Means to achieve the Goals

1. A Deepening of God-Experience

Tejas provides an atmosphere for growing in conviction with regard to prayer and spiritual life. At this stage of their formation students have to realize that they come for spiritual exercises not because there is a time-table to follow, but a Lord to follow who called them to this way of life. They can discover themselves and their world only in his presence. Praying together as community and praying alone they learn to savour the Goodness of God which Francis de Sales so much wanted his sons to experience. They have to grow as men of prayer and God-experience that they can lead others to experience God and his goodness.

In order to experience God and lead others to experience God, the staff and the students need to be open to the creative working of the Holy Spirit in their lives and in liturgical and para-liturgical celebrations. They are to be open to learn from authentic religious traditions of India and integrate them. While being faithful to the traditional forms of worship they need to be creative in leading the community in spiritual exercises and liturgical celebrations.

2. A Meaningful Community Life at Tejas

It is envisaged that life in Tejas community life is an experience of living in an atmosphere where all are brothers, sharing the same vision, committed to the same mission. Community life is the expression of our being as images of God, the Absolute Communion, as well as our vocation to be religious. So it is the duty of everyone in the community to live a loving, caring, respecting, affirming, sensitive, pro-active, gentle and hospitable community life. It is in the religious community one is nurtured, supported and encouraged to grow as a mature religious.

The uniqueness of Tejas consists in the fact that it is a community with a minimum of institutionalisation. It is inevitable to have higher and lower, superiors and inferiors etc., in an absolutely structured institution. Tejas community is striving towards a Gospel value-based community, or a household-of-God ideal, where all are brothers respecting the equality and dignity of each member. This would overcome the staff and student divide and “we and they” attitude that prevail in institutions which prevent the growth of all in the community. Tejas visualizes a mode of relationship that is not artificial but inspired by the Spirit, where all members are equal as persons but having difference in their type of responsibilities and ministries. Its theology of leadership based on the servant-model leadership that Jesus practiced.

Each member should know his responsibility to himself and his companions and his ability to respond with love and respect to those who are entrusted with responsibility of guiding him to unfold himself. Both the students and the staff are together seekers and pilgrims on the way to live a better and effective Fransalian life. Therefore, the students have to overcome their notions of servile obedience to please others and those entrusted with the responsibility of guiding them do not expect to be approached with certain servile attitude or fear. They respect each other with love as confreres and the same time with a required attitude of concern and regard for the experience, seniority in religious life of the animators which is also in tune with the Indian culture. It means that openness to one anther with readiness to communicate without any hidden agendas, cynicism etc. and by using words that build up, as the apostle Paul says. Buildings of Tejas itself is deliberately designed to create an atmosphere of a family living in a rural set-up. However, it is true that a house is built by hands and a home is built by hearts. Therefore, its is the duty of everyone living in this house to make it a home with self-sacrificing love for one another

3. A Participatory Formation

Tejas has a participatory formation programme in which the students who are the beneficiaries of the programme have a responsible to role to play in designing, implementing, evaluating and improving the formation programme. Tejas attempts to overcome the traditional way of imposing a formation programme on the students which they go through for various reasons but is not very much affected by it, not knowing why they are doing what they are doing. Participative formation programme invites the students to take responsible decisions through right discernment that would help their growth as persons and religious. This is done through discussions in community meetings which are conducted once in a fortnight in which one is required to express his opinions, suggestions with openness and courage. As a responsible adult one has to overcome peer group pressure or the fear what others would think. The experience of the past years show that most of the students were able to express what they thought and felt with courage and conviction and let themselves be challenged by others.

However, participative formation programme does not mean that a brute majority decides everything and it has to be implemented even if those who propose the issue may not see the future negative consequences of their proposals. It is therefore, the duty and the responsibility of those students as well as the staff who are aware of it to intervene and bring to the community’s notice that such decisions could not be taken as it would go against the vision and mission of Tejas.

Tejas formation programme is not an easy way compared to the traditional type of formation. Students are provided with an atmosphere in which they can form themselves for the mission. Some are seemingly happy when they are commanded to do things. It is difficult to take decisions which will cost them time, energy, leaving of their comfort zones etc. So there can be a tendency to take an easy path. However, joyful and effective life and service is possible only for those who opt for a hard and disciplined life. Self-discipline is the best way to achieve this. The students need to overcome the temptation to do anything to please the staff and the staff has to overcome the temptation to please students by approving suggestions or decisions which they know for certain that they would be detrimental for the growth of the students. All must seriously discern without prejudice or hidden agendas to do everything to please the Lord.

Mission-oriented and Contextual Academic Programme

The Tejas academic programme is designed to achieve the goal of priestly formation in Tejas. Theological studies are to be used to help the students to grow towards maturity in faith and in religious life by way of building personal convictions based on a serious study of Sacred Scripture, Christian Doctrine,

Morals, traditions and religious, socio-cultural practices of the people in the context of their lives. Theological studies must help the scholastics to seek and experience God in their concrete life-situations. Theologizing, is a transformative process by reflecting on our faith-experience and learning to articulate it systematically and clearly so that we deepen our faith experience, communicate to others leading them either to deepen their faith commitment if they are Christians or lead others to that faith-experience if they have not experienced Jesus Christ.

The theological studies are done in Tejas in dialogue with the actual social, political, economic, cultural and religious situation of our context and the world in general. Responding to the signs of the times we have an academic programme which attempts to integrate the various concerns of religious and missionary life. Our formation is in mission and for mission. So the theological studies we undertake is not just a requirement for ordination but to become religious missionaries who are personally convinced of what they believe and are transformed by it and competent to communicate it effectively to those in contact with them. So our theological studies are related to the actual life situation of our people.

The courses are designed in such a way that all the requirements of a theological formation demanded by the Authorities of the Church through the document Sapientia Christiana dealing with theological courses in the Catholic faculties are strictly followed. But in the method of teaching the required basic courses and introducing other relevant courses and programmes both mission-orientation and contextuality are kept in mind by the professors and the students of Tejas. They organize the content of the course, teach and learn according to the demands of the context of the mission..

No meaningful theologizing can be done in India without referring and responding to the situation of massive poverty and social injustice which condemn more than 40% our fellow humans to abject poverty. Globalization, which brought so many benefits for the elite and the middle-class including us, has made life miserable for a large majority of our people. When everything seems to shine around us, we may not be always aware of this situation. We may become insensitive to the plights of the poor. According to UN report every day 233 million people in India go hungry to sleep in India. Can we have a meaningful theology without reflecting on how our understanding of Revelation and Faith, Trinity, Christology, Ecclesiology, Theological Anthropology, Sacraments, Liturgy, Theology of Ministry, Mariology, Missiology etc?. Can we have a meaningful and challenging understanding and interpretation of the Scripture which reveals a God who sides with the poor, oppressed and abandoned?

India is a land of many religions. We cannot have a meaningful theological reflection with out entering into dialogue with Hindus, Muslims and people of other religious faith and also with those who have no religious allegiance. Dialogue is one important dimension of mission. We must become competent to dialogue with the people of other religions and learn to be enriched by it as well as contribute to the enrichment of their religious experience. We don’t enter into religious dialogue with any hidden agenda or motivations other than letting God’s Spirit work in us that we grow to respect the otherness of the other.

Tejas Programme is uniquely designed that the FidesIndia Society with its commitment to social transformation is constitutively connected to the Tejas Programme. FidesIndia offers courses both in socio-theological and socio-pastoral areas with practical programmes which cover about 45 credits in the academic programme. FidesIndia Society which engages in various social activities provides ample opportunity for Tejas students to improve their skills in executing various social transformation programmes like engaging in the Children’s village, Self-help groups, value education in schools, tuitions in Kannada medium schools, working or managing tuition centres, organizing/participating street-plays, participating in people’s movements, disaster-management and relief-work etc.


STUDENT'S INVOLVEMENT

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The student community with an animator can opt for any of the following departments to concretely implement some projects which are immediately related to the formation programme. This is a learning process and is an extension of the academic activities at Tejas.

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In order to promote contextual theology the Journal of Indian Theology was founded in 2008. This venture of Tejas involves much commitment from the staff and the students. There are 3 issues a year. .