Xylopia is an aromatic ,evergreen tree that grows in Africa . Xylopia fruits have rich medicinal value and are also used for water purification. Due to its aromatic quality , it is used as a spice and flavouring agent throughout Africa. By “Xylopia of love “, I mean the most healing , purifying , fragrant, shade of love – the evergreen source of “ love for humanity “. It is the most selfless ,the most unconditional manifestation of love that replaces the religious, racial , national affiliations with the universal, secular, identity of humanity.
I have witnessed the greatest example of love for humanity in Father Kevin Ward. Born on August 20th 1943, in Dunboyne, Ireland , he joined the Congregation of Christian Brothers, Dublin, in August 1958. He was sent to the foreign missions in India in October 1965 and has made this country his home ,ever since . For the last 52 years, he has dedicated himself to serving the people of India, taking care of their educational , economic and medical needs , reaching out to the needy and under privileged and the poorest of the poor. As a Brother, he was an educator par excellence , serving in various capacities in schools , spanning the length and breadth of India.He was ordained as a priest in December 2015, and is now serving as a parish priest , meeting the pastoral and spiritual needs of the people in the Khasi hills ,in the north eastern state of Meghalaya , India.
For Father Kevin Ward, the purpose of religion is to help people see that they are all connected at the spiritual level . To him, the cognizance of this fundamental soul-connection is the foundation of all love , all kindness and all compassion towards another human being, irrespective of religion or nationality . His commitment to love and service of the people of India proves his philosophy , emphatically. He is guided by the eternal , unconditional “agape” love that emanates from God and that sees him as related to all people in the world . Love , to him, is a determined decision to put the well being of others, first.
Father Kevin Ward has embraced India with its diversity and heterogeneity . He quotes lessons from Gita and Koran , speaks a multitude of Indian languages , including the difficult-to-master Khasi dialect , loves and serves all, whether they are his fellow believers or otherwise . His message is to treat others with dignity and respect , despite differences and divergences of paths and beliefs .