The Ignatian Year (2022-23) brought forth many an initiative across the South Asian Assistancy. One of
them was FOJET, (the Former Jesuits in Tamil Nadu). The concept invites the Former Jesuits to come together for a collective reflection and action and thus to continue to establish a collaborative link with the Jesuits. This venture also provides an opportunity for them to ‘keep going, keep growing’ with the Ignatian Spirituality they had imbibed earlier during their years of Jesuit formation.
GC 34 in its Decree 13 (no.21) titled, ‘Cooperation with the Laity,’ recommends that Jesuits work more
decisively to strengthen the bonds among all those who find a common spirituality and apostolic motivation in the experience of the Spiritual Exercises. It proceeds to refer specifically to ’Former Jesuits’. Responding to this call, the Province of Chennai took efforts to contact the Former Jesuits.
The first gathering that attracted only 20 took place on 02 April 2022, organized at Dhyana Ashram, Chennai, by IGY- 500, headed by Fr Jerry Rosario. It was followed by the Province of Madurai that organized its gathering with 35 on 08 May 2022, thanks to the coordination of Fr Vincent Sekhar, at St Joseph’s College, Tiruchy. Both the gatherings were attended by their respective Provincials, Frs Jebamalai Raja and Dennis Ponnaiah.
As a result there is now regular communication among the members, who have resolved to bring in more and more Former Jesuits into FOJET in order to strengthen a group that has an Ignatian bond and ready to offer Ignatian service to people, guided by the Ignatian MAGIS.
Fr Jerry Rosario organized on 26 March 2023 at Dhyana Ashram, Chennai, a weekend LSC (Lenten Spiritual Colloquium), based on the third week of the Spiritual Exercises. This was attended by 32 Former Jesuits. Another special feature was the presence of women, as some Former Jesuits came with their spouses.
Mr. Sarprasada Joe, Mr. Chandra Bose, Frs. Vincent Britto and Jerry shared some salient Ignatian reflections on Jesus’ paschal mystery that could help toward a meaningful family life today. Fr. Ilanko Xavier, Socius to CEN Provincial, explained how everyone could practice the Examination of Consciousness daily. Fr. Jebamalai, Provincial, CEN, talked about the current ministries of Chennai province and invited the FOJET to join the Jesuit apostolates in whatever way they could. The culminating session witnessed each Former Jesuit chalking out a roadmap, indicating what he plans to do this year as a fruit of this LSC. This was followed by a Eucharistic celebration, presided over by Fr Justin Prabhu, during which Fr. Jerry summed up of the whole day.
Mr Sarparasada Joe & Jerry Rosario, SJ