Issues Vol. 169‎ > ‎

Vol. 169 No. 01 • JAN 06 - 12, 2018

01 Cover

posted Jan 4, 2018, 8:02 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jan 4, 2018, 10:42 PM ]


03 Index

posted Jan 4, 2018, 8:01 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jan 4, 2018, 8:02 AM ]


04 Engagements

posted Jan 4, 2018, 7:59 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jan 4, 2018, 8:00 AM ]


05 Editorial - Mystery of Divine Manifestation - Fr Anthony Charanghat

posted Jan 4, 2018, 7:54 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jan 4, 2018, 10:43 PM ]

Epiphany has much to teach us about the mystery of Divine Manifestation as a deep personal spiritual encounter, which transforms the life of people, leading them deeper into prayer and a profound experience of metanoia. The Magi are the surprising seeing ones, guided to Jerusalem by their own drive to seek wisdom by nature’s partial revelation in the star that rises in the East. In that city they learn where they will find the child from the special revelation of God’s word and wisdom to Israel and are blessed for their relentless quest to joyfully gaze upon the newborn King of Israel.

The Magi were willing to take the risks and add to their scholarly wisdom the Hebrew Scriptures in their search for the royal child. St Paul reminds us the gentiles who believe in Jesus are in the same position as the Jewish people. In Christ, everyone can be sons or daughters of God. God has no cultural or national favourites. The key to union with God is faith in Jesus Christ. What a treasured encounter this must have been, to see the Lord of all the universe wrapped in swaddling clothes, laying in a feeding trough.

The Magi thrill our imagination and bring wonder and excitement to the faith-filled search for Jesus that is the focus of every disciple’s journey through life. Because of the depth of their experience, the Magi simply cannot be the same afterward. Therefore, instead of following their original plan of returning to Herod, they departed for their country by another way. This physical itinerary change expresses a deeper spiritual experience. They cannot be the same as they were before they encountered the Christ. The magi experience a metanoia.

Metanoia is a Greek word which literally means ‘a change of mind,’ and it expresses the transforming impact that an encounter with Jesus Christ should have in our lives. A metanoia involves a different way of seeing, which should then lead to a different way of acting. The Magi encounter Christ in worship, and they leave, physically and spiritually, in a different manner than they arrived.

The rarity of this Magi experience in the modern Christian life is due to our spiritual apathy and inertia of a way of life that works as a sedative numbing us to the need of God. How many of us have attended Mass, Sunday after Sunday, only to return to our lives by the same way, failing to put more effort into the spiritual life to change course. For too long, our own lack of metanoia has provided a roadblock hindering others from experiencing their own change of heart and mind.

The attractive signs for us this Christmas season are not the LED lights or colourful decorations but an awakening for an encounter with the light of His presence. The most attractive part is that hope is kindled for the rebirth of fellowship and faith - a seeking to rebuild our own lives, to reach out to asylum seekers and refugees and to heed the cry of the needy!

For unbelievers, the Epiphany reveals that God gives every person on earth a sign of the reality of His saving presence. For people of Faith, that Christ embrace is for everyone: shepherd and king, rich and poor, male and female, Jew and Gentile. He calls us to widen our embrace as wide as the embrace of the universal Church. For those who are drifting in their belief, however deep the night, His light is also there to guide us to that perfect light which is Jesus Christ.

This Epiphany, we ask that our encounter with the Lord may lead to a change of mind and heart within ourselves. People of goodwill, friends, neighbours, and family members are counting on the light that our life-transforming experience of Christ has brought us, to ignite that light into their lives!

06 Magi Model of Mediating Epiphanies - Rev. Ellie Barrington

posted Jan 4, 2018, 7:52 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jan 4, 2018, 7:52 AM ]

Matthew's Wise Ones, scanning the night skies for signs, keeping watch, like Luke's shepherds, came upon a star with a spiritual significance, having a cosmic perspective, when the sky was suddenly bright with a holy light, signifying the birthday of a great king. So they set out on a pilgrimage, following the Light to Truth in a distant land. Journeying across borders just to be in the Presence of this baby. They journeyed afar, just to pay homage to a holy one and praise God, revealing the Magi model of sharing a deep faith experience of Christ.

They were wise astrologers of other faiths. Yet, we find them on the Feast of the Epiphany, on their knees before a Hebrew Jewish babe. And they have come bearing only gifts. Come only to share in an awesome, cosmic moment. Unlike Herod, they are remarkably non-threatened by this Messiah, and their presence is utterly non-threatening. These were spiritual seekers, enlightened by their star journey to a new birth. Enlightened–so changed by this spiritual encounter with the Babe–that they returned home 'by another way.' Not converted, mind you, but led to a new insight into how God can work – even through a baby, in a distant land and a different culture. The Epiphany of the Magi is an interfaith epiphany. Jesus' birth was a God encounter that crossed religious boundaries. A shared meeting with Emmanuel – 'God with us', by any and every name.

One of the values of today's emerging Christianity is Deep Ecumenism. Most of you are familiar with the term 'ecumenical' in reference to the crossing of boundaries, and seeking of commonalities between Christian denominations. (Did you know that there are 20,000 Christian denominations?) Deep Ecumenism is the crossing of two boundaries separating different religions and spiritualities, to meet as equals and explore our common Christ. Connecting, to pay homage to the universal God experience of Emmanuel, underlying all religions.

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07 National Seminar on Post-500 Years of the Reformation - Ecumenical Imperative

posted Jan 4, 2018, 7:50 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jan 4, 2018, 7:51 AM ]

The Catholic Conference of Bishops of India (CCBI)'s Commission for Ecumenism held its National Seminar during the annual visit to India of Most Rev. Brian Farrell, Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity (PCPCU) on December 14-15, 2017 at Vimalagiri Pastoral Center, Kottayam. Bishop Farrell comes to India every December for the dialogue of the Roman Catholic Church with the Orthodox Malankara Jacobite Syrian Orthodox, and the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church.

This was also an occasion to reflect upon the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther's attempt to reform the Church, whose commemoration was just completed. CCBI Ecumenical Commission members Bishop Selvister Ponnumuthan of Punalur Diocese and Bishop M.D. Prakasam of Nellore Diocese were present for the Seminar, although its Chairperson, Archbishop Felix Anthony Machado of Vasai Diocese could not make it. From among the Regional Chairpersons of the Commission, Archbishop Anil Couto of Delhi Archdiocese and Bishop T. Joseph Raja Rao of Vijayawada Diocese attended. About 11 Regional Secretaries of Ecumenism, 10 Diocesan Secretaries, 8 Professors of Ecumenism and 20 special invitees, including the Major Superiors and Officials of the dioceses participated in the National Seminar.

The programme began on Dec. 14, 2017 with the introductory words and welcome by the Local Ordinary, Bishop Sebastian Thekethecheril of Vijayapuram Diocese. The opening prayer was led by Fr Dr Anthoniraj Thumma, Regional Secretary of Telugu Region, and the welcome address was delivered by Bishop Selvister Ponnumuthan. After the lighting of the lamp by the dignitaries, Bishop Brian Farrell gave the inaugural address, laying stress on purification of memories through forgiveness of each other. Differences between the Churches cannot be excuses to meet or work together, he underlined. The purpose of the Seminar and the Annual Report of the National Commission was offered by Fr Gilbert Aranha, National Secretary of CCBI Commission for Ecumenism. Archbishop Anil Couto, an expert in Ecumenical Studies, delivered the keynote address titled 'From Conflict to Communion' highlighting the ecumenical issues of post-500th year of Reformation.

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08 Pursuing Peace - Fr. Cedric Prakash SJ

posted Jan 4, 2018, 7:48 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jan 4, 2018, 7:49 AM ]

A new year has just dawned! To the hoots of sirens and the blast of trumpets, to firework displays and the singing of Auld Lang Syne, the world bade goodbye to 2017, and welcomed yet another year. As one looked back at the past year, there was certainly much to be thankful for. Our good God continued to rain down His blessings in abundance to all. Yes, tragedies and suffering continued to be the lot of many too. Sadly, many of the tragedies which affected millions across the globe, though referred to as 'natural' calamities, are in reality man-made, caused by greed, over-consumption, wanton destruction of the eco-system and over-exploitation of natural resources. Above all, war and violence continued to rule the roost; peace in 2017 remained as elusive as ever.

Come 2018, the world will continue to pursue peace. It will not be easy by any count. Despotic leaders, who seem to revel in war and violence, control a good part of the world today. They constantly search for the 'enemy' – very often far away from their own shores. The military-industrial complex has reaped rich profits (drenched in blood) in the recent past. Some economies thrive when wars continue elsewhere. Then there are those countries which continuously display an arrogance, doing what they want, aggravating violence and tension in other parts of the world, despite UN resolutions or the common understanding of most other countries.

It is therefore fitting that for the fifty-first time, the Catholic Church celebrates New Year Day as the 'World Day of Peace' with a universal call for substantial action in the pursuit of peace. This year, the message of Pope Francis is based on the theme: 'Migrants and Refugees: men and women in search of peace'. Given the challenges that most migrants and refugees face today, the message is not merely relevant; it is an urgent call to action. The message begins with the words, "Peace to all people and to all nations on earth! Peace, which the angels proclaimed to the shepherds on Christmas night, is a profound aspiration for everyone, for each individual and all peoples, and especially for those who most keenly suffer its absence." Pope Francis is making it very clear that his message is addressed to all, that peace is something we all long for, and above all, there are people in this world like migrants and refugees who are deprived of it.

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09 Feliz Cumpleaños - Fr John Rose SJ

posted Jan 4, 2018, 7:46 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jan 4, 2018, 7:47 AM ]

Querido Papa Francisco 

I had never heard of you before March 13, 2013, let alone the fact that before that, I had never seen your snap. I heard later that you were a papabile in the conclave after the death of Pope John Paul II, and not so considered after the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI. And the name Giorgio Bergoglio—I found it so difficult to pronounce. That is easy to do now, because almost every day, the bright and comforting light that comes from the Vatican contrasts so radically from what comes, say, out of Washington DC, and needless to say, like so many the world over, I have become your great fan, if not also a great devotee.

It did not take long for me to change perceptions of who you were as a person. It pleasantly jolted me that you chose to be called Francis, not the one of Xavier, but of Assisi, and I was so glad, because I am a lover of nature and have great concerns about ecology. In the milieu I now live in, I feel the need to lead a more simple and natural life, not to edify anybody, but to be, as they say, unencumbered by baggage. And there you go, away from the palatial papal apartments, carrying your own bag, to some room in the Vatican guest house to be its regular resident, your shoes bearing no Gucci or other fashion labels, your shoulders not bearing the ermine cape worn by previous pontiffs, your fisherman's ring not of gold, but of silver, and all this in a style not different from when you were the Archbishop in Buenos Aires. There too, you lived in a small apartment, and not in the Archbishop's palace in an elite section of the city, and you travelled around in public transport and cooked your own meals. The pectoral cross you wore as an Archbishop is the one you still wear as Pope.

It is rather striking that while you live in a way that is poor, there is both richness and practicality to what you advise, and your simplicity can never be mistaken for anything simplistic. From what is written about you in popular Catholic magazines, one could have expected your bearing to be draped with piety and crowned with a halo, but you have a robust look that seems to know what's really happening in the world, and you seem to face it like a tough guy, eyeball to eyeball, and be so much at ease and forthright in either the religious or secular spheres. I wonder how you manage the hounding media with such aplomb, since it is adept at spinning anything out of any utterance made.

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11 'MEDIATHON' - Breaking Records! - Aloma Carolina Pereira

posted Jan 4, 2018, 7:45 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jan 4, 2018, 7:45 AM ]

On a fine morning, the strains of Michael Jackson's, 'Heal the World' will always cause me to have an epiphany on making the world a better place. The radio cannot be 'written off ' in the contemporary world.

Although global events 'hit us between the eyes' from between pages of tabloids and magazines that are slipped through our doors, also choc-a-bloc with information on Investments, Discounts, Fashion, Real Estate, Sports, Education—the stimulation of the senses through lyrics, jingles and music is a sure go-getter!

What additionally endears us to TV, films and the above, are the magical Visuals, Marketing and Branding. They revitalise our curiosity, and convince us of their authenticity.

George Washington Carver said, "When you do the common things in life in an uncommon way, you will command the attention of the world!"

Whether we are in the confines of our home or place of work, the Internet, mails, fax, telephone have been omnipresent to give us constant wake-up calls.

AI (Artificial Intelligence) is a force to reckon with, as brand ambassadors, to perform surgeries, substitute for us in the realm of publishing, mass communication and other fields. A robot is welcome to pander to us hand-and-foot, but not as an indispensable entity.

Promises of BIG discounts/ freebies in restaurants, airplane fares, holiday destinations appeal to the consumer through oxymorons, puns and glossies. The 'SALEBRATION' is an ongoing effective ruse. Even a fortune-cookie can galvanise us into believing we can become millionaires overnight!

There is no age for gullibility:

When Hrithik Roshan endorses a fairness cream, many may deride and scoff, but others swallow his story 'hook, line and sinker'. How 'fair' can one get?

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12 SCC Silver Jubilee Chimes - Malwani- Rudyard Gomes

posted Jan 4, 2018, 7:43 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jan 4, 2018, 7:43 AM ]

Onward SCCs: from Silver to Gold!

The Small Christian Communities at St Anthony's, have reached the silver milestone of their journey at Malwani, Malad. Started in July 1992, Bishop Bosco Penha's clarion call to every Christian 'to feel with the Church and to live the Church', through the new SCC movement, sowed the seeds of this movement 25 years ago.

Sr Manisha rscj of the congregation of the Sacred Heart, made a gigantic contribution to the parish with her role in boosting this movement in its nascent years. The role of the late Fr Vincent Gonsalves, the Parish Priest at that time, and Sr Gertie Alphonso rscj, sadly no more, with stalwarts and priests from the parish community, set the ball rolling for its steady growth.

On the cusp of the silver year of the SCCs, which has blossomed and grown from a mere five communities to a 43-strong band of communities, the build-up was a planned strategy. It commenced with a well-thought out theme: 'Celebrating a COMMUNION OF COMMUNITIES', so that the SCCs must engage and envelop every member of the parish family.

The Silver Jubilee Committee worked creating and sustaining 'Awareness' of what the SCC is all about, addressing differing levels of awareness among parishioners. "RE-NEWAL" was the key thought underlying the month-by-month build-up of activities! Flagged off in December 2016, the activities began with a training programme for animators on 'Gospel Sharing'—the foundation stone of SCCs. Christmas 2016 saw the zones participate in a Crib/Star competition based on the three pillars of SCCs: Community Building, Faith Formation and Service/Outreach.

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