Message of ‘Reconciliation & Justice’ by Jesuits Superior General Fr Arturo Sosa to Aloysians
Message of ‘Reconciliation & Justice’ was delivered during a speech by Jesuits Superior General Fr Arturo Sosa to Aloysians during a programme arranged on his visit to St Aloysius Institutions-Mangaluru at Loyola Hall, SAC-Mangaluru on Thursday, 1 March 2018.
Mangaluru: He Came, He Saw, He Conquered the hearts of hundreds of Alumni of St Aloysius Institutions, the present staff and students od SAC, the Jesuit Fathers of SAC, who had all gathered to welcome him on his First visit to the “Rome of the East”- the hearty and thunderous welcome to Fr Arturo Marcelino Sosa Abascal SJ, the thirty-first and present Superior General of the Society of Jesus, the largest male religious institute in the Roman Catholic Church, was marked by school band in attendance, guard of honor from the NCC cadets, Pili Vesha Dance, Local Traditional Dance, Classical dance-and of course, he was traditionally welcomed with Indian Culture by the ladies in colorful saree attire.
The Superior General was escorted to the hall by the School Band, and while he entered the hall he received a thunderous applaud from the packed audience at the Loyola Hall. Fr Arturo was also accompanied by Fr Victor Assouad Sj (Syria) Fr Lisbert D’souza Sj (Mumbai); Fr Vernon D’Cunha Sj (Mumbai)- all three Regional Assistants for South Asia; Fr Stanislaus D’Souza Sj-Provincial of Society of Jesus Congregation-Karnataka; and Fr Dionysius Vaz Sj- Rector of St Aloysius Institutions-Mangaluru. The programme began with invoking God’s blessings through a prayer song sung by the College Choir, followed by a welcome dance, and also a medley of dances comprising of Pili Vesha (Tiger Dance), Classical Dance, Yakshagana dance- which brought miles of smiles on the face of Fr Arturo- who probably was thinking “Wish I had this kind of traditional dances in Rome too?”
Fr Dionysius Vaz Sj in his welcome address while introducing the dignitaries on the dais, also mentioned about the yeomen work done by the Jesuits in the field of education and other social work. He said, “St Aloysius Institutions having a history of 138 years, and with the Motto “Lucet et Ardet”, which in Latin means for Shine to Enkindle, which refers to the qualities of the mind and the heart- and it is the deep desire of this Alma Mater to present to the world and to our nation person’s with minds bright with knowledge and creativity and hearts burning with genuine love and concern for others. Our Vision is to Empower youth through excellence in education to shape a better future for humankind; and Our Mission is to spread the light of knowledge and wisdom, to kindle the ardour of faith that does justice, form men and women for others who are: academically accomplished, emotionally balanced, morally upright, socially responsible, ecologically sensitive, professionally dedicated for the transformation of the society. We are overjoyed to have Fr Arturo, our Superior General amidst us”.
Fr Arturo Sosa Sj was felicitated during the occasion with a bouquet of flowers, shawl and memento- and he was overwhelmed with the kind gesture shown by the local Jesuits and the staff during the occasion, and he was beaming with pride and joy while being felicitated. Addressing the gathering Fr Arturo Sj said, ” I am extremely happy to be here for the first time, and the hospitality that I received is magnanimous. In recent years, our International meetings of Jesuits from all over the world, which we call a General Congregation and which is the highest legislative body of society, has expressed this as a mission of reconciliation:
“Reconciliation with the world that we live in (what Pope Francis called the Earth our Home); Reconciliation with Others; Reconciliation with God; Reconciliation on Environment; As Mahatma Gandhi so wisely said, there is enough for each one’s need, but not for each one’s greed-so before we reach a point of no return, before the environmental degradation becomes irreversible, we must act to protect and save nature. Our teachers should also play a vital role in educating their children the need for the clean and green environment. Alumni of this institutions should also carry into the world this concern for the environment so that our education has achieved something noble” added Fr Arturo Sj.
He further said, “The desire to live in peace and with dignity is deeply rooted in human hearts. Yet, it is a dream that never comes to fruition. We need to teach our children that diversity and difference is a richness, not something to be feared. We need to look into our own hearts and uncover the roots of division, violence, hatred that lie within us. As Jesus teaches us, only when we have first removed the log from our own eye shall we see clearly to remove the speck from our neighbour’s eye? And for you, dear Alumni and alumnae, I am sure that the experience you had of establishing bonds of friendship that transcends all and every difference is among the memories you treasure of your days in school and college”.
“Remember Reconciliation with God is the key to reconciliation with nature and with fellow human beings. In a world where religion is misused and manipulated for selfish interests, it is important that we look at religion not primarily as doctrine but as an experience of the divine which infuses all our thinking and actions. Our teachers have the privilege of assisting our children to experience this loving God and to inculcate deep respect for the religious beliefs of the others. I take this opportunity to thank you all that you do for us and with us in the mission that is not only OURS but also YOURS and OURS TOGETHER. I count on your support and service that we can collaborate and work together to make this world more just, more HUMANE and more RECONCILED. Thank You, and may God bless you. Long live St Aloysius” concluded Fr Arturo Sosa Sj.
Also speaking during the occasion Archibald Menezes, the President of SAACA said, ” Members of SAACA being the alumnus of this prestigious institution have immensely benefited by the values and beliefs instilled in all of us. As we have come out of this institution to face the real challenges of this world, these values particularly of honesty, kindness, hard work and commitment and to do more and better, have immensely helped us to succeed in li8fe. We have a saying, “Once an Aloysian is always an Aloysian”- and we are proud to say that wherever we are. We are planning to expand our association, and develop further contacts with the Alumni. We know that though it is not impossible it would be challenging task but Rev Father (Fr Arturu SJ) we know that with your prayers and blessings these challenges will move out of the way. We SAACA members welcome you to the “Rome of the East” (Mangaluru)-we feel honoured to have you here, and hope you have a pleasant stay here”.
All the three Regional Assistants on the dais were also felicitated on the occasion. The vote of thanks was delivered by Dr Roweena Wright, a Professor at St Aloysius-AIMIT, Beeri, while the citation for felicitations was read by Ms Reena Monteiro- Dept of English, St Aloysius PUC. The entire programme was professionally compered by Ms Precilla D’silva- Dept of Zoology, St Aloysius College (Autonomous). Fr Praveen Martis Sj-Principal of St Aloysius College, Fr Melwin Mendonca -Principal, St Aloysius PUC; and Fr Melwyn Pinto -Asst Principal, SAC where also thanked for arranging this programme in a glamorous way. Long live the Jesuits! Long Live the Society of Jesus Congregation!
About Fr Arturo Arturo Marcelino Sosa Abascal SJ:
Arturo Marcelino Sosa Abascal was born in Caracas, Venezuela, on 12 November 1948. He entered the Society of Jesus in 1966 and was ordained to the priesthood on 30 July 1977. He earned a licentiate in philosophy from the Universidad Católica Andrés Bello (1972) and a doctorate in political science from the Universidad Central de Venezuela. Arturo Sosa had a long career in teaching and research and has held a number of positions in the university environment. He was a professor and member of the Foundation Council of the Andrés Bello Catholic University and for 10 years the rector of the Catholic University of Tachira, both Jesuit universities. He did most of his research and teaching in the area of political science, in a number of centres and institutions. He published a number of works, mainly about the history and politics of Venezuela.
Between 1996 and 2004, Sosa was Provincial Superior of the Jesuits in Venezuela. Before that, he was the coordinator of the social apostolate in that country and director of Centro Gumilla in Venezuela, a Jesuit centre of research and social action. In 2004, he lectured at the Georgetown University Center for Latin American Studies, Washington, DC, and was the professor of Venezuelan political thinking at the Catholic University of Táchira.
During the 35th General Congregation in 2008, he was chosen Counselor General by Father General Adolfo Nicolás. In 2014, he joined the Curia of the Society of Jesus in Rome as Delegate for the Curia for the Inter-provincial Houses and Works of the Society of Jesus in Rome. These institutions are directly under the Superior General of the Jesuits. Among them are the Pontifical Gregorian University, the Pontifical Biblical Institute, the Pontifical Oriental Institute, and the Vatican Observatory, as well as a number of international colleges and residences. Sosa speaks Spanish, Italian, English, and understands French.
The thirty-sixth General Congregation of the Society of Jesus elected Sosa as the Order’s thirty-first Superior General on 14 October 2016 to succeed Adolfo Nicolás. He became the first Latin American to head the Jesuits. As is the custom, Pope Francis was notified of his election before it was announced to the public.