Issues Vol. 168‎ > ‎

Vol. 168 No. 37 - September 16 - September 22, 2017


01 Cover

posted Sep 14, 2017, 12:18 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Sep 14, 2017, 2:25 AM ]


03 Index

posted Sep 14, 2017, 12:17 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Sep 14, 2017, 12:17 AM ]


04 Engagements

posted Sep 14, 2017, 12:16 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Sep 14, 2017, 12:16 AM ]


05 Editorial - Reconciler of all Things in Christ

posted Sep 14, 2017, 12:10 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Sep 14, 2017, 2:26 AM ]

September 16, 2017 marks the Vicennial or China Anniversary of the Episcopal ordination of His Eminence Oswald Cardinal Gracias, the Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Bombay. And I could not let this opportunity pass by without sharing with you certain qualities of this eminent personality who has touched the lives of so many in our Archdiocese, in our country and in the Universal Church during the past 47 years of his priesthood and twenty years of his episcopate.

Cardinal Oswald Gracias is the kindest and the most tender-hearted person that I have met so far in my life. He is not capable of hurting a fly. He is approachable, amicable and kind-hearted. Although he is so busy with work piled high on his table and a very busy and tight schedule, he still finds time to meet people and charm them with his disarming smile. A man for all seasons, and full of life and fun! One never knows when he is pulling your leg, but a gentleman to the core; a person quick to forgive and a great reconciler of people with his calm approach.

Cardinal Ossie, as he is lovingly called, was one of our favourite professors when he was teaching us Canon Law at Goregaon Seminary, as well as at St Peter's Pontifical Seminary. He was so well liked and loved that one of the professors at St Peter's, Bangalore, told me that he hoped he could be like "the genial Bishop Oswald" – this was way back in the year 1998, when he was still the Auxiliary Bishop of Bombay. The students loved his classes because he made everyone feel special. Even when a student gave a wrong answer, he somehow made him feel that his answer was 'almost' correct. He always found some goodness even in the worst of persons, which he continues to do even today. He is one of the finest teachers who made even the least of us feel great, and is the most sought-after canonists of our times. He is also an excellent orator and preacher, choosing his words carefully to convey the right meaning; it is always a pleasure listening to him.

Cardinal Oswald Gracias did his B.A in Sociology and Political Science, holds a doctorate degree in Canon Law from the Pontifical Urban University in Rome and a diploma in jurisprudence from the Gregorian University in Rome. After he was ordained priest by His Eminence Valerian Cardinal Gracias on December 20, 1970, he worked for the Diocese of Jamshedpur as Chancellor and Secretary till May 1976. He then returned to the Archdiocese of Bombay, and worked as an Assistant Priest at Sacred Heart Church, Santa Cruz. He was appointed as Notary in the year 1977, and since then he has held various offices: as Secretary to the Archbishop of Bombay; Chancellor; Judicial Vicar; President of the Canon Law Society of India; Consultor of the CBCI Doctrinal Committee; Consultor of the CCBI Committee for Interpretation of Legistative Texts; Consultor of the Pontifical Council for the Interpretation of Legislative Texts, Rome; Auxiliary Bishop of Bombay; Chairman of the CCBI Commission for Canon Law and other Legislative Texts; Secretary General of the CBCI; Archbishop of Agra; President of the CCBI as well as CBCI; Archbishop of Bombay; President of the FABC; created Cardinal on November 24, 2007; is currently one of the members of the Council of Cardinal Advisers (C-9) appointed by Pope Francis to help him in governing the Catholic Church and reforming its central administration; and was recently appointed as Advocate of the Roman Rota.

In spite of being such a brilliant, accomplished and towering personality, Oswald Cardinal Gracias is a humble and simple person whom any one can approach and go away with a God-experience. Congratulations, Cardinal Oswald Gracias! May God give you good health, and may he continue to be with you and to bless you in all that you are and in all that you do!

Bishop Dominic Savio Fernandes, Auxiliary Bishop of Bombay

06 A Friend, A Brother, A Guide - Bishop Theodore Mascarenhas SFX

posted Sep 14, 2017, 12:08 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Sep 14, 2017, 12:09 AM ]

It is indeed with joy and happiness that we celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the Episcopal Ordination of our beloved Cardinal Oswald Gracias.

While congratulations are due and praises can be galore, I am writing to pay him a personal tribute of my own warmth, affection and love for him.

O. Henry, in Heart of the West writes, "No Friendship is an accident." And looking back at my own relationship with this wonderful affable man, I could say the same. I met Cardinal Oswald, some 17 years ago, as the then Archbishop of Agra, while he was visiting Rome. A simple man, down to earth, easy to interact with, I was immediately drawn towards him. From then on, through a series of interactions, I was more and more endeared to this amiable person.

Our bonds grew stronger when he was appointed the Apostolic Visitator for my Institute - the Society of the Missionaries of St Francis Xavier. The Society had been suffering a split for over 28 years, and while many people had given up on the rift ever being healed, Most Rev. Gracias, as the Archbishop of Agra, and later Archbishop of Bombay, continued in the pursuit of reconciliation among the members. Nearly three years of tireless labour, meeting every member of the Society, he drew the sides together to finally celebrate a complete reconciliation. What stood out was the calm demeanour, the grit and determination of a Reconciliator, who with his ever smiling face and patient conduct, managed to bring the antagonistic parties together.

My own relationship with Archbishop Ossie, as we fondly call him, began on a stormy note, with both of us disagreeing in principle on various issues of the reconciliation. But the capacity to agree to disagree on some issues and to find common ground on others, finally made us great friends.

There is much I could write about this versatile man. His being created a Cardinal brought great joy to our hearts and to the country, but soon after, he was struck by a life-threatening illness. I was in India, teaching in our Seminary during my one month's leave from the Vatican, and he was in Rome, from where he called me late in the night (in India) to tell me about his sickness. Despite the sadness I felt, I still feel honoured that I was among the very few to whom he immediately disclosed the affliction that had come upon him. The reason I am mentioning this is because the way he spoke about it reveals another powerful aspect of his character.

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07 A Diligent and Faithful Steward of the Lord - Msgr Joseph Chinnayyan

posted Sep 14, 2017, 12:05 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Sep 14, 2017, 12:05 AM ]

It is indeed a matter of great joy to learn that His Eminence Cardinal Oswald Gracias is completing 20 years in the service of the Lord as a Bishop on September 16, 2017. I join with thousands of people of the Archdiocese of Bombay and numerous people of all walks of life, belonging to several parts of India and abroad, in felicitating Cardinal Oswald Gracias and in thanking the Lord for adorning this chosen shepherd with special charisms and rare gifts for the good of the Church and of the society at large.

The recent history of the Church in India is closely linked with the lineage of two pairs of ecclesiastical dignitaries: Cardinal Valerian Gracias to Cardinal Oswald Gracias; and from Cardinal Joseph Parekattil to Cardinal Baselios Cleemis. A rare combination and a marvellous blending!

I have had the rare opportunity to follow closely and associate rather intimately with Cardinal Oswald Gracias for the last 30 years, as a Member of Canon Law Society of India, of which Cardinal Oswald Gracias is the Founder President and supremo, as Secretary of the CCBI Commission for Canon Law and other Legislative Texts, of which His Eminence was the Chairman and as Deputy Secretary General of CBCI, of which Cardinal Oswald was President in the first part of my assignment.

Cardinal Oswald Gracias, according to my perception, is a perfect gentleman, an accomplished intellectual, especially in the field of Law and Church Discipline, an exceptionally gifted organiser and planner, a thinker and an eloquent communicator and speaker, an able administrator and a loving and caring pastor. But if one were to ask me what would be the most outstanding and attractive trait in this versatile genius, I would say that it is the way Cardinal Oswald Gracias receives each person, deals with him and relates with him. No matter who you are, your status or position, your background or accomplishment, your language or religion, you will be treated with respect, love and compassion, and that is the one rare quality in Cardinal Oswald Gracias that attracts many towards him and leaves a lasting impression on those who come in contact with this Prince of the Church.

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08 A gift to the Church - Joaquim Reis

posted Sep 14, 2017, 12:02 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Sep 14, 2017, 12:02 AM ]

It is a moment of joy and happiness to celebrate the 20th Year of Episcopacy of our much loved Archbishop, Oswald Cardinal Gracias. For me, it is a rare privilege to share my thoughts about this brilliant, spiritual and enthusiastic Cardinal. To begin with, I give thanks and praise to the Almighty for gifting the Archdiocese of Bombay with a loving and caring shepherd, and also for preserving his health.

Our Cardinal is one of those rarest instances where a brilliant mind, a magnanimous heart and a unique wisdom converge in a single person. And when the convergence of these qualities is accepted (as he does) as coming from God and made available to others, the result is that we, the faithful, as well as the priests of the Archdiocese of Bombay, become the beneficiaries of a gift beyond comparison. Paradoxically, the fact that Cardinal Oswald is often out of the Archdiocese is a blessing in disguise, for his personal enrichment through his many capacities as personal adviser to the Holy Father, as well as his many other functions all over the world, make the gift that he is to us even more precious. I would like to particularly mention his capacity to quickly grasp complex problems and situations affecting persons, and his ability to approach and solve or respond to them, blending sharpness of vision, exquisite tact, and even personal tenderness towards the individuals.

The greatness of this man lies in his simplicity and humility of spirit. There is about him an aura which radiates goodness, and it is precisely this that drew me to him at our very first meeting about four decades ago, when he was Chancellor, and we were discussing Marriage Laws. I was filled with respect and admiration for him, as I realised that he had immediately grasped the whole issue put forth to him, and was able to take a quick decision. From then on, I always looked forward to working together with him on several issues, as every time I met him, I was more enriched.

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09 Celebrating 20 years of his Episcopacy - Nirmala Carvalho

posted Sep 14, 2017, 12:00 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Sep 14, 2017, 12:01 AM ]

As Cardinal Oswald Gracias marks the 20th anniversary of his Episcopal Ordination on September 16, the Church in Mumbai and India celebrates the prophetic voice of the ‘shepherd’ who has guided the Church in India with Faith and Conviction, but above all, could read the signs of the times and respond with courage.

Appointed an Auxiliary Bishop of Bombay in 1997, Cardinal Gracias has served the Archdiocese and the Church with singular distinction and a razor-sharp intellect. Hard working and a charming prelate, Cardinal Gracias is not just an ecclesiastical star, but in our pluralistic Indian society, is courted by religious leaders of other denominations and faiths, and also by politicians of every stripe.

In the past twenty years, since he was ordained Bishop, Indian society has undergone numerous social, economic and political changes, and Cardinal Gracias has established himself as a key voice, never succumbing to pressures - both subtle and overt. He has always stood firm, defending the Faith and the Church.

Cardinal Gracias continues to be an ardent advocate for Justice and Peace, for the poor and the marginalised, the unborn and the vulnerable and protection of the environment. He remains an outspoken defender of marriage and the family, and is attentive to what is really happening in the lives of his faithful and also people of other faiths.

Cardinal Oswald suffers the pain of those who are excluded - the sick, those with special needs and the elderly. During the Jubilee of Mercy, on his visit to Shanti Avedna, Cardinal Oswald said of the terminally ill, “They are our benefactors! Reaching out to those in need, we will feel the joy and peace of the Lord Jesus Christ - this is a grace for me." Thus in his own person, Cardinal Oswald counters Pope Francis’s powerful metaphor of a “throw-away culture”.

Despite his hectic work and travel schedules, and of course, being Archbishop of Bombay, His Eminence finds time to visit the sick priests and spend time with people in distress and the disadvantaged. Time is a luxury that our Cardinal does not have, yet the day after Christmas, bearing gifts in his hands, Cardinal Oswald visits the Cloistered Carmelite Nuns, “I come to visit you, as you cannot come to see me,” he joyfully tells them.

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11 Significance of O.L. of Sorrows - Professor Mark Miravalle

posted Sep 13, 2017, 11:59 PM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Sep 13, 2017, 11:59 PM ]

The liturgical feast of Our Lady of Sorrows is a day with as much relevance as ever, says a noted Mariologist.

In the memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows, we commemorate the unparalleled human sufferings experienced by the Virgin Mary in her unique role with Jesus in the mission of redemption. In Salvifici Doloris, No. 25, Pope John Paul II describes these shared sufferings by Christ’s Mother, particularly during their climactic moments at the foot of the cross, as reaching an “intensity which can hardly be imagined from a human point of view, but which was mysteriously and supernaturally fruitful for the redemption of the world.”

Historically, this feast can be traced to the 15th century and was fostered by popular devotion to the seven ‘dolours’, or sorrows, of Mary, particularly among the Flemish faithful, and through its promulgation by the Servites of Mary. The feasts of the Sorrows of Mary were liturgically celebrated on September 15, which commemorates Mary’s entire life of co-redemptive suffering, which is highlighted in seven key scriptural events.

The specific number of sorrows, originally varied, became fixed to these seven events: 1) Simeon’s prophecy in the Temple; 2) the flight of the Holy Family into Egypt; 3) the loss of the Christ child in the Temple; 4) the encounter of Mary with Jesus on the Way of the Cross; 5) the Crucifixion and Death of Jesus; 6) the taking down of Jesus from the Cross; 7) the burial of Jesus in the tomb.

The Church calls us to ponder the sufferings of the Sorrowful Mother to more deeply appreciate the sacrifice the Virgin of Nazareth endured in order to participate with and under Jesus in humanity’s redemption, and through this suffering, to become the spiritual mother of all peoples, as designated by her crucified Son: “‘Woman, behold your son!’ … ‘Behold, your mother!'” 

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12 The Legendary PADRE PIO - Ian Pinto SDB

posted Sep 13, 2017, 11:57 PM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Sep 13, 2017, 11:57 PM ]

The title of my article may surprise you. Many of you may perhaps have heard something about Padre Pio. For me, he is truly a legend. He lived and died not too long ago, and his influence and fame has spread across the world. Perhaps, here in India, we are unaware of the sanctity of this man. If you don’t know much about him, don’t fret. Sit back and let me tell you the earth-shaking story of Padre Pio.

Francesco Forgione was born on May 25, 1887 in a family of peasant farmers. He enjoyed a happy childhood and was nurtured in the faith. His village celebrated the feast days of many saints, and the people were very devout. The Forgione family was committed to their practices of piety. They would attend daily mass, pray the Rosary nightly and abstain from meat for three days a week in honour of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Despite their simple background, his parents and grandparents memorised the scriptures and regaled the children with stories from the Bible. In such an environment, Francesco advanced steadily in his spiritual life. As a young boy of five, he offered his life to God. He testified to having the ability to see guardian angels, and to talk with Jesus and Mary, even while he was very young.

At the age of 15, he joined the Capuchin monks, and was noted for his exemplary life and holiness. His companions, and even his superiors, saw in him something supernatural. On joining the Capuchin order, he took on the name ‘Pio’, in honour of Pope Pius I, whose relic was preserved in his native parish church. On August 10, 1893, he was ordained a priest, and from here onwards, his life was one big offering for the salvation of souls. From here onwards, he was called “Padre Pio” which simply means “Father Pio”. In a letter to his spiritual director, Fr Benedetto, he requested permission to offer himself as a sacrifice to God.

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