Friday, 21 October 2016

Learning differences

This evening we had the Provincial of the GBR Province with us. It was the installation (induction) of Fr John Dickson as the Rector of Chertsey.  Two other priests belonging to the community but exercising their ministry in a parish far off, were present too.  After Mass and supper there was a brief presentation of the GBR Province plan.  Or rather it was more about a method or framework of a proposed plan - along that of the General council.  Nothing new from our past Indian experience.  Comparatively here they seem to still be in the initial mode only! Anyway, what was interesting for me was the priorities of the extraordinary visitor and the recommendations of the Rector Major for the Chapter documents.  Naturally not all points were totally new or different from our Province (INH) reminders.  But certain points other points were stressed.  I had to do a bit of mind-juggling, trying to get out of my Province mode and context to try to 'manufacture' the existing context of GBR based on the recommendations.

One myth that perhaps got busted a little was this:  Since the past three weeks, having heard and seen first hand the life and words of the confreres here, I had somehow come to think that for an Indian to come over here and carry out his ministry would be a cake walk; while most of the Brits would never manage to survive in India more than a week! All for various reasons. Perhaps about that I'll speak some other time. I also remind myself that once upon a time it was these very Europeans who brought the Salesian charism to India!  But the point that I want to make now is that it isn't going to be that easy for any confrere from India to fully get involved in the ministry here.

Perhaps the main reason for this, from what I gathered especially the GBR provincial's talk, would be the standard of proficiency expected of a Salesian to take up a responsibility.  The standards here are quite, let's say, different from that of the Indian context.  I may be a bit pessimistic about the potency of my own confreres but some of them might really mess up things big time here.  Not that they do better back at home; but the thing is that they'd get away with it, very easily.  Here the general public may not be that tolerant, I gather!  I wonder how some of the diocesans from Andhra/Telangana are managing to carry out their ministry in the West, especially some of my own former students.

Anyway, I think I must not be rash or judgemental about these matters.  After all these are two very very different contexts. The basics are the same but certainly not all modalities.  So let me carry on with my observation mode rather than the judgement mode.  

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