Urgency of the situation: Earlier there was a belief and we were all taught that ‘extra ecclesia nulla salum’ (outside the Church there is no salvation) and therefore, the heathens (as they called us) were all going to hell. We were also taught what hell is, what kind of punishment there will be and how long it will last (forever and ever).

The missionaries, therefore, felt great pity towards the heathens and they wanted to save them from the fire of hell. They believed that Christ suffered and died for them too. The missionaries, therefore, considered the heathens as their brothers and sisters and wanted by all means to save them. They saw and realised that the situation was desperate and urgent. Hence, they offered themselves to go to the mission countries, took great risks in order to assist their brothers and sisters to prevent them from going to hell.
Fr Valles, as he once told us and wrote that he too was inspired by this ideology and offered himself to come to India to save the heathens from the fire of hell!
 The situation was desperate-a catastrophe hence, no delay, hurry up, take risk, find means, find ways to meet the situation. . . 

            Like the missionaries do we also see and realise that to-day’s situation in India, in Gujarat is urgent, desperate and hence we have to rush, cannot delay otherwise. . .?
            Unless we see and realise this we will not be able to plan and explore new ways and avenues for our services. . . Knowing and realising the urgency  of the situation in Gujarat is a prerequisite, a precondition for a Strategic Apostolic Planning.
           Like the foreign missionaries we need to be told, informed constantly, made aware of again and again of the urgency of the situation-the situation prevailing in Gujarat.
What is the situation prevailing in the state?
-Education: illiteracy rate:Gujarat lags behind many other states; the  pitiful condition of the primary  educaton. . .;  not enough schools, not enough and dedicated teachers, no proper facilities; learning and schooling has become examination oriented; not value-based education; privatisation of education etc good & quality education is now the privilege of only those who have means (money)

-Food: mal nutrition (children dying of mal nutrition, people dying of hunger because of the unavailability of food; high  prices; corruption in PDS etc)
-Corruption: in public life and in general public (it has become a way of life) because of which the poor have become its first victims; it is the poor who have to  suffer most; it is the poor who get affected most.

The situation is urgent, desperate and the victims are crying for help. . .

Some suggestions
1.If our objective behind the educational apostolate is to create ‘men/women-for-others’, then we should dedicate ourselves to primary  school education because influencing and moulding the young is possible only there. ‘catch them young’, as the communists say. Hand over secondary, higher secondary and higher educational insts. to others.
2. Write text-books, stories, poetries and such other literature that will influence the students (Gandhians did this Gijubhai Badheka). If we teach them how to read we must also supply them with the reading material. The communists’ remarks:’you teach them how to read and write, we give them the material to read.’!
3. RTE : however many schools we may open, it is only a drop in the ocean because there is a huge number of children who do not, cannot go to schools, for various reasons and remain illiterate. The RTE could remedy the situation provided it is implemented. Hence, we should involve in it and assist the government to get it effectively implemented. There are NGOs who do this and we could/should  collaborate with them.
4.SKYPE: however many schools we may open, it is only a drop in the ocean because there is a huge number of children who do not, cannot go to schools, for various reasons and remain illiterate. (see below my letter in JIVAN)

Hunger & mal nutrition
            RTF :Starting and running ‘Vicent de Paul’ apostolate in the parishes will not solve the huge problem of hunger and mal nutrition. Again, our involvement in RTF, to assist the govt to get it effectively implemented. We can provide food to thousands of hungry people, pregnant mothers and mal nourished, under nourished children.

            RTI: It is the poor who have to suffer most because of the widespread corruption in public life. Again, our involvement in RTI and assisting the govt. In getting it effectively implemented can bring much relief to the poor who are the victims of corruption. We could start RTI centers in all our parishes and institutions to help out the people. As I wrote in JIVAN some Jesuits could volunteer/ Provincial appoint them as whistle blowers. The fact that by now at least six whistle blowers are murdered and several attacked, prove the effectiveness of RTE. Jesuits are known for their adventures, have taken great risks, given their lives in order to spread the Gospel, celebrate the Mass, save the souls etc. We could also take some risks in order to save the bodies too.

Sacramental ministries
            We should hand over this ministry to the diocesan clergy. There is an exaggeration: masses, devotions, novenas, pilgrimages etc are multiplied and the priests have to keep themselves busy with all this all the time. An understanding/ideology is slowly being built up that this is ‘practicing the religion’. The sad part of this is that all these forms of worship lack, is void of ‘social awareness, social concern’ and hence they are empty, bogus. The Jesuits should get out of this mess! Jesus did not keep himself busy with devotions etc. He dedicated himself to defend the poor and the helpless, to cure the sick etc.

Church’s new concept/understanding of the parish
            We, the Jesuits should set an example to the diocesan clergy/ religious. All those living in the geographical area of the parish are also parishioners and not the Catholics alone. ‘Basic Human Communities’ should be formed and work for the welfare of the area (praying together, celebrating festivals together, fighting for the rights, demanding facilities, promoting welfare of the community, entertaining the children, helping the poor etc)

William Macwan, S.J.


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