Issues Vol. 169‎ > ‎

Vol. 169 No. 06 • FEB 10 - 16, 2018

01 Cover

posted Feb 8, 2018, 6:52 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Feb 9, 2018, 12:49 AM ]


03 Index

posted Feb 8, 2018, 6:51 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Feb 8, 2018, 6:51 AM ]


04 Official

posted Feb 8, 2018, 6:50 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Feb 8, 2018, 6:51 AM ]


06 Engagements

posted Feb 8, 2018, 6:49 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Feb 8, 2018, 6:49 AM ]


07 Editorial - Dust of Love

posted Feb 8, 2018, 6:43 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Feb 9, 2018, 12:50 AM ]

Lent is a path: it leads to the triumph of mercy over all that would crush us or reduce us to something unworthy of our dignity as God's children. Lent is the road leading from slavery to freedom, from suffering to joy, from death to life. The mark of the ashes with which we set out reminds us of our origin: we were taken from the earth, we are made of dust. True, yet we are dust in the loving hands of God, who has breathed His spirit of life upon each one of us, and still wants to do so.

He wants to keep giving us that breath of life that saves us from every other type of breath: the stifling asphyxia brought on by our selfishness, the stifling asphyxia generated by petty ambition and silent indifference – an asphyxia that smothers the spirit, narrows our horizons and slows the beating of our hearts. The breath of God's life saves us from this asphyxia that dampens our faith, cools our charity and strangles every hope. To experience Lent is to yearn for this breath of life that our Father unceasingly offers us amid the mire of our history.

The breath of God's life sets us free from the asphyxia that so often we fail to notice, or become so used to it that it seems normal, even when its effects are felt. We think it is normal because we have grown so accustomed to breathing air in which hope has dissipated, the air of glumness and resignation, the stifling air of panic and hostility.

Lent is the time for saying "No." 'No' to the spiritual asphyxia born of the pollution caused by indifference, by thinking that other people's lives are not my concern, and by every attempt to trivialise life, especially the lives of those whose flesh is burdened by so much superficiality. Lent means saying 'No' to the toxic pollution of empty and meaningless words, of harsh and hasty criticism, of simplistic analyses that fail to grasp the complexity of problems, especially the problems of those who suffer the most.

Lent is the time to say 'No' to the asphyxia of a prayer that soothes our conscience, of an almsgiving that leaves us self-satisfied, of a fasting that makes us feel good. Lent is the time to say 'No' to the asphyxia born of relationships that exclude, that try to find God while avoiding the wounds of Christ present in the wounds of His brothers and sisters: in a word, all those forms of spirituality that reduce the faith to a ghetto culture, a culture of exclusion.

Lent is a time for remembering. It is the time to reflect and ask ourselves what we would be if God had closed His doors to us. What would we be without His mercy that never tires of forgiving us and always gives us the chance to begin anew? Lent is the time to ask ourselves where we would be without the help of so many people who in a thousand quiet ways have given us hope and enabled us to make a new beginning.

Lent is a time to come back to the Lord from the evil that stifles us, and instead to make room in our life for all the good we are able to do. It is the time to start breathing again. It is the time to open our hearts to the breath of the One capable of turning our dust into humanity–and our dust – by the power of this breath of life – may become a 'dust of love'. Lent is a time of compassion, so that by our lives, we may declare His praise.

(Reflection of Pope Francis on Ash Wednesday 2017)

08 Pope’s Lenten Message 2018 - Pope Francis

posted Feb 8, 2018, 6:41 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Feb 8, 2018, 6:42 AM ]

Once again, the Pasch of the Lord draws near! In our preparation for Easter, God in His providence offers us each year the season of Lent as a "sacramental sign of our conversion."1 Lent summons us, and enables us, to come back to the Lord wholeheartedly and in every aspect of our life.

With this message, I would like again this year to help the entire Church experience this time of grace anew, with joy and in truth. I will take my cue from the words of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew: "Because of the increase of iniquity, the love of many will grow cold."

These words appear in Christ's preaching about the end of time. They were spoken in Jerusalem, on the Mount of Olives, where the Lord's passion would begin. In reply to a question of the disciples, Jesus foretells a great tribulation and describes a situation in which the community of believers might well find itself: amid great trials, false prophets would lead people astray, and the love that is the core of the Gospel would grow cold in the hearts of many.

How many of God's children are mesmerised by momentary pleasures, mistaking them for true happiness! How many men and women live entranced by the dream of wealth, which only makes them slaves to profit and petty interests! How many go through life believing that they are sufficient unto themselves, and end up entrapped by loneliness!

False prophets can also be "charlatans", who offer easy and immediate solutions to suffering that soon prove utterly useless. How many young people are taken in by the panacea of drugs, of disposable relationships, of easy but dishonest gains! How many more are ensnared in a thoroughly "virtual" existence, in which relationships appear quick and straightforward, only to prove meaningless! These swindlers, in peddling things that have no real value, rob people of all that is most precious: dignity, freedom and the ability to love.

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10 Word of God – Sword of the Spirit - Josephine Fernandes

posted Feb 8, 2018, 6:40 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Feb 8, 2018, 6:40 AM ]

The Word of God is the Sword of the Spirit, as St Paul says in his letter to the Ephesians (Eph 6:17), and it is a double-edged sword, according to the Letter to the Hebrews 4:12. God has given us this powerful weapon to fight every battle that we may come across in our life. No evil powers or forces of darkness can combat against the mighty sword of the Spirit. There's power in the Word of God to bind and heal wounds, to touch and transform, to change the hearts and lives of people. Every year, the Church designates one Sunday as Bible Sunday. This year, February 11 is celebrated as Bible Sunday in the archdiocese of Bombay. On Bible Sunday, the 'Word Ministers' in every Parish in the archdiocese of Bombay renew their commitment to proclaim God's Word faithfully and with love and truth.

Every Sunday and every day, the Word of God is proclaimed and preached at the Eucharist in churches all over. So what's so special about Bible Sunday? Why do we need to have a Sunday marked specially as Bible Sunday? We Catholics have quite often taken the Word of God very lightly or for granted, and have also kept it away from us. We may have placed the Bible on a stand, and at altars in our home, but may not have time to read and reflect upon the Word of God. Well, Bible Sunday is a day to remind us Catholics that we need to read and reflect upon the Word of God. We need to spend at least some time daily reading the Bible, as it strengthens our weak soul. It throws light upon the dark areas of our life, thus bringing these areas into God's light; our lives will slowly but surely be transformed, changed and renewed. God's Word has the power to heal. The Psalmist says, 'He sent out his word and healed them and delivered them from destruction.' (Psalm 107:20) The Wisdom of Solomon tells us, 'for neither herb nor poultice cured them, but it was your Word, O Lord, that heals all people. (Wis 16:12) There's power in the Word of God—power to heal and give life, power to break the shackles of bondages. The Word of God gives us solace in moments of grief, and peace in time of trials and turmoil. The Sunday Mass readings may seem distant to us at times, but once we begin reading the Bible, the Mass readings become very meaningful. Our faith will come alive; our weak and shallow faith will be strengthened. The Word of God is active and alive; it is not a dead word. It moves, it breathes, it refreshes, it speaks, it inspires, it guides, it enlightens, it nurtures and nourishes.

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11 An Experience of Lourdes: Manifestation of God’s Healing - Fr Tom DeSimone

posted Feb 8, 2018, 6:39 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Feb 8, 2018, 6:39 AM ]

Several years ago, I was very fortunate to lead a two-week pilgrimage to Portugal, Spain and France, which included stopping for a few days in Lourdes. I hope to return within a few years, but if I never do, I have enough memories for a lifetime.

My experience of Lourdes, while busy and somewhat crowded, was still profound. What struck me the most was the presence of the beautiful sick and disabled people there in faith and hope, and the volunteers helping them get around the large “sanctuary” area surrounding the apparition site. There must have been hundreds and hundreds of sick and disabled people being helped around on crutches, wheelchairs and hospital beds, even during the nightly rosary procession, which alone is worth the trip. Seeing all the consecrated sisters helping the sick and the volunteers from all over the world, freely giving themselves with unconditional love to these sick people without expecting a reward, is truly what St John Paul II meant — that through a sincere gift of self, we truly find ourselves. You certainly experience the dignity of the human person and the dignity of our bodies - even sick and disabled bodies - at Lourdes.

While the town of Lourdes is very busy and commercial, it still houses the old prison where St Bernadette and her family lived, as well as the mill where her father worked for a time. These places and others are certainly accessible, and worth experiencing by guided or self-guided tours. However, to truly experience Lourdes, Mary and St Bernadette, one should spend most of their time in the sanctuary observing how God, through His sacraments and through us people, brings hope to the hopeless in their suffering. As we know, the Evil One will attack people when they are weak, suffering, ill, etc. with discouragement, dismay, depression, and even despair. The presence of God in us can be uplifting and even healing for people interiorly, when they realise how much love, compassion, tenderness and mercy God truly has for them. This is one reason Lourdes can be so powerful an experience, because God is so present there, not only in the Blessed Sacrament, Holy Mass and Anointing of the Sick, but also in our care, concern and mercy for them. The nightly Rosary processions are a microcosm of endurance and perseverance of people in faith and hope, as they are wheeled around the sanctuary at Lourdes. It is also very uplifting and healing for those not diagnosed with a physical disability or sickness.

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12 Primacy of Preventive Healthcare - Fr Rocky Banz

posted Feb 8, 2018, 6:36 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Feb 8, 2018, 6:37 AM ]

Medical research has come a long way, and as a result, people live much longer than they used to. While no one can argue that expanding the average person’s lifespan is good, many folks are not enjoying the quality of life as they get older. Many people have chronic conditions that overwhelm their daily activities or they get diseases repeatedly. Learning about and practising preventive healthcare, i.e. maintaining your body and good health throughout your entire lifetime, is properly the best method to prevent disease from happening in the first place. Hence adopting Preventive Healthcare Measures is the only solution.

Preventive healthcare should be made part and parcel of an individual’s daily life. Simple measures like eating right, in right amounts, regular exercise and avoiding harmful addictions like tobacco, alcohol, restraining oneself from use of excess sugar and salt, getting enough sound sleep at night and development of mental poise are crucial for a healthy life. Therefore, individual healthy habits are an “automatic” defence against most illnesses and can provide us a long, healthy – and thus happy – life.

There are various aspects to Preventive Healthcare. The first aspect is where individuals take the onus for their own health. This could be done through conscious modifications in lifestyles, besides using sustainable and traditional healthcare measures for cure of simple ailments. This approach puts the onus of healthcare on the individual, rather than on the professional.

The other aspect of Preventive Healthcare is finding and treating disease as soon as possible. Being educated and alert for signs and symptoms of various ailments is important for maintaining good health. Diseases, when diagnosed early, can be nipped in the bud, and full health can be regained. Regular health check-ups at least annually, especially when you grow older, is crucial to stay healthy, since detecting the disease early can ensure full cure. Thus, Preventive healthcare provides many direct benefits to the individual by not having to deal with uncomfortable or painful symptoms, but feeling more energetic and just being able to fully enjoy one’s daily activities. 

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13 PREVENTION — the key to Good Health - Sharon Rodrigues

posted Feb 8, 2018, 6:35 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Feb 8, 2018, 6:35 AM ]

The famous American poet Ralph Waldo Emerson rightly said: 'The first wealth is health.' Next to life, health is the most precious gift. There is nothing more valuable than good health. The question arises here - what is Good Health? And how do we maintain and sustain good health? Being 'healthy' may mean different things to different people; however, for us at Health Promotion Trust (HPT), healthy means being realistic and doing what works for you and your body.

Prevention is the key to Good Health. This belief was endorsed by a leading activist and thinker of the European Renaissance - Desiderius Erasmus - who said 'Prevention is Better than Cure,' implying the need for adopting simple healthcare practices in daily life for maintaining good health. In keeping with this belief, HPT made a paradigm shift in 2009, from providing curative healthcare services to embracing and promoting alternative healthcare practices, with special stress on preventive healthcare measures.

Very often, we take our health for granted by adopting unhealthy and sedentary lifestyles, forcing us to invest a lot of time and effort to regain our health. We need to change those habits that lead us to ill health. Over the years working with people from different strata in Mumbai, Thane and Raigad, HPT follows the basic principle of promoting simple and natural techniques of healthcare which place the responsibility for health solely on the individual, rather than the professional.

Traditional home-based healthcare practices are fading in the light of modern medicines. These practices look at Nature as a treasure trove of medicines that can heal a multitude of ailments. HPT today aims at reviving, promoting and using natural remedies for most common health problems which are found in the kitchen shelf, kitchen gardens, and among the flora and fauna of our surroundings. Most of these natural healing methods are today practised and claimed by close to 2000 health workers trained by HPT since 2009. In 2017, HPT's success of its outreach was testified by 79 trained health workers in its book 'Good Health Can be yours: Amazing Testimonies and Recipes'. These were from the 2000 trained members who believed, trusted, practised, witnessed and promoted HPT's philosophy of Preventive Healthcare.

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