Issues Vol. 169‎ > ‎

Vol. 169 No. 40 • OCT 06 - 12, 2018

01 Cover

posted Oct 3, 2018, 10:16 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Oct 3, 2018, 10:17 AM ]


03 Index

posted Oct 3, 2018, 10:16 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Oct 3, 2018, 10:16 AM ]


04 Engagements

posted Oct 3, 2018, 10:15 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Oct 3, 2018, 10:15 AM ]


05 Editorial - Rediscovering the Rosary

posted Oct 3, 2018, 10:11 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Oct 3, 2018, 10:11 AM ]

As we celebrate the feast of Our Lady of Fatima, focusing on the rediscovery of the Rosary, we recall the first Apparition of Our Lady to three peasant children - Lucia, Francisco and Jacinta, in Fatima, Portugal on May 13, 1917. She asked them to come repeatedly for six months till the month of October; she would appear to them on the 13th of every successive month. When Lucia asked Our Lady for a miracle, so that people would not doubt the veracity of the children, the Lord granted them the Miracle of the Sun, which we are all familiar with. This great spectacular episode which is also described as the 'dance of the Sun' evoked wonder, amazement and terror in those present. The extraordinary sign manifested God's divine validation and approval of the origins of the Rosary. The people had their miracle. Doubters, sceptics and scoffers lost the day, and so began the devotion of the Rosary to Our Lady of Fatima.

For these thrilling events, we have to ask ourselves what message this has for us in our day and age. At the apparitions, Our Lady repeatedly asked the children to say the Rosary daily and to pray for peace in the world. During the second apparition, she taught them to say a prayer interpolated between each mystery. "O my Jesus, forgive us, deliver us from the fire of hell; take all souls to heaven, especially those most in need." And so the important question is: how is the Rosary faring in my life and in my family? Do I recite the Rosary daily, and is it recited daily in my family?

As an individual, I have found the recitation of the Rosary a great source of strength, peace and joy. Whenever I am in some difficulty, it gives me great comfort and consolation to hold the rosary and allow the beads to slip through my fingers. In his apostolic letter on the Rosary: "Rosarium Virginis Mariae" (2002), Pope St John Paul II calls it a path of contemplation. We reflect on the Mysteries of Christ in the school of Mary, and who is more fit than she to help us "read" Christ, to discover His secrets and to understand His message (op.cit.No.14). As I have grown older and seek a method to "pray without ceasing", I have found the Rosary, more and more, the answer to my search. In my spare moments, reciting the Rosary, and reciting it with faith and love, has brought me great joy and peace. And so, especially when I am travelling by car, and have time at my disposal, I find that the constant recitation of the Rosary deepens my union with the Lord.

The Rosary also has, as experience has shown, a tremendous power to foster and deepen family life. I remember as a young man, the visit of Fr Patrick Peyton to Mumbai during his world tour to promote the family Rosary. "The family that prays together stays together" was the motto, and how true it is. A pity that so many families do not say the family Rosary together, which is a minuscule price to pay for the inestimable gift of family peace.

In our family, the Rosary introduced me to mysticism. We said the family Rosary after dinner. In our hall, we have a life-sized picture of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. We, the members of the family, would sit around this picture. The lights were switched off, and in the faint but beautiful glow of the flickering flame of the lamp lit before the picture, we said the Rosary. I could feel the Presence powerfully at these moments gently accompany our prayers. It was a time when family bonds were strengthened, wounds healed and misunderstandings set aside. After the recitation of the Rosary, we children took the blessings of our parents, which were never refused, no matter what the happenings of the day. Then we could sleep in peace. The family Rosary kept the family together through ups and downs, through joys and sorrows, through good days and difficult ones. So true: the family that prays together stays together.

We need to rediscover the Rosary in our times when the family is under pressure and attacks. As Pope St John Paul II writes: "Dear brothers and sisters! A prayer so easy, and yet so rich, truly deserves to be rediscovered by the Christian Community… I look to all of you, brothers and sisters of every state of life, to you Christian families, to you, the sick and the elderly, and to you, young people, confidently take up the Rosary once again. Rediscover the Rosary in the light of Scripture in harmony with the liturgy, and in the context of your daily lives." (op. cit.No.43) O Queen of the Rosary, O dearest mother, O Refuge of Sinners, O Sovereign Consoler of the Afflicted. May you be everywhere blessed, today and always, on earth and in heaven.

Bishop Bosco Penha is Emeritus Auxiliary Bishop of Bombay.

06 The Teenager -Worker - Fr. F. M. Britto

posted Oct 3, 2018, 10:08 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Oct 3, 2018, 10:08 AM ]

During the Synod of bishops on youth, Pope Francis will canonise seven new saints on October 19. Besides Pope Paul VI and the assassinated Archbishop Romero, he will also canonize a 19-year-old teenager-worker.

Nuntius Sulprizio (also known as Nunzio Sulperio) was born on April 13, 1817 at Pescara, Italy. When Nuntius was only three years old, his father Domenico Sulprizio passed away on May 16, 1820. After two years, his (only) younger sister too died. Since his widowed young mother Rosa was finding it difficult to meet her ends meet, she got married to a much older man. It was a time of great famine, and she had no other support.

Nuntius went along with her. He went to a local school run by a priest, Fr De Fabiis. Besides learning the school subjects, the boy also learned a little faith. He became a pious boy, attending Mass every day and prayed to Our Lady.

The man always considered his step-son an unwanted burden, and treated him badly. So Nuntius' maternal uncle, Domenico Luciani, brought the boy to his house. This man, a blacksmith by profession, was worse than the step-father. He made the little boy do all sorts of manual work, giving him very little to eat, not sending him to school and no time to play with his friends. Finding fault with the boy, the man abused him and thrashed him regularly.

During the work, Nuntius' foot got infected. Since his uncle would not care for him, but forced him to do more work, the wound became gangrenous. Unable to bear the pain, he would often cool his leg in the village stream. Praying the Rosary, he would ask Mother Mary to cure him. The ladies, who came there for washing, would chase him, yelling that he had polluted the water. The pus-oozing sore caused him intense pain.

Hearing his nephew's plight, his paternal uncle, Francesco Sulprizio, a soldier, took him to his house. He introduced the boy to his friend, Colonel Felice Wochinger. The colonel was a very kind-hearted man, and he took care of the boy as if he was his own son.

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07 Why do Women remain in Abusive Marriages? - Fr. Joshan Rodrigues

posted Oct 3, 2018, 10:06 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Oct 3, 2018, 10:07 AM ]

I've been doing some catching up lately, watching some of the more interesting Bollywood flicks that I've missed in the last three years. Three of these which caught my attention were Aamir Khan's 'Secret Superstar', 'Two States' and 'Half Girlfriend'; the latter two being based on Chetan Bhagat's best-selling books with the same titles. The reason why these films caught my attention is because all three showcase marital violence, abuse and wife-beating. And in all three films, the spouse meekly endures the violence at the hands of her husband, instead of fighting back and maybe even separating herself from her husband. They do this for various reasons, including protecting their children and the family name, and because they are financially dependent on their husbands. What's interesting is that in two of these films, the son/daughter is shown, time and again, pleading with their mother to leave her husband and get a divorce. One minor child actually goes to the length of approaching a lawyer all by herself, and requesting her help to initiate divorce proceedings on behalf of her mother, only to be scolded by her mother when she hears what her daughter has done.

Marital violence baffles me. It baffles me to think that a man can raise his hand on his wife (or any woman for that matter), whom he promised to love and protect on the day of his marriage under a divine oath in God's house. There can be no more 'lowly' man than one who abuses and violates his own family. And I'm sure there's a special place reserved in the darkest corners of hell for people like these. I use strong words here, because the home is supposed to be a sanctuary where people feel protected, loved, and encouraged to realise their most perfect selves. Let me clarify that marital violence is not only physical, but more prominently, emotional and verbal. One spouse suffers silently for the sake of her marriage and family, while the other vitiates the trust and bond that brought them together in Holy Matrimony.

The second reason why this is baffling is the reaction/attitude of the wife in these situations. The logical thing to do in situations where one is exposed to regular and sustained abuse would be to fight back or leave (the fight or flight response). However, I must confess that these laws don't always apply to relationships. I would never be able to fully understand what a person in this situation has to go through, and their reasons for staying. I guess that she understands her marital vows and her commitment far more profoundly than the spouse who is inflicting violence. I personally do not agree with women enduring physical violence for the sake of their marriage and kids, but in situations when they are free to make choices, it should be their decision to make.

So why do women stay in abusive relationships?

1. Fear - Women in violent relationships can be traumatised by the fear of emotional and bodily harm that they may have to face, if they decide to leave. The abuser keeps her trapped in a cycle of violence, all the time threatening that it will get worse, if she leaves or decides to stand up to him. Women fear that their life will become a living nightmare if they decide to leave. They choose the lesser evil.

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09 RPC and World Palliative Care Day - Monica Fernandes

posted Oct 3, 2018, 10:05 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Oct 3, 2018, 10:05 AM ]

'Because I Matter' - World Hospice and Palliative Care Day Theme

Palliative care is a holistic approach to medicine. 'Palliative' is derived from the Latin 'palliare' which means 'to cloak'. Just like a cloak protects the major portion of the wearer's body, palliative care encompasses many aspects of an illness. October 13, 2018 will be celebrated as World Palliative Day. Dame Cicely Saunders is said to have been the first person to propagate the humane concept of palliative care in the treatment of debilitating and end-stage diseases. While treating a disease, medical care should also cater to a patient's psychological, social and spiritual needs.

The Romila Palliative Care Centre (RPC) is a daycare facility started by Ashoka Fellow Dr Armida Fernandez, a few years ago in memory of her lovely daughter Romila, who tragically succumbed to cancer. RPC, located off Hill Road on Somnath Lane, is a part of the NGO, SNEHA, and is a haven of peace amidst the hustle and bustle of the busy Hill Road nearby. Its pastel coloured furnishings are designed to lift up the spirits of patients suffering from cancer, Parkinson's, and other debilitating illnesses. It provides free consultation, and is efficiently run by two dedicated doctors, volunteer doctors, trained counsellors who provide counseling to patients and caregivers, two nurses, a social worker, and a host of trained volunteers including a dietician (Shobha) and an occupational the rapist (Odette).

If needed, doctors visit a patient's home and provide inputs to the patient's caregivers and family members. Volunteers read to the patient, and spend time with them in order to lift up their spirits. There is a monthly Caregivers' meeting where caregivers are motivated, and their problems addressed. The Centre also has a tie-up with some hospitals and nursing homes who impart free or subsidised treatment in Mumbai.

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10 Praise be to You! - Vera Alvares

posted Oct 3, 2018, 9:52 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Oct 3, 2018, 10:04 AM ]

"Where can we find God, if we cannot find HIM in our own hearts and in every living being?" says Karmayogi Swami Vivekananda, greatly respected and followed for his profound philosophy. For the followers of Christ, St Francis of Assisi, the Saint of Nature and animals has marked a trail to walk amidst God's creatures. It is said that Francis could communicate with all of Creation as a result of his empathy towards Nature! His namesake, Pope Francis, walks this talk through his second encyclical, 'Laudato Si' (Praise be to you), calling upon all humans to care for Mother Earth, our common home. The Holy Father's call comes at a crucial time when natural calamities, changing weather patterns, depleting natural resources are playing havoc with human life, urgently calling mankind to put an end to its destructive activities.

As man's search for pleasure and affluence grows, he has exploited Nature without any remorse or moral restraint to such an extent that nature has steadily lost its ability to sustain healthy life on Earth. Invaluable gifts of Nature, such as air, water and food have been either depleted or polluted with disastrous consequences. The irony of it is that pollution causes sickness, death and suffering especially to the poor and weaker sections that contribute least to it! Battalions of green warriors across the globe have begun to sound a clarion call to save the Earth before further damage is done. This call is reflected in the teachings by many religious leaders and social activists who lament that it is irresponsible and morally wrong to destroy Mother Earth that belongs to our future generations.

Pope Francis issued Laudato Si' taking inspirations from the Canticle of Brother Sun and Sister Moon of St Francis of Assisi. In this song of praise, all elements on Earth are mentioned as our siblings and Mother Earth is mentioned thus: "Praised be You, my Lord through our Sister, Mother Earth who sustains and governs us, producing varied fruits with coloured flowers and herbs." We ourselves "are dust of the earth" (Gen 2:7); our very bodies are made up of her elements; we breathe her air and we receive life and refreshment from her waters. This sister now cries out to us to stop inflicting harm and pain on her that is caused through our reckless pursuit of wealth and pleasure!

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11 DISOBEDIENCE: A Threat to Mental Health - Fr Mukti Clarence, SJ

posted Oct 3, 2018, 9:51 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Oct 3, 2018, 9:52 AM ]

The vow of obedience has become an issue of great concern these days. Though enough reflection has gone into a detailed commentary on the topic, nevertheless, when it touches the individual core, one realises how challenging this discipline is. If one does a survey of religious congregations and dioceses, one will realise that there are a few cases of sheer disobedience. Needless to say, it is a virus, and if it is not treated, there will be a serious repercussion.

Here, my main argument is that disobedience in religious congregations and dioceses is a threat to mental health. Mental health is defined as a state of well-being, in which every individual realises his/her own potential, copes with the normal stresses of life, works productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his/her community/life. Disobedience is a threat to mental health, because both the parties involved, be it superior or subject, do not feel good encountering such situations in which disobedience occurs, where one appoints stating, "After prayerful reflection and deliberation, I appoint you..." and the other says, "I won't".

In these circumstances, there is no doubt that the superiors start feeling that their words are not respected. They experience low self-esteem, since their words were not received; they get upset, fidgeting and jittery. They feel that, as superiors, they have an image to project, and according to that image, everyone should comply with their decisions/discernment. After hearing "No", they go through restlessness to the extent of having sleepless nights and self-doubts. They try to put their emotion and strength together to fix the matter. They become more emotional rather than rational or spiritual. Sure enough, these emotions and symptoms are not considered positive or good for mental health.

On the other hand, the subjects, the ones who said "No" to their superiors go through a feeling of abandonment. They ponder on how they have been treated, and how their appointment could be so contrary to their desire. They think that they are not understood, and their contribution is not recognised. They become emotionally wounded, and try to justify their point. At times, they may malign the superior's image. They consider themselves the victim of high-handedness. Sometimes, because of such negative and bitter feelings, they choose to change the province/diocese, or leave the congregation/diocese.

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13 The Heart and Soul of JM Mission - Sr. Gerard Paul RJM

posted Oct 3, 2018, 9:49 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Oct 3, 2018, 9:49 AM ]

(‘Jesus and Mary’ on the closing of the Bicentenary Year 1818-2018)

At this moment in time, on the completion of the bi-centennial celebrations on October 6, 2018, and at the closing of this historic event, one experiences some nostalgic moments. Stepping back in time, to the year 1842, we have recounted with awe and wonder, this journey of our first Missionary Pioneers. On leaving our Motherland France, and venturing into the unknown, we can trace a parallel in our history with that of the Israelites leaving Egypt for the Promised Land. "We come, Land of our Hope…we come…"

It was no small deal spending forty days and forty nights journeying towards the "Land of Promise", straddling hills and plains, sailing seas and rivers, trudging through blazing deserts, encountering the hazards of travel, braving many a cruel storm, the inclemencies of the weather, and no less physical discomforts. They "counted all things as naught except for the call of the Master," having set their eyes on the distant shores of this incredible "Port of Promise" - INDIA.

Now, after 200 years of toiling in the vineyard, having sent our roots deep down into the virgin soil of this Promised land, we have relished and experienced its multi- faceted life and multi-cultural complexion.

With "humble pride" (not a pat on the back!), we can acknowledge that we have been seriously engaged in making Jesus and Mary known and loved, in and through our Mission of Education.

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