West Bengal AICUF conducted a one-day spiritual
retreat for the students of St. Xavier’s College on Sunday, the
8th of February, 2015. Around 150 students from
various departments of the college came together for a day of
prayer and reflection. The retreat commenced with a hymn and
short prayer by Rev. Fr. Gregory Monteiro, Regional Director of
ICYM (Indian Catholic Youth Movement) and also the preacher for
the sessions during the course of the retreat. Fr. Gregory,
through his talks made the students understand the value of
being a follower of Christ and the importance of embracing the
uniqueness God has blessed each individual with. Other
activities included various action songs enthusiastically
organized by the office bearers of AICUF and the opportunity to
receive the Sacrament of Penance. The students spent the second
half of the day prepping up for Confession and taking part in
the Eucharistic Celebration. The retreat proved to be an
enriching experience for all who had gathered as it embodied one
of the primary objectives of AICUF: To help the students evolve
spirituality rooted in God which flourishes in a rich
humanization through the praxis:
STATE PUJA CAMP REPORT
THE AICUF State Puja Camp was held in North Bengal St. Xavier’s
College Campus, Rajganj from 30Th September to 5th
October 2014. There were three AICUF units which included AICUF
of St. Xavier’s College, Kolkata, North Bengal Xavier’s College
Rajganj and St. Joseph College, Darjeeling. The theme was “
I am, I can, I will: Catalyst for change”
following was the day-to-day schedule of the camp:
Students from St Xavier’s College Kolkata arrived in groups. The
remaining groups arrived on 1st October. The
Darjeeling unit also arrived on the same day
Welcome dance by the students of North Bengal St Xavier’s
Inaguration session by lighting of the lamp
10:30am- Ice Breaking Session by Atman
1pm-Session by Joseph Rosario, celebrity chef who was 1st
runner up on Master Chef India
pm-Sessions on the ACIUF history
pm-Sessions by Atman on “Leadership”
students were divided into groups with particular leaders
assigned for them
day started with morning Mass
first session was taken by Fr.Paulus Ezhakunmen SJ, who spoke
about the conditions of the people living in the tea plantations
debate was organized between various groups on the topic
“Lesbian, Gays, Bisexual, Transgender”
Action songs were performed by Tracy Reid, Slyvian and other
senior members of the AICUF
pm-Sessions by Prof. Aprajita Hembrom, the Santali Unit
am-The group was told to visit a particular village and inquire
about their problems. Its purpose was to give them an exposure
to the problems of people of the tea plantations
pm-There was a report sharing by each group about their
experiences, observations and analysis of the various problems
that people face
day started with meditation which was supervised by Manoshi
8am-Action Songs were performed by students
students were told to make charts which depicted whatever they
had seen during the village exposure. They also had to explain
1pm-Sessions on Women empowerment taken by Manoshi, Tracy and
other SWC leaders
pm-Sessions taken by Fr. M.S Arockiaswamy on “Ignation
pm-There was a camp fire in which the campers enjoyed themselves
with song and dance.
Sessions by Nixon Peter, State Part-timer on “Addiction.”
pm-Sessions taken by Sudhir Kisku on “Bullying and Harassment.”
camp was a very enriching experience for all. Each one of the
AICUFers went back to their destinations after having benefitted
tremendously from the exposure.
AICUF celebrates the Feast
of St. Francis Xavier
The West Bengal AICUF (All India Catholic
University Federation) took initiative in organizing and
celebrating the Feast Day Mass of Saint Francis Xavier on the
3rd of December, 2014. The day, which marked the 462nd death
anniversary of the patron saint of St. Xavier's College
commenced with Holy Mass at 8:30 am in the College Chapel. The
main celebrant for this Eucharistic Celebration was Rev. Fr.
M.S. Arockiaswamy SJ. The other co-celebrants were Rev. Fr. Dr.
J Felix Raj SJ, Rev. Fr. Dominic Savio SJ and Rev. Fr. Benny
AICUF members of St. Xavier's College took active
part in the choir and liturgy under the mentorship of Dr.
Charlotte Simpson-Veigas, State Coordinator and Ma'am Aparajita
Hembrom, Professor-in-charge of the Santali Unit of WB-AICUF. Introductory
speech and welcome address was given by Aiswarya Ann Jomy.
(Co-Convener, State Women’s Commission). The First Reading and
Prayers of the Faithful were read by Samantha Raspin (Secretary,
English Unit) & Atman Tete respectively.
Rev. Fr. Dr. J. Felix Raj SJ, State Advisor for
WB-AICUF also extended his welcome to all who had gathered there
on this auspicious occasion.
The day also marked the unveiling of a full sized
marble statue of Saint Francis Xavier in the courtyard of the
college. Among those who attended the program were students and
faculty of both St. Xavier's College and St. Xavier's Collegiate
The celebrations came to an end after refreshments were provided
to everyone who had gathered
AICUF NATIONAL COUNCIL REPORT
FOR THE 21ST CENTURY
AICUF National Council was held from July 13 to July 15, 2014.
first day of the National Council started with a gathering at
the entrance of the House where the council members were
welcomed by Nikhil Manuel, the National Convenor of AICUF. This
was then followed by a procession from the entrance of the AICUF
House to the conference hall by singing the song ‘Itni Shakti
Hume Dena Data’. In the seminar hall we had a short prayer
service led by Fr. Emanuel. We ended the service by singing the
traditional AICUF hymn ‘We shall overcome’.
Emanuel then welcomed the council members. This was followed by
the lighting of the Lamp as a symbolic and traditional gesture
to declare the National Council open. The lighting of the lamp
was done by Fr. Henry, the National Advisor, Nikhil Manuel, the
National Convenor, Larissa Vas, the National Women’s Commission
Convenor, Professor John, the National Animator, Ashwin the NT
of Gujarat and Fr. Paul the State Advisor of Tamil Nadu.
then conducted the Ice-Breaking session. As per AICUF tradition,
we all played the game ‘As we walk to the right’. After the tea
break we had the Keynote Address by Fr. Dr. Lazar. He spoke on
the ‘emerging socio-economic realities: AICUF in the 21st
Century’. He started by speaking about the AICUF heritage and
then asked a few questions to make us think about AICUF in
relation to the 21st Century. He spoke of the myth of
the concept of ‘Superpower’ and how it was a mere propaganda by
the industrialists, the political elite and the media. He gave
the case study of how the BJP used the idea of ‘Development’ to
campaign for their general elections due to the same myth of the
‘economic superpower.’ He also spoke of the concept of
neo-liberalism. He ended with how AICUF should learn to
critically question and look at things with a different
perspective rather than just buying into a theory propagated by
the elite class for their vested interests. Fr. Henry Jerome
then felicitated Fr. Lazar with a shawl.
lunch, we had a panel discussion on Women and Tribals. Sr.
Valarmathi was the speaker for the session on women. She started
with a video on the problems that women face. She spoke to us in
relation to the Fundamental Rights and how the women were not
even allowed to enjoy these basic rights. She then spoke of the
women’s Right to Protection and the Right to Have Food. Sr.
Valarmathi was then felicitated with a shawl by Rajan the NT of
Bihar. Fr. Arokiasamy then conducted a session on Tribal Rights.
He told us who the tribal people were as mentioned in Article
324 of the Indian Constitution. He emphasized on the fact that
even though they have rich culture and heritage they are
considered backward. He mentioned that the ways in which the
tribal people were marginalized were through the political
class, the accession of their land, poor quality of education
and the ignorant attitude of the administration.
had a session on AICUF History by Fr. Henry Jerome who conducted
this session with the book, ‘Paradigm Growth’. He spoke of the
entire journey of AICUF from 1924 as CYMG to the present day
AICUF. He spoke of how the NSS was inspired from the Work Camps
conducted by AICUF and the Documentation Centre which has more
than 1000 files and is one of its kind in the whole of Asia. The
session was dynamic and his passion for the movement also
inspired the council members. Fr. Emmanuel felicitated Fr. Henry
with a shawl.
had a session on the AICUF Constitution by Prof. John and Prof.
Vimal. They started with a Quiz to see how we were placed with
regard to the knowledge of the Constitution. They then started
the session and told us about the importance of the National
Council and its powers. They also told us how ‘the spirit of the
word is more important than the letter of the word.’ They
further explained about the intricacies and the technicalities
of the Constitution.
was followed by the ‘Transition of Memories’ where Fr. Henry
officially handed over the AICUF constitution as a symbolic
gesture of handing over the post of the National Advisor to Fr.
Emmanuel. Fr. Henry the out-going National Advisor was then
felicitated with a shawl by Fr. Brian. Fr. Emmanuel then
addressed the gathering and spoke of creating leaders. After
supper, a documentary on globalization was shown to all the
participants and this was followed by discussion on this issue.
of the 26th National Council held at AICUF House
started with a mass celebrated by Fr. Babu, the State Advisor of
Kerala. After breakfast, Rose presented the previous day’s
report. After this session, the suggestion put forward by Prof.
John was that the report of each day could be a little more
elaborate and could include more names of people involved during
the sessions. He also gave a positive comment on the same.
John and Prof. Vimal then continued the session on the AICUF
Constitution- its vision and mission. Apart from the
technicalities of the constitution they brought out important
aspects like gender equality, the significance and the meaning
of the logo, the flexibility and rigidity of the constitution.
They gave us an overall understanding of how to use the
constitution as the guiding principle.
started with the Report Presentation of 8 states. The first
report was presented by the Bihar team and the session was
moderated by Fr. Brian. Each session was followed by interaction
with the house so as to clarify points or question the team.
After the first report reading, Fr. Brian suggested that the
seating arrangement could be changed to facilitate better
interaction and getting a limited time frame of 12 +5 minutes
due to the time constraint. Fr. Paul suggested that we could
stop the practice of printing and distributing the reports to
the members in the council and instead give a CD to the
councillors. Fr. Shailendra suggested mailing the material
broke for tea and gave 15 minutes to the states to sit with
their respective State Advisors and form a concise report to be
presented in the next session. After the break, the Gujarat Team
presented their report and this session was moderated by Fr.
Sabu. During the interaction questions were asked by Fr.
Emmanuel and Fr. Babu which was answered positively by the team.
Kerala State made the next presentation and this session was
moderated by Fr. Babu. The major clarification after the
presentation was the exclusion of the higher secondary students
as members of AICUF. Instead the team clarified that these
students were being trained for the future to be AICUFers. Fr.
Shailendra suggested on the style of presenting the report and
emphasized on the need to come up with a report that focused on
the outcome and the contributions made by the state through its
Shailendra then put forward his point on the situation of AICUF
in Andhra. He voiced his concern about the lack of interest in
the Jesuit Colleges and how we need to change the modus
operandi to get AICUF into the institutions. He raised his
concerns about the effectiveness of the national secretariat. It
was then suggested that though this was a serious concern, this
topic could be more effectively discussed in another forum. John
sir then asked the advisors, animators and the national team to
give serious thought to the issue but then continue to go ahead
with the report sharing.
Karnataka then presented their report and this session was
moderated by Fr. Paul. They presented their report in a quick
and effective manner with proper clarity. They then ended the
session with a dance performance from the entire team on the
Karnataka AICUF song.
Jaipur team from the Delhi province presented their report next
and this session was moderated by Prof. Vimal. This is a new
unit which has been recently revived and the house complimented
and encouraged them to start new units in Rajasthan and Delhi.
Fr. Paul suggested that they could focus more on the parishes
and the university students there to become a part of AICUF.
the Tamil Nadu state report was presented and this session was
moderated by Fr. Arock. Fr. Brian complimented and encouraged
the team for effectively using cultural means and dances and for
promoting social causes. Vimal Sir then asked the council for
the ratification of including only the 2nd year students as part
of the state EXCO which was accepted by the house.
West Bengal report was presented next and this session was
moderated by Fr. Brian. They also presented their annual
magazine to the house.
Brian put forward an important point where he suggested that we
could use celebration as a means to reach out to the youth.
had a fun action song taught to us by AICUF Karnataka. This
rejuvenated the entire house after the report reading session.
next session was the presentation of various other reports.
Firstly, the national team was invited to sit before the house
and Nikhil Manuel, the national Convenor of AICUF presented the
NT report. Vimal Sir suggested that effective communication and
coordination should be taken into consideration and the number
of meetings and the number of people attending the meetings
should be recorded. Dr. John, the National Animator clarified
that in the past year a proper structure did not exist and they
could not hold those meetings because there was a lot of
instability owing to finding the National Advisor. He also
assured us that this would not occur again. He mentioned that he
would take quick measures to rectify the situation by trying to
arrange a meeting once every two months and electing the new
commission members as soon as possible so that the national team
is complete. Fr. Brian observed the love for AICUF that existed
in the house and that even though the past year experienced some
drawbacks, they were minor stepping stones to success. Vimal
Sir stressed on having a good relationship between the Advisors,
the Animators and the team.
the tea break, the House Report was presented by Sylvia ma’am.
She spoke about the Office Unit, the Training Unit, the
Documentation Unit, the Publication Unit, house meetings and
Solidarity and Networking.
National Documentation Centre report was presented by Mr.
Eddison. Sir spoke about the history, the objectives, the need
and the purpose of the DC, the services and the future plans.
Fr. Louis also spoke about the digitalization of the DC.
Publication Department report was presented by Julia ma’am who
is the New Managing Editor of The Rally. She spoke of the
history, their work, their expectations from the National Team
and what they look forward to. Fr. Emmanuel suggested making it
an e-journal. Anshula suggested that getting a few coloured
pages would make it more attractive for the youth. Vimal Sir
suggested to start a new project where a few students could be
employed to scan the old documents and journals. He also
suggested starting a digital library and putting it on the
website. Fr. Paul promised a subscription to all the units in
the tea break, we then had a session by Prof. G John on the
Dalit community and the problems faced by them. He spoke of the
recent problem of activist Sheetal Sathe that occurred in St.
Xavier’s College, Mumbai. Fr. Emmanuel then conducted an
analysis of Globalization so that he could provide a link to the
council members. He spoke about Industrialization, displacement
of the local community, english becoming the market language,
commercialization of the media and the alienation of the people.
Emmanuel then made us play a short game before we could proceed
into the next session. John Sir then gave a summary of the
reports through the concept of ‘Spaces’. He spoke of spaces that
AICUF provides us with, such as;
Space for spirituality
Space for multiculturalism
Space for Cultivating
Values and Values Clarification
Space for innovation
Space for inclusiveness
Space for using and
nurturing one’s talent
Space for listening and
Space for churning out
Space for experiencing
Space for dissent and
Space for Pen, Print and
Space for Add Mad people
dinner, the documentary on Kandhamal which was made by Fr.
Shailendra was screened. After the screening, we had an
interactive session with the house where the students were
encouraged to put forward their opinions on the violence against
the dalit christians they saw in the film.
MC’s for the day were Ashwin the NT of Gujarat and Rajan the NT
started the day with the hoisting of the National Flag done by
Nikhil the National Convenor which was followed by the National
Anthem and then a Patriotic speech was given by Naresh. This was
followed by a photo session of the Advisors, Animators, Old and
New National Team members, Commission members and the respective
states. We then assembled in the hall after which the report of
the previous day was read. Then Fr. Henry Jerome SJ, read the
letter of “RATIFICATION” for the Appointment of Fr.Emmanuel SJ
as the New National Advisor after which a sheet was circulated
around and all the members of the 26th National
Council were asked to sign.
Sir then spoke about the Rally Magazine and asked three simple
questions to the council members…. Do you Read? Do you Write?
and Do you subscribe? We then spent some time to deliberate on
this. Fr. Shailendra suggested that each member present in the
council could take initiative and subscribe to The Rally. Fr.
Emmanuel stressed on the need to inculcate the habit of reading
and asked the members to suggest ways to increase the reach of
The Rally among the AICUFers. The suggestions put forth were
that there should be better publicity of The Rally amongst the
AICUFers of all states; the cover page of The Rally should be
publicized. Fr. Arock suggested that there should be a state
unit wise correspondent who will work for The Rally and who will
be selected by the State Advisor. Alexander suggested that the
subscription forms should be made available online for quick and
easy access. Nixon suggested that each state should send a
minimum of at least 2 articles each. Sudhir mentioned that
there should be a competition amongst the writers which would
inculcate a competitive spirit and provide an incentive to the
students to give their best. Fr. Paul suggested that articles
relating to job opportunities, skill orientation and career
guidance should be included. Crislin suggested that the NC’s
could also identify other writers for the same. Fr. Ema
suggested conducting a national level journalism competition and
workshop where they would be trained. Ranjith also suggested
that along with writing, emphasis should also be given to
Vimal Sir conducted a session on the Dalit Community. He started
off with a game called ‘Constitution Says’. He then explained in
detail who the dalits were and what kind of oppression they
faced. This was supported by many personal experiences or
sharing of incidents by the council members. He brought out the
fact that the biggest challenge that they faced was Identity
Crisis. Sir spoke of the political, economic and social problems
faced by them. He emphasized on the need for every unit to have
a dalit coordinator and to get a strong dalit commission. He
also spoke about how we need to orient non-dalit students into
the same and follow the principle of inclusiveness.
next session was a session on Women conducted by Julia Ma’am.
She started off with showing a small video on The Story of
Circles. She then asked the male members what they felt when
they thought of a woman. Through that she continued to speak of
women’s oppression and why the women’s commission was important
to the movement. She stressed on the fact that the spiritual
acceptance that men and women are equal needs to be brought
about. She ended the talk with another video that was an
Inspiration story for the women. Ma’am stressed on the need of
Awareness and Action i.e. making others aware through our action
as AICUF ers.
had roll-wise meetings for the National Team, the National
Council members and the State Advisors. After lunch we had a
session on AICUF into Tomorrow by Fr. Emmanuel. This was
basically a brainstorming session for the activities for the
state and national level. After the suggestions , Fr. Brian
spoke about the importance of finances to organize an event. Fr.
Paul suggested that the number of state programs should be
increased and more programs should be conducted at the zone and
region level. We also spoke of the Sheetal Sathe controversy
that occurred in Xavier’s Mumbai and Fr. Emmanuel asked each one
what they would do if they were the Principal of the college.
This provoked us to think not just as administrators but as
had the Business session and the house was asked to put forth
ideas about the themes of the rally which would then be
discussed and finalized by the NTs. A few resolutions were
passed which was approved by the house. They were:
the National Full Timer
new Dalit Commission Coordinator from Fr. Sabu to Fr. Paul
The NDC and
NWC leadership camps should be held before the National Council
was passed thanking Fr. Sabu for the work he did as the Dalit
was passed thanking Fr. Henry for the work he did as he National
Advisor of AICUF.
Arok suggested including the 11th and 12h standard
students under AICUF. John sir said that this could be seriously
considered but technically we would have to amend the
constitution for the inclusion of this provision and we would
have to wait for the national convention. Fr. Paul then
suggested that instead of waiting till the convention, we could
just start an association with another name that could be
similar to AICUF, so that they could get oriented into the
movement. The NCs also declared their commitment to working for
The Rally. We then had a discussion on democracy in the election
process of the convener and the aspect of student centrality in
for the Independence Day and the feast of Assumption of Mother
Mary was celebrated by Fr. Samuel and Fr.Emmanuel. The handing
over ceremony was conducted at the end where Nikhil Manuel
handed over the post of the National Convenor to Crislin Rozario.
Rahul Pais took over as the National Co-Convenor. The old NT
then initiated the new NT by handing over a notepad and the
AICUF Constitution as a symbolic gesture. With the mass we
officially concluded the 26th National Council for
dinner, we had the cultural night as is the tradition of the
council. Different states and Individuals came ahead and sang
folk songs, tribal songs and social awareness songs. Fr.
Emmanual and Fr. Babu also joined in the celebration by dancing
and playing musical instruments. We had performances by the
states, individuals, groups, the old NTs and we finally ended
with a dance on the Karnataka AICUF song and taking the oath of
the AICUF Motto.
Report by: Saurav Alexander (present NC)
AICUF celebrates ADIWASI
AICUF celebrated Adiwasi
Diwas on Sunday, September 21, 2014. The event began with Holy
mass which was presided over by Fr. Dominic Gomes-Vicar General
Archdiocese of Calcutta, along with Fr. MS Arockiasamy SJ, State
Animator AICUF, West Bengal. The programmes for the day were
organized in the Primary School buliding of St. Xaviers
The Chief Guest at the event was Mr. Innocent
Soren, Deputy General Manager RBI. He along with Fr.
Arockiasamy (West Bengal State Animator) and Charlotte Simpson-Veigas
(West Bengal State Co-ordinator) received a traditional welcome
into the gathering. This was followed by the washing of the
feet of the dignitaries as a symbol of love and respect. The
traditional tikka was then applied on the forehead of
each of the dignitaries.
The students of the AYCM (Adivasi Yuva Chetana
Manch) presented a beautiful song. The Chief Guest and the
other dignitaries were then presented with shawls. Mr. Innocent
Soren began his speech by requesting the audience to rise and
sing the National Anthem along with him. He delivered a
powerful speech which inspired and motivated everyone in the
gathering to be an agent of social change in the community.
The dignitaries and office bearers were then
invited to light the lamp. This was followed by the
inter-parish debate, prize distribution for painting and essay
competition and fashion show based on tribal culture.
After the lunch break there were other events
that included Nepalese and Khasi songs, a skit written, directed
and performed by the AYCM students. This was followed by a
Santhali dance competition.
The programme concluded with a prize distribution
By Sudhir Kisku
Organizes ‘THE SPOTLIGHT’
-Samantha .P. Raspin
The All India Catholic University Federation (AICUF)
organized a talent hunt competition entitled “THE SPOTLIGHT
–Envision Talent Beyond Exposure” at St. Xavier’s College
Kolkata, on September 7, 2014.
The program was inaugurated with the lighting of
the ceremonial lamp by Rev. Dr. Dominic Savio (The AICUF State
Co-advisor and Vice Principal of the B.com and BBA
departments). He was accompanied by Fr. Joseph Kulandai (Vice
Principal of St. Xavier’s Collegiate School), Fr. M.S.
Arockiasamy (AICUF State Animator) and Dr. Charlotte Simpson-Veigas
(AICUF State Coordinator).
The programme consisted of a series of on-stage
as well as off stage events. On stage events included items such
as solo/duet performances, minute to win it, battle of bands and
group dances. Off stage events included photography, videography
and Junk funk.
The second half of the program showcased
exceptional band performances as well as a guest performance by
Shayne David Hyrapiet who kept the audience actively engaged
The group dance was performed by three colleges –
AIMK, Scottish Church College and St. Xavier’s College. St.
Xavier’s College bagged the much coveted first prize in the
competition with their exceptional performance.
The program ended with the prize distribution
ceremony. A vote of thanks was pronounced. The contribution of
all those who made the event a grand success was duly