Wednesday, January 15, 2003

President Kalam to Open World Jesuit Alumni Congress

President, Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam will inaugurate the Sixth World Congress of Jesuit Alumni in Kolkata, January 21. The spokesperson for the organising committee of the Congress, Fr. P.C. Matthew said, "Kalam has given us his consent that he would inaugurate the four-day meet from January 21 to 24."
He said St. Xavier's College, Kolkata, had been chosen as the venue for the event, but hinted at a change later. The event called the 'Summit of Joy', has been further enhanced by the fact that Kolkata had won the pitch to host the Congress from among several other Asian cities in the fray. "The last Congress was held in 1997 at Sydney and the onus was on Asia to hold it this year. Once the venue was narrowed down to India, the Sydney Congress chose the City as the venue in response to a joint pitch offered by the three Jesuit alumni associations of Kolkata - the St. Xavier's School Old Boys Association, St. Xavier's College Kolkata Alumni Association and the St. Lawrence Old Boys' Association," Fr. Matthew said.
The Summit of Joy will be co-hosted by the three alumni associations, all of which are members of the Federation of Jesuit Alumni Associations of India (JAAI), which in turn represents India at the World Union of Jesuit Alumni.
Incidentally, Dr. Kalam is an alumnus of St. Joseph's College, Trichy, a member of JAAI. While around 700 delegates from around the country and abroad are expected to attend the Congress, the meet will be an opportunity to bring together the Jesuit alumni from around the world. There would be sessions dedicated to discussions on opportunities for education, environment, corporate responsibility and empowerment of women. Extensive arrangements are being worked out to welcome the delegates.
Although the Society of Jesus was formed in 1530s, the alumni movement started more than four centuries later. It was in July 1956 at Bilbao in Spain that the Wold Union of Jesuit Alumni was formed on the 4th centenary of the death of St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Society of Jesus. The first Jesuit college - St. Paul's - was founded in India at Goa. Fr. Peter Hans Kolvenbach, Superior General of the Society of Jesus, will give the opening session address on the second day.

b>Dear Browsers,

Sorry for not updating for sometime. I was out of station.

National Meet Moots 'Communication Theology' for Seminary Formation

Fr. Francis Arackal O.P.

The National Conference on Theology and Social Communications held from January 1-5 at Ruhalaya Theologate in Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh, emphasised the need for 'A Communication Theology' for the Church in India and especially for seminary formation.
Twenty-eight theologians (mostly Deans of Theology faculties of seminaries) and seven communication experts attended the Conference. Sixteen papers were presented.
Among the communication experts who presented papers are CBCI Secretary for Social Communications, Fr. Henry D'Souza, Dean of National Institute for Social Communications Research and Training (NISCORT) Jesuit Father Jacob Srampical, and president Indian Catholic Press Association, Salesian Father George Plathottam. Leading theologians who presented papers are Jesuit Father Michael Amaldoss, Fr. Jacob Parappally, MSFS and Fr. Jose Palakeel, MST.
The conference took note of the media and communication revolution gripping the world, especially India. "There is no area of our lives that has not been influenced by the media and communication explosion. Mass media and TV in particular have altered the ways in which people look at the world and the ways in which politics, wars and history are projected and reconstructed," said Fr. Henry D'Souza.
The conference expressed happiness that "the clouds of negativism and indifference to social communications are thinning out. An increasing number of Church leaders has begun to realise that communications cannot be ignored any more. "Ignoring its importance may alienate people from the Church and even God Himself."
The conference noted that there was an urgent need for a more holistic understanding of communications ministry in the Indian Church. "Communications is not just a matter of mastering or using media skills and techniques, but it should be considered as an integral part of the mission of the Church. In the new media age, social communications is considered not just as an option for the chosen few, but a necessity for all sections of the Church at all levels."
Fr. Michael Amaladoss, a leading theologian, dwelt at length on 'Theology's response to the challenges of communications'. "The term 'communication' becomes a theological category when allied with other terms such as revelation, mission and communion. Communication is an essential function of Theology. Today there is a growing acceptance that language is not the only medium of theological or any serious expression. Symbols, poetry, painting, and music can also be authentic expressions. Theology should start using multi-media to express itself," he said.
The conference stressed the need for evolving a mechanism to animate seminary professors to initiate them into the "new attitude, new culture and new language of media and communication."
A seven-member committee was also constituted to do a follow-up of the conference. The members are Jose Palakeel, Dean of Theology, Ruhalaya (convener), George Plathottam, Boscom, Guwahati, Henry D'Souza, Executive Secretary, CBCI Commission for Social Communication, New Delhi, Jacob Parappally, Dean of Theology, Jana Deep Vidyapeet, Pune, Jacob Srampickal, Dean, NISCORT, New Delhi, Sebastian Periannan, Dean of Theology, St. Peter's Institute, Bangalore, and Victor Sunderaj, Research Director, NISCORT.
The committee shall: gather expectations from individual seminaries; facilitate and work through existing formation structures of religious congregations and other bodies; write the conclusions emerging from the Conference and incorporate a chapter in the book; more research to be done on communication theology both among priests and in the seminaries; undertake a study on the young priests within a five year period of their ordination to find out what are the communication priorities and felt-need of ministry.
The participants at the conference suggested among other things that the follow-up should be done every year or once in two years and that animation programmes be conducted for professors of different seminaries. They also sought a mandate from the CBCI to implement the committee's work and other proposals.