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Vol. 170 No. 04 • JAN 26 - FEB 01, 2019

01 Cover

posted Jan 22, 2019, 2:13 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jan 24, 2019, 6:38 PM ]

03 Index

posted Jan 22, 2019, 2:12 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jan 22, 2019, 2:12 AM ]

04 Engagements

posted Jan 22, 2019, 2:10 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jan 22, 2019, 2:10 AM ]

05 Editorial - Holiness, Even For YOU!

posted Jan 22, 2019, 2:06 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jan 24, 2019, 6:39 PM ]

Yes, holiness, nothing less! Not only for the saints staring austerely down on us from our cathedral heights, but even for you, sitting in the pew below, standing outside the church, or even wandering far from anything explicitly religious. No one is excluded. That is the theme that animates the Salesian Family of Don Bosco this year - 2019. That is the message of the recent Synod on Young People, Faith and Vocational Discernment.

On the last day of January every year, we celebrate an expert in turning street kids into saints - Don Bosco. Unlike other great founders whose founding companions were adults like them, Don Bosco worked with teenagers, juvenile delinquents from the streets of Turin, a town then looking somewhat like the present Dharavi slum of Mumbai city, with all the young ragamuffins migrated and let loose from the countryside. In such places, God lets loose His saints, proving that holiness was possible also for them. Sure enough, he succeeded in bringing out the holiness hidden in them - Dominic Savio being just one example.

Saints always come in clusters, never alone; because holiness is contagious. Today, the Salesian Family, founded by Don Bosco, has some 170 officially recognised for their holiness, from Saints to Servants of God. They come in all colours and shapes: street kids, students, children of broken families, tribals from new Christian communities, lay men and women from ordinary families, priests, nuns, lay men in their early adulthood, princes, bishops, seminary professors, housemaids, farmers, industrialists, mothers and fathers, handicapped and what not. All kinds of people are saints. That is why holiness is also for you!

The annual message of the Rector Major of the Salesians, Rev. Fr Ángel Fernández Artime, to the Salesian Family for 2019 is: "So that my Joy may be in You (Jn 15:11); Holiness for You, too! This is a call coming from the Lord Jesus Himself. To most youngsters today, holiness is a particularly unattractive or repelling idea. "Holiness? For me? Outrageous. You are kidding," they would say. What an outlandish idea, at odds with progress, modern lifestyle, happiness and enjoyment of life. Am I not perfectly happy without all this religious stuff?

But the idea keeps nagging us, refusing to disappear, like the live embers under the ash: Can it be true that I too am called to be a saint? And why? What are my gains? Here comes the answer of Jesus: "So that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete." Don Bosco said to Dominic Savio: "Here we make holiness in being completely joyful." Nothing else makes a person joyful as holiness. Secondly, Don Bosco said that holiness is your birthright, your DNA. You were created a saint. Our natural inheritance is holiness.

Thirdly, Don Bosco told his kids that to become a saint was an easy affair. Just be what you are. In Creation, everything is marked with holiness, the imprint of God. Animals can never be sinners, because they just live as they were made. The heavens proclaim God's glory, because they reflect His image. It should be the same with God's best creation – human beings. Why is it often not so? What has gone wrong? This is because God has given us that most unique gift called freedom, the ability to love and become greater than what we are. This is an INVITATION, free and respectful. That is how we speak of a CALL to holiness, a vocation. It is concomitant or identical with being human. We are human only because we are called to holiness, and vice versa. Don Bosco would say in simple words: "Do your ordinary duties well daily, and holiness is yours."

As we celebrate our 70th Republic day this year, let us remind ourselves that living personal lives of holiness will translate into being duty-bound citizens of this great country. Holiness begins with the self, and then permeates into every aspect of the family and society at large. Have a Happy Republic Day!

Fr Maria Arokiam Kanaga SDB is General Councillor for South Asia Region, based in Rome.

06 "What Salesian for today's youth? A concrete man, who takes courageous decisions" - Pope Francis

posted Jan 22, 2019, 2:04 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jan 22, 2019, 2:05 AM ]

On the occasion of the opening of the Salesian Family Spirituality Days, we publish the preface by the Holy Father to the volume edited by Antonio Carriero, SDB—Evangelii gaudium con don Bosco—a text in which the Salesian Family takes up the message of the Apostolic Exhortation of Pope Francis from a pastoral educational point of view.

"You Salesians are lucky, because your founder, Don Bosco, was not a saint with the face of 'Good Friday' - sad, long-faced, morose ... but rather from 'Easter Sunday. He was always joyful, welcoming, despite the thousand labours and difficulties that besieged him every day. As they write in the Biographical Memoirs, "his radiant face of joy manifested, as always, his own happiness in finding himself among his children" (Biographical Memoirs of Don Giovanni Bosco, volume XII, 41). It is no coincidence that, for him, holiness consisted in being "very happy, joyful." We can therefore call him a "healthy bearer" of that "joy of the Gospel" which he proposed to his first great student, Saint Domenico Savio, and to all of you Salesians, as an authentic and ever-present style of the "high measure of Christian life" (John Paul II, Novo Millennio Ineunte, 31).

His was a revolutionary message in a time when priests lived the life of the people with detachment. The "high measure of Christian life" Don Bosco put into practice by entering the "social and existential periphery" that grew in the 19th century Turin, capital of Italy and an industrial city, which attracted hundreds of young people looking for work. In fact, the "priest of the poor and abandoned young people", following the far-sighted advice of his teacher St Joseph Cafasso, went down into the streets, entered the building sites, factories and prisons, and there he found children who were alone and abandoned, at the mercy of the owners of work, without any scruples. He brought the joy and care of the true educator to all the boys he tore from the streets, boys who found in Valdocco an oasis of serenity, and the place where they learned to be "good Christians and honest citizens". It is the same atmosphere of joy and family that I too was lucky enough to live and taste as a child, attending the sixth grade at the Colegio Wilfrid Barón de los Santos Ángeles, in Ramos Mejía. Salesians have formed me to beauty, to work and in being very joyful, and this is your charisma.

They helped me grow without fear, without obsessions. They helped me to move forward in joy and in prayer, as I had the opportunity to remind you during the visit to the Basilica of Mary Help of Christians on June 21, 2015.

The three White Loves


07 Father and Teacher of Youth - Fr. Ian Doulton

posted Jan 22, 2019, 2:03 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jan 22, 2019, 2:03 AM ]

St John Bosco (1815-1888)

On August 16, 1815, a British warship was carrying a conqueror to a bleak island in the South Atlantic. There he was to be held, like some great caged eagle, till death came. This inhospitable island was St Helena, and the prisoner was called 'The Little Corporal'. Europe and America were following in imagination the last voyage of this prisoner—some with relief in their hearts; some with sorrow; some with the wounds of Waterloo still healing; some with widowed and orphaned bitterness; for such a conqueror leaves a trail of blood and woe, whether his ambition leads him to victory or defeat.

As glory was fading in the western skies, that same evening of August 16, 1815, another babe was being born in a poor suburb of Turin, Italy. Thus unheralded, coming on the stage of life was one who was destined to do greater things for his fellow men than Napoleon Bonaparte. The farmer folk in this poor suburb of Castelnuovo d'Asti-Becchi knew the next day that a boy child had come to the humble home of Francis and Margaret Bosco. There were already two boys there; Anthony, who was Margaret Bosco's stepson, a toddling two-year-old Joseph and now, the new baby. Francis and Margaret pondered over a suitable name for their youngest, and they hit upon a happy choice; they called the baby after the youngest apostle whom Jesus loved exceedingly. So a few days later, in the parish church, a new child of God was held over the baptismal font, and the pastor christened him John - John Melchior Bosco.

And that was John Bosco - who would also go on to be a conqueror. By the peaceful ways of Christ, he would become the Beloved Apostle of Youth. All the days of his long life, he saw his world through the gentle eyes of Jesus and his dear Mary, Help of Christians. He also cherished high ambitions. He dreamed dreams, and he saw them become splendid realities. His life's work was not to conquer men and bend them to his will. No mother ever cursed his name for leaving her son pale and horrible on some European battlefield. But many a mother brought her son to his side, and many a motherless boy came to his shelter and there learned to bless the day that he had come under the influence of this 'Father of Orphans'.


11 Non-Violence is the Answer to India's woes - Archbishop Thomas Menamparampil

posted Jan 22, 2019, 2:01 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jan 22, 2019, 2:01 AM ]

On January 26, 2019, India celebrates its 70th Republic Day

Republic Day is an occasion for us to ask ourselves whether the values taught by our Founding Fathers are still alive among us. When values weaken in society, use of force takes over… from the side of the government, and/or between citizens themselves.

Unfairness increases in every form, and minorities and the weaker sections of society suffer the most.

Violence is another name for force used in an unfair manner. Once violence breaks out, there is no limit to the extent it can go. In situations of inter-community or international tensions, one needs to take steps forward most carefully.

Aggressive language invites aggressive language, provocative vocabulary invites provocative vocabulary.

Provocative language today in the mouth of persons in responsible positions is shocking. If things take a bad direction, everyone stands aside in helplessness. And yet, this is precisely what seems to be happening.

It is in this context that Pope Francis' message for the World Day of Peace seems most relevant. There is nothing truer today than his frank admission that we already find ourselves "engaged in a world war." He makes a passionate appeal for 'non-violence.'


13 Youth Page

posted Jan 22, 2019, 1:59 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jan 22, 2019, 1:59 AM ]



'Be His Soundtrack'

"What is the difference between Gospel music and Rock music?" This was one of the opening questions posed by a compere at the Diocesan Youth Centre's Rocklamation 2019. Held at the Don Bosco Centre for Learning campus grounds on January 12, the event brought together youth from all over Mumbai to celebrate music in its purest form, and live the Gospel message through song, dance and dynamic speeches.

Fr M. Gabriel, the Kurla Deanery Youth Coordinator, invoked God's blessings on the gathering. Bishop Barthol, in his opening video message, inspired the young audience to make the most of their talents particularly in this 'Year of the youth'. Chief Guest Fr Savio Silveira, sdb, Vice Provincial of Mumbai, emphasised the need to be proactive as youth to effect a positive social change, and thereby become 'God's Soundtrack'. Deacon Ivan Fernandes, the Diocesan Youth Coordinator, kept the audience hanging on to every word, as he animatedly emphasised that Jesus was still Alive and Present today, and we are called to be His Soundtrack!


15 Fissures in the Indian Fabric - Fr Joshan Rodrigues

posted Jan 22, 2019, 1:56 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jan 22, 2019, 1:57 AM ]

India goes to the polls this year to elect its Lok Sabha representatives. This makes the celebration of Republic Day even more significant. The solemn respect that is extended to the Indian Flag and other national symbols on this day is not just meant to be a superficial exhibition of our patriotic fervour, or to remind ourselves of our 'Indian-ness', but rather, it must be a moment of critical appraisal to review the fissures that have opened up in the fabric of our Republic. The Founding Fathers had a strong faith in the people of this country, and they were certain that with the inherent talents and resources present in the people of this great nation, we would soon realise the potential and dreams with which India was born as it gained independence.

The onus of realising the Indian dream is, however, not just the responsibility of the three branches of government, but is incumbent on every Indian citizen. Each of us, to the extent of our strengths and capacities, is duty-bound to augment the country's progress, uphold its honour and persuasively and consistently carry India's silent fortitude and human ideals to a world that is often steeped in nationalistic agendas and ego battles. A democratic Republic, one which our Constitution aims to build, cannot be realised, if its citizens reject the business of political discourse and civic duty. Public business must be the citizen's business. It is therefore each one's responsibility to familiarise himself with the workings of the machinery of Government, so that he can immerse himself actively and knowledgably in public discourse.

As we look to the state of the nation today, a number of concerns emerge. Political discourse and debate is at an all-time low. Name-calling and personal insults have become the order of the day. The Treasury and Opposition benches have become skilled in presenting facts from their own perspective and to their own advantage, and the general public seems incapable of discerning the truth from the barrage of 'facts' and 'alternative facts' thrown at it. Legislatures have forgotten the art of high debate – house suspensions and walkouts have become the norm. Poaching of MPs and MLAs from rival parties has made a mockery of the very reason why elections are held. The sanctity of a citizen's vote is trampled upon, if his/her elected representative betrays the promises, party and platform on which he stood for election. As national and regional parties head towards Battle 2019, the only narrative seems to be to keep the other out of power. So far, no party has presented a concrete vision or manifesto to outline how they plan on addressing the ills burdening our nation.


17 Obituary

posted Jan 22, 2019, 1:54 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jan 22, 2019, 1:55 AM ]

Fr Vincent Dias

The last day of the year 2018 happened to be the last day in the life of Fr Vincent Dias. Vincent was ailing for quite some time, and therefore, for the last 4½ years, he was residing with his brother Fabian at Merces, Vasai. Fr Vincent’s regret that he was not able to give his very best at his last appointment in the Church of St Vincent de Paul, Khar remained with him till the end.

Vincent hailed from a big and well-to-do family, being third in line among five brothers and four sisters. He studied in the parish school at Merces, and thereafter at St Thomas High School, Deo Talao under the able educationist Fr Bernard Bhandari. Vincent, along with a big batch of Basseinites, joined St Pius X Seminary, Goregaon. In the seminary, he was known to be an intelligent student, asking the professors questions which made them think twice before replying to Bro. Vincent. He was ordained on December 16, 1973.

Fr Vincent’s first appointment was as an Assistant at St Anne Church, Orlem. He then came to St Thomas Church, Sandor. This enterprising priest was, at an early age, appointed the Parish Priest of St Peter Church, Arnalla. There he worked hard, and got the church building renovated for the celebration of its Golden Jubilee in 1981. From Arnalla, he was given an appointment at Our Lady of Bethlehem Church, Dongri. There he gave a big push to the work of constructing steps to climb the hill of the shrine of Irmitri,a place of age-old devotion ever since the early 17th century. Later on, he was appointed Parish Priest of St Xavier Church, Giriz. As his health started failing, he had to satisfy himself with the appointments he received as an assistant first at St Andrew Church, Bandra, then at Marol, Vile Parle, Powai and Versova. He was admired for his inspiring homilies, always giving insightful thoughts that applied to the day-to-day life of the faithful.


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