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Susai Awards 2020
September 22, 2020

Susai awards were distributed on September 20 to six toppers in Class X and Class XII respectively at St. Michael’s High School, Sengudi. Mr. James David, Sr. Soumya and Mrs Jothi were present at the simple ceremony organised by the Sisters of the school.

The awardees were: 1. E. Selva, 2 S. Pavithra and 3. J. Jagan in Class XII.

In Class X, the awardees were: 1. S. Manimaran, 2. S. Monica and 3. M. Nithiswara Raghavan.

Fr. Felix Raj and Snegam Society congratulate all the toppers.

Istanbul turns Church to Mosque
September 17, 2020

Istanbul, a religious trap: Christians need to offer a religious response that Turkey's president may not want to hear

Isabelle de Gaulmyn, France

The trap is obvious, let's try not to fall into it.This summer Turkish President RecepTayyip Erdogan carried out two religious provocations.

He affirmed his right to transform two architectural jewels of Istanbul -- Hagia Sophia and Holy Saviour-in-Chorainto -- into mosques "in the name of Islam".

Should we denounce this as a form of "cultural jihadism", to reproach Turkey's strongman for his aggression against the Christian world, or even for invoking the good old "clash of civilizations"?

Race for the religious trophy.

It is no doubt exactly what the present ruler of Turkey is looking for -- to engage in a very vain race for the religious trophy. One must be indignant, of course, at the brutality of the method.UNESCO, which just spent millions of euros to marvelously restore Holy Saviour, has the right to demand accountability.

But above all, let us not place ourselves on the level of religious identity.To assert, as some people do, that the two monuments have always been Christian churches, and as such cannot be transformed for another faith, is quite an historical absurdity. The same goes to those who claim the sacredness of the two buildings for Islam...Everyone knows that many early Christian monuments were built on pagan sites.

Hagia Sophia as well as Holy Saviourwere mosques for several centuries. To be drawn into the field of heritage claims, there is a good chance that we will find as many arguments on one side as on the other.DangerousnationalismShould we say nothing and just shrug our shoulders, without reacting to these provocations?

No. On the contrary, one can only be astonished at the lack of reaction from the international community to these attacks by the President of Turkey.But it is important to thwart the trap set by a regime where religion is placed under the close control of political power.Erdogan has no more religious motivation for Hagia Sophia than when he claims hydrocarbon reserves against Cyprus and Athens. His claims are purely political and dangerously nationalistic.This allows him to strengthen his declining popularity.

Above all, it allows him to asphyxiate the country's courageous democratic opposition, which gained control of Istanbul's city hall last year, by brutally depriving it of tourist resources.The calculation is quickly done: 4 million visitors per year, each paying an entrance fee of €20, for a monument that was previously managed by the municipality and which now falls into the hands of the Directorate of Religious Affairs...

Beauty, another name for God

Is there no room here for a religious response?Yes, but perhaps it is one Erdogan does not want to hear.It's the one that claims that the dialogue between religions will not break down over provocations of identity and politics.One that affirms that beauty, which we admire in Hagia Sophia and in Holy Saviour, is another name that believers give to God, whether they are Muslims or Christians -- a beauty on which they can come together and not be torn apart.

Like Pope Benedict XVI, who was slightly suspected of weakness in the face of Islam, and who, in 2006, in the same city of Istanbul, silently meditated for a moment in the marvelous Blue Mosque, before simply explaining that he had "turned to the one God, the merciful father of all humankind" to ask that "all his creatures be able to recognize themselves in him, and give witness to true brotherhood".

We would like the believers who now go to Friday prayers at Hagia Sophia to make this same request.

Isabelle de Gaulmyn is a senior editor at La Croix and a former Vatican correspondent.

First Year Induction Programmes
September 09, 2020

1. September 10, 2020: Online Induction Programme for PG Students (Batch 2020 - 2021) from 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

2. September 12, 2020: Online Faculty Orientation Programme for Foundation Course from 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

3. September 15, 2020: Online Induction Programme for UG Students (Batch 2020 - 2021) from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

4. September 18, 2020: Online Induction Programme for XLS Students (Batch 2020 - 2021) from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

5. October 3, 2020: Online Induction Programme for Ph.D. Scholars (Batch 2020 - 2021) from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

SXUK 2025 - Campus Plan
September 09, 2020

1. Projects Completed:

  • Britto House (Jesuit Residence): G + 3
  • Lakshmi and Usha Mittal Foundation Building (Academic Block): G + 5
  • Arrupe Building (Library Block): G + 4
  • Mother Teresa Niketan (Girls’ Hostel): G + 9
  • Tagore Niketan (Boys’ Hostel): G + 9
  • Loyola Block (Food Court): G + 4
  • Administrative Building (in progress): G + 4

2. Project to be completed by 2025:

  • An Auditorium with a capacity of 2000 seats
  • MDP Block (G + 10)
  • Faculty Quarters (G + 9)
  • Staff Quarters (G + 9)
  • One more Block for Girls (G + 10)
  • One more Block for Boys (G + 10)
  • Additional four floors in the existing Academic Block
  • One more Academic Block (G + 9)

Pranab Mukherjee Passes away
September 01, 2020

We express deep sadness over the death of former President Pranab Mukherjee on Monday August 31. Mukherjee passed away after he developed a lung infection at New Delhi’s Army’s Research and Referral hospital

He had also tested Covid-19 positive. His death “leaves a deep void in Indian politics.

We will miss him very much for his political statesmanship, moral integrity and for his fine oratorical skills.”

Mukherjee had visited SXC Kolkata thrice. I had the opportunity to meet him more than once at Raj Bhawan, Kolkata.A very fine gentleman.

“We mourn his loss and express our gratitude for all the support and encouragement he gave the Christian community and its activities. May the Almighty grant him eternal rest and comfort all his family members and those to whom he was dear.”

Mukherjee who was 84 at the time of his death served as the 13th President of India from 2012 to 2017.

He was awarded the Bharat Ratna (the Jewel of India), the country’s highest civilian honor in 2019 by his successor President Ram Nath Kovind.

In 2017, Mukherjee decided not to run for re-election and to retire from politics due to “health complications relating to old age.”

Birthday at the LOTD
September 01, 2020

The Lord of the Drinks (LOTD) Restaurant at South City Mall organized a celebration for my birthday on August 30th noon. Mr & Mrs Bajorias were there with all the Fathers. The LOTD is an amazing place with a beautiful ambience and delicious food. Try it out. You won't regret it. The place is regularly sanitised to make it V-free.

Pope’s Prayer
September 01, 2020

Pope’s prayer intention: Respect for the planet’s resources respect for the planet’s resources: that we “take care of Creation responsibly”. Pope Francis releases a video message accompanying his prayer intention. He asks everyone to pray that we learn to respect the planet’s resources

The full text of the prayer intention is below:

We are squeezing out the planet’s goods, squeezing them out, as if the earth were an orange.

Countries and businesses from the global north have enriched themselves by exploiting the natural resources of the south, creating an “ecological debt.” Who is going to pay this debt?

In addition, this “ecological debt” is increased when multinationals do abroad what they would never be allowed to do in their own countries. It’s outrageous.

Today, not tomorrow; today, we have to take care of Creation responsibly.

Let us pray that the planet’s resources will not be plundered, but shared in a just and respectful manner.

No to plundering; yes to sharing.

Each year, the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation is observed on September 1. The international celebration marks the beginning of the Season of Creation, which extends to 4 October, the feast of St Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of ecology.

The Pope's Worldwide Prayer Network of the Apostleship of Prayer developed "The Pope Video" initiative to assist in the worldwide dissemination of monthly intentions of the Holy Father in relation to the challenges facing humanity.

Mother Teresa's Birth Anniversary
August 25, 2020

Mother Teresa’s Birth Day

Fr. J. Felix Raj, SJ

August 26 2020 is Mother’s 110th Birth Anniversary. I am fortunate and blessed to share my birthday with her and with Archbishop Thomas D’Souza of Kolkata. Mother’s favorite words have always inspired me: “The fruit of silence is prayer; the fruit of prayer is faith; the fruit of faith is love; the fruit of love is service and the fruit of service is peace.”

In August 1990, I planned an article on ‘Jesuit Influence on Mother Teresa’, and I dropped in to meet her not knowing that she was in Retreat. She did see me. While I apologized for disturbing her, she just smiled and said, “I will always have time for Jesuits.”

When she heard that I was from St. Xavier’s, she conversed with enthusiasm and advised me, “Being a priest is not enough, being a good priest is important…. The Jesuit vocation is very special. You are called to a great and cosmic spirituality. You are called to aim at nothing less than St. Francis Xavier….” Mother was a woman who spoke with authority and gentle yet firm conviction

It is said, ‘every beginning has an end and every end has a new beginning’. Mother is not dead; such a life cannot have a conclusion. She bridged the gap between life and death like Jesus Christ and her legacy continues to live in the hearts of her sisters and followers like me.

Mother Teresa had habitually preferred Jesuits as Retreat Preachers, spiritual directors and confessors for herself and her Sisters. Many Jesuits of Calcutta Province, including Cardinal Trevor L. Picachy and Fr. Camille Bouche, were in close contact with her.

Fr. Celest Van Exem was the earliest main adviser and supporter to Mother Teresa and for the foundations of the Missionaries of Charity, since her days as Loreto Sister. He was the spiritual director to whom Mother Teresa confided her inspiration and who first sought to discern the authenticity of her experiences. He was the first to support Mother in requesting Archbishop Perier to begin the process for her to leave the Loreto Congregation. He made major contributions to the writing of the Constitutions of the Missionaries of Charity.

A less known fact in her life is that as the Missionaries of Charity flourished and gradually gained the attention of the world at large, Teresa progressed from confessor to confessor the way some patients move through their psychoanalysts. Fr. Van Exem gave way to Archbishop Périer, who gave way in 1959 to Cardinal Lawrence Picachy, who was succeeded by the Fr. Joseph Neuner in 1961.

By the 1980s the chain included figures such as Bishop William Curlin of Charlotte, N.C. For these confessors, she developed a kind of shorthand of pain, referring almost casually to "my darkness" or spiritual dryness and to God as "the Absent One." There was one respite. In October1958, she rejoiced, because "the long darkness or absence of God…… That strange suffering of 10 years." disappeared. She was confirmed that God ordained her Society, the Missionaries of Charity.

The author is Vice-Chancellor of St. Xavier’s University, Kolkata

Webinar on NEP 2020
August 18, 2020
Happy 74th Independence Day.
August 15, 2020

Beautiful view of the water jet fountain with Indian colours- at Jet d'Eau Fountain Geneva Lake. Photo taken three years ago by Fr. Felix Raj.

Life during a Pandemic: What is the 'new normal?' - Webinar
August 13, 2020
Sunday Reflections
October 04, 2020

27th Sunday of the Year (A) – Oct. 4, 2020
Theme: Being accountable to God for all his gifts to us!
“The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.”
Is. 5:1-7; Phil 4: 6-9; Mt. 21:33-43

Francis Sunil Rosario

In life we measure the worth of any activity by its results or by its fruits. Similarly, we can evaluate our lives by looking at the fruits we produce. If God has blessed us with many gifts, talents and capabilities, what has been the output of our lives? Can we say that we have made the best use of all that we have received for ourselves and for others? Are we grateful for His bountiful gifts?

Today’s First Reading from Is. 5:1-7 – (The Lord’s vineyard) – This is Isaiah’s beautiful “song of the vineyard,”, written in the form of a ballad, a love song. Isaiah, calling God his friend, sees him in an affectionate relationship with his vineyard, the house of Israel, the chosen people, you and me. God has done whatever he could do. He cleared the vineyard of stones, made a wall around it, built a watchtower, and hewed out a winepress – and see what happened! Notice God’s painful disappointment when people do not live up to what he expects them to be. The vineyard was lovingly cared for but severely punished when it yielded only wild grapes.

Today’s story in the first reading and gospel is close to an allegory. It is a story about God and the human race, and uses a metaphor to describe that relationship. The Bible uses many metaphors to describe God’s relationship with His people. One of these metaphors was “covenant” – that God has a contract or covenant with His people – and “marriage” was another.

The Second Reading from Phil 4: 6-9 (Wholesome Thoughts) Paul has restlessly traveled and preached the Gospel. He loved those who had accepted the message. He cares for his children in the faith as all parents do for theirs. He is disappointed when the congregations he has founded do not live up to his expectations. Now from jail he writes: “Keep on doing what you …..heard and seen in me.” Do you remember your religious instructors of the past? Can they be proud of you? Paul outlines all the possibilities where God can speak to us through Jesus:

….. be wholly directed to all that is true, all that deserves respect, all that is honest, pure, admirable, decent, virtuous, or worthy of praise. Live according to what you have heard me say and seen me do.”

In the Gospel of Mt. 21: 33-43 In this parable, the vineyard is Israel. The tenant farmers are the Jewish religious leaders. The son is Jesus Christ, sent by the property owner (God) to get his share of the grapes. This son, God’s envoy, is thrown out of the vineyard (Jerusalem) and killed. The point is the presumption of the tenants. They want to act like owners of the vineyard though they are just stewards. Because the caretakers of the vineyard reject the owner’s emissaries and even kill his son, the tenants will be punished and the vineyard leased to others.

This parable marks the sharp dissension between the early Church and Judaism. Mathew’s point is evident. Since Israel rejects Jesus as the Messiah, the Kingdom of God will be handed over to the Gentiles. God’s word today may be: God’s grace is offered to everyone. Do not disappoint this gracious giver. Make certain that God will not have to reject you.

Jesus’ metaphor of the vineyard was obviously from the “song of the Vineyard” in Isaiah: “a divine love-song” in which God sees His people as His own vineyard, into which God has put great effort. Every Jew would have been familiar with stories of vineyards. From the Book of Genesis at the beginning of the Bible to the Book of Revelation at its end the symbol of the vineyard is mentioned over a hundred times. The vineyard was depicted in the golden vines decorating the entrance to the Temple. It was a sign of prosperity and a summary of future rewards for the faithful. The prophet Micah’s picture of happiness (4:4) was that “every man shall sit under his own vine.”

God gave the people of Israel his love and friendship and a beautiful vineyard to tend (Mt. 21: 33), but like the tenants of the parable, they rejected God’s friendship and betrayed his love. It hurt God so deeply that he complained: “What more could I do for my people than I have done?” (Is. 5:4). But God’s love is long and enduring, hence he sent his own Son hoping that they would respect and honour him. Nonetheless, they abused him and killed him. But God’s love was still unflagging. He chose to use the tragic death of his Son to give new life to his people. He chose to outdo the hatred of his people by a generous outpouring of his Holy Spirit on them. This means no matter how far we wander away from God, he gently seeks us out and brings us back to himself. This compassionate love of God towards us is to be an example of what we should do to one another.

Part of the story too are we, the new Israel, the Church, which is the reason the Gospels repeat this story. At least as surprising is that the Kingdom of God would be given over to the poor and the outcasts. The last is because of other qualities of God such as zaddiqah: His integrity, uprightness, justice, and steadfast loyalty.

We are those people, “crucifying again for themselves the son of God” (Heb 6:6), when we ignore those most special times of grace. We all recognize those decisive moments, those particular appeals, those turns of our conscience, those insights of new beginnings in our lives, those gracious opportunities of reconciliation with God or with our neighbor. Those are the occasions when God allows us to place our ears close to God’s heart and to listen in amazement as though to a divine soliloquy: “They will respect my child, Jesus.”

Jesus may come to us in an unexpected way, in the advice of a friend or family-member, in a sermon, in silence, in the reading of Scripture, “out of the mouth of babes and sucklings” (Ps 8:3). In the integral wholeness of our lives God speaks to us, so that we can properly attend to our vineyard and produce good grapes, not wild grapes.

Jesus the Cornerstone
Throughout history, many like Emperor Julian and Nero wanted to wipe out Christianity, but the Church proved to be stronger than any earthly power. For Jesus is the cornerstone of the Church. At the end of time, the ‘King of the Jews’ will come in power to judge all peoples. We have nothing to fear if Jesus is the cornerstone of our life, because we will feel at home with him and he with us. – When Queen Victoria reigned in England, she would occasionally visit some of the humble cottages of her subjects. Once she entered the home of a widow and stayed there to enjoy a brief conversation. Later on the lady was taunted by her neighbours. “Granny” they said, “Who is the most important guest you have entertained in your home?” They expected her to say it was Jesus, knowing her for her piety, but to their surprise she answered, “Her majesty the Queen!” “Did you say the Queen? Ah, we caught you this time! How about Jesus you’re always talking about? Isn’t he your honoured guest?” She answered, “No indeed!” He’s not guest. He Lives here!” Antony Kolenchery in ‘Living The Word’

The rejected stone or Cornerstone
South Africa is a country blessed by God in a great many ways. It is a large Country, has a good climate, and is rich in agricultural land and minerals, especially gold and diamonds, but the country, which should have been a haven for all the people of Southern Africa, became instead a haven for a privileged white minority. Many people tried to change South Africa’s iniquitous apartheid system. Finally Nelson Mandela appeared on the scene. He too tried to bring about reforms. But like the would-be reformers before him he was rejected. Worse, he was hounded by the government, and ended up spending twenty-seven years in prison. However, he not only survived prison, but also came out of it with the respect of his enemies and of the entire world. Furthermore, he came out without bitterness, in face, he came out smiling, and immediately sought reconciliation with the leaders of the cruel regime that kept him in prison all those years. But even greater things were to follow. The man once rejected became the president of a new multi-racial Africa. The stone which the builders rejected became the cornerstone of a new and better building.
Flor McCarthy in ‘New Sunday & Holy Day Liturgies’

Ordained to work with Jesuits
August 03, 2020

Ordained to work with Jesuits

By Tapati Chowdurie

Nothing in this world happens without the will of the Divine. It was therefore ordained that I would one day land up in the historical institution St. Xavier’s Collegiate School at 30, Park Street, built on the ashes of San Souci Theatre in 1860, which now stands tall as an institution of eminence in the world.

My first interaction with the Jesuits was with Rev.Fr. Andre Bruylants, Principal, St. Xavier’s Collegiate School, who appointed me to teach the boys. He was a visionary and a leading educationist—a gentleman turning out “men for others”. His persona awed me. Whenever I walked into the staff room early, I found him cleaning and dusting it, while also happily polishing clean the teachers’ washbasin. That I thought was the Jesuit spirit of simplicity.

He was instrumental in shaping boys to be CEOs; administrators; industrialists and what not; the reward, which he got in return, was happiness. The school did not lack helpers, but that did not deter him from practising the true spirit of sacrifice in a contented frame of mind. At teachers’meetings, he was one of us and not the stern head, doling out strict commands. Jesuit fathers are leaders and they do know when to pass an opinion and judgement in favour of the boys they handle.

I had a glimpse of this Jesuit spirit several times. One particular incident that comes to my mind is when Fr. Fohshow was presiding over a promotion meeting, where a particular boy had flunked in all the subjects and repeating class 11 was inevitable. Father astonished everyone. He lifted both his hands heavenward and said, “Then we promote him.” This was an eye-opener for me. Without mincing words, the vision of the Head Master allowed the boy to finish school rather than make him struggle, because only a miniscule number of boys fail to clear ISC.

Jesuits take the vow of poverty seriously. They are the wealthiest in their spirit and do not believe in gaining this world and losing the next. I have seen Fr. Fohshow stand before a cobbler to repair his worn out shoes in the corridors of the fathers’ quarters.

I owe Fr. Jerome and Fr. Felix Raj for standing by me and extending their help to me in my most difficult hour with smiling faces.Fr. Felix Raj, under whom I served as a teacher teaching English to the B.Com boys is no less a far-sighted educationist, who made a novice like me handling young men feel comfortable with my job. His help was invaluable.

On the Feast Day of Ignatius of Loyola,one of the most influential figures of the Roman Catholic counter-Reformation in the sixteenth century and the founding member of the Society of Jesus has oddly enough given me a reason to love my faith I was born into. Like Ignatius Loyola, I would want to appreciate the essence of what a religion truly means. The Jesuit spirit means a lot to me. I would have been a deprived person without this exposure of the Jesuits in modern times.

Tapati Chowdurie is former teacher of English at St. Xavier’s Collegiate School and College, Kolkata.

COVID 19 Effect: Latest Figures
July 17, 2020

COVID-19 Effect (As of July 17, 2020, 10.00 am)

Country Total Affected (%) Deaths (%)
World 1, 39, 47, 474 (100) 5, 92, 687 (100)
USA 36, 16, 747 (26.42) 1, 40, 140 (23.88)
India 10, 05, 637 (7.09) 25, 609 (4.25)


Of the globally affected cases, In India, the total number of COVID cases was 17, 306 (0.63 %) on April 25 and 2, 87, 155 (3.85%) on June 11. Now as of July 16, the figure is 9, 70, 169 (7.09%) of the total cases in the world. Of the deceased cases, the number was 721 (0.38%) on April 25 and 8, 107 (1.94%) on June 11 and now on July 16, it is 24, 929 (4.25%).

The global increase of affected cases from April 25 to July 16 has been 402 % and of the deaths 207 %. In India, the increase in number of affected cases from June 11 to July 16 has been very steep, from 2, 87, 155 to 9, and 9, 70,169, a 237.8% increase. The cases of deaths have creased from 8,107 to 24, 929, a 307 % jump.

The death rate in India is 2.57% in July.

Senior Citizens - Forgotten People?
July 17, 2020

The Elderly Population AmidCOVID-19 in India Forgotten People?

Sovik Mukherjee

The sudden outbreak of COVID-19 all-round the globe has created an unrest situation. India is no exception. People of all age groups have been affected both monetarily and psychologically,but for the elderly the agony has been manifold. Besides the psychological pressure of having to survive on a fixed income, the fear and anxiety of getting affected with COVID-19 has added to the woes.

Problems faced

Every day while turning the pages of the newspapers or flipping through the news channels we get to see many such instances where the problems faced by the elderly gethighlighted and reported as breaking news. But little is done to help them out. Delving deep, one must understand the problems they faced and (or) are facing amid the pandemic.


As soon as the lockdown was declared many migrant workers lost their jobs immediately and were stuck in the cities —a question of life vs. livelihood arose as the possibility of layoff still looms large. Losing their livelihood intrigued the fear of dying out of hunger. Their elderly parents and family members dependent on them are suffering on account of the lack of monetary help they used to receive from their wards as many of these migrant labourers are now jobless.

For some of the elderly who have tried to sustain as farm labourers are also facing problems as the harvesting season has come to an end and many had to destroy their harvests due to supply chain issues and lack of demand. On top of it, as Prof. Parikshit Ghosh from Delhi School of Economics has rightly pointed out that the rural section cutting across states have experienced additional hurdles in the process of receiving free food grains (announced at both the center and the state level) primarily because of corrupt practices of hoarding, not having a valid ration card and not being a beneficiary under any of the welfare schemes likePM-KISAN (Pradhan MantriKisanSamman Nidhi), MGNREGS (Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme).

Moving on to urban India,the elderly who are staying alone have also faced problems in other dimensions. Few days into the lockdown, one of India’s largest pharmacy retail chains, Frank Ross declared“no home delivery” of medicines due to lack of manpower. This was a body blow to the elderly people, especially, for the oneswho arestaying alone and not well acquainted with online transactions. The sudden price hike, after cyclone “Amphan”, in essential commodities, including, fish, meat and vegetables added to the woes of this fixed income group. The elderly community staying in the cities areby and large dependent on domestic helps. But these services also got disrupted due to thenationwide lockdown. The morning or evening walks which were a source of socialisation and part of a regular fitness schedule for the elderly community got ceased given the social distancing norms, leading to anxiety and over-medication.

People suffering from dementia or the ones who are staying alone, especially, in the urban areas, some became a victim of loneliness resulting into severe depressionduring the lockdown period. From our experience in Kolkata, there was anotherapprehension. West Bengal got hit by cyclone “Amphan” on May 20, leading to disruption in network issues, particularly, all over the city of Kolkata. This aggravated the panic for the elderly staying alone as networks/communication means took time to stabilize.For some of the elderly in the affected pockets, going without water and power for a few days following “Amphan” added to the agony, in addition to the fear and anxiety of getting affected with COVID-19 which continues its rapid spread.


For the benefit of the elderly, the central government extended the validity of the Pradhan MantriVayaVandanaYojana (PMVVY) pension scheme till March 31, 2023 with an annual return of 7.40%, but unfortunately a major section of the society doesn’t benefit out of it as very few in the rural area would have a minimum investment capacity of roughly INR 1,60,000 p.a. Keeping in mind the poor senior citizens, the Central Government increased the pension amount to INR 300 per month for the widows in the age group of 40-79 years and INR 500 forthose aged 80 years and above, a move in the right direction.

Contrary to this, there has been a significant reduction in the interest rates across all the major saving schemes — Senior Citizen Savings Scheme from 8.6% to 7.4%, in National Savings Certificate from 7.9% to 6.8%, from 7.7% to 6.7% in five year time deposits, including for banks like State Bank of India,to name a few. This gave a body blow to the aspirations of this fixed income group. Also, a small part of the elderly community runs their livelihood from ancestral business;owing to this long lockdown, their business had to be called off and they ran out of money within a month of severe lockdown.As psychologists have pointed out, a section of elderly parents dependent on their wards suffer from an added insecurity that their wards might suffer a pay cut or might get terminated from their job amid the pandemic.

Role of the Society

This is a community which heavily relies on social connection and they need it more than others now. Apart from the government initiatives of going in for regular tests for the elderly population, particularly, in the containment zones, it is the youth of the country who have to come forward — in terms of regular checking on what the elderly community, especially the ones staying alone, inone’s locality or area require by dropping a message or over a phone call, helping them in buying their essentials, groceries and medicinesgiven that it is not wise for these elderly people to come out of their houses now. With the online medium all set to become the new normal in the post-COVID era, it is essential for the octogenarians to become habituated to the use of laptops and smartphones. But all said and done, the question still remains as to how effective these app-based online meansare for the elderly population of rural India? In such cases, I feel that reaching out through the locally empowered NGOscan be very helpful. In terms of awareness, as responsible citizens we must reach out to the elderly community and explainthem the basic need for practicing social distancing and the art of maintaining proper hygiene amid the pandemic. In no way, should they be allowed to feel as “forgotten extreme” and as responsible citizens it is our duty to ensure it.

Prof. Sovik Mukherjee teaches at St. Xavier’s University, Kolkata

SXUK offers cuts in Semester and Hostel fees.
July 13, 2020

St Xavier’s University, Kolkata has decided to offer a 20 per cent concession on semester fees for all undergraduate and postgraduate courses for the current semester, July to December 2020, Vice-Chancellor, Father Felix Raj said on Saturday, July 11.

University has decided to allow students to pay the sum in two installments. Students using the university hostels will pay less for the months they don’t stay in the hostels.

The vice-chancellor said the university decided to reduce the fees for the July-December semester to offer some relief to guardians who are going through financial problems because of the COVID lockdown.

“The decision has been taken with a humanitarian approach…. We believe in helping our students. But we also have to think about the problems of our guardians…. The Covid-19 and the lockdowns have created an unprecedented situation. Many people are going through a very difficult situation…. We have decided to reduce the semester and hostel fees to give some relief to our guardians,” Father Felix Raj said.

In addition to reducing the semester fees by 20 per cent, the university will allow students to pay the semester fees in two installments. The last date to clear the second installment for all students, including old and new students, is December 15.

The last date to clear the first installment for intermediate semester students is August 31. New students will have to pay the first installment as per notification regarding admissions.In the normal situation students are required to pay the entire semester fees at the start of the semester unless excused for valid reason.

The waiver in the semester and hostel fees will be offered to existing students as well as to new students. Set up in 2017, the Jesuit-run University offers undergraduate and postgraduate courses and runs a business school and a law school.The relaxation in the fees will apply to all students.

The vice-chancellor said the hostel fees for the current semester (July to December) will be reduced by Rs 5,000 a month.Normally, students have to pay the full hostel fees semester-wise at the time of admission.

Mitha Mukherjee

We Salute!
July 01, 2020

West Bengal: Acknowledging the efforts, dedication and constant service of the doctors, nurses, paramedical staff, and other frontline workers in handling the COVID pandemic all over the country, the West Bengal State government has decided to declare July 1st, the national doctor's day as the State holiday.

We salute our doctors, nurses and all Health Care Heroes. They are our guardian angels protecting us from all dangers and diseases. We thank them and pray for them. Our wishes are always with them.

"It takes courage to answer a call, It takes courage to give your all, It takes courage to risk your name, It takes courage to be true. It takes courage to dare, what no other will share, To be standing alone, one whom no one will own, To be ready to stake for another man's sake, It takes courage to be true."

The Human Phenomenon
June 27, 2020

Reaching out to the underprivileged: Educational Institutions are the temples of knowledge and villages are the temples of prosperity. Their pairing is the beginning of a mutual revolution. Some glimpses of pairing to form future leaders among the underprivileged in South 24 Parganas, New Town and Trichy.

Relax in Lockdown with SXUK pictures
June 24, 2020
'Daddy Changed the World'
June 15, 2020

George Floyd's Daughter, Gianna, 6, Says 'Daddy Changed the World'.

The touching moment came after Gianna and her mother Roxie Washington spoke at a press conference on Tuesday, eight days after George Floyd's killing.


George Floyd's young daughter spoke with pride about her late father as protests over his killing at the hands of police continued.

Retired NBA player Stephen Jackson, a longtime friend of Floyd's, shared a clip of himself with Floyd's 6-year-old daughter Gianna on his shoulders. In the clip, the child smiled as she exclaimed, "Daddy changed the world!"

"That’s right GiGi 'Daddy changed the world' George Floyd, the name of change. George Floyd, 46, was killed while being pinned to the ground by a Minneapolis police officer. Washington mourned that Gianna "Gigi" Floyd will now have to grow up without a dad.

"I don't have a lot to say, because I can't get my words together right now," Floyd’s wife Washington said. "But I want everybody to know that this is what those officers took. At the end of the day, they get to go home and be with their families."

She continued: "Gianna does not have a father. He will never see her grow up, graduate; he will never walk her down the aisle."

"If there's a problem she's having and she needs her dad, she does not have that anymore," Washington added. "I'm here for my baby, and I'm here for George because I want justice for him. I want justice for him,because he was good. No matter what anybody thinks, he was good." "And this is the proof that he was a good man," Washington said, gesturing to Gianna.

We express our solidarity and demand justice for George Floyd. We stand with his wife and daughter. Black Lives Matter.

“We are born in an unjust society and we are determined not to leave it as we have found it.”

National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF)
June 13, 2020

INDIA NIRF Rankings 2020

Top Jesuit and other Christian Colleges have featured in the NIRF rankings this year. Two Jesuit Colleges, namely Loyola College Chennai and St. Xavier’s College Kolkata have captured the 6th and 7th ranks respectively and figure among the 10 best Colleges in India.

According to the NIRF list, there are 34 Christian Colleges including 8 Jesuit Colleges among 100 best colleges in India. MHRD, GoI has announced the NIRF Rankings 2020 for all higher educational institutions on June 11.

The National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) was approved by the MHRD and launched on 29th September 2015. This framework outlines a methodology to rank institutions of higher education across the country. The methodology draws from the overall recommendations and broad understanding arrived at by a Core Committee set up by MHRD, to identify the broad parameters for ranking various universities and institutions. The first NIRF list was released in 2016. For the 2020 rankings, around 3,800 institutions participated in the process, which was 20 percent more than in 2019. There were 10 categories which included: Overall, Universities, Engineering, Colleges, Management, Pharmacy, Medical, Architecture, Law and Dental Institutes.

The parameters broadly cover 1. Teaching, Learning and Resources, 2. Research and Professional Practices, 3. Graduation Outcomes, 4.Outreach and Inclusivity, and 5.Perception.

Dr. J. Felix Raj

RANK (Out of 100):

6 th - Loyola College Chennai (Score: 68.03).

7 th - St. Xavier's College Calcutta (67.59).

31 st - St. Joseph's College Trichy (58.27).

36 th - Andra Loyola college, Vijayawada (57.64)

50 th - St. Xavier's College Palayamkottai (54.91)

59 th - St. Xavier's College Ahmedabad (53.93)

72 nd - St. Joseph's College of Commerce, Bangalore (52.37)

90 th - St. Xavier's College Mumbai (51.14)

Congratulations to all the eight Colleges. We are proud of you.

SXUK Examinations 2020
June 05, 2020
SXUK to Resume Classes from September 1
June 04, 2020

St. Xavier's University, Kolkata has drawn up a comprehensive plan and guidelines for faculty and students to return to campus as per the UGC guidelines. It has decided to commence the first year UG and PG programmes from September 1.

In the new session, "both for freshers and the intermediate semester students, each class will be divided into two batches of 25 to 30 students who will attend classes on alternate days. Students will be taught online on the days they are away from campus. Thus, no syllabus will be missed," said Fr. Felix Raj, Vice- Chancellor of the University. He added that only one student will be allowed to sit in one bench. In the first semester, the university is planning to hold 25- - 30 per cent of its teaching-learning online.

For new session, the university will start accepting online applications immediately after the +2 results, sometime early August. "We have the responsibility of addressing the issue of anxiety and uncertainty among students and their parents. Thus, we plan to hold the terminal semester examinations in June, intermediate semester examinations in August and resume classes as early as possible," Father Raj said.

"End-semester students don't need to return to the university. Adhering to the UGC recommendations, their remaining examinations will be conducted online and the final results will be announced on July 10.

The University will conduct admission tests for all PG courses and two UG courses including Law. The admission test for Law, XLAT will be held on July 26, Sunday. The admission tests will be conducted for one subject at a time.

"The protection of our students, staff and faculty is particularly important for us. The SXUK is taking all precautions and necessary measures to prevent the potential spread of COVID-19," Fr. Raj added.

Curtesy: Somdatta Basu, the Times of India: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kolkata/st-xaviers-univ-to-resume-on-sept-1/articleshow/76185370.cms


Dr. Abdul Kalam Stories:
June 10, 2020

i) Dr. Kalam never accepted gifts. Once he had gone Erode to attend a function sponsored by Sowbhagya wet grinders. On that occasion, they gave him a grinder as a gift. He refused to accept it but since he needed it he insisted on paying for it. He then sent a person to the shop with a cheque for Rs 4,850 dated August 25, 2014.

The Managing Director of the company was reluctant to receive money from Kalam and did not encash the cheque for over a month. A month later, they received a call from Kalam's office asking why the cheque has not been deposited. Further, Kalam directed them to deposit the cheque to avoid returning the grinder. The company agreed to deposit it. But they did not want to let go of the treasure and decided to keep a copy of the cheque. They got it scanned and had framed it. The very next day they deposited the cheque and received a message from Kalam's office thanking them for doing so. (Source: newindianexpress.com).

ii) Once, the missile man rejected the suggestion to put broken glass on the wall of a building that needed protection because broken glass could be harmful to birds!

This happened when Dr Kalam was with the Defence Research and Development organization (DRDO) and his team was discussing options to secure the perimeter of a building that needed protection. Dr Kalam reportedly said: "If we do that, birds will not be able to perch on the wall. Think of something else. "

iii) He invited a cobbler and a small hotel owner as the "Presidential Guests" As the President, Dr. Kalam was entitled to invite any two people as the "Presidential Guests" to the Raj Bhavan of Kerala during his first visit to Trivandrum. He had spent a significant amount of time as a scientist in Trivandrum and guess who he called? A roadside cobbler who was quite close to Dr. Kalam during his time in Kerala; and an owner of a very small hotel where Dr. Kalam used to have his meals.

This gesture was more than enough to show his level of simplicity!

iv) When a teammate of President Kalam at DRDO couldn't take his children to an exhibition due to workload, Kalam surprised him and took the children instead!

During a significant project, the workload was high. One of the 70 scientists working on it asked him if he could leave at 5.30 pm that evening as he had promised to take his kids to an exhibition. Dr Kalam granted the permission. However, the scientist got busy with work only to realise that it was 8.30 pm. When he looked for his boss, he wasn't there. Guilty for having disappointed his kids, he went back home only to find that his kids weren't there. When he asked his wife where they were, she replied, "You don't know. Your manager came here at 5.15 pm and took the children to the exhibition."

Dr Kalam had been observing the scientist and he realized that he was too busy with the work and might forget to reach home at time. So, he decided to take the kids to the exhibition instead.

v) The property left behind by Dr. A.P.J.Abdul Kalam was estimated. This is what he owned:

6 pants(2 DRDO uniforms)
4 shirts(2 DRDO uniforms)
3 suits (1 western, 2 Indian)
2500 books
1 flat (which he has donated)
1 Padmashri
1 Padmabhushan
1 Bharat Ratna
16 doctorates
1 website
1 twitter account
1 email id

He didn't have any TV, AC, car, jewellery, shares, land or bank balance.

He had even donated the last 8 years' pension towards the development of his village.

He was a real patriot and true Indian. India will forever be grateful to this noble soul.

SXUK- Glimses of Amphan Effect
May 9, 2020

Monstrous Cyclone Amphan slammed into Kolkata and has wreaked havoc.
At SXUK, all of us – Fathers, Sisters and the 15 hostel students are safe.
Amphan roared and whistled and threatened to blow us up.
Many trees and plants have been uprooted.
The Green environment has been destroyed.
The campus will be ready and lovely, by the time students return after lockdown.

Bishop Shymal Bose Takes ove
May 9, 2020

Pope Francis has nominated Bishop Shyamal Bose, to the pastoral government of the Diocese of Baruipur, Bengal in India. He succeeds Bishop Salvadore Lobo, whose resignation was accepted by the Holy Father. Bishop Shymal Bose was, until now, Coadjutor Bishop of Baruipur.

Bishop Bose Shyamal Bose was born on March 24, 1961, in Gosaba. He studied philosophy at Morning Star Regional Seminary, Barrackpore and theology at St. Albert's College, Ranchi. He was ordained a priest for the Baruipur Diocese on 5 May 1991.

As a priest of Baruipur, he served the Diocese in various capacities: assistant parish priest, Keorapukur (1991-1994); Khari (1994-1996) and Parish Priest, Khari (1996-1998). He was the director of Palli Unnayan Samiti, the Diocesan Social Service Centre for eight years from 1998 -2006. He was the Vicar General of the Diocese from 2000-2008. He was parish priest of Sacred Heart Church, Thakurpukur from 2006-2008. He obtained Licentiate in Biblical Theology from St. Peter's Pontifical Institute, Bangalore in 2010.

He was appointed director of the Regional Social Centre, Association of Bengal Collaborators for Development in 2011. At the time of his appointment announced on May 17, 2019 as the Coadjutor Bishop of Baruipur he was the Diocese's financial administrator, Chancellor and Secretary of the Finance Committee.

We wish him all the best and continue to pray for him.

   Pope nominates Bishop for Baruipur, India

Readers Respond
May 7, 2020

Congrats for bringing out an excellent and timely issue of Goethals News. I appreciate your courageous initiatives in the field of education, especially for setting up and running efficiently SXUK. I am sure that all of us are pondering over ways and means to face the sudden national crisis and the pandemic.

Edward Mudavassery SJ,

We’re in the second day of lockdown here in London, with everyone still trying to work out the details of what it means in practice. Fortunately here the community house and the Curia offices are all in the same building, so the Provincial and I are able to continue with much of our work.

Let us continue to hold each other in prayer in these challenging times.

Fr Paul Nicholson SJ

Thank you for the magazine Goethals that features your article about Pope Francis. The whole issue is quite interesting. I also noted, in the Herald, that you won a special award from Rotary; congratulations!

Pierre, SJ
Jesuit Curia, Rome

Thanks for the greetings. I have read your article on the seven years of Pope Francis and I find it very interesting. Congratulations.All the best for your work.

Giuseppe Bellucci, SJ

Thank youRev Fr, for sending me your wonderful tribute to our late beloved Fr Hincq. He was the Headmaster of the school and gave my brother and me direct admission. My father had been transferred from Mumbai and we came from Campion School to St. Xavier’s. My brother in class 7 and I in class 6. Though the class was quite full Rev Fr kindly made it a special case and I became a proud Xaverian.

Rev Fr, there are so many things that you and Rev Fathers do that influence lives and perhaps destiny itself. Xavier’s gave me the luxury of growing up at my own pace and in my own way in an atmosphere of calm, safety and great care. Perhaps more than anything else I appreciate the values that were taught to me, gently by showing the way through example and not by lectures.

Thank you Fr Hincq for the embrace of Xaveriansim and for welcoming me into the Xaverian family.

Noomi Mehta
Chairman and Managing Director, Selvel One Group

Thank you for sharing the fond memories of Fr Hincq, SJ.

Many of his students visited him in Belgium whence he would fondly reminisce about the time spent in Kolkata.

We are glad that you could meet him so many times. We shall pray that his soul finds eternal peace.

Nihil Ultra!
Sidharth Dudhoria

Thank you for sharing your article which was interesting. Stay well and healthy. We live in perilous times in too many ways.

Vivek D’Souza

May 6, 2020

Liquor Shops reopen in India. Alcohol sale has begun and people crowd outside liquor stores. Indian people are for liquor while Indian Governments are for revenue.

It is a mockery of social distancing in many parts of India. Mad rush for liquor raises corona alarm.Thousands in serpentine queues jostled for alcohol, triggering chaos, police action, and fear of Covid-19 spread as booze shops opened after 40 days in some areas. As these shops opened, people formed a long queue, waiting for hours to buy alcohol.

Why liquor matters to states?

Queues after easing of restrictions, and a price hike are pointers to the importance of liquor as a source of revenue.

Manufacture and sale of liquor is one of the major sources of revenue, and the reopening comes at a time when the states have been struggling to fill their coffers amid the disruption on account of the lockdown. With lockdown, State revenues may get a ‘high’ from liquor sales

States eye excise from liquor sales to tackle fiscal crisis that has intensified with revenue contraction. Long winding queues outside liquor shops in select areas across the country barring four States (Bihar, Gujarat, Manipur and Nagaland) and Union Territory of Lakshadweep have brought some cheer for local governments.


  • Excise duty on alcohol is the third-largest source of a state's own tax revenues, with an estimated contribution of 12.5 per cent in 2019-20.
  • Sale of alcohol is one of the easiest ways for individual states to generate revenues in the present situation.
  • Gujarat and Bihar are the only two major states where alcohol sale is currently completely prohibited.
  • In Tamil Nadu number of Tasmac retail outlets go up to 5,152 from 3,866 last year in 2019. The government’s earning from liquor stood at ₹31,157 crore, including excise and VAT (Sales Tax) during 2018-19 (a 16 % rise from previous year). Tamil Nadu is the highest alcohol revenue earning state in India followed by Haryana, Maharashtra and Karnataka.
  • Alcohol consumption in India amounted to about 5.4 billion liters in 2016 and is estimated to reach about 6.5 billion liters by 2020. The steady increase in consuming these beverages can be attributed to multiple factors including the rising levels of disposable income and a growing urban population among others.
  • Per capita alcohol consumption in India has more than doubled from 2005 to 2019, according to reports by the WHO. In India, the consumption of alcohol has increased from 2.4 litres in 2005 to 5.7 litres in 2016 with 4.2 litres being consumed by men and 1.5 litre by women.
  • As per a study, total volume of alcohol consumed globally per year has risen by 70 per cent since 1990 and 38 per cent between 2010 and 2017 in India (Lancet Journal)
  • Market share of the alcohol industry in India: Country liquor accounted for the highest market share in India with 48 percent while imported liquor had the lowest share with about three percent in 2017. Country liquor is affordable by all due to cheap prices.

• Your views on the above article are welcome.

SXUK reaches out to Neighbourhood Villages
May 5, 2020

New Town, Rajarhat: St. Xavier's University, Kolkata reached out to the eleven neighborhood villages (including Kathalberia, Kulberia, Morapukur and Kamlahati) where University students go for social outreach programmes. Jesuit Fathers with some university officers and student volunteers distributed food items - rice, dal, potatoes, and soybeans - to poor families in five phases - on April 19, 20, 22, 26 and May 3, reaching out to 1,200 families in total.

SXUK has also extended its support to relief work in Boitakhana, Sealdha. The humanitarian work will continue in the days to come as and when required in these villages. The distribution work was organised at St. Francis Academy, Kathalberia village, adhering to COVID protocol guidelines issued by the Government.

The Vice-Chancellor is constantly in touch with the faculty, staff and students of the university with instructions and advisories. Students of Xaverians in Action (XIA) association of the University have also announced an online campaign for donation to express their solidarity to the neighbourhood people.

Online classes are going on smoothly well. Teachers and students are in touch with the Registrar with feedback and suggestions.

Remembering Father Hincq
April 14, 2020

Father Louis Hincq, a Belgian priest and a former principal of St Xavier’s Collegiate School, Calcutta and St. Xavier’s School, Burdwan, left for his heavenly abode, on Sunday, April 5, at the Maison Saint Claude La Colombiere, a home for elderly Jesuits adjacent to Jesuit School of St. Michelle in Brussels, Belgium. He was 98.

Born in 1922, Father Hincq joined the Jesuit society in 1940. He came to India in 1947. Father Hincq was ordained in 1953 and took his final vows five years later. Father Hincq had also served as in-charge of the Higher Secondary section of St Xavier’s College.

Father had learnt and mastered Bengali at St Lawrence School and studied theology at St Mary’s, Kurseong. He underwent final training at Sitagarah in Hazaribagh.This illustrious Jesuit priest returned to Belgium in 1981.

Whenever I visited Brussels or Luxemburg, I made it a point to meet Fr. Hincq. Once he showed me a neatly kept file with all letters he had been receiving from his old students in Kolkata. He particularly showed me the letters of General Shankar Roy Chowdhury and Manish Gupta. I called up Manish and asked Father to speak to his old student, both were delighted to share memories of golden days spent together.

Another time he volunteered to show me around the city of Brussels. He took me to the Little Europe. We spent a long time there, together, reminiscing and relaxing over an ice-cream.

During another visit, I told him that I was planning to visit Luxemburg to meet Fr. Emile Gales, former principal of St. Xavier’s School, Haldia. He volunteered to take me to Luxemburg. We travelled together by train.

At one point during our travel, a police officer came in and asked for Fr. Hincq’s ID card. He showed his. After the officer left, he told me he is an idiot. You are the visitor and I am resident. He didn’t even check you. I gently told him, “The officer knew well that I am no stranger because I am with you.”

When we reached Luxemburg Jesuit residence, Fr. Gales was eagerly waiting for us. We had a long conversation and Fr. Gales asked me about Kolkata. While at dinner, Fr. Gales offered a merry drink in my honour, saying that he is back in an Indian company after a long time.

Fr. Hincq was a very affectionate man. During my visits, he used to take me to other Jesuits in the residence. Fr. Destienne and Fr. Huart were among them.

I remember Fr. Hincq very fondly, as an emissary of values and virtues that are imperishable. May his soul rest in peace.

Felix Raj, SJ