Issues Vol. 63‎ > ‎

Vol. 170 No. 01 • JAN 05 - 11, 2019

01 Cover

posted Jan 4, 2019, 9:07 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jan 4, 2019, 9:08 AM ]

03 Index

posted Jan 4, 2019, 9:06 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jan 4, 2019, 9:07 AM ]

04 Engagements

posted Jan 4, 2019, 9:05 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jan 4, 2019, 9:06 AM ]

05 Editorial - The Light of Universal Revelation - Fr Anthony Charanghat

posted Jan 4, 2019, 9:01 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jan 4, 2019, 9:01 AM ]

Epiphany is the feast of the great light of universal revealing, of God reaching out to humankind, and humankind awakening to God’s initiative. Epiphany pushes us beyond the boundaries of religion, race and revelation. Non-Christians, as well as Christians, encounter God. Even non-believers – agnostics and atheists – may awaken to divine revelation in Jesus Christ.

The Epiphany event narrated in the story of the coming of the Magi underlines that when they spot the star they ‘arise and shine,’ in the spirit of Isaiah, and journey towards Bethlehem. Guided by their natural and scientific wisdom and readiness to take risks, they set out on a journey to respond to the divine initiative of revelation through a bright star and a baby’s birth.

To understand the dynamics of human response to the Divine manifestation, it is appropriate to focus on the spiritual pilgrimages of the Magi. A star guides the Magi to a journey to seek the Lord, a dream warns them to detour around Jerusalem, away from their old paths and the child’s enemies. These changes are the result of a change of heart, a spiritual experience, sparked off by the light of revelation, leading to spiritual transformation.

The message of the Epiphany is that God does not privilege wealth, power or race. The Christ-child, the star of the ages, is born in a lowly stable, among an oppressed people, and not among the learned and affluent, or the typical preservers of the Jewish faith tradition. His first witnesses are the working poor shepherds, domestic animals, and later, spiritual pilgrims from a foreign land.

Epiphany celebrates God’s generous and varied revelations among the peoples of the world. The religion of the Magi, different as it is from the faith of the Jewish people, is not deficient but the result of God’s unique manifestation, appropriate to each people. The season of Epiphany invites us to celebrate the many faces of God, found in the many religious pathways of humankind that need to be completed by their encounter with Jesus.

The encounter of the Magi with the baby Jesus and His star reveals the expansion of their faith beyond parochialism to become a truly global faith. We live in a revelatory universe, where the stars above and the spirit within witness to God’s loving providence. God is known first in relationship, from which flexible and healing experiences emerge that lead us to wholeness.

Clergy leaders and Christians are called to be grasped by the amazing mystery of the reconciliation represented by wise men from different nations and allow themselves to be moved to prayer, through which God’s strength and power through the Holy Spirit may move forward with the ministry of God’s Kingdom.

Seekers are invited to be open to the Holy Spirit, through whom faith is made manifest and the spirit’s power is manifested in and through all that they do. The Church is indeed unique, in that God’s salvation and revelation of the Holy Spirit are made manifest, in and through the reconciling ministry of the Gospel.

Without reconciliation of nations, peoples, tribes and ethnicities, ‘the knowledge and fullness of God’ will remain a mystery, even to the leaders of the Church. It is when people experience reconciliation that they become part of the Church, and eventually are drawn into the work of peace, justice and love.

Epiphany calls all churches of the 21st century to re-examine the nature of its ecumenical existence, and realise that the mission of the Christians is to make God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit known to the world and across the globe. In all its facets, the mystery of the Epiphany revelation is a clarion call to us to a life of love, manifested in the inclusive welcoming and accepting all peoples into the fullness of God’s universal plan of salvation.

06 Epiphany: A Child entrusted to our love by His Mother - Archbishop Francesco Follo

posted Jan 4, 2019, 8:58 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jan 4, 2019, 8:59 AM ]

A family who is a model because of its sainthood.

With Christmas, Advent became an adventure. Through His incarnation, the Word of God has dwelt among us, and we, like Mary, Joseph, the shepherds and the Magi, have started the Christian adventure, that is the mission to announce what has happened and what we have encountered: the Word of life, of peace and of joy.

The fact that they went to Bethlehem and entered the temporary dwelling of the sacred family, allowed the shepherds and the Magi not only to meet the Son of God, but also to live a familiarity with Christ. In the beginning, they stayed on the doorstep of that humble abode, then they went closer to Christ. I hope that they had the opportunity to touch Him, to cuddle Him, and I'm sure that Christ has dwelt in them. Then, they took Him into the world: the small world of the shepherds and the big world of the Kings.

The shepherds and the Magi left the cave, not because they had to go back to their daily life, but to continue as missionaries the saintly journey, where another was giving meaning to their doing. Even if they had not fully acknowledged it, they had put themselves in the stretched hands of a child, in the hands of Another, in the hands of God.

To adhere to this event and to this Presence, one must begin a journey. We must depart from ourselves, not just from our home or our loved ones. We must put our roots in Christ, so that we can stretch out in the world in the same way that the branches of a tree grow towards the sky the more the tree puts its roots in the ground.

Why should we begin this journey? Not only to return home, but also to announce that the encounter with Christ is a growth in humanity. The newborn - the God made man - doesn't destroy anything, doesn't leave anything out, but consecrates all and discloses everything. He gives to all feelings and to all vocations a dimension which is infinite, unbelieving, unforeseen and wonderful.


08 Helping others is bliss

posted Jan 4, 2019, 8:56 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jan 4, 2019, 8:56 AM ]

Indian Magsaysay 2018 winner, Bharat Vatwani, makes a difference to the world.

Santosh's family believed he was dead. Three months after the 25-year-old mentally ill man disappeared, in Nanded city of India's Maharashtra state, a garlanded picture of him hung on the front of their home.

So, when he suddenly arrived, there was quite a commotion.

His elderly parents cried with joy, and Santosh's 20-year-old wife prayed loudly to give thanks.

Mumbai psychiatrist Bharat Vatwani, a winner of the Magsaysay Award 2018, recalls that the young woman changed from the white dress of a widow into a colourful sari and applied a 'bindi', worn by married women, to her forehead.

A police patrol team found Santosh, not his real name, wandering on a Mumbai street, and took him to Vatwani's 'Shraddha Rehabilitation Foundation' in Karjat, on the outskirts of the city.

He is one of the more than 7,000 mentally-ill people from the streets that Vatwani, his psychiatrist wife Smitha, and their team have reunited with families, or cared for, across the nation during the past three decades.


09 Bombay Archdiocesan Inter-Religious Celebration of Christmas - Stanley Fernandez

posted Jan 4, 2019, 8:55 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jan 4, 2019, 8:55 AM ]

16th December 2018, Holy Name High School, Colaba 

The festive spirit that Christmas brings got off to a wonderful start with the Archbishop of Bombay, Cardinal Oswald Gracias, hosting the Annual Archdiocesan Inter-Religious Celebration of Christmas on Sunday, December 16, 2018, at the Holy Name High School Hall, Colaba. In attendance for the programme were members of the diplomatic corps and dignitaries belonging to different faiths, besides the Christian community.

The evening began with His Eminence, Cardinal Oswald Gracias, opening the Christmas programme by installing the Baby Jesus in the crib, followed up by an excellent rendition of Christmas Carols by the Holy Name Choir, ably conducted by Mr Mario Nazareth. This was then followed by an eye-popping dance-drama on the birth of Jesus entitled Krist Jayanti by the Sangeet Abhinay Academy, led by its well-known director Fr (Dr) Charles Vaz, SVD.

The kernel of the programme was the Panel Discussion with dignitaries of different faiths on the Theme: 'Religious Festivals - Building Bridges'. The interaction began with the presentation of a short film by Anam Prem, which spoke of their experiments with celebrating religious festivals by collaborating with groups other than one's own faith. The Panel Discussion then got off to a good start with a brilliant anchor, Fr K T Emmanuel (Judicial Vicar, Archdiocese of Bombay), asking many questions of the members of the panel. For instance: 

How can religious festivals help to build bridges?


10 13th National BOSCOREE 2018 - Fr. Christopher George SDB

posted Jan 4, 2019, 8:53 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jan 4, 2019, 8:53 AM ]

The 13th National Boscoree, a gathering of the Don Bosco Scouts and Guides, was held in Nashik from December 30, 2018 through to January 3, 2019. Organised by the Mumbai Province of the Salesians of Don Bosco, 4815 participants participated in this mega extravaganza, themed 'Health, Harmony and Holiness' in the holy city of Nashik, Maharashtra.

Scouts and guides from Maharashtra, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Assam, Punjab, etc., including those from Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Pondicherry and Nepal participated in the event. A massive total of 141 units from 22 states and 2 Union territories from the Salesian and FMA institutions belonging to the 12 provinces of India experienced living in 200 tents spread over 16 sub-camps. Don Bosco and Kilbil schools along with Divyadaan Salesian College of Philosophy, Salesian Training Institute, Sacred Heart Training Centre and Maria Vihar hosted this mega event.

The theme of BOSCOREE 2018 focuses on the impression that the scouts and guides leave on the society and environment around them. The BOSCOREE Programme Committee had set out five objectives for the 13th National Boscoree: To promote a healthy lifestyle, to build harmonious bridges with people and environment, to become noble and holy souls, to radiate the Salesian charism of Don Bosco and St. Mary Mazzarello, and most importantly, to give the Scouting Movement greater visibility across India. The entire BOSCOREE is an opportune moment to educate the youngsters about the 'Great Commandment of Love'. The Three Loves—Love of God, Love of Neighbour and Love of Self—resonates well in the 3-H formula: HEALTH-HARMONY-HOLINESS.

The catchy BOSCOREE Anthem, penned by Fr Savio Silveira sdb, is set to music by the famous musician, Louis Banks. Singers Fr Sunil Pinto, Archana, and the students of Don Bosco International School - Matunga blended their voices under the guidance of sound engineer Neil D'Souza. The anthem was choreographed by the scholastics at Divyadaan Salesian College of Philosophy, Nashik.



posted Jan 4, 2019, 8:47 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jan 4, 2019, 8:47 AM ]

Fr Vernon De Souza

Born in Kampala, Uganda, on June 25, 1930, Vernon de Souza joined the Diocesan Seminary in Parel, and was sent for his theological studies to the Papal Seminary, Pune. He was ordained a priest on October 3, 1959. He died on February 6, 2018, and was buried at St Andrew Church, Bandra, on December 11, 2018.

As we look back over the 59 years of Fr Vernon de Souza's ministry in the Archdiocese of Bombay, three qualities strike me:

First of all, he was a caring person. I have experienced this trait personally. I joined the Diocesan Seminary in Parel in 1954. I came as a raw young boy, just 14 years old, straight from Kenya. Vernon, who hailed from Uganda, was already in his fifth year in the seminary. He took me under his fraternal care, and guided my first steps in the seminary.

But this was not only to me personally. It was the same with several other seminarians too. Most of the seminarians joined immediately after their SSC. Vernon had finished his B.Sc. before joining. With his tall - I could say, 'imposing' – height, he was like a father figure to many of us. And this continued later on as a priest. So many priests and people would approach him. Many will miss Vernon as a friend, a guide and mentor.


12 Play Review

posted Jan 4, 2019, 8:46 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jan 4, 2019, 8:46 AM ]

The Fragile Rock

A delight it always is, to be part of the audience at the Annual Seminary Major Play. This year, it was 'THE FRAGILE ROCK' - a pertinent title, in so many ways, knowing the Biblical Peter, the chosen one of Jesus.

The tone of the production was underscored by a smoothness which so contrasted with the uneasiness of the character of Peter which, albeit to my mind, was the strength of the play.

The seminarians and others - male and female - are not particularly trained for theatre and drama. But they bring to bear upon similar productions, in the course of their years of formation, their own touch of brilliance and/or mediocrity that impacts the performances within the production. And thankfully, it is almost always the raw brilliance that triumphs. I daresay the hidden God-factor being obvious!

Within the narrative of the play, the juxtaposing of key scenes in the life of Jesus and Peter was a nice concept. The "quo vadis" episode was delicately handled and performed. The burning of Rome was masterfully done, with Nero 'fiddling as Rome burned', with the clever use of LED projection.

The one let-down, to my mind, was the poor sound quality; no - not the mics, but the sound track per se. The tracks chosen were pretty good, but the output quality left much to be desired. Usually, biblical narratives have a vast and pulsating score. Perhaps, the original recording was not up to the mark.


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