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regular-article-logo Thursday, 13 June 2024

Stan Swamy’s death is a moment of awakening: Stanislaus D’Souza

The Reverend has urged people to mark July 28 as National Justice Day

Jhinuk Mazumdar Calcutta Published 28.07.21, 01:39 AM
Father Stan Swamy.

Father Stan Swamy. File picture

The death of Father Stan Swamy is “not an end” but a “moment of awakening in the journey to affirm our faith in the Constitution of our country”, the Jesuit Provincial of India, Reverend Stanislaus D’Souza, has said.

He has also urged people to mark July 28 as National Justice Day.

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In Calcutta, a prayer service will be held at the Archbishop’s House and St Xavier’s College on Wednesday evening in memory of the 84-year-old Jesuit priest who died in custody earlier this month.

The Roman Catholic archdiocese of Calcutta has sent an email to all 65 churches and institutions in its fold encouraging them to organise a prayer meeting on Wednesday for the priest.

Cardinal Oswald Gracias, the archbishop of Bombay and president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India, has written to all bishops in an email: “Each bishop can see what is most suitable for his region. I know this is a short notice and communication is neither fast nor easy.… A memorial service like this will help to keep alive in our hearts the desire to work for the poor and neglected.”

Reverend D’Souza, also the president of the Jesuit Conference of India, has said in his statement: “Stan’s death is not an end; it is yet another moment of awakening in our journey to affirm our faith in the Constitution of our country. Stan has joined the company of Adivasi martyrs and all those who sacrificed their lives to protect the secular and democratic fabric and diverse cultures of our nation.”

The statement says: “Stan’s death is a moment of deep consolation, as he has united people across cultures, religions and nationalities to walk boldly and courageously in the path of justice to human family and creation.”

The events of July 28 will be organised “to pay our deep respects to Fr. Stan Swamy SJ and carry forward his legacy”, the statement adds.

Reverend D’Souza has also urged Indians not to be silent spectator “amidst growing inequalities, violence, atrocities, discrimination and exclusion in our country”.

Father Stan “inspired us to sing the values of the Preamble to the Constitution of our country — Justice, Liberty, Equality and Fraternity — amidst the adversities…. As a Jesuit, he committed himself to walk with the excluded, whose dignity is violated, in a mission of Reconciliation and Justice,” Reverend D’Souza’s statement says.

Through his lifelong accompaniment of the Adivasis, Dalits and marginalised communities and "by his martyrdom he has given us a new ethical mandate to be compassionate, to be the voice of the voiceless and defenders of human rights, speaking truth to power," the Jesuit Provincial of India’s statement says.

“The prayer meeting is to create awareness... that we can no longer be mere spectators, but it is time to plunge into action and raise our voices against the prevailing injustices,” said Father Dominic Gomes, the vicar general of the archdiocese of Calcutta.

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