Monday, September 06, 2004

Mr. Bernard Thompson

Message from Mr. Bernard Thompson, President, World Union of Jesuit Alumni/ae, for the 4th National Congress held in Jamshedpur on October 29-31, 2004.

Dear Jesuit Alumni/ae,

It is with much regret that I have been unable to accept your invitation to attend this 4th National Congress in Jamshedpur. However I would nonetheless like to send you every good wish for a successful Congress.

When I visited India for the first time to attend the VIth World Union Congress in Kolkata, I was particularly impressed by the friendliness and generosity of the Indian Federation members. This started from the minute I stepped out of the airport to when I left on the final day.

During that Congress I made many new friends and would have liked to be doing the same on this occasion. I left India full of inspiration and I hope that all of you at this Congress will do the same.

No matter where there is a gathering of Jesuit Alumni/ae there is an instantaneous spirit of camaraderie. This is, of course, because we all have the common factor of having been educated by the Jesuits. Yet in reality we are all strangers to each other but are able to put this aside because we have in our hearts the same aims. It would be wonderful if we could transmit this spirit to those who have not had the same opportunity as ourselves so that they too could understand why we have trust in each other even though we have never met before.

In fact we do this by example. A practical way in which this has been done is in the project work I have seen and heard about throughout India. I was fortunate to see some of this work at first hand.

We have much to learn from each other and I have been delighted to have reports from some of our young British Alumni/ae who, when traveling to join their projects in India, have met and been welcomed by your Alumni. This has been much appreciated by them and I know that this example is repeated all around the world. I would like to think that by spreading this example and increasing awareness we can all help to try and make the world a better place to live in.

I look forward very much to hearing the results of this, your 4th National Congress, and once again send my best wishes for its success.

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