The annual meeting of the Vocation Promoters and the Pre-Novitiate Directors of the Jesuit Conference of South Asia was held at Matigara. Thirty-eight Jesuit Vocation Promoters and Pre-Novitiate Directors took an active part in the four-day meeting (24th to 27th November, 2022) generously hosted and meticulously organized by the Darjeeling Jesuit Province.
The meeting began with draping of the participants in khada by the Pre-Novices of Premanjali (Matigara). Fr. John Wilfred Lobo, the Provincial of Darjeeling in the keynote address briefed the audience with the history of Darjeeling Province, the current scenario of vocations, dearth of leadership and some tips to promote and nurture vocations. He affirmed that vocation promotion ought not be understood as recruiting young people to maintain institutions, but to facilitate an inner journey.
The second day on intellectual formation in the Pre-Novitiate saw inputs by Fr. Vijay Alwyn D’Souza (KHM). He introduced “little ways and means” to cultivate an intellectual curiosity in our men in formation. A concrete outcome of the input sessions was formation of a committee to generate material on intellectual formation for our Pre-Novitiates.
The third and the fourth days were spent on sharing and listening to the consolations, desolations and new initiatives taken in promoting vocations and in forming the young candidates in the Pre-Novitiate. The participants voiced some common concerns especially that they were aware of the challenges of formation. They suggested that short workshops or training programs could help address those challenges.
The group was privileged to visit nearby Jesuit institutions such as Jesu Ashram, Gayaganga, Rajganj and Hatighisa and relish the warm hospitality of the Jesuits in the dinner and tea. Fr. John Kennedy, the chief organizer of the meeting, Fr. Kalyan Tirkey and Fr. Poulose went out of their way to make the participants feel at home.
All credit of the well-attended meeting goes to Fr. Arjen Tete, the CSF who has been constantly updating and reminding the Vocation Promoters and Pre-Novitiate Directors about the meeting and apprising them about matters related to formation. His presence and guidance during the meeting were well appreciated.
Harry Martis, SJ