Issues Vol. 169‎ > ‎

Vol. 169 No. 04 • JAN 27 - FEB 02, 2018

01 Cover

posted Jan 25, 2018, 10:24 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jan 25, 2018, 10:24 AM ]


03 Index

posted Jan 25, 2018, 10:23 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jan 25, 2018, 10:23 AM ]


04 Engagements

posted Jan 25, 2018, 10:20 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jan 25, 2018, 10:22 AM ]


05 Editorial - The Art of Listening and of Accompaniment

posted Jan 25, 2018, 9:54 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jan 25, 2018, 10:30 AM ]

At the start of every year, the Rector Major of the Salesians of Don Bosco gives the Salesian Family a Strenna (literally, a gift), which gives the Salesian Family a direction and focus for that year. This is a tradition that dates to our Founder - Don Bosco.

Strenna 2018 of the Rector Major, Fr Angel Fernandez Artime, is: "Let us cultivate the art of listening and of accompaniment." He has chosen this guiding theme in view of the forthcoming XV Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the theme: "Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment".

Listening—Fr Artime reminds us—is an art, and is more than hearing. It is an openness of heart which makes possible the closeness that is a prerequisite for a genuine spiritual encounter. It must lead us to an understanding of the needs of today's young people and of the people we encounter. Young people face conflicts, doubts, problems and tensions, and need to make life-changing decisions; they will approach us when we make the first move, when they perceive our availability to, and interest in, them. These young people, who belong to an over-connected generation dominated by technology, yearn for persons who can express empathy, and offer them support and encouragement, but without making them feel they are being judged.

How should we accompany young people? We need to accompany them as Jesus did! Fr Artime asserts that the following are necessary in every act of accompaniment: a) a loving gaze (like the one of Jesus in the call of the first disciples; John 1:35-51); b) an authoritative word (as the one Jesus pronounced in the Capernaum synagogue; Luke 4:32); c) becoming a neighbour (like Jesus in the encounter with the Samaritan woman; John 4:3ff); d) becoming a companion on the way (like Jesus with the disciples of Emmaus; Luke 24:13-35).

Fr Artime insists that accompanying young people should be a joyful accompaniment. He writes: "Young people who dream of living their Christian life in an authentic way and who wonder what God wants from them, want to see our enthusiasm and want to experience it personally… This is possible when we ourselves—young people, adults, fathers and mothers who are in search—have lived the experience of the encounter of the Lord with us. And that experience must be translated into the joy of living, into the optimism with which we meet every day, into the serene courage with which we face problems and difficult times. There is nothing further away from God who fills life than an existence marked by disappointment, without vivacity, demotivated."

A sociologist, interviewing juvenile delinquents, asked them: "Is there anything you needed most and could not get?" Their response, invariably preceded by sadness and tears, was unanimous: "What I needed most was someone to listen to me. Someone who cared enough to listen to me." May you and I be that 'someone'!

Fr Godfrey D'Souza is SDB Provincial, Salesian Province of Bombay.

07 In Search of Peace

posted Jan 25, 2018, 9:52 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jan 25, 2018, 9:52 AM ]

In behalf of the world's often unwanted refugees and migrants, Pope Francis in his World Day of Peace message titled 'Migrants and Refugees: Men and Women in Search of Peace' pleads: "In a spirit of compassion, let us embrace all those fleeing from war and hunger, or forced by discrimination, persecution, poverty and environmental degradation to leave their homelands."

But instead of experiencing an embrace of warm welcome, millions of migrants and refugees are confronted with "fences and walls built to keep them far from their goal," of finally finding a safe and secure place to call home, says Pope Francis. In many places, wealthier countries are spreading the harmful rhetoric, claiming refugees and migrants pose risks to national security or are too costly to welcome. He challenges this thinking as demeaning to "the human dignity due to all as sons and daughters of God."

Several European nations continue to build fences and walls to keep out refugees fleeing armed conflicts and dire poverty in places like Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and Nigeria. And along the U.S.-Mexico border, a nearly 700-mile barrier exists to keep out thousands of scared, poor Central Americans and Mexicans from entering the U.S. There are indications that the existing barrier will be extended even further. Even countries in Asia and other continents harbour these misgivings.

The Pope adds, "Those who, for what may be political reasons, foment fear of migrants instead of building peace are sowing violence, racial discrimination and xenophobia (that is, fear and hatred of strangers or foreigners), which are matters of great concern for all those concerned for the safety of every human being."

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08 Don Bosco Youth Film Festival of India 2018 - Karen Laurie

posted Jan 25, 2018, 9:50 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jan 25, 2018, 10:46 AM ]

Movies, Magic and Mobilisation

"The small thought in your mind could be the next big thing in the world. Challenge yourselves: the next big film will be made by me. The next big idea that will change the world, will be by me," Fr Savio Silveira, Vice Provincial of the Salesian province of Mumbai, said to the youngsters, as he inaugurated the Don Bosco Youth Film Festival of India (DBYFFI) at Khalsa College in Mumbai. "Through this festival, we provide a platform for your ideas. Constantly look within yourselves; find new ideas and pass it on to the world," Fr Silveira added.

DBYFFI, aimed at promoting positive images of peace, hope and compassion among the young, was screened at more than 100 venues across 20 states in India on January 18-19. The annual festival showcased 34 short films, meticulously selected by a panel of experts from among 900 submissions. The films focused on eco awareness, respect for parents and teachers, alcoholism, social media addiction, teenage problems, peer pressure, social responsibility, sense of God, ethics of relationships, friendship, hard work, creativity and oppression, amongst others.

"These short films help imbibe values that are not available through formal education, so we are very open to it," said Dr Allan D'Souza, Vice Principal of Khalsa College. As the movies were played, the audience comprising over 500 students at the college auditorium were exposed to silent, animated, Indian and international films.

Post each film, the festival organisers in collaboration with the college staff, engaged the students in thought-provoking discussions. After the screening of 'Never give up', where a paraplegic is seen overcoming his disability through sheer grit and hard work, the students were prodded, "When you ride your bikes rashly, do you think of the consequences of your action?" "Make responsible choices; remember your family and your loved ones," and "If something inadvertent were to happen, never give up. Hope in God, and you will rise." 

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09 Synod of the Amazon - A call to a defense of life, earth & cultures

posted Jan 25, 2018, 9:49 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jan 25, 2018, 9:49 AM ]

Ahead of the 2019 Synod for the Amazon, Pope Francis has told some 4,000 indigenous peoples in the Amazon region of Peru, that he wanted to be with them to share their challenges and reaffirm them with "a wholehearted option for the defence of life, the defence of the earth and the defence of cultures."

Pope Francis, during his visit to the South American countries of Chile and Peru, his 22nd Apostolic Trip, stressed this in his address to indigenous people of the Amazon region in the Coliseo Regional Madre de Dios in Peru, Jan. 19, 2018.

Greeting the inhabitants of the Amazon, the Pope remembered his encyclical on the environment Laudato Si, on care for our common home, and expressed his gratitude for what they do to protect the planet.

"Allow me to say once again," the Pope said, "'Praise to you, Lord, for your marvelous handiwork in your Amazonian peoples and for all the biodiversity that these lands embrace!"

The Pope went on to lament that native Amazonian peoples have probably never been so threatened on their own lands as they are at present. "I consider it essential to begin creating institutional expressions of respect, recognition and dialogue with the native peoples, acknowledging and recovering their native cultures, languages, traditions, rights and spirituality." The Pope called for an intercultural dialogue in which those before him would be 'the principal dialogue partners,' especially when large projects affecting their land are proposed.

"Recognition and dialogue will be the best way to transform relationships whose history is marked by exclusion and discrimination."

"The defence of the earth," the Pontiff said, "has no other purpose than the defence of life." The Pope acknowledged some of their suffering caused by emissions of hydrocarbons, which threaten lives and contaminate the natural environment.

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13 My Vocation Story - Br Ashwin Castellino

posted Jan 25, 2018, 9:46 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jan 25, 2018, 9:47 AM ]

In the world we find there is so much interest and inclination to make money, find good jobs, become professional people, but there are still few who leave everything behind to follow Jesus as a priest or religious. Today, I am here to share with you my story. How I made up my mind to follow Jesus in the priesthood.

Firstly, I would like to mention that many think that a vocation is a call. Yes, it is, but not as if an angel comes to you and calls you, or you are struck by some lightning and suddenly decide to join the priesthood. No, I strongly believe that a Vocation is a seed. A seed sown by God and cultivated by your parents, community, parish, etc. It is then nurtured over the years until you are finally ready to make a mature choice to follow that path. I clearly remember, the seed of my vocation was sown in my heart by my parents. My mum and dad were God-fearing parents, who really brought me up well in the faith; they always encouraged me to go for mass and to have a close relationship with God. I still remember the words of my father "Without Jesus, life has no meaning". This is what I carry with me all through my life.

But as I grew older and entered my youth, the idea of the priesthood just disappeared. I found myself caught up with all the youthful passions. I remember I had started working in a call center, right from the time I was in college, not because we never had money, but because I wanted to enjoy my life and spend money on my friends and in clubs. I was good in my studies and after I graduated, I got a good job in an international bank. I would say my life was set; I had been promoted as an assistant bank manager and also made many friends. I lacked nothing in life. I would go for Sunday mass and was also involved in the charismatic prayer group and that was it. But, even though I had the money, the luxuries of life, there was no inner peace. There was absolute zero satisfaction. I knew my life was incomplete; I was missing something in my life. It was during this time of restlessness, I remembered the words of my Father, "Without Jesus, life has no meaning". That seed of my vocation now came to my mind, and this is when I seriously started giving it a thought. It was difficult, because it meant giving up a lot of things, like my job, my family, my lifestyle, etc. But I realised that by holding on to these never gave me satisfaction or peace. So it was worth taking the risk. It took a long time to make up my mind. I was already working 5 yrs in the bank and due for another promotion.

What helped me make a decision was prayer; personal prayer. I would sit in the chapel and really ask God if this was His will in my life, to be a priest. Secondly, I spoke to a priest, about all what I felt, he was able to guide me and help me make the choice for the priesthood.

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15 The Hill of Martyrs (St Gonsalo Garcia - son of Vasai) Fr Valentine Pawkar

posted Jan 25, 2018, 9:45 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jan 25, 2018, 9:45 AM ]

(The first Indian Saint)


I am not a historian, nor a member of the National Geography Academy, but just a pious priest who loved his diocesan patron. On April 27, 2017, I reached Tokyo in Japan. I was very happy and pleased to see a country of sun-rise. After reaching Osaka by bullet train and staying at Sophia University for two days, I entered Nagasaki and climbed the hill of the martyrs, to visit the site of our great patron saint Gonsalo Garcia, son of Vasai, my own parishioner. I felt that I was on the hill of Calvary for some time. Tears of joy and pride flowed from my eyes to see my brother Gonsalo had walked in the footsteps of Jesus for his faith. I spent an hour in silent prayer, glorifying God for Gonsalo and his 25 companions. I spent time in the amazing memorial museum in their honour. I felt low even to touch the toe of his leg.

There I met an elderly Capuchin Brother who was managing that site. I told him that I was an inhabitant of Vasai where St Gonsalo Garcia was born in Vasai Fort in the year 1556. On hearing that, he embraced me with great affection, and exclaimed that he was fortunate to meet a priest from Vasai. After joining him for a cup of tea, I got a golden opportunity to celebrate the Holy Eucharist at the martyrs' chapel. Tears again flowed while celebrating Mass where St Gonsalo Garcia, the first Indian saint, was crucified. After Mass, we walked the stairs down to Nagasaki hill where St Gonsalo Garcia was crucified and he narrated the entire history of the martyrs.

St Gonsalo Garcia left Vasai at the age of 16, well versed in Japanese, preached Christ and finally gave his blood for Christ, along with 25 religious and lay workers. As a young lad, he was enthusiastic in learning the lessons of faith. His mother (from Agashi parish) taught him not only the doctrine, but to love Jesus intimately. He travelled 600 km on horse and bullock cart to preach the good news of God. He had built a love for priesthood and wanted to be a Jesuit priest, as he loved the Jesuit Fr Sebastian who accompanied him to Japan, but he had to take a turn to follow Capuchin lay brothers' congregation. But that did not diminish his zeal for Christ.

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17 Rector Major of the Salesian Congregation reflects on Salesian Mission - Nirmala Carvalho

posted Jan 25, 2018, 9:42 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jan 25, 2018, 9:42 AM ]

Spanish Father Ángel Fernández Artime, the Rector Major of the Salesian Congregation, was in Mumbai for the Diamond Jubilee of the iconic Shrine of Don Bosco's Madonna and Platinum Jubilee of Don Bosco School.

The tenth successor of Saint Don Bosco said that the Salesian family is still dedicated to educating and helping young people, in India and around the world.

"Don Bosco worked for the deprived sections of the youth, and the Salesians continue the Mission of Don Bosco in the world today," said the Major Rector, adding that the Congregation is "still dedicated to educating and helping young people, in India and around the world."

The Rector Major spoke about the upcoming Synod of Bishops, centred on 'Young people, faith and vocational discernment' called by Pope Francis for 2018.

"For us Salesians, this Synod is a great gift of God through Pope Francis. In the 132 countries in which we Salesians are present, we are getting the youth ready for participation and contribution to the Synod. Salesians are interested in the opinion of young people, [because they] can express [useful] ideas to the Church and to the faith," said Don Artime.

"Pope Francis invited all of them – not only Catholics – to make their contribution, because theirs is a view from within society. It is very important to understand what young people think, what excites them, how they perceive society and life."

Sharing the methodology, Fr Artime explains :

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