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Xaverians young and old gathered at Bengal Club on August 25 to celebrate the birthday of Father Felix Raj, principal of St. Xavier’s College and president of the St. Xavier’s College Calcutta Alumni Association. But, it was a birthday bash with a difference.

“If you ask me if I like celebrating my birthday, as a good Jesuit I would say no, I feel uncomfortable,” said Felix Raj. His army of Xaverians gave him the best birthday gift two years ago — turning this into Philanthropy Day, in tune with the goal of the Jesuit alumni: “men and women for others”.

“We are honoured to pay tribute to a leader like Father Felix Raj through Philanthropy Day,” said Firdausal Hasan, honorary secretary of SXCCAA.

Before Felix Raj cut his birthday cake, the SXCCAA turned the spotlight on some of those people the alumni has helped out in ways big and small. First on stage was 11-year-old Sangita Chakraborty, the daughter of a rickshawpuller, who was suffering from a congenital heart condition for which she needed surgery, costing a little less than Rs 4 lakh. The SXCCAA funded it. The alumni also contributed to a life insurance policy amounting to Rs 4 lakh for Sangita, which will mature when she turns 21.

Many others, like 21-year-old Sunil Shaw, who was given a cheque for Rs 25,000 for post-operative care, were part of the celebrations.

“This day is about renewing the commitment to their alma mater and the other more marginalised brothers and sisters,” said Felix Raj, going on to speak about the college’s vision 2020.

“With your support nothing is impossible,” he added.