
  2. 2. “YES” TO A FRONTIER MINISTRY: WITH THE JESUIT REFUGEE SERVICE “YES” TO A FRONTIER MINISTRY: WITH THE JESUIT REFUGEE SERVICE Fr Cedric Prakash, SJFr Cedric Prakash, SJ Afew days ago I was in Syria- in the heart of a country bombed, battered and bruised by a terrible th civil war which began on March 15 2011.I also stayed in the Jesuit Centre in Homs, where two years th ago on April 7 2014 a great Jesuit Fr Frans Van der Lugt (75 yrs.) was killed by terrorists all because he lived and proclaimed God's message of love and reconciliation. Syria is in ruins, today!According to the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, “this war has left more than 270,000 people dead; of these 80,000 are civilians including 13,500 children.” Unofficially however, the death toll is far more- with an unknown number killed in detention at the hands of the government, rebels or militants. An estimated one million people have also b e e n w o u n d e d ; a n unbelievable number suffer from trauma and other mental –health illness which any conflict of such an intense nature can generate. Above all, this civil war has spawned the greatest mass migration afterWorldWar II.AUnited Nations report in January this year said that out of a pre-conflict population of 23 million, 13.5 million Syrians have been forced out of their homes; and an additional 480,000 are still living under siege. Some 4.7 million Syrians have fled to neighbouring countries of Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan and significant numbers to Egypt, Iraq. Though the vast majority have remained in the region, hundreds of thousands have tried to make the perilous journey to Europe, though not all reach the European shores alive. 0303 Writers’ ForumWriters’ Forum th oday is March 19 2016- and as I write this I remember, St Joseph, whose Feast we Tcelebrate today- and who is also the Patron of the Society of Jesus. I am thinking of the Joseph, who must have felt real terrible- as he went about looking for a place for Jesus to be born and each time the door was shut because “there was no place in the inn!”.After all, the couple were from 'another' place. I see the Joseph who in sheer desperation had to obey the angel in his dream- and overnight take Jesus and Mary and flee into Egypt! A refugee family! They had to run away from the hate and jealousy, the power and the might of the Herod of the day! I pray to the Joseph who leaves no stone unturned- to protect and accompany Jesus and Mary in every way possible! I write this from Erbil in Kurdistan, North Iraq- where I have been for the last few days in the midst of the refugees, trying to witness and experience first- hand the response of the Jesuit Refugee Service to the tragedy and plight of thousands of Internally Displaced Persons(IDPs) and refugees. I have been listening to heart-rending stories of how Christians had to leave their homes and all their possessions in places like Qarakosh in August 2014 from the incoming ISIS forces- and flee to safer and more secure parts of the country. On the other hand, the Yezidis who are a miniscule minority in their own country are a nowhere people! Nowhere to go-and no one ready to easily accept them. There are also the smaller groups of Muslims –who are condemned toamajoritariansentimentandrule. MARCH 2016MARCH 2016
  3. 3. 0404 Writers’ ForumWriters’ Forum Most of the refugees and the Internally Displaced Persons(IDPs) face acute problems- which include, living in abominable conditions in make –shift housing, poverty, lack of employment and very little access to quality healthcare and education. Besides, several local communities show reluctance to easily accept the refugees/IDPs- and impose severerestrictionson theirintegration. The situation of the refugees and IDPs in this part of the world is pathetic and tragic. It has also been the lot of other refugees and IDPs in other parts of the world. Fr Pedro Arrupe (our former Superior General) realized this over thirty-five years ago. In keeping with the vision he had for a world which is more inclusive and all- embracing and which had faith-justice as its c o r n e r s t o n e , F r. Arrupe launched in November 1980 the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) ( ) 'with the mission to accompany, serve and advocate on behalf of refugees and other forcibly displaced persons'. Ever since the JRS has been responding to the cries of millions of people all over the world! Pope Francis has made the concern for refugeesas thecornerstoneof his Papacy. Two months ago, I came to Lebanon to work with JRS as a response to a call! I went through a long and difficult process of discernment. The work I was doing in India was, I believe, fairly significant. There were plenty of good and valid reasons for me to stay on. The Lord however was calling me for 'Universal Mission'; to go out to the frontiers – and I www.jrs.net hadtosay'yes'! At this moment, I am overwhelmed with the reality around me- with the pain and trauma; the suffering and struggle that so many simple men and women have to go through because of 'man's inhumanity to man!';because of the lust for power anddomination;thegreedfor wealthandresources. Pope Francis (and we celebrate today the third anniversary of his Papacy), in a message to JRS some time ago said, “To serve, to accompany means also to defend; it means to be on the side of the weakest. How many times we raise our voice to defend our rights, but how many times we are indifferent to the rights of others! How many times we don't know or do not wish to give voice to those who–like you –have suffered and suffer, those who have seen their rights trampled upon, those who have experienced so much violence that even their desire to have justice has been suffocated! It's important for the whole Church that the welcome of the poor and the promotion of justice are not entrusted only to "specialists," but that they are the focus of attention of all the pastoral work, of the formation of future priests and other religious, of the normal commitment of all parishes, movements and ecclesial groups. In particular–and this is important and I say it from my heart–I would also like to invite religious congregations to read seriously and responsiblythissign ofthetimes.” “YES” TO A FRONTIER MINISTRY: WITH THE JESUIT REFUGEE SERVICE “YES” TO A FRONTIER MINISTRY: WITH THE JESUIT REFUGEE SERVICE Fr Cedric Prakash, SJFr Cedric Prakash, SJContd. from pg. 03Contd. from pg. 03 MARCH 2016MARCH 2016
  4. 4. 0505 Writers’ ForumWriters’ Forum Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference” Robert Frost. The above words from the well-known poem entitled “The Road not Taken” by the renownedAmerican poet Robert Frost shed light on the theme of Frontier Ministries. “We are too much institutionalized” “We have become too much inward looking”. “I get a feeling that we have got stuck”. These were the feelings expressed by some young Jesuit priests who came t o g e t h e r f o r a reflection on our mission. As Pope Francis constantly reminds us to go to the periphery, this should be a wake-up call for us who have often got stuck in the world of complacency andmediocrityinour ministries. Ignatius and Frontier Ministries: We can mention ample incidents where Ignatius chose the frontier ministries during his life time. Simon Rodrigues one of the founding Fathers of the Society of Jesus narrates the corporal works of mercy that they were involved in just before their ordination in 1537 at Venice. Five each were sent to two hospices. “In the hospitals they waited on the indigent, made the beds, swept the house, cleaned out whatever was soiled, washed the pots of the poor who were sick, carried away thebodies of thedead honorably prepared for burial, dug their graves and buried them in a religious manner. Day and night they were present to everyone with such care, fervor, joy and happiness that all those living in the hospitals were greatly astounded”. The erudite men from the University of Paris were busy in doing menial jobs. They were able to do it because by now all had done their spiritual Exercises and they were affected by the person of Christ and their one desire was toidentifywithJesus poor. FRONTIER MINISTRIES: CALLED TO TREAD THE UNTRODDEN PATH FRONTIER MINISTRIES: CALLED TO TREAD THE UNTRODDEN PATH Fr Jossie D'Mello, SJFr Jossie D'Mello, SJ Yes, as aJesuit I certainlydo believethatI havebeen called to read seriously and responsibly the signs of the times: to be available to the Universal call of the Society for frontier ministry. In some small way, I am trying to do so today -through the Jesuit Refugee ServiceintheMiddleEastandNorthAfricaRegion (Fr. Cedric Prakash sj now works with the Jesuit Refugee Service in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Region, as Advocacy and CommunicationsOfficer,basedinBeirut,Lebanon) .cedricprakash@gmail.com Contd. from pg. 04Contd. from pg. 04 “YES” TO A FRONTIER MINISTRY: WITH THE JESUIT REFUGEE SERVICE “YES” TO A FRONTIER MINISTRY: WITH THE JESUIT REFUGEE SERVICE Fr Cedric Prakash SJFr Cedric Prakash SJ MARCH 2016MARCH 2016
  5. 5. possibilities provided we are ready to come out of ourcomfortzones. We are called in the Jubilee year of Mercy to be the living images of the compassion of God by plunging into those ministries where the need is greater and urgent. We may be working in our institutions yet we can think outside the box, think about the frontiers and peripheries of our localities by taking initiatives, by choosing the untrodden path by taking effective actions towards the upliftment of the marginalized like slum dwellers, broken f a m i l i e s , m i g r a n t s , e x p l o i t e d w o m e n , o r p h a n s , c h i l d - labourers, e t c . . O u r m i s s i o n includes not o n l y o u r institutions but also the cry and the needs of the oppressed. Here we need an ongoingdiscernment. Let me conclude with the quote from the General Congregation 34: “For us [Jesuits], frontiers and boundaries are not obstacles or ends, but new challenges to be faced, new opportunities to be welcomed. Indeed, ours is a holy boldness, 'a certain apostolic aggressivity' (Pedro Arrupe) typical of our way of proceeding” (d. 26, 561). Today new frontiers and peripheries beckon us. Are we reading the signs of the times? Are we ready to treadtheuntroddenpath? 0606 Writers’ ForumWriters’ Forum Church's Appreciation on Frontier Ministries: Pope Paul VI made a moving statement to the delegates of GC 32 about the mission of the Society of Jesus: “Wherever in the Church, even in the most difficult and exposed fields, in the crossroads of ideologies, in the social trenches, there has been or is confrontation between the burning exigencies of humanity and the perennial message of the Gospel, there have been and are the Jesuits” (3 December 1974). Jesuits who are the companions of Jesus are called like Ignatius and his companions to choose not the trodden path but the untrodden, challenging and difficult one so as to m a k e a difference in the lives of others. Criteria for F r o n t i e r Ministries: The mission is part and parcel of our Jesuit vocation. Our mission demands that we read the signs of the times and ask constantly “what do God and the people of God want of us today?” The Constitutions of the Society of Jesus throw light on the criteria for our mission. Our choice of ministries should be governed by: greater glory of God [622], greater universal good [622], greater need [622], greater fruit likely to be reaped [622], where our indebtedness is greater [622], where the need is more urgent [623] and when there are no others to attend to it [623]. The desire for the frontier ministries should stem from our spirit of magis and availability which would offer us infinite FRONTIER MINISTRIES: CALLED TO TREAD THE UNTRODDEN PATH FRONTIER MINISTRIES: CALLED TO TREAD THE UNTRODDEN PATH Fr Jossie D'Mello, SJFr Jossie D'Mello, SJContd. from pg. 05Contd. from pg. 05 MARCH 2016MARCH 2016
  6. 6. not hesitate to send his sons to hitherto unknown territories. Xavier whose heart was larger than the world traversed land and sea up to Japan and eyed even the distant China. Ricci and de Nobili in the East, the Reduction Jesuits, Anchieta as well as Brebeuf and Companions in the West and countless others ventured to serve people of diverse cultures, climes and tongues, unmindfulofhardships,hurdlesanddangers. As the world changes, the context of our mission changes too, and new frontiers beckon us. We cannot offer yesterday's solutions to tomorrow's problems, said Arrupe. No doubt frontier ministries have meant paying a heavy price at times, as we know in the case of Rutilio Grande and Ellacuria in El Salvador, A. T. Thomas in India, and many others elsewhere. The memory of the anxious days and months Alex Premkumar had to go through recentlyinAfghanistanisstillfreshinourminds. Karnataka Jesuits too have set us an example in the past. When the initial band of Jesuits who were just managing to cater to the mission assigned to them, were offered the St Joseph's Institutions in Bangalore, they boldly accepted them counting on God's providence and the strength of borrowed hands. When Fr General Arrupe, at the request of the Archbishop of Shillong, wanted JCSA to help him in the North East frontier, and when other Provinces said they had their hands full, Fr J.C. Pereira, Provincial, took up the challenge to work among the `head-hunting Nagas'. When Karnataka Province decided to move further into North Karnataka, the couple of pioneering young Jesuits asked the Bishop of Bellary to give them the most neglected area; they were offered Manvi-Pannur, which has now been developedbeyondrecognition. 0707 Writers’ ForumWriters’ Forum hough the phrase `frontier ministries' has gained prominence rather recently, especially Tafter GC 35, the concept itself and its realization is almost as old as the Society itself. Ignatius laid the foundation for it right at the start: while most of the religious orders and congregations had a specific ministry, for the order he founded no ministry was specified; it could be any, according to the time and circumstances, that would be for God's greater glory and greater service of souls. In his prayer, he prays for the generosity to give without counting the cost, to fight withoutmindingthewounds… Our mission, says GC 35, is to discover Christ where we have not seen him before, and to reveal him where he has not been seen or heard of before. For us frontiers are not boundaries beyond which we do not venture, but challenges and opportunities to seek the magis, with creative fidelity and an `apostolic aggressivity' (Arrupe). For his mission, a Jesuit, travelling by roads less travelled,hastofindawayortomakeone. Roman Pontiffs have amply acknowledged this fact. Paul VI recognized that `wherever in the Church, even in the most difficult and extreme fields, in the crossroads of ideologies, in the frontline between the deepest human desires and the perennial message of the Gospel, there have been, and there are, Jesuits.' John Paul II reiterated it. Benedict XVI assured the Jesuits that `the Church needs you, counts on you and continues to turn to you with confidence' to work `where others do not reach orfinditdifficulttoreach.' With the discovery of new lands, St Ignatius did FEARLESS TO BE ON THE FRONTIERS FEARLESS TO BE ON THE FRONTIERS Fr Richard Sequeira, SJFr Richard Sequeira, SJ MARCH 2016MARCH 2016
  7. 7. Fr Thomas Quadros, SJFr Thomas Quadros, SJ to their homes and the people they lived with their families. They have shed their sweat and blood, laid down their lives having toiled to enkindle the good news of love and dignity to human beings around them. And today, we are graced to have the mortal remains of many interredinourland. Pope Leo XIII (1878-1903) had said, 'India, your sons shall be your salvation.' (Filii tui saluti tibi). Today Indian Christians are functioning as messengers of the Good News not only in different parts of India, but also in many countries round theworld. Discernment is a key-word in the Ignatian lingo. In the initial years of the Society, h u m a n d e v e l o p m e n t through education seemed the need of the hour. And hence, religious and secular education took the centre stage in the Jesuit apostolates round the world. Over the centuries, the Jesuit educational apostolate has bloomed into many universities in countries the world over, specialising in diverse fields. And these universities are known forqualityeducation. Commendable,indeed. Discernment always needs to be ongoing. That is Ignatian – pondering and responding to the need of the place, the people and the hour. In our country, though the educational apostolate takes a lion's share of the Jesuit personnel, we do have other apostolates such as pastoral, spiritual, social-justice, ecology, refugee-service, health- services, human development etc. All these are diversified ministries evolved from the contextual exigencies. 0808 Writers’ ForumWriters’ Forum hen Ignatius sent Francis Xavier to the Indies, he spurred him on with “Go and set Wthe world on fire.” Ignatius had set him afire with God right from his days with Francis in Paris. That fire had been simmering within Francis only eager to sparkle and kindle other fires. Right from his embarking in Lisbon for the Indies he was on call, ministering to those on board. He spread the gospel not only to the coastlands of the peninsular India, but beyond - to Indonesia and Japan. The gospel- fire within him would not let him take a respite. His frontier ministry got cut short on Sancian Island overlooking China when God tookhimhome. Francis Xavier is one of the many who have made voyages to different parts of the globe, be it China or Philippines, North & SouthAmerica orAfrica. When they left their homeland and families, they left for good, intending never to return, and made the places they went FRONTIER MINISTRIESFRONTIER MINISTRIES However, we cannot rest glorying on the laurels of the past. I need to ask myself: Am I ready for a tough mission today? The answer is given not in words, but is revealed in my lifestyle, my attitude to comforts and conveniences, the depth of my prayer life, the extent of my trust in God, my readiness to face criticism, to work sometimes alone, sometimes in a team, accepting the strengths and weaknesses of each other. Dauntless Ignatius,leadus on! FEARLESS TO BE ON THE FRONTIERS FEARLESS TO BE ON THE FRONTIERS Fr Richard Sequeira, SJFr Richard Sequeira, SJCont. from pg.07Cont. from pg.07 MARCH 2016MARCH 2016
  8. 8. “FRONTIERS” THERE YOU BELONG!! “FRONTIERS” THERE YOU BELONG!! Vishwas Misquith, SJVishwas Misquith, SJ Confucianism and the Chinese classics, or the Jesuits who reached the Guarani tribes in the unreachable jungles of Paraguay, or Robert de Nobili, or John de Brito who tried to reach the intelligentsia in what today is TamilNadu,India. The call to frontier ministry today, therefore, assumes twomajorfactorsforus Jesuits: One: to be fired within with love for Christ whose face is seen in the faces of people we are sent to minister. This presumes a Jesuit's daily contact with Christ in the Eucharistandinone's personalprayer. Two: personal and communitarian dialogue and discernment for apostolate, taking into focus: the needs of the people, place and the hour. This sounds like the Jesuitadage:'Readthesigns ofthetimes.' Beattuned. 0909 Writers’ ForumWriters’ Forum Ongoing discernment requires that we assess our apostolates with the Kingdom perspectives and priorities, periodically or as needed, to be attentive to the call of the Spirit and need of the hour. This attentiveness implies an open mind, and courage to take bold steps. Such openness of mind and sensitivity to the Spirit may, at times, beckon us to wind up some apostolates that may be redundant, or venture into new areas or initiatives that needour presenceandattention. The Society of Jesus has been known for pioneering efforts – whether it was Francis Xavier venturing out to the unknown Indies, eventually wanting to reach the wisdom-minds of China, or Matteo Ricci and Johann Adam Schall von Bell who tried to dialogue with the Chinese literati, men who were educated in ope Francis has reminded us Jesuits about our option for frontier ministries. “Your Pproper place is on the frontiers. This is the place of Jesuits”. This call to go to the frontier demands us to leave behind our comfort zones, to go to the places where no one wants to go. This is also a call to be different and to take the less trodden path which is often dangerous.And to face the challenges that would come on the as you break the barriers and meet the people longing for help on the frontiers, wherenooneisreadytogoorfearstogo. Pope Benedict XVI in his address to GC35, places a special trust on the Jesuits, saying, “The church needs you, counts on you and continues to turn to you with confidence, particularly to reach the geographical and spiritual places where others do not reach or find it difficult to reach.” These words place special trust on us Jesuits to go to the frontiers to make Christ known to all. These words also motivate us to march out of our well settled, comfortable communities to those who are awaiting for ahelpinghand. FRONTIER MINISTRIESFRONTIER MINISTRIES Contd. from pg.08Contd. from pg.08 Fr Thomas Quadros, SJFr Thomas Quadros, SJ MARCH 2016MARCH 2016
  9. 9. moving out to the places where people are in need. We have joined a Society which is universal with a universal mission. So confining ourselves to our own little communities or provinces deviates us fromthevisionof theSociety. Fr Kolvenbach has reminded us, that 'a stable monastery does not serve us, because we have received the entire world to tell about the good news.' So we cannot lock up ourselves inside the closed doors. The whole world with all the people and the entire creation is our concern. We are called to be the bearers of Christ's love and peace to all thosestillawayfromhim. 1010 Writers’ ForumWriters’ Forum Today, because of the technological growth and better transportation facilities, geographical frontiers are decreasing. As this world changes so also the context of our mission. New frontiers are emerging, placing before us new challenges. How are we willing to face this challenge posed by GC35. Today we have frontiers in the area of inter-religious dialogue; where there is violence in the name of religion, especially ISIS, fight for environmental justice,arethrowingbeforeus newchallenges. We are called to join our voices with Jerome Nadal, as he says, 'the world is our home'. The geographical boundary cannot confine us from FRONTIERS THERE YOU BELONG!! FRONTIERS THERE YOU BELONG!! Vishwas Misquith, SJVishwas Misquith, SJ MARCH 2016MARCH 2016 Cont. from pg.09Cont. from pg.09
  10. 10. “Your proper place is on the frontiers. This is the place of Jesuits” “Your proper place is on the frontiers. This is the place of Jesuits” PEARLSPEARLS 1111 Writers’ ForumWriters’ Forum VishwasMisquith,SJVishwasMisquith,SJ Pope FrancisPope Francis MARCH 2016MARCH 2016

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