Issues Vol. 169‎ > ‎

Vol. 169 No. 03 • JAN 20 - 26, 2018

01 Cover

posted Jan 18, 2018, 9:33 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jan 18, 2018, 9:34 AM ]


03 Index

posted Jan 18, 2018, 9:32 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jan 18, 2018, 9:33 AM ]


04 Engagements

posted Jan 18, 2018, 9:31 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jan 18, 2018, 9:31 AM ]


05 Editorial - Restoring the Resplendence of our Republic - Fr Anthony Charanghat

posted Jan 18, 2018, 9:27 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jan 18, 2018, 9:27 AM ]

The 69th Republic Day of India marks the resplendent adoption of the Constitution of India by the people. The pledge in the preamble to our Constitution reads as, "We the people of India, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a Sovereign Socialist Secular Democratic Republic and to secure to all citizens: JUSTICE – social, economic and political; LIBERTY – of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship; EQUALITY- of status and opportunity; And to promote among them all FRATERNITY assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity and the integrity of the nation."

Republic Day 2018 once again reminds us of the elevated values enshrined in this sacred document that we call our Constitution, and to leave no stone unturned to restore the Resplendence of our Republic, whenever we perceive a threat of erosion of these noble features that knit the fabric our nation together.

The Constituent Assembly was believed to be the representation of the will of the people. The words 'We the people' signifies that it was a document given by the people, to the people and for the people. But the question that often arises is, does the Constitution in true terms express the will of the people, or is has it just become a tool in the hands of some hungry politicians? Is the common man today receiving justice? Does equality really prevail? Is Liberty being enjoyed by all today? Are the people of India in real terms assured of these ideals that form the foundation on which this nation is built?

Now it is more or less a board game, and the players are the politicians with personal profits of gaining the dominance of one's own ideology, religion, caste and unbridled lucre of wealth for self. Securing justice to all — social, economic and political — has hardly been put into action.

Our judicial system, which is responsible to provide justice to each and every individual, is one of our slowest systems. Today, we have at least 10,000 cases per day pending for each judge of a court in a city, which is at least ten times higher than the prescribed number. Criminal cases like that of Jessica Lal, Priyadarshini Mattoo, Nitish Katara, Gauri Lankesh, Justice Loya case and Christians languishing in jails for unsubstantiated charges are among the many examples of delayed justice. The recent Supreme Court judges' rift is a case of a threat to trust in the integrity of the judicial system.

The Land Acquisition Act, 1894 requires major changes to redefine the term 'public purpose' for which the State can acquire land in return for some compensation. There are times when the government acts arbitrarily, and in the name of 'public purpose' acquires the land for profits. Thus in all the judicial pronouncements related to Land Acquisition Act, there is a need to include all those purposes which are purely in the interest of the public.

The Code of a controlled rhetoric is a compelling commentary on the flawed idea of free speech in the present day, when comedians are censured for fear their talent may offend high power centres, and creative mythical films are banned on grounds of imagined hurts to culture and obscurantist religious sentiments. Now the incidents of assault on Dalits, rape of women across the country and intimidation of Muslims bring home to us the presence of terrorism among us. There is reason to believe that fascist forces have been encouraged to act with impunity.

Whatever may have been the vision of India's founding fathers, Indian democracy has not lived up to their expectations. It appears to have added heightened violence towards the marginalised. All right thinking citizens must participate in bringing about these changes, instead of leaving the change to the selfish politicians. All this is necessary because we need to redeem the resplendence of our Republic.

06 Vocations are about quality, not quantity - Pope Francis

posted Jan 18, 2018, 9:24 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jan 18, 2018, 9:24 AM ]

Well-formed vocations are more important than numerous vocations, said Pope Francis in an address to religious formators in April 2016 at the Vatican.

"There is no vocation crisis where there are consecrated people able to transmit the beauty of consecration with their own witness," the pontiff said, according to Vatican Radio.

Even in the midst of declining numbers in some religious communities, the Pope said formation – rather than recruitment – should nonetheless take priority.

"It is necessary to be lovingly attentive to the path of each, and to be evangelically demanding in every phase of the path of formation," he said, "beginning with vocational discernment, so that the eventual crisis of 'quantity' might not determine the much graver crisis of 'quality'."

Pope Francis spoke to a gathering of some 1,300 formators who were in Rome Apr. 7-11, 2016 for a five-day conference on the theme: "Living in Christ according to the way of Life of the Gospel," an event organised by the Congregation for Consecrated life and Societies of Apostolic Life.

Pope Francis expressed particular affection for the young people under the care of those responsible for their formation in the religious life, and stressed the importance of this ministry.

"Consecrated life is beautiful. It is one of the most precious treasures of the Church, rooted in the vocation of baptism," the pontiff said.

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07 Vocation in everyday life - A homily preached on January 14, 2018 - Archbishop Follo

posted Jan 18, 2018, 9:21 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jan 18, 2018, 9:22 AM ]

After the celebration of the Baptism of Jesus that last Sunday ended the Christmas season, today the liturgy presents a passage from the first chapter of the Gospel of John to complete the narrative of the events of the manifestation of Jesus as Messiah and Son of God calling us to follow Him.

It is no coincidence that even the other two readings of this Sunday's Mass - the Second in Ordinary Time - have vocation as their central theme. We have all been called to follow a "vocation" to be realised in our everyday life. We are all called to live our vocation as children of God in the only Son in the apparent banality of everyday life. We are all called to be 'with Christ', before we 'do something for Christ'. The greatest example in this regard is Mary who, before "performing" as a mother, "was" and "is" still mother. Even the Apostles mentioned in the Gospel today before doing something for Christ were with Christ. To John and Andrew who asked Him: "Master, where do you live?" Jesus answered: "Come and see." He proposed to "be" with Him before "doing" something with Him.

It is no coincidence either that the liturgy of Ordinary Time has the priest wearing green vestments to indicate the green time of our lives. It is a time full of hope that accompanies and illuminates our daily life to be "spent" following Christ. Ordinary Time is not a lesser time. It is the time when the Mystery of Christ's life, and of us in Him, flows under our eyes in an ordinary way, and we are called to welcome Him and understand Him to pursue the path of salvation in Christ Jesus, our Way.

Every existence is already a call. God brought us out from the confused abyss of nothingness, giving us existence. He also gave us a project to accomplish, a design to realise that was even drawn "on the palm of his hands" (Isaiah 49). This is the meaning of our life: to be with God and work to the great project that He from all eternity has on each of us.

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08 Vocation: Walking the Second Mile - Eddy D'Sa

posted Jan 18, 2018, 9:20 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jan 18, 2018, 9:20 AM ]

In 1908, engineer Frank Parsons first initiated the formal counselling termed as 'Vocational Guidance'. Since then, the use of the term "vocation" has evolved, with emphasis shifting to an individual's development of talents and abilities in the choice and enjoyment of a career. This secular expansion has led to a certain diminution of the term's religious meanings in everyday usage. A vocation (from Latin vocātiō, meaning "a call, summons") is an occupation to which a person is specially drawn, or for which she/he is suited, trained or qualified. Though now often used in non-religious contexts, the meanings of the term originated in Christianity. Use of the word "vocation" before the sixteenth century referred firstly to the "call" by God to an individual, or more broadly, calling of all humankind to salvation, particularly in the Vulgate, and more specifically to the "vocation" to the priesthood, or to the religious life, which is still the usual sense in Roman Catholicism. Roman Catholicism recognises marriage, single life, religious life and ordained life as the four vocations. Lutherans and Calvinists place a particular emphasis on vocations, or divine callings, as potentially including most secular occupations. In Protestantism, the call from God to devote one's life to Him by joining the clergy is often covered by the English equivalent term "call", whereas in Roman Catholicism, "vocation" is still used.

The idea of vocation is central to the Christian belief that God has created each person with gifts and talents oriented toward specific purposes and a way of life. In the broadest sense, as stated in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, "Love is the fundamental and innate vocation of every human being." (CCC 2392) More specifically, in the Orthodox and Catholic Churches, this idea of vocation is especially associated with a divine call to service to the Church and humanity through particular vocational life commitments such as marriage to a particular person, consecration as a religious, ordination to priestly ministry in the Church, and even a holy life as a single person. In the broader sense, Christian vocation includes the use of one's gifts in their profession, family life, Church and civic commitments for the sake of the greater common good. In 1 Corinthians 7:20, Paul says, "Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was called." Likewise, John Paul II said in Laborem exercens that "by his work, man shares in the image of his Creator." Some Christian theologians also draw on the doctrine of redemption to discuss the concept of work and vocation. O'Donovan points out that although work is a gift of Creation, it is "ennobled into mutual service in the fellowship of Christ." Ryken argues for seeing the call of God to a particular occupation as a reflection of the gospel call, and suggests that this implies vocational loyalty – "modern notions of job become deficient" and "the element of arbitrariness of one's choice of work" is removed.

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10 Christian Unity Week 2018

posted Jan 18, 2018, 9:18 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jan 18, 2018, 9:19 AM ]

Today, Caribbean Christians of many different traditions see the hand of God active in the ending of enslavement. It is a uniting experience of the saving action of God which brings freedom. For this reason, the choice of the song of Moses and Miriam (Ex 15:1-21), as the motif of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2018 was considered a most appropriate one. It is a song of triumph over oppression. This theme has been taken up in a hymn, 'The Right Hand of God', written in a workshop of the Caribbean Conference of Churches in August 1981, which has become an "anthem" of the ecumenical movement in the region, translated into a number of different languages.

Like the Israelites, the people of the Caribbean have a song of victory and freedom to sing and it is a song which unites them. However, contemporary challenges again threaten to enslave and threaten the dignity of the human person created in the image and likeness of God. While human dignity is inalienable, it is often obscured by both personal sin and social structures of sin. In our fallen world, societal relationships too often lack the justice and compassion that honour human dignity. Poverty, violence, injustice, addiction to drugs and pornography, and the pain, grief and anguish which follow are experiences that distort human dignity.

Many of the contemporary challenges are themselves the legacy of a colonial past and the slave trade. The wounded collective psyche is manifested today in social problems related to low self-esteem, gang and domestic violence, and damaged familial relationships. Although a legacy of the past, these issues are also exacerbated by the contemporary reality that many would characterise as neo-colonialism. Under existing circumstances, it seems almost impossible for many of the nations of this region to pull themselves out of poverty and debt. Moreover, in many places, there is a residual legislative framework that continues to be discriminatory. The right hand of God that brought the people out of slavery gave continued hope and courage to the Israelites, as it continues to bring hope to the Christians of the Caribbean. They are not victims of circumstance. In witnessing to this common hope, the churches are working together to minister to all peoples of the region, but particularly the most vulnerable and neglected. In the words of the hymn, "the right hand of God is planting in our land, planting seeds of freedom, hope and love

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12 Historic Commemoration of Lutheran Reformation - Dr. Shanthini Irani

posted Jan 18, 2018, 9:17 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jan 18, 2018, 9:18 AM ]

An ecumenical seminar on the theme 'Revisiting Reformation: Looking Back, Looking Forward' was held in Union Biblical Seminary (UBS), Pune. This high quality academic programme brought eminent speakers from different Christian churches on a common platform for an Ecumenical Dialogue – the first of its kind in India, and probably in Asia.

This programme, conceived by Bishop Thomas Dabre, Bishop of Poona was nurtured and executed by him along with the Ecumenical Committee, comprising of members from different Christian communities in Pune.

The Poona Musicale's Choir conducted by Miss Jasmine Irani opened the Ecumenical Programme by singing 'The Lord's Prayer' (Gregorian Chant) followed by Lighting of the Lamp, giving a pleasant native tinge.

Rev. Dr Renthlei, Principal of UBS, welcomed the audience and expressed the privilege of hosting this ecumenical seminar, which he said was a move to promote Unity amongst all Christian denominations.

In his Inaugural Keynote Address: "Promoting Integral Christ Experience in the Church", Bishop Thomas Dabre highlighted some significant aspects of Martin Luther's Christological and ecclesial concerns in 1517. The Doctrine of Justification, he said, is the Guiding Rule which orients all practices and teachings of our churches to Christ. This Commemorative Year presents us with two Challenges: the purification and healing of memories, and restoration of Christian Unity according to the Truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. (Eph 4:4–6)

Bishop Thomas Dabre focused on Pope Francis' inspiring and touching leadership in the Ecumenical Commemoration of the Lutheran Reformation, and quoted the Pope's words in Sweden in 2016:

1. The Reformation "has led us to recognise honestly that without Jesus, we can do nothing."
2. "has given greater centrality to Sacred Scripture in the Church's life"
3. "By grace alone," Luther "reminds us that God always takes the initiative, prior to any human response, even as He seeks to awaken that response."
4. The Pope appreciated the new atmosphere of understanding among Lutherans and Catholics, and thanked God for this joint commemoration of the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation. 

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13 OLPS at 60 - Dr Jeanette Pinto

posted Jan 18, 2018, 9:15 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jan 18, 2018, 9:16 AM ]

Have you ever experienced nostalgia? What really is it? Has it to do with the body, the mind, or the spirit? Well, the word nostalgia was coined in the 17th century. It is learned formation of a Greek compound word consisting of ‘nostos’ meaning ‘homecoming’ and a Homeric word ‘algos’ meaning pain or ache. Nostalgia thus is a sentimental longing or wistful affection for the past, typically for a period or place with happy “personal associations” especially of "the good old days" or a “warm childhood.” It is an indescribable feeling which is very personal, warming the cockles of your heart and heightening the spirit. This was the main objective of the fantastic celebration of the milestone of a school Alumni programme called ‘OLPS at 60’.

Our Lady of Perpetual Succour School in the garden suburb of Chembur is the only school run and managed by the Redemptorist Fathers in the Archdiocese of Bombay. It celebrated its Diamond Jubilee on January 7, 2018. The Motto of the school is “Let your light shine”, and shine it did in different ways. The school is proud of its cent per cent results in the SSC examinations. It is actively involved in the Ward-level events like Science Exhibitions, Essay, Elocution, Art Competitions, and it also has a school band. There is sports and dance and fitness activity included to attend to the physical growth of young boys. In addition, the school management has set up a parallel unique learning centre using effective creative steps to uplift the marginalised, attend to slow learners, as well as counselling parents to help their children at home.

The Organising Committee of the Diamond Jubilee has had several exciting events for the present students of the school all through the first term, right from the month of June, affording them learning experiences, like a visit to the Governor’s Residence, and a trip to the Business school in Hyderabad. There were Reading, Art and other programmes, a career counselling talk for parents etc. all arranged by the past students.

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