FRH celebrates Feast of Ignatius Loyola & Holds Candlelight Prayer Service for Fr Stan Swamy

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Fatima Retreat House-Mangaluru celebrates Feast of Ignatius Loyola & Holds Candlelight Prayer Service for Fr Stan Swamy SJ

Mangaluru: Ignatius of Loyola ( 23 October – 31 July 1556), venerated as Saint Ignatius of Loyola, was a Spanish Basque Catholic priest and theologian, who together with Peter Faber and Francis Xavier founded the religious order called the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) and became its first Superior General at Paris in 1541. The Jesuit order is dedicated to teaching and missionary work. Its members are bound by a special (fourth) vow of obedience to the sovereign pontiff to be ready to fulfil special papal missions. Society played an important role during the Counter-Reformation.

Ignatius was noted as an inspired spiritual director. He recorded his method in a celebrated treatise called the Spiritual Exercises, a simple set of meditations, prayers, and other mental exercises, first published in 1548. It is known as “Ignatian spirituality”. Ignatius was beatified in 1609 and canonized, receiving the title of Saint on 12 March 1622. His feast day is celebrated on 31 July. He is the patron saint of the Basque provinces of Gipuzkoa and Biscay as well as of the Society of Jesus. He was declared the patron saint of all spiritual retreats by Pope Pius XI in 1922. Ignatius is also the foremost patron saint of soldiers.

Fatima Retreat House, Valencia-Mangaluru celebrated the Feast of Ignatius of Loyola on Saturday, 31 July 2021 at 5.30 pm at the FRH Chapel. The main celebrant of the festal mass was Fr Boniface Pinto-the Professor at Jeppu Seminary, Mangaluru, joined by con-celebrants Fr Maxim Misquith SJ-Superior & Director of Fatima Retreat House; Fr Alphonse Fernandes SJ and Fr Norbert Fernandes. The theme of the Feast was “Seeing Everything New in Christ”. In his homily, Fr Boniface Pinto spoke about the qualities and teachings of Ignatius of Loyola.

“As Pope Francis says, “this brings us Jesuits and the whole Society to be “off-centre”, to stand before “Christ ever greater”, who leads us continuously out of ourselves, leads us to a certain kenosis, self-emptying “to give up self-love, self-seeking and self-interest”. St Ignatius basing his experience of God’s call to him makes Jesus the centre of his life, gives up worldly ambitions and chooses life and good. Even today, Jesuits all over the world are working effectively because of this committed love to Jesus and making even the Church the centre and choosing good and life through discernment. It is double centrality as Pope Francis tells us. Making Jesus and the Church as the centre of our lives,” added Fr Pinto.

Fr Pinto concluded by saying, “May Mother Mary, who carried Christ in her womb and accompanied the Church as she took her first steps, help us to radiate God’s grace by making Jesus and the Church as the centre of our lives. May she teach us her humility to say, I am the handmaid of the Lord, let your will be done. For this grace, let’s pray to St Ignatius, our model and our inspiration. Amen”. Following the mass, a Candlelight Prayer service was held in front of the Chapel for the departed soul of Fr Stan Swamy S.

CANDLELIGHT PRAYER SERVICE FOR FR STAN SWAMY SJ-“THE MESSENGER IS KILLED BUT MESSAGE LIVES”

On Monday, 5 July 2021 Fr Stan Swamy, who is known for his work for the underprivileged and downtrodden, died in a Mumbai hospital. Father Stan Swamy made Jharkhand home, fought for the voiceless. He fought for Tribal Rights, and for that, he was arrested by a team of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) from his residence in Ranchi-Jharkhand in connection with the probe into the 2018 violence in Maharashtra’s Koregaon-Bhima village, and also for other Human Rights Activists who are being harassed and tortured for their role in seeking justice for Dalits, Adivasis, Minorities, unorganized labourers, Fisherfolk, distress migrants, Dalit Christians, among others. Fr Stan was unnecessarily arrested by the NIA. alleging that he was involved in the Koregaon-Bhima Village case. But Fr Stan denied such allegations made on him regarding the Koregaon-Bhima Village case because according to him, he has never been to that village. So, why did NIA officials arrest an 83-year-old Jesuit priest who was doing yeomen service fighting for the rights of Tribal/Adivasis in Jharkhand?

His death was a death foretold. It was clear that the State had, in cold blood, decided to wreak on him and others the full might of its vengeance for daring to speak for the poor and the deprived. Fr Stan, the legendary worker for the rights of tribal and the indigenous people in India and elsewhere in the world, lived in Ranchi, Jharkhand. In jail, with his health failing with advanced stages of Parkinson’s disease, he was denied basic human dignity and facilities including a simple water sipper as he could no longer hold a cup in his trembling hands. A man who could hardly move, he was systematically denied bail by various courts. Ironically, his last bail application came up for hearing on the afternoon of 5 July when the Director of the Holy Family Hospital gave a simple statement that Fr Stan had passed away. The inhuman treatment meted out to a frail and sickly citizen of India, by the Government and particularly the NIA, speaks volumes of how this regime brooks no dissent and will not tolerate any voice of dissent that stands for truth and justice particularly on behalf of the subalterns of society. This illegal and unconstitutional detention has been vociferously condemned by all sections of society.

One of Fr. Stan Swamy’s last messages from jail was, “What is happening to me is not something unique, happening to me alone. It is a broader process that is taking place all over the country. Even in Jail, the free bird sings, he told Jesuit colleagues. In life and in his martyrdom, Fr Stan Swamy became a beacon for all who struggle for human rights, especially the rights of the Tribal and other marginalized people, and a role model for young men and women across the nation.

Fr Stan Swamy lived a life of service to the poor and oppressed. He paid for his commitment. Those who wanted him out of the way will be happy — though crocodile tears may be shed. It is a mystery that can be solved only if the government wishes to establish the truth. At the moment, its minions are sticking to their guns. Their experts, they say, have given their opinion and they will not consider contrary views of extra-territorial experts who they do not recognize.

Yes, Fr Stan dedicated his life working for tribal rights. The 84-year-old Jesuit priest was kept in jail for more than eight months and denied bail sought on medical grounds. The Union Govt should be answerable for absolute apathy and non-provision of timely medical services, leading to his death. Fr Stan lives in our struggles and memories. His death is the result of murder by the state. Let’s hold the NIA and the central government wholly responsible and strongly condemn their role in Stan’s death. May His Soul Rest In Peace!

As a respect for the departed soul of Fr Stan Swamy, Fatima Retreat House held a candlelight Prayer Service, where Fr Maxim Misquith-the Superior and Director of Fatima Retreat House and Fr Boniface Pinto-the Professor at Jeppu Seminary spoke about Fr Stan Swamy who became a beacon for all who struggle for human rights, especially the rights of the Tribal and other marginalized people, and a role model for young men and women across the nation, and who lived a life of service to the poor and oppressed. Liston D’Souza-the President of Christian Life Centre spoke about Fr Stan and thanked the faithful for joining in the candlelight prayer service.

In conclusion, let us salute Fr Stan Swamy for his commitment to human rights and dignity, who was passionate about fighting for Justice, Social Analysis…Rebel…Radical. But no doubt, totally committed. Fr Stan was unjustly incarcerated, all because he had become a headache. Fr Stan was a devoted Catholic, a Jesuit Priest, a social analyst who stood by what he proclaimed, and whose main aim was to fight for justice and peace. He sat with tribals for hours. He had harmonized two factors- Love and Justice. He worked diligently for justice and charity. Fr Stan was a Blend of both justice and love and without love, Justice is violence and without justice, love is sentimental”.

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