“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor.” Lk: 4:18
‘A fire that kindles other fires’ is the key theme of 35th General Congregation of the Society of Jesus. Inspired by the words of St. Ignatius of Loyola ‘Go, set the world on fire’, from the beginning, Jesuits went to the ends of the world to set the world with the Fire of Christ’s eternal love. No matter, whatever be the hurdles, Jesuits kept the fire burning. We need the torch bearers to pass on this Fire of Love; the torch bearers who are really gripped by the love of the Lord. Andhra Jesuit Province welcomes men who have that burning zeal to be that Torch Bearers.
Andhra Jesuit Province is working tirelessly in finding and recruiting the potential candidates to work in the Vineyard of the Lord. This great mission though existed from the beginning, accelerated when Fr. S. Antony took charge. Later it was meticulously carried on by Fr. A. Stephen, Fr. M. Sundar, Fr. N. Showry Kishore and at present by Fr.Vidya Sagar.
Fr. Vidya Sagar goes around different Catholic Parishes, Schools and Hostels addressing the Catholic boys explaining to them the need for choosing our way of life abiding by the will of God. He kindles the fire in the young hearts to join the Society. Lots of efforts have been made by the Vocation Promoter to bring the candidates to Andhra Jesuit Province from different cultural and ethnic backgrounds. Celebrating Eucharist in these places creates vocation culture as he preaches about the call of our Lord and our response to the same. He also inspires the catholic families talking about the need to promote vocations and to bring up the children in catholic faith and certain basic Christian morals and values.
The innovative activities such as calendar preparation, website updating, Whatsapp, Preparing Brochures, meeting Vincent de Paul volunteers and catechists of different parishes help the process of vocation promotion. The vocation promoter has planned to intensify the selection process of the candidates to ensure good quality in vocations such as, visiting the families to know their family background, health profile, academic performance, spiritual orientation of the candidates and interviews by a few experienced Jesuits.
Twice in a year formation commission meeting takes place. In those meetings, we share our work experiences, strategies that are followed, struggles and suggestions. Once in a year Indian Jesuit Assistancy level meeting takes place for vocation promoters and Pre-Novitiate directors together. These meetings enable each one of us to know the present trends and mind set of youngsters and ways and means to motivate them to join the Society of Jesus.
The vocation camps are conducted 2 or 3 times in a year in the months of April and May. The camps take place for 3 full days. During those camps the candidates are introduced to the origin and history of Society of Jesus. The life stories of St. Ignatius of Loyola, St. Francis Xavier and other remarkable Jesuit missionaries ignite the fire in the hearts of the young candidates who desired to join. The in-put sessions through pictorials, power point presentations, short movies, short dramas, talks by Jesuit fathers, brothers and novices of Andhra province, diocesan clergy and experienced nuns enable the understanding of the candidates and create zeal in them to offer themselves for the service of the Lord. They are also taken to the different Jesuit Institutions and nearby mission places. On the last day an exam is conducted to check the candidates’ knowledge in English language, Catechism of the Catholic Church and general knowledge. Most of the students return home with satisfied and fire filled hearts.
Our vocation is a grace from God and a call to love others. The priesthood and brotherhood is not a career, it is a way of being. It is a life of sacrifice and service because it is the life of our Lord. No man deserves to be a priest. Like every grace, this vocation can only be accepted as an unmerited gift from God. There is no certain type of man who is called to be a priest. In fact, God calls men with different backgrounds, personalities, temperaments and gifts to be priests. What they all share in common is the one priesthood of Jesus Christ, serving all people with the heart of Jesus. Just as Jesus turned ordinary fisher men into His apostles, in the same way he turns us who are weak and fragile into strong and able workers in His vineyard. All that we need is desire to be with Him and a fire in heart to serve Him. If you have that ‘desire and fire’ Andhra Jesuit Province welcomes you!!!
Fr. P.Vidya Sagar