The Beatitudes are full of meaning affecting different aspects of life. Fr. Paul attempted to live them courageously.
Fr. Paul Vaz came from a very religious, God-fearing family in a simple South Mumbai neighbourhood.
The Jesuits of St Xavier’s High School, his Alma Mater, influenced his life. He finally joined them.
During his formation studies, he along with a band of like-minded Jesuits pursued their studies, living in a nearby chawl, like the simple people around them. About the same time, he responded to the drought situation in Maharashtra, putting together Project PUSH – an outreach of the Pune seminarians to provide much needed relief. He was given a responsible role of Rector at the St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai. The need for a Management Institute in the St. Xavier’s College Campus was felt and implemented.
In the educational field, he initiated the LEELA Programme: Loyola Empowering Educational Leaders Academy – empowering lay teachers through Ignatian Pedagogy. At some time, he was appointed National Ecclesiastical Advisor of the CLC movement.
So it seemed only natural that Paul would get elected the Provincial of the Bombay Jesuit Province, with his meticulous and dynamic planning.
The understanding of the following beatitude, “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness….” further inspired him to take up daring programmes. As Superior of Seva Niketan, he threw open its doors to a wide range of creative initiatives for the least, the last, the lonely. Along with a band of faithful and fearless parishioners, he reached out to victims of the Mumbai Riots.
Thanks to electronic media, over the years, he ventured to preach 99 innovative ‘Earth-Centred’ retreats!
Paul succeeded because he followed and lived the way of the Beatitudes – courageously, even in his protracted illness! Rise in Glory, Paul.
Lawrie Ferrao, SJ