Vol. 167 No. 44 - October 29 - November 04, 2016
In this season all over the world, when fruits of the harvest are gathered, the Church celebrates the Feast of the gathering of All Saints, reminding us of the fruits of another harvest of holiness. This event represents the honouring of the saints who have gone before us, and the call to emulate them. It is a harvest of the fruits of the people of God that have sprung from the presence of the love and the grace of the Lord among Christians, who have remained faithful over the centuries.
The Feast of All Saints is not just about venerating saints in heaven. It is about the way we are called to live like them today. The Beatitudes do not encourage us to sit back and do nothing. Being a Christian means belonging to a communion; one cannot be an isolated Christian, just caring for and thinking about yourself, but one must reach out to others as Christ taught us.
The Beatitudes, which Jesus gave us as a blueprint of holiness, are not an abstract code of behaviour. It is a call to follow the example of Jesus, who is concretely the one who is poor in spirit, the meek, the humble of heart, persecuted, and the peacemaker. Jesus Himself is the new ‘code of holiness’ that must be imprinted on hearts and lived through the action of the Holy Spirit, who empowers us to reproduce Christ's Passion and Death, the crowning of holiness.
Holiness is a way of life that involves commitment and activity. It is not a passive endeavour, but rather a continuous choice to deepen one’s relationship with God, and then to allow this relationship to guide all of one’s actions in the world. Holiness requires a radical change in attitude and mindset. The acceptance of the call to holiness places God as our final goal in every aspect of our lives.
The Church is an institution, but it is also the community of those who make up the living and real body of Christ. Having magnificent churches and being the largest religious group of people in the world is worth little, if these are not accompanied by the concrete works of Christian charity, of transmitting from generation to generation what it means to do good and to avoid sin, to be truly loving people and to build up a believing community that is caring and merciful.
The same can be said of our own lives: our lives come to fulfilment only when they are open to the path of life reflected in the Gospel of the Beatitudes. The logic of the Beatitudes is different from the logic of the world, where personal success, celebrity and wealth are so often looked on as the face of achievement. We all know that personal success is important and satisfying, but we also know that to attain the sanctity we are called to, we need to be helped and supported by the Saints.
The Saints and Blesseds are travel companions along our journey, in our joy and in our suffering. They are men and women who turned a new page in their own lives and in the lives of so many people. This was the core message of Saint John Paul II in canonising so many saints during the tenure of his papacy. We can all aspire to it, because with the gift of grace, it is a goal within our capacity – as articulated by Vatican II’s call to universal holiness (cf. Lumen Gentium).
The Communion of Saints is about the link with those who have gone before us, to intercede for us and to show us the way. But the doctrine of the Communion of the Saints also demands that we look towards those who are beside us. It demands that we become saints to those around us – our children, our spouses, our community, our society – showing what it means to be the Church, what it means to witness to the love and the mercy of God revealed in Jesus Christ.
While it is good to remember the departed faithful as they were in this life during the Feast of All Souls, we must be sure that our main focus remains on our preparation for heaven in purgatory. Unfortunately, there has been a lot of misunderstanding concerning this doctrine, and what it means for us as Christians.
Some have thought that we "go" to purgatory, and then we are judged whether we go to heaven or hell. Others see this as a mini-hell for those who did not quite make it all the way into heaven. Still others see purgatory as a second chance after death. Along with other misinterpretations, these have been used by some Christian groups and others over the years as a reason to wonder about those of us who are Catholic.
To begin with, let's look at the word 'purgatory'. This comes from the old Latin word purgare, which means "to cleanse" or "to purge." So you can think of purgatory as a time of cleansing or final purification in preparation to spend eternity in the presence of God. In Purgatory, as the Catechism explains, the faithful - that's right, those who are destined for heaven - "achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven." (CCC 1030)
The Catechism goes on to say: "The Church gives the name Purgatory to this final purification of the elect, which is entirely different from the punishment of the damned. The Church formulated her doctrine of faith on Purgatory especially at the Councils of Florence and Trent. The tradition of the Church, by reference to certain texts of Scripture, speaks of a cleansing fire." (CCC 1032)
In a homily based on this Scripture, St John Chrysostom wrote, "As for certain lesser faults, we must believe that, before the Final Judgement, there is a purifying fire. He who is truth says that whoever utters blasphemy against the Holy Spirit will be pardoned neither in this age, nor in the age to come. From this sentence, we understand that certain offences can be forgiven in this age, but certain others in the age to come." In his book on Eschatology, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI (then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger) further clarified the Church's teaching in this area: "Purgatory is not, as Tertullian thought, some kind of supra-worldly concentration camp, where one is forced to undergo punishments in a more or less arbitrary fashion.
The word "Diwali" means a row of lamps of diverse lights that never go out. Traditionally, Diwali is celebrated on the darkest night of the year when the necessity and the beauty of lights can be truly appreciated. Light is a symbol in the world's religions for God, truth and wisdom.
Given the antiquity of India, the diversity of its religious traditions and the interaction among these, it should not surprise us to know that many religious communities celebrate Diwali. Each one offers a distinctive reason for the celebration that enriches its meaning. For every community, however, Diwali celebrates and affirms hope, and the triumph of goodness and justice over evil and injustice. These values define the meaning of Diwali.
For the Jains, Diwali is celebrated as the joyous day on which Mahavir, the great Jain teacher, attained the eternal joy of liberation or nirvana. It is an occasion for rejoicing and gratitude for a life spent in rigorous religious search, realisation and teaching centred on non-violence.
For the Sikhs, Diwali is a "day of freedom," when the Mughal Emperor, Jehangir, freed the sixth Sikh Guru, Hargobind, from prison. Guru Hargobind refused to accept his freedom, unless the emperor released detained Hindu leaders. Guru Hargobind is celebrated as seeing his own religious freedom as inseparable from the freedom of others.
The Orientationists (Orients), the First Year Seminarians, eagerly looked forward to October 15, 2016. For it was this day, the eve of Mission Sunday, that this group was embarking on their one-week Mission Experience. As a lead-up to this programme, the group was prepared by the sharing of Confirmation Animators, St Blaise Church, Amboli, who had a few weeks earlier taken their students for a mission experience. All through the preparations, the group kept hearing one name, Fr Carlton, and they wondered who this priest was.
Fr Carlton Kinny, along with other priests and religious, had pioneered the mission of the Catholic Church in the district of Raigad, through selfless service to the poorest of the poor which started more than 27 years ago, when he was ordained. Over the years, Fr Carlton Kinny has worked selflessly, unceasingly, tirelessly, withstanding the challenges thrown at him. He marches forward in Christ, working for the tribals, more prominently the Katkari tribe of the Adivasis today, who aren't even aware of their basic common rights. In this mission, he is ably assisted by Fr Elias D’Cunha, the sisters of the Daughters of the Cross and other religious congregations.
14 Don Bosco lives on ... Don Bosco High School, Matunga celebrates 75 year - Fr Bernard Fernandes sdb
Don Bosco High School, Matunga completes its 75th year this scholastic year, and it is with pride and nostalgia that we reminisce the magic and the events unfolding thereafter that fashioned a dream school for youngsters in Mumbai. The school is not only the first Don Bosco institution in the city of Mumbai, but it is also the cradle of the Mumbai Salesian Province. At this significant milestone in history of the Salesian Mumbai Province, it is inevitable that we turn the clock back to reinvent the fragrance of the 75 long – and at times, forgotten – years.
On May 16, 1928, four Salesians - Fr Joseph Hauber, Fr Austin Dehlert, Brother William Haughley and Brother Michael Devalle took over the management of the Educational Institution of the Immaculate Conception from Fr JS Freitas SJ. The school was housed in a rented building called Tardeo Castle. When the new school commenced on June 6, 1928, there was a complete change of staff and servants. There were 189 day scholars and four lady teachers. Roch Thomas was the official headmaster from July 1, 1928. Two years later, in June 1930, the institution changed its name to “Don Bosco High School.” In 1932, Fr Adolf Tornquist succeeded Fr Hauber, staying in office until his departure for Argentina in May 1936. The school then remained without a superior for nine months.
In 1937, Fr Aurelius Maschio was appointed Rector. Gifted with rare foresight, dynamism and a drive to convert his dreams into reality, Fr Maschio made an assessment of the existing situation, laid out his plans and launched out on a massive fund-raising campaign. Since many difficulties were being presented by the landlord at Tardeo, he looked for land elsewhere. He found a spacious plot at insignificant Matunga in flourishing Bombay – a landscape of marsh, water-filled pits and slime – which he proposed to buy. In the meantime, Fr Berutti and Fr Candela of the Superior Chapter, during their brief stop in Bombay on their way back to Turin from the East, visited the proposed Matunga plot, and gave their approval of its purchase
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