Issues Vol. 169‎ > ‎

Vol. 169 No. 43 • OCT 27 - NOV 02, 2018

01 Cover

posted Oct 24, 2018, 8:52 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Oct 25, 2018, 6:41 PM ]


03 Index

posted Oct 24, 2018, 8:50 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Oct 24, 2018, 8:50 AM ]


04 Engagements

posted Oct 24, 2018, 8:48 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Oct 24, 2018, 8:48 AM ]


05 Editorial - The Process of Purification - Fr Anthony Charanghat

posted Oct 24, 2018, 8:36 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Oct 27, 2018, 6:35 AM ]

As the end of the liturgical year approaches, the Church draws our attention to a reflection on the realities of the Eschaton (end times) such as death, judgment, hell and heaven. The topic of Purgatory that is linked to this issue on All Souls Day gives purpose, meaning and direction to our lives which are surrounded by misunderstandings today. Current trends in theology and scriptural exegesis on this topic term it as a process of purification which involves pain and suffering at the moment of death, to wrench us away from our attachment to sin, and makes a definitive option for a lasting relationship with God.

We wish to humbly share our reflections on inspirational insights received while convalescing from a critical bypass open heart surgery which we believe will deepen our theological and spiritual understanding of this significant concept on All Souls Day. The word 'Purgatory' was made popular by the great poet Dante, and also by Virgil, the Latin scholar and poet, who called it a process of cleansing - purgatoriam.

Those in Purgatory, according to the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), are people at the hour of death who experience estrangement from God, and not wholly dedicated to God when they die, and hence deprived of happiness which they are destined for by God Himself.

To begin with, Thomas Aquinas and many contemporary theologians, based on the Catholic teaching of Purgatory, reinforce the concept of Purgatory as a purification process which reaches a cumulative high point at the end of our lives. This condition arises because of sin, which is the ability to freely say 'yes' or 'no' to God's divine will as revealed to us in faith. This is possible because of the supreme gift of freedom, which gives dignity to both spiritual and human creation. Even the angels, led by Lucifer, who revolted against God were estranged in relationship with God, because they freely said 'no' to God. It was this leader of the angels who revolted totally against God and distanced himself fully to the extreme, severing all relationship with God (Hell).

Satan, the prince of Beelzebub, had vowed to destroy the kingdom of God, and therefore tempted Eve to eat of the fruit of the forbidden tree, which he claimed had the knowledge and wisdom of God; this was only half the truth, and a deceit which only takes you away from God completely. Our first parents, Adam and Eve, symbolise humanity's first original sin which became the mark of the fall from the grace of God and union with Him; this is what is called "original sin" (the sin of the world) that not only affects the individual, but the whole race of humanity as a corporate body, which has been the universal condition of humankind from then on.

Death hence means the final separation of the soul (spirit) and body. It is, in fact, a liberation of the spirit from the body which becomes a hindrance to persevere in our relationship with God. Judgment is yet another eschatological reality which does not mean God's condemnation or punishment which is pronounced or inflicted on us. It is we who distance ourselves in our relationship with God, who is the source of our eternal happiness and meaning and purpose in life. Heaven, therefore, means total communion with God, and hell is our definitive option of saying 'no' to God.

St Thomas Aquinas had a theory that at the moment of Death, we have special illumination from God that makes our spirit feel reality as it truly is. God is the Alpha and the Omega, and the centre of the whole world. Sin is to affirm ourselves as the centre of the world; it is the egoism and attachment to temptation to say 'no' to God, which makes us feel eternal pain and suffering, because it is not a definitive fundamental option that we have made at the hour of death.

It is also believed that we can help our near and departed ones to break away from this eternal damning revolt from God (Hell), by the prayers that we offer as the mystical body of Christ, that is the Church triumphant, the Church militant, we who are struggling on Earth, and the Church suffering at the hour of Death. The components of the united effort of the Church on this day is to repentance by confessing our sins and naming our shame, both in the sacrament of Reconciliation and subjecting ourselves to the civil authorities to make retribution for our offences and guilt. It also includes offering Masses for the dead, as it empowers them to die to self and to rise in Christ in the Eucharistic sacrifice of our Lord.

This is an eye-opener to the whole Church that the scandals and sins of the Church can be resolved by a united effort of speaking the truth that hurts, in a spirit of love, and not in a spirit of dissension and destruction of unity. Mary our mother is a perfect example of the one who intercedes for us with Her Son, and collaborates by her own suffering united with Christ for the salvation of the world. That is why we pray 'Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.'

06 All Saints’ and All Souls’ Days - D.D. Emmons

posted Oct 24, 2018, 8:35 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Oct 24, 2018, 8:35 AM ]

What’s the background to these November celebrations?

It seems unusual that our Church liturgical calendar schedules two major celebrations on days that are back to back.

But that is precisely the situation with the solemnity of All Saints, a liturgical feast, and the Commemoration of the Faithful Departed (All Souls), a liturgical observance. All Saints is a Church-wide holy day of obligation and normally celebrated on November 1. If the first day of November falls on a Saturday or Monday, at least in the United States, the obligation to attend Mass is abrogated. All Souls' Day takes place on November 2, unless it falls on a Sunday; then the celebration is held November 3.

During these early November celebrations, those of us still living (the Church militant) unite our hearts with, and in a special way remember, the faithful departed, whether they be in heaven (Church triumphant) or in Purgatory (Church suffering).

All Saints' Day

All Saints' Day, which began most likely as All Martyrs' Day, can be traced to the earliest Christians. By the third century, the followers of Christ were annually honouring their brothers and sisters who had given their lives (been martyred) while witnessing for and defending Jesus Christ. Typically, on the anniversary of a martyr's death, those living would gather to remember and offer prayers at the tomb or place where the deceased had died. Tombs were sometimes decorated, and altars built over the tomb. "From the third century, the anniversary of a martyr's death, called his 'birthday,' was commemorated at his grave by a celebration" (Henry Chadwick, The Early Church, p. 271; Penguin Books, 1993). The belief among the first Christians, which continues today, is that believers who died defending Christ were borne by angels to heaven, and are face to face with the living God, in the presence of the beatific vision.

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07 ALL SAINTS’ DAY: A Great Cloud of Witnesses - Leon Bent

posted Oct 24, 2018, 7:52 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Oct 24, 2018, 7:53 AM ]

All Saints' Feast is a solemn, holy day of the Catholic Church, celebrated annually on November 1. It is dedicated to the saints of the Church, that is, all those who have attained heaven. It is an opportunity for believers to remember all the saints and martyrs, known and unknown, throughout Christian history: "Surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses..." (Hebrews 12:1).

It is a perfect time to remember that God has made you special, for Him and His purposes, and that He has joined you into the eternal, worldwide fellowship of all His saints. Moreover, it's a good day to take seriously the fact that God wants to make Himself known in this world through you as a member of the family of all saints.

Let us not just remember the saints once each year, but may we celebrate our mystical communion with them through Jesus Christ our Lord everyday - and in a special way every time we gather at the Lord's Table, through Holy Communion.

The number of Saints present is beyond counting, as was beheld by the Apostle John in the book of Revelation:

"After these things, I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, saying, "Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!" All the angels stood around the throne and the elders and the four living creatures, and fell on their faces before the throne and worshipped God." (Revelation 7:9-11)

"All it takes to make a man a saint is Grace. Anyone who doubts this knows neither what makes a saint nor a man," Pascal observes in Pensées. Grace is the fire of divine love. "Always a psalm on the lips; always Christ in the heart!" (John Cassian). Mystics also define grace as "sublime wisdom" (St John of the Cross). Teilhard de Chardin sees mystically, "the whole world as an altar, and calls out to God." This energy, this power overwhelms us: when a blind stirring of love rises in the heart, from 'who-knows-not-where' (The Cloud of Unknowing).

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09 Do not stand at my grave and weep - Vera Alvares

posted Oct 24, 2018, 7:46 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Oct 24, 2018, 7:47 AM ]

On one of our visits to a Home for the Aged, the members of our lay church organisation encountered an inmate of the Home, relatively a newcomer. She was a widow in her early sixties, mother of three married sons. Unable to come to terms with her new way of life in a ‘Home’, she missed her own home and the proximity of her close family. The faraway look and the unshed tears in her eyes spoke of a profound grief that can only be caused by total rejection!

There are others, our dear ones languishing in loneliness, living their deaths much before they are physically dead! Families may have genuine reasons to distance themselves from the older generation, in order to provide them comfort and timely care. A family of four well-placed sons and daughters who migrated abroad in search of a better life for their own children, had shifted their mother to an expensive Home for the Aged. A perfunctory telephone call at Christmas time was all that they owed her in return for sacrificing her life at the family altar. Though able-bodied, sharp-witted and spirited, the uprooted mother withered away into nothingness, giving up the struggle much before her time. One fine day, she bid farewell to the world, leaving her tears and misery behind. The funeral was a grand affair, with her bereaved sons, daughters and their families lining up to receive condolences. Eyes watered, hands trembled, and their voices were choked with grief!

Once a year, Mother Church reminds us to pray for our dear ones, dead and gone to their eternal reward in heaven. On this day, the graveyards see a lot of activity, with mourning families that surround the grave where the mortal remains of a family member were once buried. Lamps are lit, flowers are scattered, and graves are cleaned and decorated beautifully. These neatly laid marble slabs are just physical symbols of someone who was present in our life for a time, like a passing ship in the night! To reflect on this, we need to dwell on one bitter truth - how did I repay that person for contributing to the richness of my life, while he/she was alive?

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10 Blessed years in the service of the poor, the abandoned and marginalised - Sr Mary Jose

posted Oct 24, 2018, 7:45 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Oct 24, 2018, 7:45 AM ]

“O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; for His loving kindness is everlasting.” (Chronicles 16:34)

As we, the Sisters of the Good Shepherd, celebrate the Golden Jubilee of our Foundation in Four Bungalows, Andheri (West), we would like to take you on a journey of our congregational history, our presence in India, our beginnings and developments of Good Shepherd ministries in Mumbai.

The Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd, commonly known as Sisters of the Good Shepherd, was founded in 1835 by Saint Mary Euphrasia Pelletier in Angers, France. As religious women, called to a mission of reconciliation, the Sisters of Good Shepherd express the charism of merciful love to uphold the worth and dignity of humanity. Today, the Sisters of the Good Shepherd are in over 74 countries around the world. In India since 1854, the sisters of the Good Shepherd continue the charism of Reconciliation through various ministries, preventing, protecting, and rehabilitating the vulnerable ones of society. Through prayer, witness and service, the Mission has expanded.

Good Shepherd Mission Partners comprising of staff, alumni, volunteers, benefactors, friends and our families, mutually share, support and develop the mission, taking greater responsibilities to continue the Good Shepherd Mission.

In November 2013, two Provinces were created in India – South West India Province consisting of Karnataka, Kerala and Delhi headquartered at Bangalore, and Central East India/Nepal Province comprising nine states of India, besides Nepal, with its headquarters at Nagpur.

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11 Rosary Rallies and Marian Carnival at Amboli - Coretta D’Souza & Ashita D’almeida

posted Oct 24, 2018, 7:14 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Oct 24, 2018, 7:14 AM ]

As part of the National Rosary Crusade from August 15 to October 7, 2018, the parish of St Blaise at Amboli, Andheri (W), held Rosaries conducted by its twenty-eight Communities, and Rosary Rallies conducted by the various groups in the church. This not only brought parishioners together in prayer and devotion to Our Lady, but also helped in contemplating on the Mysteries in a different and innovative manner. The first Rosary Rally was conducted by the Confirmation Candidates by enacting still-image tableaus depicting each Mystery at different grottos of Our Lady around the Church of St Blaise. The second was conducted by the Senior Citizens' group; every decade was dedicated to a cause – the sick, aged and lonely, the crises all over the world, the devastated state of Kerala, the youth and families all over the world. The third was conducted by the Sunday School children; the younger children enacted each of the five Joyful Mysteries, while the older children narrated the dialogues of the skit. The fourth was conducted by the Extraordinary Eucharistic Ministers and English Sodalists. Each decade was preceded by five roses being placed in a vase at the feet of Our Lady. This was to express human failures and weaknesses and to implore Mother Mary's intercession and blessings. The fifth was conducted by the Youth Group which focused on the social issues being faced today, from sexual harassment to the problems faced by the Indian Army, to the religion and caste system, natural calamities, and even suicide. The sixth and last Rosary Rally was conducted by the Children's Convention group; they enacted the five Sorrowful Mysteries in a Shadow Act. All who attended this were deeply touched, and the children themselves were filled with many spiritual fruits.

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12 St Teresa’s High School - 175 years - Randolph A. Rodricks

posted Oct 24, 2018, 7:12 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Oct 24, 2018, 7:12 AM ]

One hundred and seventy-five years is a long time in the history of a school—a history that cannot be measured merely in terms of numbers or past milestones. The 175 years of St Teresa's High School, Girgaum, is a living chronicle about the shaping of minds, the building of careers and the moulding of character of the thousands of young boys and girls who have passed through its portals, since the mid-19th century.

1844–1887: In 1844, there was a small primary school started in Khotachi Wadi, founded by a Portuguese gentleman, Mr Dominic Mendes, with 30 Christian students and one teacher. The medium of instruction was Portuguese. After a few years, it was transferred to the premises of St Teresa's Chapel, under the control of the Chaplain.

1887–1904: In 1887, the medium of instruction was changed to English, and the student strength rose to 40. After tremendous efforts, the then Chaplain, Rev. Fr Joseph Soares got the School recognised by the Government. The student strength rose to 115. It was during this period that Ms Elizabeth Rowe, the future Head Mistress of renown, was a student here.

Between 1893 and 1904, the School was consolidated under three priests—Frs J. Simoes, John Misquitta and Peter Fernandes. In 1902-03, Ms Elizabeth Rowe was appointed Head Mistress, a post she held till her demise in the mid-50s. In 1904, Fr (later Monsignor) J. dos Remedios, an early graduate with a B.A. degree, and fresh out of the Catholic Seminary in Kandy, Sri Lanka (then Ceylon) became Chaplain, and headed the School. He was the chief architect of its rise to fame and excellence in those years. With good leadership, it was rising to become the leading school in the area.

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