Issues Vol. 168‎ > ‎

Vol. 168 No. 19 - May 13 - May 19, 2017

01 Cover

posted May 11, 2017, 10:29 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated May 11, 2017, 10:29 AM ]

03 Index

posted May 11, 2017, 10:28 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated May 11, 2017, 10:28 AM ]

04 Official

posted May 11, 2017, 10:26 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated May 13, 2017, 8:12 AM ]

05 Engagements

posted May 11, 2017, 10:25 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated May 11, 2017, 10:25 AM ]

07 Editorial - Canonisation at Fatima Centennial Celebrations - Fr. Anthony Charanghat

posted May 11, 2017, 10:22 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated May 11, 2017, 10:22 AM ]

The Holy Father in a preambulatory reflection on the forthcoming centennial celebrations of the Fatima Apparitions on May 13 invites us to focus our attention to ‘Our Lady’. It is at this shrine of Fatima, where a hundred years ago the Madonna appeared to the three little shepherds, Christians from all over the world will congregate to relive the encounter of these young visionaries with Our Lady and experience the grace that inspired their love for Jesus.

Pope Francis said, “Mary introduced the little seers to the intimate knowledge of Trinitarian love and led them to savour God as the most beautiful reality of human existence. Beyond every other goal may there always be this: knowing and loving Christ – as the apostle Paul would say – trying to conform increasingly to Him unto the total gift of self.”

In a concrete sense, He called upon priests, to progress without tiring, in their Christian, priestly, pastoral, and cultural formation. He continued, “whatever your academic specialization, your first concern always remains that of growing on the path of priestly consecration, through the loving experience of God: an intimate and faithful God, as Blessed Francisco and Jacinta and the Servant of God Lucia felt Him to be.”

He exhorted pilgrims who would be visiting Fatima to contemplate the humble yet glorious lives of these children, and feel drawn to entrust themselves, to the care of the same Master. We always pray for this in the most ancient Latin antiphon to Our Lady: ‘Subtuum praesidium confugimus, Sancta Dei Genitrix’. It invites us to seek shelter under the mantle of a mother who takes us by the hand and teaches us to grow in the love of Christ and in fraternal communion.

He say's the gaze of the Mother of God has accompanied the supplications of those who approach the altar and urges us, "to Look to her and let her look upon you, because she is your Mother and loves you greatly; let her look upon you, to learn how to be more humble and also more courageous in following the Word of God; to welcome the embrace of her Son Jesus and, strengthened by this friendship, to love every person following the example and the measure of the Heart of Christ, to which Our Lady of Fatima commits us to find love, hope and peace in her."

On the occasion of our pilgrimage to the Shrine of Fatima, we must look at our Mother, who is in God’s heart. The mystery of this girl from Nazareth is not extraneous to us. "It is not a question of “She is there and we are here”. No, we are connected. In effect, God turns His loving gaze (Lk, 1:48) also to every man and every woman, calling them by name and surname! His gaze of love rests upon each one of us," he elaborates.

The relationship with Our Lady helps us to have a good relationship with the Church: both of them are Mothers. We must therefore cultivate the filial relationship with Our Lady because, if this is missing, there is something of the orphan in the heart. But in moments of difficulty a child always goes to his mother. And the Word of God teaches us to be like children, weaned in the arms of the mother.

The Holy Father prays that the centennial celebration of the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima, may teach us to believe, worship, hope and love like Blessed Francisco and Jacinta, and the Servant of God Lucia the canonisation of the former two will be the crowing glory of this joyous occasion.

(A synopsis of Pope Francis reflections of the Fatima Apparitions)

08 Pope canonizes Visionaries at Fatima Centennial - Prof Américo Pablo López-Ortiz

posted May 11, 2017, 10:20 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated May 13, 2017, 8:13 AM ]

Pope Francis, who accepted the invitation made by President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa and the bishops of Portugal, to mark the 100th anniversary of the Marian apparitions of Fatima began his pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima from May 12-13 on Friday afternoon, the pope departed from Fiumicino airport to Portugal. He then participated in a welcome ceremony and a meeting with the President of the Republic before he visited the Fatima Stadium to pray the rosary. The pilgrimage marks the anniversary of the Marian apparitions, which first began on May 13, 1917, when three shepherd children reported seeing the Virgin Mary. The apparitions continued once a month until October 13, 1917, and later were declared worthy of belief by the Catholic Church.

On Saturday he proceeded to the Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary and greeted the bishops from Portugal before the Canonisation ceremony.

For the first time in the history of the Catholic Church, two little children less than ten years old (that were not martyrs) were canonized on the 13th of May, 2017, one hundred years after the first apparition of Our Lady of Fátima in the Cova da Iria, Fátima, Portugal. On this day, we celebrate the Centennial of the Fatima Apparitions, a Marian ephemerides that moved Pope Francis to be a pilgrim among more than one million pilgrims coming from all over the world to celebrate this religious solemnity, unique for its significance and appeal to every continent on earth. The siblings of Fatima are universally acclaimed and venerated! Jacinta and Francisco Marto, the children-shepherds of Fátima are now saints venerated all over the world as the Universal Church has declared today that because of their virtues and approved miracle performed by God through their intercession, they participate in the beatific vision of heaven. The handbooks of theology must be re-written after this day as the Church has recognized that little children are capable of living heroic virtues, developing an inner spiritual life where God Himself dwells in their inner self, making possible an authentic transformation of their lives by virtue of God’s grace and mercy bestowed upon them and their perfect free correspondence to the Almighty based on perfect love.


09 Mary – Mother of the World - Joeyanna D’Souza FSP

posted May 11, 2017, 10:19 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated May 11, 2017, 10:19 AM ]

Is Mary the Mother of the World? What has Fatima and its wonders have to do with it? Was Mary at the foot of our recently demolished crosses?

The recent spat of injustices to the Catholic community in our Archdiocese, through the desecration of Holy Crosses, has woken up the Catholics from all walks of life, and of all ages to stand for their faith in Jesus Christ and for their democratic rights to build and venerate their religious deities in legally built structures. The most common prayer at all these protest marches or silent, peaceful dharnas is the Holy Rosary. And the Holy Rosary has included in it the prayer of Fatima.

Fatima is undoubtedly the most prophetic of modern apparitions. The first and second parts of the ‘secret’ refer especially to the frightening vision of hell, devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, the Second World War, and finally the prediction of the immense damage that Russia would do to humanity by abandoning the Christian faith and embracing Communist totalitarianism. In 1917, no one could have imagined all this: the three pastorinhos (little shepherds in Portuguese) of Fatima see, listen and remember, and Lucia (the then surviving witness) committed it all to paper when ordered to do so by the Bishop of Leiria, and with Our Lady's permission. The third part of the ‘secret’ was written “by order of His Excellency, the Bishop of Leiria and the Most Holy Mother ...” on January 3, 1944.

Following the assassination attempt on May 13, 1981, Pope John Paul II asked for the envelope containing the third part of the ‘secret’. After reading it, Pope John Paul II immediately thought of consecrating the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Sr Lucia (who was alive at that time) personally confirmed this solemn and universal act of consecration.


11 Our Lady of Fatima and the miracle of the Doves

posted May 11, 2017, 10:18 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated May 11, 2017, 10:18 AM ]

In 1946, Portugal celebrated the 300th anniversary of her consecration to the Immaculate Conception. In order to manifest their great love for Our Lady of Fatima, the people wished to celebrate it with great pomp and grandeur, and a great procession with the statue of Our Lady of Fatima was organized, which began at Fatima at the Cova de Iria where She appeared to the three children, and ended at the Church of Our Lady of Fatima in Lisbon, 70 miles away. A certain Fr Oliveira who witnessed firsthand the miracle of the doves, gives us an eyewitness account:

"It began in a town called Bombazral, a short time after the statue had left Fatima. As part of the ceremony in that particular town, with the streets filled, people were singing hymns to Our Lady and pressing to be near the statue, someone freed four white doves. The greater part of the crowd hardly noticed it. After flying off into the air, three of the doves ... instead of flying from the great crowd to some roof-top ... made several evolutions over the statue, and then suddenly, to the amazement of all who saw them, plummeted downwards, and alighted at Our Lady's feet!

This was only the beginning. During the days that followed, amidst ever changing crowds, moving from one town to another, night and day for almost two whole weeks, the doves did not leave the statue. They remained there at the very base of the statue, as though vying one with the other actually to stand on Our Lady's feet. Yet bands played, people shouted, the bier on which the statue was mounted moved and swayed, rockets exploded at night and cascaded fire, while giant searchlights burned at them. They were constantly buffeted by flowers tossed to the statue from the surging crowds.

"But they did not fly. They blinked, shook off flowers that hit them, occasionally stretched their wings to keep balance. But they remained there at her feet during the entire two-week journey. They refused food or drink.


12 O Lady of Fatima Hail! - Sr Noel Theresa Furtado, FHIC

posted May 11, 2017, 10:17 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated May 11, 2017, 10:17 AM ]

"My Heart shall be your Refuge and the Way that will lead you to God.” On May 13, 2017, we will be celebrating 100 years since Our Lady appeared to the three children - Lucia, Francisco and Jacinta in Cova da Iria at Fatima, Portugal. We honour the Lady who is clothed with the Sun, with the Moon at her feet, who wears on her head a crown of Stars (Rev 12:1). A Lady so dressed was the “great sign which appeared in the sky.” Our Lady, from the very beginning, directs our eyes heavenward to where she lives with her Son, where we also shall live with them for all eternity.

During the apparitions from May 13 to October 13, 1917, our Blessed Mother gave the little children a vision of Heaven, Purgatory and Hell. She told them that more people go to hell for sins of the flesh, than for any other reason. She told them to maintain their own purity and innocence, and spread that commitment to purity and modesty. Our Lady prophesied that many fashions would be introduced which would lead to sins of the flesh. Modesty in dress, especially at Mass in our churches, is something beautiful. It inspires a way of life which makes it possible to resist the allurements of Fashion. When we ponder the types of agony that Jesus endured, He was scourged 121 times. His whole body was covered with wounds. The Fathers of the Church believe that it was in reparation for the sins of the flesh. A Catholic Bishop in South India has urged young girls to avoid wearing outfits shorter than knee length in the church. There is a proper dress code to be followed by women even in the Vatican. “Our Lady of Fatima’s purpose is to call the world back to conversion, prayer and the Sacraments.” (Pope Benedict XVI)

Mother Mary says, “Remain under my loving grace and care by praying the Rosary daily.” Dear Friends, continue to pray your Family Rosary daily, 15 minutes before dinner. Please don’t rush or drag, so that your children enjoy praying together, and if possible, end with a hymn to Mary, so that you become a witness to your neighbours and passersby. In the words of Mother Mary at Fatima: “Pray the Rosary every day. Practise the gift of the Five First Saturdays. Give your petitions and have recourse in life to me, for I take all to Him. Remember, in praying the Rosary, all enemies are defeated, all petitions answered and in each word, you are drawn deeper into the Mysteries. I tell you that those who persevere shall be saved.” The Rosary, white and gold, we take from thy Virgin hand, a pledge of the power of God, to heal and strengthen our land!


13 Being Catholic, Being Universal - Brian Lobo

posted May 11, 2017, 8:20 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated May 11, 2017, 8:20 AM ]

Among the last set of guidelines given to His disciples, Jesus said, “Go out to the whole world and proclaim the Good News.” (Mk 16:15) This mandate was given to a handful of men and women who didn’t suffer any minority complex in a world that was steeped in all kinds of religions and practices.

With great daring, St Thomas came to our beautiful country to spread the Good News in the year 52 AD. He landed in modern-day North Paravur and Kodungalloor in Kerala state. “It was his mission to espouse India to the One-Begotten. The merchant is blessed for having so great a treasure. Edessa thus became the blessed city by possessing the greatest pearl India could yield,” says St Ephrem, the 4th century hymnographer (composer of hymns).

In a similar way, the other apostles went out to faraway lands to spread the message of Christ. They were always a minority. They did not water down their Faith. They were martyrs for the Faith, because they refused to compromise, and held steadfast in the Faith.

One Way

What could drive a man to die for his Faith? It is the promise that Jesus makes to each one of us: “I am the Way and the Truth and the Life” (John 14:6). To believe in this promise, I must first believe that the author of this sacred text was inspired by the Holy Spirit to write exactly what God intended to be written. The Bible is not a composition of poetic verses strung together into a book. I am not at liberty to copy and paste my favourite quotations from various authors into the Bible.


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