Issues Vol. 168‎ > ‎

Vol. 168 No. 17 - April 29 - May 05, 2017

01 Cover

posted Apr 27, 2017, 9:36 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Apr 28, 2017, 12:04 AM ]


03 Index

posted Apr 27, 2017, 9:33 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Apr 27, 2017, 9:34 AM ]


04 Official

posted Apr 27, 2017, 9:30 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Apr 27, 2017, 10:41 PM ]


05 Engagements

posted Apr 27, 2017, 9:29 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Apr 27, 2017, 9:29 AM ]


07 Editorial - Patron and Protector - Fr Anthony Charanghat

posted Apr 27, 2017, 9:25 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Apr 27, 2017, 9:26 AM ]

The Gospels in the liturgy of the feast Masses do not record a single word spoken by Blessed St Joseph whom we honour and celebrate on March 19, as well as on May 1, as the foster-father of Jesus and spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary. His prompt and generous obedience to the divine call of his mission to taking care of Jesus and Mary with such love and devotion was exemplary.

To be a father and spouse means above all to be at the service of life and growth of the family. By the labour of his hands, St Joseph discharged his duties of building a home and providing them with sustenance befitting human dignity. It is this unstinted commitment that earned St Joseph the title of Protector and Patron of the Holy Family, the family of the Universal Church and workers of the world.

Among the many aspects that Scripture highlights, particular emphasis is placed on the silence of St Joseph. Our attention is drawn to his action of listening to the angelic voices that he heard in his sleep. His silence was permeated by contemplation of the mystery of God, in an attitude of total availability to His divine wishes. In other words, the silence of St Joseph was not the sign of an inner void, but on the contrary, of the fullness of faith he carried in his heart.

A poor, honest, hardworking, humble man, St Joseph possessed unfathomable interior life, giving him the power of making the great decision to put his liberty at the disposal of the divine designs. He was called to accept to love without possessing, through an incomparable selfless love, to offer the whole of his existence in a total sacrifice to the demands raised in cooperating with the work of redemption through Mary. He was called to take on the responsibility and the burden of a family. For the sake of Christ, he experienced persecution, exile and the poverty which this entails. He had to settle as a refugee far from his native town.

Saint Joseph is the model of the humble and the lowly, and the proof that in order to be good and genuine followers of Christ there is no need of 'great things'; it is enough to have the common, simple, human virtues and true and authentic work that give meaning to our existence. Christ as the 'Son of Man' working as a carpenter under the guidance of His father, respecting the dignity of work, the purposefulness of tools and talents and dedicating himself to the excellence of what is produced as service to community needs, underlines the Christian meaning of work.

Economic goods are indeed worthy of our Christian interest when they do not become ends in themselves and sought after with greedy egoism. These are God's gifts to be developed as a source and stimulus of charity and as means to ensure the dignity of life and for the honest interests of the common good. Only then can we experience the spiritual value of work as participation in God's Creation.

The Church invokes St Joseph as her Patron and Protector to continue from heaven to perform his protective task of guiding and defending the Church. He is seen truly to possess those qualities which gave rise to a series of invocations such as 'Protector of Childhood', 'Protector of Spouses', 'Protector of the Family', 'Protector of the Workers', 'Protector of Refugees', 'Protector of the Dying' and 'Intercessor' for all the families of our globe.

We need to be 'infected' by the silence of St Joseph! We have much need of it in a world which is often too noisy, which does not encourage reflection and listening to God to follow His plan for us.

08 Month of Mary - Cardinal John Wright

posted Apr 27, 2017, 9:09 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Apr 27, 2017, 9:09 AM ]

The month of May is the month which the piety of the faithful has especially dedicated to Our Blessed Lady, and it is the occasion for a 'moving tribute of faith and love which Catholics in every part of the world pay to the Queen of Heaven. During this month, Christians, both in church and in the privacy of the home, offer up to Mary from their hearts an especially fervent and loving homage of prayer and veneration.' In this month, too, the benefits of God's mercy come down to us from her throne in greater abundance" (Pope Paul VI: Encyclical on the Month of May, no. 1).

This Christian custom of dedicating the month of May to the Blessed Virgin arose at the end of the 13th century. In this way, the Church was able to Christianise the secular feasts which were wont to take place at that time. In the 16th century, books appeared and fostered this devotion.

The practice was granted a partial indulgence by Pope Pius VII in 1815 and a plenary indulgence by Pope Pius IX in 1859. With the complete revision of indulgences in 1966 and the decreased emphasis on specific indulgences, it no longer carries an indulgence; however, it certainly falls within the category of the First General Grant of Indulgences.

The Month of Mary and the Popes

The pious practice of honouring Mary during the month of May has been especially recommended by the Popes. Pope Pius XII made frequent reference to it, and in his great Encyclical on the Sacred Liturgy Mediator Dei characterised it as one of "other exercises of piety which, although not strictly belonging to the Sacred Liturgy, are nevertheless of special import and dignity, and may be considered in a certain way to be an addition to the liturgical cult; they have been approved and praised over and over again by the Apostolic See and by the Bishops." (no. 182)

Pope Paul VI wrote a short encyclical in 1965 using the Month of Mary devotion as a means of obtaining prayers for peace. He urged the faithful to make use of this practice which is "gladdening and consoling" and by which the Blessed Virgin Mary is honoured, and the Christian people are enriched with spiritual gifts." (no. 2)

In May of 2002, Pope John Paul II said, "Today we begin the month dedicated to Our Lady - a favourite of popular devotion. In accord with a long-standing tradition of devotion, parishes and families continue to make the month of May a 'Marian' month, celebrating it with many devout liturgical, catechetical and pastoral initiatives!"

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09 The Church in Hindutva India - Lionel Fernandes

posted Apr 27, 2017, 9:07 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Apr 27, 2017, 9:07 AM ]

By now, it should be clear to one and all that we are living in an India being rapidly saffronised at all levels and in every corner. It would be deluding ourselves to believe that Hindutva is a fringe element, and that the rest of Indian society in general, and Hindu society in particular, has remained the way it was at the time of Independence under the Gandhian-Nehruvian dispensation. The mindset of large sections of the people has changed dramatically, and Hindutva has become mainstream, as witnessed by successive electoral outcomes at local, state and national levels. The Opposition parties are in disarray, and have not always covered themselves with glory during their stint in office. They harbour criminal, violent, corrupt and communal elements in various guises and varying proportions. Not that the ruling BJP is lily white either! We are learning the hard way that the people get the government they deserve, particularly if they have the freedom to cast their vote one way or another.

Where do we go from here? Do we throw up our hands in despair? Do we withdraw into our shells, nursing a minority complex in a Hindu dominant India? That would be a defeatist attitude and a repudiation of the Christian mission. We need to rediscover this mission and formulate it afresh in the changed scenario. The message should go out loud and clear that our agenda is to bear witness to the Gospel message and serve our fellow citizens with no expectation of rewards of any kind, least of all swelling our numbers and building a spiritual empire controlled from the Vatican. We are in the business of nation-building through holistic development and people's empowerment on the basis of human rights and social justice, nothing else. There is no reason why the RSS or any other Hindutva outfit should object to this. We should be ready to dialogue with them and join hands with them in achieving these objectives.

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10 Vatican’s Message for Buddhist Feast of Vesakh

posted Apr 27, 2017, 9:04 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Apr 27, 2017, 9:04 AM ]

'Christians and Buddhists: Walking Together on the Path of Non-violence'

Dear Buddhist Friends,

1. In the name of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, we extend our warmest greetings and prayerful good wishes on the occasion of Vesakh. May this feast bring joy and peace to all of you, to your families, communities and nations.

2. We wish to reflect this year on the urgent need to promote a culture of peace and non-violence. Religion is increasingly at the fore in our world today, though at times in opposing ways. While many religious believers are committed to promoting peace, there are those who exploit religion to justify their acts of violence and hatred. We see healing and reconciliation offered to victims of violence, but also attempts to erase every trace and memory of the "other"; there is the emergence of global religious cooperation, but also politicization of religion; and there is an awareness of endemic poverty and world hunger, yet the deplorable arms race continues. This situation requires a call to non-violence, a rejection of violence in all its forms.

3. Jesus Christ and the Buddha were promoters of non-violence as well as peacemakers. As Pope Francis writes, "Jesus Himself lived in violent times. Yet, He taught that the true battlefield, where violence and peace meet, is the human heart: for 'it is from within, from the human heart, that evil intentions come.' (Mk 7:21)" (2017 Message for the World Day of Peace, Non-Violence: A Style of Politics for Peace, no. 3) He further emphasises that "Jesus marked out the path of nonviolence. He walked that path to the very end, to the Cross, whereby He became our peace and put an end to hostility. (cf. Eph 2:14-16)" (ibid.) Accordingly, "to be true followers of Jesus today also includes embracing His teaching about non-violence." (ibid.)

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11 ‘Alleluia’- The great Easter Slogan - Thomas O'Loughlin

posted Apr 27, 2017, 9:03 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Apr 27, 2017, 9:03 AM ]

There is a theme running throughout the Easter season which captures a key sense that we as Christians live in 'in-between' times. On the one hand, we cry out that 'Christ is truly risen, Alleluia' - the great Easter slogan – that death has been put to flight; but on the other hand, we know we must walk by faith, for around us, there is no shortage of greed, death and destruction. Here is the great tension of discipleship: we must believe that Christ has conquered (or else Christian faith is meaningless) and we must work to bring it about. In short, we live and act in hope. Down the centuries, many have tried to resolve this tension in favour of either believing or working, rather than seeing in this tension the very structure of human life: we must grow to become what we most truly are. In Easter terms, we know that Christ has conquered, and so life does not end in death, but this new life must be established both in our hearts through love, generosity and forgiveness, and in the world through our Christian action.

We see this tension 'of what-God-has-established' and 'what is yet-to-come' brought out clearly in the Letter of St Peter. The Christians rejoice in their new birth as sons and daughters of God, but they cannot escape the difficulties and demands of life. The author sought to explain this tension by carrying forward the metaphor of being children of the Father. Whoever is a child of the Father is an heir to the kingdom, but as a human inheritance requires waiting, so this divine inheritance is not being given to us yet, but is being held for us in heaven. But why does God require us to wait? This time of waiting through difficulties is explained as God wishing us to undergo a time of purification.

While we may not find this explanation convincing, nor like the implications of imagining God using our lives as a period of purification – we must confront the same basic question that we believe Christ has conquered, yet we experience death and pain as all too real around us. If we do nothing else but acknowledge this basic dilemma of faith, we will have done much.

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13 Be a Trend Setter - Fr. Felix Rebello

posted Apr 27, 2017, 8:58 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Apr 27, 2017, 8:59 AM ]

Watch your waste; Your waste not wasted

Do you know that from May 1, 2017 onwards, the Devendra Fadnavis government will make it compulsory to start ZERO GARBAGE? Why wait for someone to force you to do something good for Mother Earth which has given so much for you?

You may be a Managing Committee member or an ordinary resident of your Housing Society; here is an opportunity to be a TREND SETTER. Being a TREND SETTER, you can show to the world that you are a responsible citizen and can do something noble for the environment without having it forced on you.

Following is a simple STEP-BY-STEP plan you can propose to your Managing Committee to start the ZERO GARBAGE PROJECT in your housing society.

Step 1 Awareness and Education:

Today, in spite of so much information available on any subject just by a click of a button, there are so many who are still ignorant on the issue of Waste Management. Perhaps, they have not felt the need of knowing about this subject. As a first step in launching ZERO GARBAGE PROJECT, residents need to be made aware of the seriousness of this issue, and motivate them to do something about it. In this regard, you can take a bold step to contact your housing society office bearers to call a meeting of the society members to bring awareness on ZERO GARBAGE. A lot of material is available on the internet. Besides, regular ads are given on TV.

STEP 2 Circular to Families/Flats:

This circular, preferably signed by the housing society office bearers can contain the dates to begin the segregation, instructions to families to keep two bins in the kitchen for wet and dry waste, list of wet waste and dry waste, method/timings of collecting the waste by the housing society workers, etc. WET WASTE consists of bio-degradable waste which decomposes easily and can be used as compost for plants and trees like vegetable waste, fish/meat bones, leftover food, used tea powder, garden waste etc. DRY WASTE is the one which does not decompose at all, or takes a long time to decompose. This waste consists of materials made of metal, plastic, glass, paper, electronic items etc.


STEP 3 Provide two bins:

It is a great motivation, if the society office bearers use some society funds to buy two waste bins (of different colours) for wet and dry waste, and gift it to each family. If the society is not ready/willing to gift a set of waste bins, each family can make their own arrangement to buy two bins. Forcing one to buy two bins of their own money (though it doesn't cost much) may create some uneasiness amongst the residents.

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