Thursday, October 02, 2014


-Fr. Cedric Prakash sj*

Dear Sisters, Brothers,

It is good to be here today and to celebrate the inaugural Eucharist of your Dominican Family Convention on the theme ‘Consecrated Life from the perspective of the Dominican spirituality’. With so many of you from different parts of India present here, it surely is a proud moment for the entire Dominican family and also for those of us who live in Gujarat and feel very privileged to welcome you.

The Eucharist I believe, is the most appropriate way by which you can begin your Convention. The breaking of the word and the breaking of the bread is a fitting dynamic I believe, for deeper reflection and introspection and for deeper commitment in the world in which we live.

I am not sure whether any Jesuit can claim any expertise on Dominican spirituality. But one thing is clear that for centuries the Dominicans have been instrumental in spreading the Rosary and emphasizing the Catholic belief in the power of the Rosary which led Pope Pius XI to state that “the Rosary of Mary is the principle and foundation on which the very order of St. Dominic rest for making perfect the lives of its members and obtaining the salvation of others.” It is fitting therefore your Convention begins just as the Universal Church begins the month of the holy Rosary.

And what better day can there be then October 2nd, the day on which we in India celebrate the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi and of course in doing so, also his twin doctrine of ‘Satyagraha’ and ‘Ahimsa’. As a fitting tribute to Mahatma Gandhi, the United Nations observes today as ‘the International Day of Non-Violence.’ An invitation to each one of us to be the Lord’s instrument of peace in a world which is fragmented because of conflicts and violence!

Above all, we are gathered around this Eucharistic table when the Church celebrates the feast of our Guardian Angels. In the first reading from the book of Exodus, we heard those soothing words “I send an angel before you to guard you on the way and to bring you to the place which I have prepared. Give heed to him and listen to his voice” and in the Gospel of St. Mathew, Jesus categorically states that “unless you become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of Heaven; whoever humbles himself like this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of Heaven.”

It is also symbolic that in a couple of days from now, several Bishops and others gather in Rome will begin the extraordinary Synod on the ‘Family’ and finally in keeping with your deliberations, on the first Sunday of Advent, the Church will launch the ‘Year of Consecrated Life’ with the theme “WAKE UP THE WORLD.

So in more ways than one, this family Convention of yours given the multi-dimensional framework will provide you with new challenges. Hopefully, you will have a roadmap and be able to cultivate both the attitude and the commitment to walk the talk necessary for a consecrated life and from the perspective of your Dominican spirituality.

In keeping with the manifold grandeur of today, I suggest that you use the symbol of the SHIP for your proceedings ahead. The SHIP could be your representation of Noah’s ark by which Yahweh God protects and preserves his people. The SHIP could also be that little boat rocked by the storm in which Jesus insists that his disciples have faith and remain fearless. The SHIP is also an acronym for Spirituality, Humility, Inclusiveness and Peace representing each dimension of today - your Convention, the Gospel on the children (on today’s feast), the Synod on the family and ultimately the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.

The SHIP above all is a call to each one of you consecrated people to venture on the ocean of life challenged by the words of Pope Francis when he says: “Today’s religious men and women need to be prophetic, “capable of waking up the world,” of showing they are a special breed who “have something to say” to the world today. The church must be attractive. Wake up the world! Be witnesses of a different way of doing things, acting, living! (Show) It’s possible to live differently in this world.”

Yes, the time to wake up is now! May this Dominican Family Convention truly be a time of deep renewal, fraternal joy and enhanced commitment for each one of you!

May the Guardian Angels continue to protect you, accompany you and bring you to the place which the Lord has prepared for you!  May St. Dominic continue to intercede for each one of you! AMEN.

(This is the homily delivered at the inaugural Mass of the Dominican Family Convention held at the Shrine of the Mother of Forsaken, Vadodara, Gujarat on October 2nd, 2014)

(* Fr. Cedric Prakash SJ is the Director of PRASHANT, the Ahmedabad-based Jesuit Centre for Human Rights, Justice and Peace)

Address: PRASHANT, Hill Nagar, Near Saffron Hotel, Drive-in Road, Ahmedabad-380052
Phone: (079) 27455913, 66522333 Fax: (079) 27489018  Cell: 9824034536
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