CHENNAI INTER-THEOLOGATE SEMINAR (CITS 2019)
A one-day seminar on the topic “Misguided Nationalism: A Christian Response,” was held at Don Bosco Theological Centre (DBTC), Kavarapettai, on 14 November 2019. It was organized by the students of DBTC under the able guidance of Fr. Cassius Correya SDB. Other than the staff and students of DBTC, about 77 staff & students from Sacred Heart Seminary (Poonamallee), Arul Kadal Regional Theology Centre, Gurukul Lutheran Theological College & Research Institute, and Department of Christian Studies, University of Madras, attended the Seminar.
Taking into account the present religious, cultural, social, economic and political situation of our nation, students from the above mentioned Institutions presented 5 Papers (25 minutes each) on the following topics: (i) Philosophy of Nationalism (Mr. Ajit Stanley Moses & Ms. Ignacius Agnel Mary, University of Madras); (ii) The Religious & Cultural Impact of Nationalism (Bro. Vijeesh P. Dennis, Sacred Heart Seminary); (iii) Misguided Nationalism & Economic Development (Bro. Arul S.J. & Bro. Joseph Alexander S.J., Arul Kadal Regional Theology Centre); (iv) Nationalism and Social Justice (Rev. Varaprasadam & Rev. Charles, Gurukul Lutheran Theological College and Research Institute); and (v) Nationalism: A Response from the Indian Constitution (Bro. Arun Sagayaraj SDB, DBTC). Each of the Papers was ably responded (10 minutes each) by Bro. Jayaraj SDB (DBTC), Rev. Karunakar Nayak (Gurukul), Bro. Arjuna Rao Gorremuchu (Sacred Heart Seminary), Fr. Jean Francois Salomon (University of Madras), and Bro. Livingston S.J. (Arul Kadal), respectively. The respondents appreciated the strengths of the Papers and suggested certain points for improvement.
The five sessions were facilitated by Bro. Paul Raj OMI (Sacred Heart Seminary), Bro. Paulraj S.J. (Arul Kadal), Rev. Stephen Prabhu S. (Gurukul), Bro. Anantharaj SDB (DBTC) and Ms. Fhebe Stella N. (University of Madras), who ensured that the participants asked interesting questions and provided opportunity for enriching discussions towards a deeper understanding of the theme and effective responses to the challenges posed by the present socio-political situation. A spirit of open dialogue, clarity of thought, and cordial exchange of views and experiences prevailed during the discussions and enabled all to have a better grasp of the various issues involved because of the promotion of mistaken notions of nationalism.
The Seminar was indeed a heartening experience for all the participants. It emphasised the need to promote unity in diversity, to revere every human person belonging to any religion, to gain knowledge about the Constitution of India and to uphold true nationalism. CITS 2019 came to a conclusion with a General session moderated by Rev. Fr. Bosco Augustine SDB, the Principal of DBTC, who encouraged the participants to evaluate the Seminar. Apart from the suggestions to improve the standard of the Papers, the Principal, Staff & students of DBTC were appreciated for beautifully organizing the event and for the ‘splendid hospitality’. At the end of the session, Fr. Bosco invited Rev. Fr. Bellarmine Fernando SDB, Rector, DBTC, and Rev. Fr. Cassius Correya SDB, the Registrar & Professor, DBTC, to handover the official file of CITS to Rev. Fr. Jean Francois Salomon, a representative of the Department of Christian Studies, University of Madras. The Seminar came to an end with the vote of thanks proposed by Bro. Christhuraj and a song imploring God’s blessings upon our country & people.