Issues Vol. 168‎ > ‎

Vol. 168 No. 41 - October 14 - October 20, 2017

01 Cover

posted Oct 12, 2017, 8:56 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Oct 13, 2017, 12:47 AM ]


03 Index

posted Oct 12, 2017, 8:55 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Oct 12, 2017, 8:56 AM ]


04 Engagements

posted Oct 12, 2017, 8:54 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Oct 12, 2017, 8:55 AM ]


06 Message for World Mission Sunday - Pope Francis

posted Oct 12, 2017, 8:47 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Oct 13, 2017, 12:49 AM ]

- Pope Francis

Dear Brothers and Sisters, once again this year, World Mission Day gathers us around the person of Jesus, "the very first and greatest evangeliser" (Paul VI, Evangelii Nuntiandi, 7), who continually sends us forth to proclaim the Gospel of the love of God the Father in the power of the Holy Spirit. This Day invites us to reflect anew on the mission at the heart of the Christian faith. The Church is missionary by nature; otherwise, she would no longer be the Church of Christ, but one group among many others that soon end up serving their purpose and passing away. So it is important to ask ourselves certain questions about our Christian identity and our responsibility as believers in a world marked by confusion, disappointment and frustration, and torn by numerous fratricidal wars that unjustly target the innocent. What is the basis of our mission? What is the heart of our mission? What are the essential approaches we need to take in carrying out our mission?

Mission and the transformative power of the Gospel of Christ, the Way, the Truth and the Life


1. The Church's mission, directed to all men and women of good will, is based on the transformative power of the Gospel. The Gospel is Good News filled with contagious joy, for it contains and offers new life: the life of the Risen Christ who, by bestowing His life-giving Spirit, becomes for us the Way, the Truth and the Life (cf. Jn 14:6). He is the Way who invites us to follow Him with confidence and courage. In following Jesus as our Way, we experience Truth and receive His Life, which is fullness of communion with God the Father in the power of the Holy Spirit. That life sets us free from every kind of selfishness, and is a source of creativity in love.

2. God the Father desires this existential transformation of His sons and daughters, a transformation that finds expression in worship in spirit and truth (cf. Jn 4:23-24), through a life guided by the Holy Spirit in imitation of Jesus the Son to the glory of God the Father. "The glory of God is the living man." (Irenaeus) The preaching of the Gospel thus becomes a vital and effective word that accomplishes what it proclaims (cf. Is 55:10-11): Jesus Christ, who constantly takes flesh in every human situation (cf. Jn 1:14).

Mission and the kairos of Christ


3. The Church's mission, then, is not to spread a religious ideology, much less to propose a lofty ethical teaching. Many movements throughout the world inspire high ideals or ways to live a meaningful life. Through the mission of the Church, Jesus Christ Himself continues to evangelise and act; her mission thus makes present in history the kairos, the favourable time of salvation. Through the proclamation of the Gospel, the risen Jesus becomes our contemporary, so that those who welcome Him with faith and love can experience the transforming power of His Spirit, who makes humanity and Creation fruitful, even as the rain does with the earth. "His resurrection is not an event of the past; it contains a vital power which has permeated this world. Where all seems to be dead, signs of the resurrection suddenly spring up. It is an irresistible force." (Evangelii Gaudium, 276)

4. Let us never forget that "being Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a Person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction." (Benedict XVI, Deus Caritas Est, 1) The Gospel is a Person who continually offers Himself and constantly invites those who receive Him with humble and religious faith to share His life by an effective participation in the paschal mystery of His death and resurrection. Through Baptism, the Gospel becomes a source of new life, freed of the dominion of sin, enlightened and transformed by the Holy Spirit. Through Confirmation, it becomes a fortifying anointing that, through the same Spirit, points out new ways and strategies for witness and accompaniment. Through the Eucharist, it becomes food for new life, a "medicine of immortality." (Ignatius of Antioch, Ad Ephesios, 20, 2)

5. The world vitally needs the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Through the Church, Christ continues His mission as the Good Samaritan, caring for the bleeding wounds of humanity, and as Good Shepherd, constantly seeking out those who wander along winding paths that lead nowhere. Thank God, many significant experiences continue to testify to the transformative power of the Gospel. I think of the gesture of the Dinka student who, at the cost of his own life, protected a student from the enemy Nuer tribe who was about to be killed. I think of that Eucharistic celebration in Kitgum, in northern Uganda, where, after brutal massacres by a rebel group, a missionary made the people repeat the words of Jesus on the Cross: "My God, My God, why have you abandoned me?" as an expression of the desperate cry of the brothers and sisters of the crucified Lord. For the people, that celebration was an immense source of consolation and courage. We can think too of countless testimonies to how the Gospel helps to overcome narrowness, conflict, racism, tribalism, and to promote everywhere, and among all, reconciliation, fraternity and sharing.

Mission inspires a spirituality of constant exodus, pilgrimage and exile

6. The Church's mission is enlivened by a spirituality of constant exodus. We are challenged "to go forth from our own comfort zone in order to reach all the peripheries in need of the light of the Gospel." (Evangelii Gaudium, 20) The Church's mission impels us to undertake a constant pilgrimage across the various deserts of life, through the different experiences of hunger and thirst for truth and justice. The Church's mission inspires a sense of constant exile, to make us aware, in our thirst for the infinite, that we are exiles journeying towards our final home, poised between the "already" and "not yet" of the Kingdom of Heaven.

7. Mission reminds the Church that she is not an end unto herself, but a humble instrument and mediation of the Kingdom. A self-referential Church, one content with earthly success, is not the Church of Christ, His crucified and glorious Body. That is why we should prefer "a Church which is bruised, hurting and dirty, because it has been out on the streets, rather than a Church which is unhealthy from being confined and from clinging to its own security." (ibid., 49)

Young people - the hope of mission

8. Young people are the hope of mission. The person of Jesus Christ and the Good News He proclaimed continue to attract many young people. They seek ways to put themselves with courage and enthusiasm at the service of humanity. "There are many young people who offer their solidarity in the face of the evils of the world and engage in various forms of militancy and volunteering... How beautiful it is to see that young people are 'street preachers', joyfully bringing Jesus to every street, every town square and every corner of the earth!" (ibid., 106) The next Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, to be held in 2018 on the theme 'Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment', represents a providential opportunity to involve young people in the shared missionary responsibility that needs their rich imagination and creativity.

The service of the Pontifical Mission Societies

9. The Pontifical Mission Societies are a precious means of awakening in every Christian community a desire to reach beyond its own confines and security in order to proclaim the Gospel to all. In them, thanks to a profound missionary spirituality, nurtured daily, and a constant commitment to raising missionary awareness and enthusiasm, young people, adults, families, priests, bishops and men and women religious work to develop a missionary heart in everyone. World Mission Day, promoted by the Society of the Propagation of the Faith, is a good opportunity for enabling the missionary heart of Christian communities to join in prayer, testimony of life and communion of goods, in responding to the vast and pressing needs of evangelisation.

Carrying out our mission with Mary, Mother of Evangelisation

10. Dear brothers and sisters, in carrying out our mission, let us draw inspiration from Mary, Mother of Evangelisation. Moved by the Spirit, she welcomed the Word of life in the depths of her humble faith. May the Virgin Mother help us to say our own "yes", conscious of the urgent need to make the Good News of Jesus resound in our time. May she obtain for us renewed zeal in bringing to everyone the Good News of the life that is victorious over death. May she intercede for us so that we can acquire the holy audacity needed to discover new ways to bring the gift of salvation to every man and woman.

Pope Francis' Message for World Mission Sunday 2017, which is focused on Mission at the Heart of the Christian Faith.

08 Vatican II and the ‘New Evangelisation’ - Dominic Robinson SJ

posted Oct 12, 2017, 8:44 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Oct 12, 2017, 8:44 AM ]

The ecclesial understanding of evangelisation conceived of by the Second Vatican Council was confirmed and crystallised in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, published twenty years ago. Vatican II was the great Council of the Church which proclaimed the need for the faith to be communicated anew to the modern world. This was a call to renew our Catholic life and to evangelise beyond the confines of the Catholic community. Lumen Gentium sets the groundwork for this by laying out the Church's mission: 'that, by proclaiming the Gospel to every creature… it desires now to unfold more fully to the faithful of the Church and to the whole world its own inner nature and universal mission... The present-day conditions of the world add greater urgency to this work of the Church so that all men, joined more closely today by various social, technical and cultural ties, might also attain fuller unity in Christ' (LG §1). For the Council, the Church is of her very nature missionary, shining the light of the Gospel of Christ to all. In the modern world, this will necessitate dialogue with ways of living and thinking prevalent in societies today.

A whole document is devoted to this evangelising work: Gaudium et Spes - the Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World. In particular, the Church dedicates herself to dialogue with a culture marked by spiritual uneasiness, changes in the social order and shifts in attitudes to morality and religion. If dialogue with modernity is one side of the coin, for Gaudium et Spes, the other side of the coin is the unalterable content of evangelisation: '…while helping the world and receiving many benefits from it, the Church has a single intention: that God's kingdom may come, and that the salvation of the whole human race may come to pass... For God's Word, by whom all things were made, was Himself made flesh, so that, as perfect man, He might save all men and sum up all things in Himself.' (GS §45) In other words, Jesus Christ is the one whom the Church exists to show to the world. He is primary. The means of evangelisation are secondary. 

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09 'Amoris Laetitia' challenges the church - Michael Sean Winters

posted Oct 12, 2017, 8:42 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Oct 12, 2017, 8:42 AM ]

The quote of Pope Francis in his apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia (Paragraph 311) states: "At times, we find it hard to make room for God's unconditional love in our pastoral activity. We put so many conditions on mercy, that we empty it of its concrete meaning and real significance. That is the worst way of watering down the Gospel." He thus reminds the whole Church that this great enterprise of evangelisation and theology and pastoral accompaniment must flow from the root of the Christian Gospel, and not let any theological or cultural or canonical encrustations frustrate the Church from its primary mission of announcing that Gospel, most especially to the poor and the marginalised, the Gospel of Mercy.

From start to finish, Pope Francis challenges the Church to do more than simply repeat the Catechism and harangue the fallen. Some will complain that he did not "change the rules", but Pope Francis is calling for something more radical than changing from rigid, conservative rules to lax, liberal ones. He explains: neither the Synod nor this Exhortation could be expected to provide a new set of general rules, canonical in nature and applicable to all cases. What is possible is simply a renewed encouragement to undertake a responsible personal and pastoral discernment of particular cases, one which would recognise that, since 'the degree of responsibility is not equal in all cases,' the consequences or effects of a rule need not necessarily always be the same." Pope Francis is proposing a model of Church leadership and pastoral activity that is modelled on Jesus, who was not afraid to reach out to sinners and the lost, to engage them as people in the often fraught circumstances of their lives. Pope Francis is calling the Church to a deeper conversion than a mere change in the rules.

He writes, "We have long thought that simply by stressing doctrinal, bioethical and moral issues, without encouraging openness to grace, we were providing sufficient support to families, strengthening the marriage bond and giving meaning to marital life. We find it difficult to present marriage more as a dynamic path to personal development and fulfilment than as a lifelong burden. We also find it hard to make room for the consciences of the faithful, who very often respond as best they can to the Gospel amid their limitations, and are capable of carrying out their own discernment in complex situations. We have been called to form consciences, not to replace them."

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11 Mission Livelihood - Fr Elias D'Cunha

posted Oct 12, 2017, 8:40 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Oct 12, 2017, 8:40 AM ]

I have been working in Raigad Missions which is a part of the Archdiocese of Bombay for the last three years. God has blessed the Raigad Mission with priests like Frs. Carlton Kinny, Richard Quadros, Cosmos Ekka, Calistus Fernandes and so many dedicated sisters. Over 25 years, the work of development is going on. The Church's presence is felt very strongly, and 18 centres of the Raigad Mission are doing the works of God non-stop, without counting the cost. The main focus of the church is to uplift the Kathkari tribe, which is the most backward as well as a very poor tribe of our motherland.

All the parishes of the Archdiocese must feel that they are part of the Raigad Missions. The call of reaching out to the poorest of the poor, given by Jesus, is for all of us. Though we have five boardings for the boys and girls, there is much to be done. Yes, education is the most important part of upliftment, but at the same time, we must think about other methods. The real problem of the Kathkari tribe is migration, and because of this, their children do not get proper education.

In order to stop the migration, the Church should plan some different activities for the people. With my limited experience, I am going to suggest a few methods, but they cannot be implemented without the help of the Archdiocese.

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12 The Story of the Rosary - II - Dr Renu Rita Silvano, OCV, S.T.D.

posted Oct 12, 2017, 8:38 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Oct 12, 2017, 8:38 AM ]

The turbulent era of the 1960s and 70s caused a major decrease in Marian devotion throughout the Church. In spite of the dogmatic definition of the Assumption of Mary in 1950 and the Marian Year in 1954, interest in Our Lady, and especially the Rosary, went into a major fall. However, contrary to the spirit of the times, (St) Pope John XXIII (1881-1963) made many beautiful statements about the Rosary. He desired it to be prayed by families, and even asked people to pray the Rosary for the fruitfulness of the Second Vatican Council.

Unfortunately, Vatican II did not specifically mention the Rosary, so many post-conciliar Catholics incorrectly assumed that the Church no longer desired to promote the Rosary. The laity was told that the Church was no longer to be described as the Church Militant, at war with the forces of darkness; therefore the Rosary was no longer needed. The classical theological works on Mary, including those devoted to the topic of the Rosary, began to collect dust on library bookshelves in Catholic institutions of higher learning until the 1980s. During this time, some men who were studying in seminaries were even discouraged from praying the Rosary.

St Pope John XXIII had anticipated the dangers that lay ahead for priests, and wrote a prophetic 1959 encyclical letter on St John Vianney, the patron saint of priests. He alerted priests to the danger of losing spiritual power by neglecting their prayer life, an important part of which ought to be the Rosary. He wrote: "This constant union with God [through prayer] is best achieved and preserved through the various practices of priestly piety; many of the more important of them, such as daily meditation, visits to the Blessed Sacrament, recitation of the Rosary, careful examination of conscience, the Church, in her wise and provident regulations, has made obligatory for priests." (Sacerdotti Nostri Primordia, 42-43)

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14 CBCI award women for meritorious service - Purushottam Nayak

posted Oct 12, 2017, 8:37 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Oct 12, 2017, 8:37 AM ]

Anna Kujur, who fights against human trafficking in Odisha, eastern India, was among the first awardees for meritorious service given by the Women's Commission of the CBCI.

Ten lay women and a Catholic nun received the awards during the national meeting of the Commission held at the Xavier University in Bhubaneswar, capital of Odisha.

As many as 45 women from 14 regions of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India (CBCI) attended the September 30-October 4 meet that addressed the theme, 'Role of Women in making the family'.

Sr Talisha Nadukudiyil, national secretary of the CBCI Women's Commission, said the awardees include three Catholic women who exemplified the Commission's mission in eliminating gender discrimination and upholding women empowerment.

"The purpose of the award is to identify and felicitate the service, achievements and meritorious contributions of Catholic women in the Church and society," the member of the Sisters of the Destitute explained.

The Women's Commission also chose one women from each region for the 'best leader' award.

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15 Youth Page

posted Oct 12, 2017, 8:35 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Oct 12, 2017, 8:35 AM ]

O.D.B.S,

The name sounds like a one day Cricket match, and indeed it was a day grilling and chilling with the Bible. One Day Bible Study for the youth between the age group of 17-30 was organised by the Bible Committee for the first time. Covering the whole Bible from Genesis to Revelation in one day seemed impossible, but the feat was pulled off by two personalities i.e. Fr Walter D'Souza and Fr K. T. Emmanuel.

The event was attended by around 200 youth from different parishes of the Archdiocese. It began with registrations, when a small box was provided by the organisers to every youth. We were perplexed as to why an empty box was provided to each youth, but later it was revealed that the box was to be a question bank that had to be filled with the questions that arose in our minds, as the sessions proceeded.

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Thane Deanery Youth Day

On August 20, 2017, the parishes of Thane celebrated Deanery Youth Day. The parishes comprised St Lawrence - Wagle Estate, Our Lady of Mercy - Pokhran, Our Lady of Fatima - Majiwada, St Anthony of Padua - Kalwa and St John the Baptist - Thane. The youth representatives of each parish took up roles to ensure the smooth functioning of the event; while one focused on registration, others focused on games, performances, catering, gifts, and set up, among other things that tend to go unnoticed. The event had a great response of about 230 youth who came together at St John the Baptist hall, Thane to have an evening to remember. The evening commenced by invoking God’s presence among us with some praise and worship. We then went in to a simple ice-breaker so everyone got to know each other. This was followed by a highly power-packed dance performance by the Majiwada parish. The very dynamic Fr Prashant Padu (who hails from our deanery) then conducted an interactive session for us on ‘Youth and Christian Vocations’.>>>

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