Issues Vol. 63‎ > ‎

Vol. 63 No. 06 • FEB 09 - 15, 2019

01 Cover

posted Feb 6, 2019, 7:45 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Feb 6, 2019, 7:45 AM ]

03 Index

posted Feb 6, 2019, 7:44 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Feb 6, 2019, 7:45 AM ]

03 Index

posted Feb 6, 2019, 7:43 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Feb 6, 2019, 7:43 AM ]

04 Engagements

posted Feb 6, 2019, 7:42 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Feb 6, 2019, 7:43 AM ]

05 Editorial - Serve the sick with generosity

posted Feb 6, 2019, 7:22 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Feb 6, 2019, 7:22 AM ]

To serve the poor and sick in a generous manner is a powerful form of evangelization, Pope Francis says in his message for the World Day of the Sick. "The Church – as a Mother to all her children, especially the infirm – reminds us that generous gestures, like that of the Good Samaritan, are the most credible means of evangelization," the Pope wrote. The 27th World Day of the Sick will be solemnly celebrated on Feb. 11, 2019, in Kolkata, India. The theme of this year's message comes from Matthew 10:8: "You received without payment; give without payment."

"Gift," Pope Francis says, is more than giving of physical property or objects as presents. "It involves the giving of oneself," freely, and with the desire for relationship with others, "the basis of society." Moreover, "'gift' is a reflection of God's love, which culminates in the incarnation of the Son and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit."

The Pope notes that one person who exemplified self-gift, especially in service of the sick, is St Mother Teresa of Calcutta, who "helps us understand that our only criterion of action must be selfless love for every human being, without distinction of language, culture, ethnicity or religion." Her example continues to be a guide of hope and joy for those in need of understanding and love – especially the suffering.

Quoting from the homily he gave at her canonisation Mass on Sept. 4, 2016, Pope Francis said: "For Mother Teresa, mercy was the 'salt' which gave flavour to her work; it was the 'light' that shone in the darkness of the many who no longer had tears to shed for their poverty and suffering." He continues, "Her mission to the urban and existential peripheries remains for us today an eloquent witness to God's closeness to the poorest of the poor." The Pope upholds her further, saying that "she made her voice heard before the powers of this world, so that they might recognise their guilt for the crime – the crimes! – of poverty they created."

Pope Francis says that when thinking of the sick or infirm, it is good to remember that every person, at birth, is reliant on his or her parents to survive, and remains in need of the help of others in some manner at every stage of life. Acknowledging this fact helps people to practise solidarity with those in need. "Only if we see ourselves, not as a world apart, but in a fraternal relationship with others, can we develop a social practice of solidarity aimed at the common good."

People should not fear personal limitations or reliance on others, because "God Himself, in Jesus, has humbly stooped down to us and continues to do so; in our poverty, He comes to our aid, and grants us gifts beyond our imagining," Pope Francis states.

In his message, the Pope also praises the work of healthcare volunteers, who, he says, "eloquently embody the spirituality of the Good Samaritan." Volunteer work in hospitals and in homes, offering healthcare and spiritual support "is of primary importance," and he urges people to continue to be a sign of the Church's presence to the sick and elderly and infirm in body or mind.

Catholic healthcare institutions, in particular, should be inspired by generosity, self-giving, and solidarity, since they "carry out their activity in the light of the Gospel." "Catholic healthcare institutions must not fall into the trap of simply running a business; they must be concerned with personal care more than profit."

Health, he says, "is relational, dependent on interaction with others, and requiring trust, friendship and solidarity. It is a treasure that can be enjoyed fully only when it is shared. The joy of generous giving is a barometer of the health of a Christian."

Hannah Brockhaus, Catholic News Agency

06 A Good Life to the End - Bishop Allwyn D'Silva

posted Feb 6, 2019, 7:21 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Feb 7, 2019, 5:49 PM ]

The elderly would welcome being able to spend the last days of their earthly life surrounded by loved ones.

A few years ago, my brother-in-law was in the ICU, and it was painfully evident that he was on his death bed. Among those who visited him in the hospital was my relative, Sr Angela of the Daughters of the Cross, a doctor. Amidst the faint buzz of machines and the frenetic pacing of medical personnel, Sr Angela gently, but with a firm conviction, advised my sister to move her husband to the ward. During his last days, it would be better for him to enjoy the company of his whole family, rather than remain in the ICU, where only one person is allowed at a time. I also remember two of my priest friends who were dying of cancer. Since they were in the last stage, they did not want to prolong their agony and take chemotherapy, opting instead for palliative care.

These incidents forced me to read the book, A Good Life to the End by Ken Hillman, an intensive care specialist and Professor of Intensive Care at the University of South Wales. Dr Hillman recounts the peaceful passing away of his grandfather at home, in contrast to his mother's death in the ICU – with the last six months of her life spent in and out of hospitals. He points out how the norm has transitioned from being born in the intimate setting of a home to birth in chaotic delivery wards. As he succinctly observes, our passage from the cradle to the grave has become increasingly medicalised.

A consequence of this is that many of us will spend our last days in an ICU, hooked up to machines, and with foreign material in our bodies, in an attempt to prolong life. However, Dr Hillman asks, will the machines that save the lives of young people with otherwise fatal diseases, be as effective for old patients? While it may be okay to introduce foreign material in the body for young people, the immune system of the aged is not strong, and aggressive treatments often do not have the desired outcome.

Conditions which bring the elderly into hospital are simply markers of someone who is nearing the end of life, requiring a different approach from the radical measures taken in ICUs. As we grow older, we get frailer. Bones become brittle, and our organs just don't function optimally. Ageing is inevitable.


07 The Magic of Lourdes - Bishop Bosco Penha

posted Feb 6, 2019, 7:19 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Feb 6, 2019, 7:20 AM ]

Our Lady appeared to Bernadette for the first time on February 11, 1858, and since then, the world has never been the same. At the third apparition, she requested Bernadette to come and meet her daily for 15 days, and Bernadette agreed. Some days later, Our Lady asked Bernadette to tell the priests to build a chapel at the spot where she appeared, and to let processions come there. Bernadette was troubled at this assignment, as she had a great fear and dread of the Vicar, Dean Peyramale. Nevertheless, in obedience to "the Lady" (whose name she did not know), she went to meet Vicar Peyramale to give him the message.

Her worst fears were realised, as Dean Peyramale was harsh and hostile. He was very sceptical about the visions that Bernadette was having. On receiving the message about the chapel, he was even angrier, and asked Bernadette to tell the lady to furnish the means for the chapel herself. She was also to tell the lady that he did not accept commissions from unknown ladies, and would she please leave him alone! He then threatened to sweep Bernadette out of his room. Poor Bernadette almost ran out of the room in terror, but hardly had she left the Dean's presence, when she realised she had forgotten the part of the message concerning processions. Despite her immense fear, Bernadette plucked up the courage to go back to Dean Peyramale to deliver the second part of the message. The request for processions infuriated Dean Peyramale even further.

This time, he told Bernadette she should ask for a miracle. He even suggested the miracle. At the foot of the grotto where the lady appeared was a wild rose bush. Bernadette was to request the lady to let the wild rose bush bloom. Since it was still winter, such an occurrence would be unlikely enough to be considered a miracle. At the next apparition, Bernadette dutifully repeated all the Dean's messages to the lady. On that day, after a short while, the Lady withdrew.

Go – drink and wash yourself

On the next day, February 25, there was a huge crowd at the grotto, expecting the miracle of the flowering rose bush in response to the Dean's request. The lady paid no attention to the rose bush, but on that day, in the course of her interaction with Bernadette, she said, "Go to the spring yonder, and drink and wash yourself." Bernadette looked around, but could see no spring, so she thought that the lady meant the River Gave that flowed nearby. She started to move in the direction of the river, but the lady's voice called her back. "Not to the Gave, please." When the lady noticed Bernadette's confusion, she added, "Go eat of the plants you will find yonder." Some distance away, she saw a place where a handful of grass grew. She fulfilled the second part of the command by pulling out a few blades of grass and swallowing them.


09 MARRIAGE – For Love and For Life - Dn Ashwin Castellino

posted Feb 6, 2019, 7:11 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Feb 6, 2019, 7:12 AM ]

We live in a fast-paced society, which often endorses a use-and-throw culture. Exchange offers are available for almost any commodity we use. This mentality also spills over into relationships, with a hook-up culture promoted by television and secular culture. This makes one think, "How is it possible for a married couple to stay happy together for a lifetime? Is there a secret formula for a successful and happy marriage?" There is surely no proven formula; however, with trust, love, sacrifice and understanding, any marriage can be strengthened and made successful. Marriage is much more than just physical intimacy; it also has spiritual, social, emotional and other dimensions.

World Marriage Day celebrates the love of married couples and is observed every second Sunday of February. It was introduced in 1981 by the Worldwide Marriage Encounter which is associated with the Catholic Marriage Encounter movement. In 1993, Saint Pope John Paul II gave his blessings to World Marriage Day. The objective of World Marriage Day is very noble. The purpose statement says "World Marriage Day honours husband and wife as the foundation of the family, the basic unit of society. It salutes the beauty of their faithfulness, sacrifice and joy in daily married life."

Returning to the questions raised above, here are a few suggestions (not tips) for building a strong foundation for married life, based on my interaction and experience with married couples. I believe if this is understood and applied well, it can surely enhance the quality of married life. Every couple entering marriage wants to be happy. As they exchange their vows on their wedding day, there is an expectation and hope that everything will work out well, and their thoughts and dreams are filled with a sense of "happily ever after". This is good and also right; however, it is important to remember that marriage also requires a lot of perseverance and effort on the part of each spouse. A happy marriage does not happen automatically. Both spouses need to be fully committed and present, as they carefully set and maintain the right priorities. So what are these priorities?

The Inner Circle

There are many important relationships that encompass our lives. If you were to represent yourself as being in the centre of a circle, and others close to you in expanding concentric circles, the ones closest to you would be in the innermost circle.


11 Message of the 31st CCBI Plenary Assembly to the Church in India

posted Feb 6, 2019, 7:05 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Feb 6, 2019, 7:05 AM ]

The Latin rite bishops of India reflected on the theme - 'The Joy of the Gospel'.

We, 133 bishops of the Conference of Catholic Bishops of India (CCBI), assembled at the Joe Animation Centre, Chingleput, Tamil Nadu, from January 7 to 14, 2019, for our 31st Plenary Assembly to reflect upon, pray, discern and respond to the theme: 'The Joy of the Gospel'. This theme — which is the title of Pope Francis' Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium (EG)—urges us to reflect more deeply on the demands of Christian discipleship.
Impelled by Jesus' promise: "I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete" (Jn 15:11), we go forth to joyfully and enthusiastically proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ.

Our Joys and Hopes

We see so much that fills us with joy, consolation and hope. The fidelity, fervour and enthusiasm of so many Christians, lay groups and associations in different parts of India to make Christ known, loved and followed is truly exemplary and encouraging. The heroic witness to the faith of our Christian brothers and sisters — even to the extent of laying down their life for Christ, as seen in places like Kandhamal and elsewhere — is a sublime testimony of courage and sacrifice. The silent witness of so many lay faithful, consecrated persons and priests who live their Christian commitment by walking the path of love, service and sacrifice is truly the effect of an outpouring of grace, expressed so beautifully by Pope Francis in Gaudete et Exsultate (Rejoice and be glad) on the call to holiness in today's world.
We see the urgent need to further strengthen our faith, and we hope to continue extending our loving service to all people — in particular, the Dalits, tribals, women, migrants and refugees — so as to remove all traces of injustice, exploitation and oppression in our society and in the Church.

Challenges to Sharing the Joy of the Gospel
Many challenges, both internal and external, confront us in our mission. Among the internal ones is the need for: (a) a continuous spiritual renewal of bishops, priests, consecrated and lay faithful to inspire us to more joyfully proclaim the Good News; (b) to instill in ourselves a confidence to overcome any fear generated by some incidents of opposition and violence; (c) to find means to reveal more effectively the 'merciful face' of Jesus;(d) to go forth to the peripheries, instead of seeking security in institutions; (e) to take more decisive measures for promoting the welfare of Christians who suffer from various forms of discrimination.


15 Pope in the UAE - Christopher Lamb

posted Feb 6, 2019, 6:48 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Feb 6, 2019, 6:48 AM ]

Pope Francis arrived in the United Arab Emirates on Sunday, February 3, becoming the first Roman Pontiff ever to set foot in the Gulf Peninsula region.

The Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and a delegation of Emirati officials welcomed Pope Francis at the airport, along with Dr Ahmed el-Tayeb, Grand Imam of Al-Azhar university and mosque in Egypt.

It was dialogue that Pope Francis referenced in brief remarks to journalists travelling with him on board the papal plane.

"This morning I received news that it was raining in Abu Dhabi, and there it is thought of as a sign of blessing. Let's hope that everything goes like that," he told reporters.

But the Pope's visit to the UAE also takes place in the shadow of the Yemen conflict, and an hour before his flight from Rome departed for Abu Dhabi, he used his Angelus address to call for an end to the humanitarian crisis in the country. The Emirates have been part of a Saudi Arabia-led coalition in the war against Houthi forces in the country.

In his remarks, the Pope called for an urgent observance of the Yemen ceasefire reached in December 2018, and for its people to receive food and medicines. "The people are exhausted by the long conflict, and many children are hungry, but humanitarian aid isn't accessible," Pope Francis said at midday prayer in St Peter's Square. "The cries of these children and their parents rise up" to God.

The Catholic population in the UAE totals just under 1 million people, largely made up of migrants from the Philippines and south India. Catholics are served by 68 priests, nine parishes, and led by Bishop Paul Hinder, the Apostolic Vicar of Southern Arabia.


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