Philip Endean's Epiphany Greeting 2020


A quick line just to say hello from Paris, where I continue to live very happily, teaching at the Jesuit faculties of theology and philosophy, otherwise known as the Centre Sèvres.

I've been gradually finding my way into my role as director of the masters programme here, as well as representing the Centre and doing other tasks in various places, notably this year in Rome and in Spain. But the real adventure -- and it was in so many ways enriching -- was a visit to India, a country I had never visited. I was invited to the north-east, the region of Kohima (where there was an important battle in the Second World War holding the Japanese at bay). A verse from the memorial to the fallen there has become famous.



Fifty years ago the large province of Karnataka in the south took on missionary work among the tribal peoples.  This has now become a flourishing enterprise, with an impressive recruitment rate. Some of their students are here with us in Paris. As part of the celebrations, they decided to invite someone from Europe to give two retreats for the Jesuits of the region. Entering at that level into the inner world of a very different sort of Christianity with very different challenges was deeply enriching. It gave me a sense of hope in a year where back in Britain, in continental Europe. and in the USA there was a lot to lament, especially in the political sphere.

On a lighter note, the exercise involved also my paying a courtesy call on one of the local bishops. In itself this was normal enough, even if I don't operate very often at this level. What was more surprising was that he received me not only with the conventional shawl (I accumulated quite a collection), but also according to Naga custom, dressing up the 'very honoured guest' as a tribal warrior. 
 
 


And though there wasn't much time for tourism, my hosts also generously organized a wonderful day out to see the Taj Mahal -- you can see me on the Diana step (though they didn't clear out the tourists).

 
 

And here is the group picture of this years Masters' students.
 


Please do get in touch if you are passing through Paris in 2020.