Jesus said, ‘Come and see.’ They went and saw the place where
Jesus was staying. …’We have found the Messiah!’ ( Jn 1:39-41).
Throughout the centuries Christ has sent His Church into the needy places of the world to act as its Good Samaritan. Today the Church continues to go out to pour healing oil and wine into the wounds of the world, and she does it especially through the love-filled and holy lives and service of her religious. The vocation of the religious is to be with Christ and to be His consecrated friends who are the light of the world and salt of the earth. These consecrated friends of Jesus are called to function as leaven in the world and to be Good Samaritans to the present needy and waiting world. Religious Life fascinates human imagination. People admire its sense of sacrifice and unstinting service. The religious let the world know through their goodness and mercy, the goodness and mercy of Christ.
The world’s attention often seems to be on the bad news not only about business and political life but also about religious life. What we often hear is that in the world today there are fewer religious vocations, many deaths, and a progressive increase in the average age of those who remain. It is pointed out that on the global level there is an annual decline of 10,000. It is often brought to our attention that Asia and Africa are the only areas where there is a slight increase in religious vocations.1 We are aware of the sensationalized media presentation of the negative sides of religious life.
Of course, it is risky for religious institutes to adopt an ‘ostrich’ policy regarding the vocational ‘crisis’ within them. They want to know the situation realistically so that they can look for remedial measures, or at least an honest effort can be made to do the same. It is in this context that we religious ask ourselves: What emphasis could be given so that the formation that the candidates are receiving becomes even more relevant and suited to the present-day context of the Church and the world?
The reasons for the present-day vocational crisis include:
a question of the culture, the post-industrial world has become secularized, pluralistic and relativistic. Young people are obsessed with freedom, and because of contemporary affluence are offered a rich array of opportunities. Priesthood is no longer a path for social climbing. Celibacy is more difficult in an open society with few controls on films and media. Recent pedophilia scandals damaged the image of the clergy. Families are smaller than they used to be
About the Author
Jeewan Prakash Gurung fondly known to all as ‘JP’ was born into a family of tea planters and from the very early days was always inspired to follow the footsteps of his father. After his education at Goethals Memorial School and at St Joseph’s College, North Point, he started his career in 1976 working in various tea estates in Darjeeling till he chose to retire from active garden life in 2003. His last assignment was as the General Manager of a leading tea group in Darjeeling known as, The Darjeeling Plantations India Limited. Thereafter, he has continued to pursue his passion in tea, working as an Advisor and Consultant to various tea groups. Currently he is the Whole Time Director of Tea Promoters (India) Private Limited.
During his long career he has been associated with various business and social organizations and has been the President of the Darjeeling Planters Association, The President of the Darjeeling Club, The Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Dooars & Darjeeling Medical Association, the District Chief Commissioner of the Bharat Scouts & Guides of the Darjeeling District Association and Member of The North Bengal Committee of the Tea Research Association.
Happily married, his son heads the Siliguri Branch of J Thomas & Co. Private Limited which is the largest firm of Tea Brokers and Auctioneers in the world. His daughter happily bakes cakes in Kathmandu and owns the Company ‘Dessert First’.
JP has always been inspired by the fact that life is short and one needs to leave a footprint behind. It is perhaps with this thought in mind he ventured into the field of writing. The 105 day strike in the Darjeeling Tea Industry in the year 2017 gave him the required opportunity. Encouraged and helped by family and friends he successfully launched his first book, All in a Cup of Tea in 2020.