Friday, October 01, 2004

Fr. Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, S.J.

Message from Fr. Peter-Hans Kolvenbach S.J., Superior General of the Society of Jesus, for the 4th National Congress held in Jamshedpur on October 29-31, 2004.

Dear Jesuit alumni and alumnae gathered here in Jamshedpur from all over India to participate in the Fourth National Congress: I greet you and I offer my best wishes, support and prayers for a successful outcome of your meeting.

Since this National Congress comes so soon after the World Congress in Kolkata, my mind goes back quite naturally to that remarkable event. For four days Jesuit alumni and alumnae from 25 countries centered their thoughts and creative energies on the theme of human dignity. I am sure that many of you were there. I had the privilege of addressing the delegates, and I remember urging them to initiate practical projects which would bring about dialogue, tolerance, harmony and peace in a world where human dignity is frequently not respected. I recalled the challenge which Father Arrupe offered Jesuit alumni and alumnae in 1973, when he urged them to live more simply, to draw no profit from unjust sources and to stand in solidarity with the poor. I myself made a special plea to act on behalf of refugees, the marginated and the oppressed.

It seems to me that this Congress provides you with a graced moment to reflect on the progress that has been made since the Kolkata Congress in programs and activities that enhance human dignity. How have you moved forward as individuals, as local federations and as a national federation? What has been done, and what remains to be done?

When I saw the theme of this Congress, “Networking Makes the Difference,” I thought immediately of Saint Ignatius. Ignatius placed great emphasis on communication. He wanted his companions to “make a difference,” to help souls, to give God greater glory. He knew that communication was indispensable for the bond of unity that would keep his companions together and help them achieve their goals. He urged them to engage one another in substantive conversation. Since they were often separated by great distances, he insisted on frequent correspondence, and certainly he himself was an avid letter writer.

As Jesuit alumni and alumnae, you too desire to do great things for God. You know how important it is to stay in contact with men and women who share your values and ideals. You know the need for mutual inspiration and encouragement. You know the value of networking. Fortunately, you have at your disposal a rich variety of communications media. All of them can help you make a difference as you take up the challenge of working together for the dignity of all men, women and children on the face of the earth.

Please know that I am with you in prayer during these days. I wish you good companionship, lively conversations and a fruitful exchange of ideas. May God abundantly bless you and your families.

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