The inauguration of the academic year 2017 – 2018 was punctuated with a number of meaningful activities that set the tone for the year to come. It began with the Mass of the Holy Spirit, presided over by the patron of Vidyajyoti College of Theology, Archbishop Anil Couto. His Lordship dwelt on the theme of the inauguration “Doing theology with open eyes”. He added the important dimension of doing theology on ones knees, a reference to the role of faith in the endeavour of doing theology.
The second part of the day’s proceedings was a thanksgiving programme to honour the outgoing Principal, Fr. Leonard Fernando SJ. Sr. Divya, a student, Fr. Anthony Valan SJ, Professor of Scripture, Fr. Michael Thanaraj SJ, Rector of Vidyajyoti and Fr. P.R. John SJ, Principal of Vidyajyoti expressed sentiments of gratitude for his many years of selfless service to the cause of the Church and society.
Following this, Fr. Michael Thanaraj SJ, Rector, exhorted the staff and students to give themselves fully to the various dimensions in the study of theology. He particularly stressed the intellectual and human expects of this formation. Fr. P.R. John SJ, Principal, then shared his vision for the college for the coming year. He highlighted the pillars of what it means to do theology. He emphasised the sacred nature of doing theology as well as the conative nature of the study of theology. Our faith and reflection must lead us to action for those who we make a preferential option to serve. Fr. J. Rajkumar SJ, Director of DEPTh (Distance Education Programme in Theology) awarded the certificates for Diploma students.
The evening session was an enlightening lecture by Prof. Dr. Shiv Visvanathan, a social scientist of high repute. He was invited to share his thoughts on the implications and challenges of the rise of a Hindu rashtra. He minced no words as he reflected on the gravity of the current situation. His challenge was to both social scientists and theologians, to create the categories through which the culture of extreme and narrow nationalism can be engaged with. He stressed the need to steer clear of polemics and trading blows. Dialogue and an intellectual engagement among those in civil society could be a starting point. The session was introduced and moderated by Fr. Rudolf Heredia SJ who threw light on the pressing need to engage in an alternative narrative and discourse rather than a mere counter narrative in our task of social analysis and theologizing.
The proceedings of the day provided the dynamic within which the staff and students of Vidyajyoti can venture forth in the endeavour of doing theology with open eyes.
(Sch. Dean Fernandes SJ)