Thursday, September 30, 2004

Fr. Hector D’Souza, S.J.

Message from Fr. Hector D’Souza, S.J., Provincial of South Asia and Patron of JAAI , for the 4th National Congress held in Jamshedpur on October 29-31, 2004.

Dear Jesuit Alumni/ae,

As Provincial of South Asia, I am delighted to be associated with FOJAAI. On the occasion of the IV National Alumni/ae Congress at Jamshedpur, I warmly greet all of you and wish you the very best during this national meet. At the outset, I want to apologise for not being able to be present for your national meeting. Having taken over the Jesuit South Asian Assistancy fairly recently, my schedule deprives me of the joy of meeting all of you and sharing in your happiness. However, you may rest assured that I shall follow very keenly the deliberations of your meeting.

The theme that you have chosen for this National Congress is very timely. Networking is the need of the hour and will make the difference in all our undertakings. You hail from all parts of the country and from various linguistic, cultural, social and religious backgrounds. You could all very conveniently go your own separate ways. But what binds all of you together is the fact that you have been educated in a Jesuit institution. This may be a matter of pride but it is also a call to service. Your motto tells it best: TO GIVE AND NOT TO COUNT THE COST. You can make a difference only if you keep this in mind. We have any number of educational institutions in the country. The national congress is an occasion for each of you to ask yourselves how you can network for the common good of our country. Many problems besiege our motherland. Will you be satisfied only with advancing your own careers, good and important as this may be? Or will you think of coming together to make a difference to our nation. In recent years, many national calamities have hit the country: the Orissa cyclone, the Gujarat earthquake, to name just two of them. Your nascent organization may not have been able to play a very great role in alleviating the sufferings of people in these states. In the future I am very certain that you will rise to the occasion and take up the challenge that such calamities raise. There are other issues as well that concern all of us in the country: environmental matters, corruption, communalism, etc. One could easily close one’s eyes to all of them. On the occasion of your meeting, I would urge you to specify one or two challenges that you would like to take up as a national body and work out concrete strategies to overcome these hurdles.

As you come together for this National Congress, I assure you of my prayers, support and keen interest in this event and in all other matters that engage your interest. My best wishes go with all of you for a fruitful and successful meeting.

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