Exit Fr Mathias, Enter Fr Martis! St Aloysius BEd says ‘Goodbye’ & ‘Welcome’ to the Directors
Mangaluru: Wednesday, 17 October was a day that filled everyone’s hearts with mixed feelings for the teachers, staff and students of BEd Course of St Aloysius Institute of Education -Mangaluru. The day saw joy and happiness when they celebrated the 50th Birthday of their Director Fr Eric Mathias SJ, and in the same time there was tears and sadness in them since their much loved Director for two and a half years, Fr Eric Mathias SJ was leaving them to take up a new post in a Jesuit Institution in Harihar in Davangere District.
With a slogan embossed on the stage backdrop which read, “Excellence is not a Destination; It’s a continuous journey that never ends”, a double celebration was organized at St Aloysius Institute of Education for their Director Fr Eric Mathias SJ, celebrating his 50th Birthday, and also a farewell function, since he ends his tenure at this Institution. On the same occasion, the Institute fraternity welcomed their new Director Rev Dr Praveen Martis SJ, who is also the present Principal of St Aloysius College (Autonomous)-Mangaluru. “Every new day is a symbol of hope. Every new flower is a symbol of beauty. Every new child is a symbol of God’s immense love towards us.” As they celebrated the gift of birth of Fr Eric, they also prayed that Smiles and Laughter, Joy and Cheer, and Heavenly Happiness that stays, be with Him always!
The celebration began with a prayer invoking God’s blessings, followed by welcome address by Jennifer D’souza- a 1 yr BEd student. A prayer service led by a bevy of students, prayed for good health, happiness and success in the life of Fr Eric Mathias SJ, accompanied with a few prayer songs, which touched the hearts of everyone, including Fr Eric. Coming forward with words of appreciation on Fr Eric for his contribution and love shown toward the institution, Neeranjan, an IInd year B Ed student expressed his words of wisdom.
It was now the privilege of the Institute Principal Ms Farita Veigas to express her thoughts on Fr Eric Mathias SJ, where she said, ” There is an energy in us that makes things happen when the paths of other persons touch ours. Fr Eric, you were our special guide to show us the ways which we could grow. Time surely flies and these 2.5 years as our director went by in the blink of an eye. On this occasion even though you protested against this observance I would like to express our appreciation for all that you inspired us to be. Your larger than life personality and dynamism —every time you came to the college we would hear your cheery voice greeting and wishing the staff and students even before we could wish you. That indeed set the tone of the day….
“Your involvement in the day to day functioning of the college and your positive attitude –in your words’ look at it not as a difficulty but an opportunity to excel’ inspired us to take up challenging tasks. Love for the poor, quick response to one in need, affinity in connecting to people and being down to earth is the hallmark of your personality. This saw us put into practice the vision of our institution men and women of and for others. Wanting the best for the institution and us whether be it encouragement to hold conferences, collaboration between sister institutions, inviting people of substance as resource persons or enhancing the infrastructure no matter the cost-quality always trumped. A person filled with vitality, enthusiasm and an ability to make things happen” added Ms Veigas.
She concluded by saying, “I can say never a dull moment when Fr is around. Fr in colloquial terms I would say you are a happening person and it has been a privilege and a pleasure to have you as our director. As you go for your new assignment as the coordinator of the Jesuit community, Harihar and Director of St Aloysius Degree College, Harihar we wish you all the best. May you meet Grace each day; In the light of your own heart, At the hands of your loved ones, In the eyes of the stranger, And the needy. And if by chance you do not at first meet it, Then search your heart for it, Listen patiently for word of it, And it will tap you on the shoulder. Thank you and God Bless.”
Following Principal’s speech, Fr Eric Mathias SJ was felicitated, followed which he cut the birthday, and shared few pieces of the birthday with the dignitaries on the dais. In his message, Fr Eric addressing the gathering said, “With mixed emotions, I am here with you to share my joy and sorrows. It has been great two and a half years sharing my life with you all, and you all were like my family members, and I will cherish those moments that I spent with you all for the rest of my life. While you are pursuing your career, also make time to share it with the poor and help them if they need. Give love and care to those children around you. Also, work in remote areas and a difference in the lives of the villagers with your profession. Bring change in society through your service. You are all invited to Harihar because the City has much to be seen like Temples, Mosques and Churches. Be my guest. Thanks for all your love, support and encouragement shown towards me during my tenure here”.
Following an informal handing over of Directorship between Fr Eric Mathias SJ and Fr Praveen Martis SJ, by exchanging a flower bouquet, Fr Praveen in his address to the audience said, “You were very fortunate to have a great person and a great pioneer like Fr Eric as your Director. Now that he assigned a new post at St Aloysius Degree College in Harihar, he will be a great asset for the institute there. Learning is a great message, and I am happy to take over the Directorship of this Institute, even though you are a small community when compared to St Aloysius College that I am at the helm as principal. Size does not matter, because the journey begins here, and let us together take this Institute to greater heights.”
Rev Fr Dionysius Vaz SJ-Rector of St Aloysius Institutions said, “Letting In is Education, Letting Out is Wisdom- and we have seen that in the qualities of Fr Eric. No doubt at all, that He was a King here at the Institute, where he masterminded special projects and activities, thereby keeping you all active and the Institute active also. Fr Eric is a “Magis, where Magis (pronounced “màh-gis”) is a Latin word that means “more” or “greater”. It is related to ad majorem Dei gloriam, a Latin phrase meaning “for the greater glory of God”, the motto of the Society of Jesus. Magis refers to the philosophy of doing more for Christ, and therefore doing more for others. It is an expression of an aspiration and inspiration. It relates to forming the ideal society centred on Jesus Christ.”
“And Fr Eric has done great service to the needy and less-privileged. He has always been a great pioneer, a Prophetic, showed great love and comfort towards the downtrodden and poor, his was like a pilgrim, and ever ready in the forefront during any crisis in the campus or elsewhere. Even though Fr Eric is leaving us to take up his new post in Harihara, he will always be a family member of Mangalore Jesuit society. And to you all budding teachers, I would like to say is that more than Teachers, you are all Mentors and Educators. And after your education here, show the community the skills you developed at this prestigious institute, and make a difference in the society, thereby earning name and fame to your Alma mater. Best of luck to you all, and all success to Fr Eric Mathias in his new venture”.
Following Rector’s speech, the formal function ended with a group dance and a group song by the First Year BEd students. The Vote of thanks was proposed by Sr Janet, and the programme was compered by Sr Reshma, both First Year BEd students. Vice Principal Ms Delna Lobo and Institute teachers Yathish, Sarika, Jerome, Joshna, Sandhya, and Santhosh also graced the occasion. Fr Melwyn Lobo, the new Director of St Aloysius Industrial Technical Institute also graced the celebration. The celebration ended with a farewell song to Fr Eric sung by the students of First year B Ed to a song by Jim Reeves “May The Good Lord Bless and Keep You….,” ( Listen to the tune on YouTube)