Saturday, 28 November 2009


Prof. Dr. Vadakethala Francis Vineeth, CMI, an eminent academician and spiritual guide with very firm foundation in realizational wisdom rooted in Jesus Christ, has completed seventy five years of his life which coincides with the golden jubilee of his priestly ordination in 2009. The higher education that he completed in two prestigious universities, Gregorian, Rome (PhD in Philosophy) and Oxford, UK (DPhil in Theology) shows his intellectual acumen and academic calibre.
The mission of Father Vineeth could be divided into two phases: The first phase of his mission is spread over a period of almost four decades, during which he lectured on philosophy and theology, imparting wisdom to many scholars and inspiring them to lead better Christian and human lives at Dharmaram and other institutes both in India and abroad. The second phase, though has a long history of incubation, begins with the establishment of Vidyavanam Ashram, an Indian Christian CMI Ashram to facilitate realizational wisdom leading to ‘becoming’ Christ. During this phase, very vividly we experience his ardent desire for prayer and contemplation, an abiding quest for mystical experience. Indeed, the establishment of Vidyavanam has provided not only the conducive ambience for the realizational becoming of Father Vineeth, but also has availed himself and all facilities at Vidyavanam for preparing many others to seek, to ‘taste and see’, and, thus, to open up new horizons of Indian Christian living.
Once the ideal, ‘knowing is becoming’, is realized, with its firm foundation in the person of Jesus Christ, it is natural that the supreme good that he has encountered and experienced begins to spread its fragrance, sharing its being (sat) with all who come in contact with him, be it his students, colleagues, or the seekers of spiritual wisdom.
It is the proud privilege for all his family and friends, colleagues and students to commemorate the event of his seventy-fifth birthday and the golden jubilee of priestly ordination in a fitting manner with a lasting effect. Looking at the innumerable accomplishments of Father Vineeth in the fields of academic excellence and spiritual realization, with his special emphasis on the Indian and Christian dimensions, we decided to pool together the wisdom of his companions and collaborators, with an earnest wish to contribute their might into that area of research and commitment that get uniquely enshrined in his person. Thus, the present volume, New Horizons of Indian Christian Living, has evolved, which we proudly present as the Festschrift to Father Vineeth, our beloved teacher and friend, a venerable Guru, to mark his diamond birthday and sacerdotal golden jubilee.
I am happy to present a collection of fifty scholarly articles exploring various dimensions of Indian Christian living. They are all contributed by the colleagues, students, and admirers of Father Vineeth. For convenience, these articles have been grouped together into six categories. They are (1) Father Francis Vineeth: Person and Mission, (2) Indian Approaches to the Bible, (3) Indian Christian Theology, (4) Inculturation and the Indian Church, (5) Indian Spirituality, and (6) Indian Christian Paradigms of Philosophical Synthesis. As some of the entries would belong to more than one group, it was an editorial decision to put one or the other into a particular group; that is only a practical decision. Taken together, the whole collection, I hope, would function as a reference volume to many aspects related to Indian Christian living, an area of lively research and realizational interest.
Let me place this Festschrift, together with all contributors, at the feet of my venerable Guru, Father Vineeth, with respect, admiration, and love, wishing him continued dwelling in the presence of the Lord, in whom he is already firmly established (Brahmanişţa).
Saju Chackalackal CMI

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