Issues Vol. 63‎ > ‎

Vol. 63 No. 08 • FEB 23 - MAR 01, 2019

01 Cover

posted Feb 20, 2019, 10:07 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Feb 21, 2019, 6:42 PM ]


03 Index

posted Feb 20, 2019, 10:05 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Feb 20, 2019, 10:07 AM ]


04 Engagements

posted Feb 20, 2019, 10:03 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Feb 20, 2019, 10:03 AM ]


05 Editorial - Tyranny of Terror - Fr. Anthony Charanghat

posted Feb 20, 2019, 9:55 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Feb 20, 2019, 9:56 AM ]

The unrelenting tyranny of terror once again stained the sacred soil of our nation with the blood of martyrs in an attack on our military personnel on Thursday, February 14 in Pulwama. The death toll from the terror attack on a CRPF convoy in Lethpora district rose to 44, besides the 38 others who were wounded in the worst-ever terror attack in Kashmir.

A 'fidayeen' bomber belonging to the Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) terror outfit rammed an RDX explosive-laden SUV into a bus carrying CRPF troopers on the Srinagar-Jammu Highway. With Prime Minister Narendra Modi's resolve to avenge 'each drop of tears shed' in the aftermath of the Pulwama terror attack, India has started drawing out a retaliatory action plan, and is roping in international support to isolate Pakistan on the world stage.

PM Modi said, "Those who spray bullets or those who provide guns and bombs to target our soldiers, will not be spared." All political parties have lent full support to the Modi government to take tough action against the Pulwama terror attack perpetrators and those harbouring such organisations. The grief over the dastardly attack on the CRPF convoy refuses to die down, and people across India are demanding a strong response against these terror groups.

The Christian community, too, unequivocally condemns such barbarous, inhuman acts by agents of faceless terror. They are numb, indoctrinated minds that spew senseless violence and merciless death outside the ambit of a just war. To kill in the name of God or cultural ideology is immoral. It is against God who is the Creator and author of life, who has forbidden us to kill. Whoever kills a person is like one who kills the whole of humanity. Our hearts go out to the jawans and their families. May their sacrifices never be in vain.

The widespread anguish of the nation is palpable, and the spontaneous commitment to combat terrorism is resolute. Every action has a reaction, but an intelligent human action of the nation should have a responsible response, if it has to succeed in its efforts to eradicate the despicable hydra-headed aatankwadis masquerading in stealth and diabolical deceit. Our response should be prudent and meticulously planned, so that no one of goodwill is alienated from this humongous challenge and united task of the nation.

Having such a vision and perspective will not allow any room for sowing seeds of disunity and hate among our varied regions and communities. Shrill cries for instantaneous retaliation, vendetta and retribution, and vociferous demands for surgical strikes will only escalate the ongoing spiral of violence. Calls for a blanket ban and discrimination against students or organised violence against groups after branding them as terrorist sympathisers are dangerous and disruptive trends that will hijack the war against terror. We must place our trust in our political leadership and security experts who are best equipped to handle this pressing challenge.

To understand the urgency of the problem at hand, we quote Pope Francis who recently said at Abu Dhabi, "History shows that religious extremism, national extremism and also intolerance have produced in the world, be it in the East or West, what might be referred to as signs of a "third World War being fought piecemeal."

It should not be forgotten that terrorism is a crime, and it must be fought taking full advantage of criminal law and international mutual assistance among police and judicial authorities. Security or military means are never sufficient by themselves to combat terrorism, and seldom lead to desired outcomes.

On the other hand, measures to wipe out the tyranny of terrorism must scrupulously respect human rights, international humanitarian law, and due process. The United Nations has a key role in assisting Member States to prevent terrorist activities becoming threats to international peace, and must be the pivot of our endeavours to completely wipe out the tyranny of terror.

06 Dissolving Religious Differences to make a Safe Society - Sr. Antonette Jesumani DSP

posted Feb 20, 2019, 9:48 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Feb 20, 2019, 9:48 AM ]

Report of 26th All-Religion Prayer and Get-together

Religion plays a vital role in everyone's life. Different faiths have a variety of things common in their teachings, their portrayal of God and their explanation of God's purpose. They share some basic tenets within the realm of human relations – for instance, every faith teaches respect for parents, love for children, fellow beings and the whole Creation. All faiths lead to the Creator; we see each faith exerting its influence to unite humankind in peace.

It was this idea that led to the founding of the Interreligious Get-together 26 years ago, which today has become an eagerly-awaited annual event. Dr Sr Pauline Chakkalakal, dsp is the originator, architect and the driving force behind this initiative. While Sr Pauline works tirelessly, she is backed by a highly motivated and dedicated team drawn from the Daughters of St. Paul, BUILD-Bandra, Bandra Hindu Association, Anjuman-I-Islam Girls High School & Jr College, Duruelo Convent High School, Brahma Kumaris and others.

The 26th All-Religion Prayer and Get-together held on January 30, 2019 at Duruelo Convent High School, Bandra West, Mumbai (from 4:30 pm to 7 pm) focused on the theme: 'Dissolving Religious Differences to make a Safe Society'. The programme was attended by over 450 youth and adults.

The meeting began with an Invocation Bhajan sung by Sr Sushma and Pauline team, followed by the Lighting of the Lamp by persons from different religions. A cordial welcome in Hindi by Smt. Manjusha, HM of BHA, was extended to all present. In her formal introduction about the event, Sr Pauline reiterated the purpose - Celebration of our Unity in Diversity. Highlighting the role of the youth, she spoke of "the need for involving young people in nation-building in accordance with the noble values enshrined in the Preamble of the Constitution of India. "Every youth who is present today participates in our united effort in dissolving religious differences and ensures that change and safety is possible, because when the youth energy is channelised, it is already a guarantee for the growth of the society and nation.

God speaks to us in varied ways through people and events. The Prayer Service consisted of listening to God speaking to us through the Scriptures of different religions – Islam, Sikhism, Buddhism, Jainism, Hinduism and Christianity. The Bible passage (1 Corinthians, chapter 13 on love) read by Rev. Thomas Jacob, St Stephen Church (CNI) communicated a powerful and relevant message for the occasion. A similar message was shared by Smita, Brahma Kumari, who also reminded the audience that we are all children of God, and we go back to the same house.

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07 God's Word is our Daily Food - Dr. Fio Mascarenhas SJ

posted Feb 20, 2019, 9:19 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Feb 20, 2019, 9:43 AM ]

In an 'Official' published in The Examiner of Feb. 16, 2019, Cardinal Oswald Gracias asked that a Bible Novena be prayed at every Mass in this Archdiocese from Feb. 22 to March 2, "to help us benefit more from the annual celebration of Bible Sunday."

During the liturgical year, various Sundays are designated to remind the Faithful about key issues taught by the word of God, like Justice, Vocations, etc., but the Sunday before Ash Wednesday is chosen as Bible Sunday, to remind us that everything in Christianity is founded on God's Word, as contained in the Bible! A special sale of Bibles, or organising entertaining Bible skits and quizzes, etc., is good, but convincing our people that the Bible is the source of Catholic and Christian spirituality, and helping them to foster a personal biblical spirituality, is really the goal.

This year's theme is 'GOD'S WORD IS OUR DAILY FOOD'. John 6:63 reads: "Jesus said, It is the spirit that gives life, the flesh is of no avail; the words I have spoken to you are spirit and life!" It is a good thing that many Catholics have been taught to receive "spirit and life" from the Eucharistic flesh of Jesus (and visits to the Blessed Sacrament), but it is very sad that most have not been sufficiently taught about seeking "spirit and life" from the Bible, and especially from Part 2 of the Bible - the New Testament (the Gospels, the Letters of St Paul, etc).

The word "spirit" means new energy, encouragement, inspiration, enthusiasm for our personal discipleship of Jesus and for our active membership of the Body of Christ. And "life" is new vitality, health, courage, strong faith, the ability to love like Jesus, a deeper trust in God as Abba, etc. According to Jesus, and as repeated by the Cardinal in his 'Official', all this comes from both the Sacraments and the word of God. The Second Vatican Council had authoritatively assured Catholics about the great efficacy of a devotional reading of scripture: "Such is the force and power of the word of God that it can serve the Church as her support and vigour, and the children of the Church as strength for their faith, food for the soul, and a pure and lasting fount of spiritual life... Just as from constant attendance at the Eucharistic mystery, the life of the Church draws increase, so a new impulse of spiritual life may be expected from increased veneration of the word of God" (Dei Verbum, nn.21, 26).

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08 Western Region Social Communications Conference 2019 - Wendy Chaves

posted Feb 20, 2019, 9:18 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Feb 20, 2019, 9:18 AM ]

The Western Region Social Communications Conference (WRSC) 2019, hosted by the Diocese of Poona, was held over two days, February 4-5, at Shraddha Seva (Poona Diocesan Social Service Centre).

The 14 participating Archdioceses/Dioceses were represented by the Directors/Asst Directors of Social Communications: Nashik (Fr Polly D'Silva), Amravati (Fr Joselyn Pancras), Khadki (Fr Melwin Matthew), Chandrapur (Fr Vincent Pangola), Gandhinagar (Fr Matthew Parapuram); Aurangabad (Fr Sinto Chiramal), Vasai (Fr Raymond Rumao), Baroda (Fr John Raju Athukuri), Sindhudurg (Fr Alex D'Mello), Ahmedabad (Fr Ashok Vaghela SJ), Goa (Fr Olav Caiado), Kalyan (Fr Franklin Pottananickal), Bombay (Fr Nigel Barrett), Poona (Fr Malcolm Sequeira).

At the inaugural Mass, Bishop Barthol Barretto, Auxiliary Bishop of Bombay and Chairperson of the WRSC Commission, warmly welcomed all the delegates. Commemorating the Feast of St John de Britto, Bp Barthol pointed out that just like John de Britto, the Directors and Asst Directors of Social Communications, representing their Archdioceses/Dioceses in the Western Region, were called to communicate the faith, sometimes having to face immense challenges.

Bishop Thomas Dabre, Bishop of Poona, paid a brief visit, welcoming all the delegates to the Diocese of Poona, and exhorted them to make the maximum use of social media. He pointed out the necessity to reach the widest audience possible, and asked for a sharing of talents and capabilities, particularly in the context of new technologies. Bishop Dabre is himself present and active on social media, and this was both acknowledged and applauded.

Thanks to the good offices of Fr Malcolm Sequeira, Director of Communications and Vicar General of the Diocese of Poona, the main session on the first day provided the participants with an in-depth exposure to Cybercrime and its consequences, particularly for the Church and priests. The Resource Person was Dr Harold D'Costa, President, Cyber Security Corporation, who is a national as well as an international figure. Besides being advisor to the Government at various levels, he is also advisor to the Supreme Court Justices, as well as the Judges of the lower courts, and the police force. Being an expert, he is well known for his sessions on Cybercrime, Cyber Laws, Digital Forensics and takes a hands on approach in associated criminal investigations.

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10 Reviving the Art of Reading in the Internet Age - Fiza Pathan

posted Feb 20, 2019, 9:11 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Feb 20, 2019, 9:11 AM ]

Have you been coming across badly framed official letters and e-mails at the office; the inability of your young team of office workers to read the entire matter of an official document before making their 'ppts'; the short-term memory of your young twenty-something secretary; over-enthusiastic lawyers who haven't read the basic laws of their specialisation; twenty-something MA teachers who can't speak a single sentence in correct English? Well, there may be a simple reason for all this—that the youth of today, be it Millennials, Gen X or Gen Z have stopped reading books.

Most parents these days primarily focus on getting their children to read when they are toddlers, until they have learnt the basics of reading and writing. After that, most parents just forget about reading or providing books to cultivate their ward's ability to read better. They feel that teachers at school should fill in those gaps, or that the compulsory reading material in the school syllabus should tackle the latter part of their children's reading lives.

Young couples these days have great dreams for their children. They seem to be more ambitious than the teenager or young adult in question. But the question is, if a child hasn't read more than ten books in school and has only scanned through his reading material in college, how do you expect them to read and comprehend official documents, lengthy database files, tomes on law, grammar, doctoral theses, foreign exchange, economics, case studies, medical journals, et al? Let's face it, by not inculcating and nurturing the love of reading books in our homes, we are creating a generation of internet zombies.

But seriously, has the reading of books only declined now, post the emergence of 'tablets', smartphones, social networking sites and the internet?

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12 Youth Pages

posted Feb 20, 2019, 9:05 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Feb 20, 2019, 9:05 AM ]

Meet Mumbai's First
All-Girl Church Band

Say 'Hello!' to Terranova – the first all-girl Church band in Mumbai. They own the stage with their singing power and energy, and draw 'oohs and ahs' from the audience with their talent on the drums and guitar. Trisha D'Souza (Lead and Rhythm Guitarist), Elisha Estibeiro (Drums), Rhea Prabhu (Keyboard) and Alanis Rodrigues (Bass Guitar) belong to Immaculate Conception Church, Borivli, and have been mentored and trained by Fr Alban D'Souza, who is the Youth Director, and whose own love for all things musical are well known in Mumbai. Terranova had their debut performance in front of their home crowd on Sunday evening, February 10 at the Pope Paul Hall Extension.

Most of the girls were encouraged to pursue music at a young age by their parents. Rhea's mother bought her a small toy keyboard when she was four, which sowed the musical seed in her. She began formally learning to play the keyboard at age 7. Trisha was influenced by her dad, who used to follow a number of bands and watch their videos at home. Elisha was inspired to learn to play the drums, since she felt there were not many girl drummers around. Add to it her parents' love for old rock bands, and the little girl was hooked. Alanis, though, picked up playing the bass guitar only recently, on Fr Alban's prodding. He taught her for about a month and a half, and she took to it like a fish in water.

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Confirmation Retreat 2019

– Introspection on Faith

On January 26, we, the confirmandi from St Andrew's Church, Bandra set out for a Retreat to Don Bosco High School, Lonavla. Filled with excitement and anticipation, we assembled at 7:30 a.m. for the flag hoisting ceremony at St Andrew Church compound, then made our way to the bus. Our three-hour journey was filled with music, laughter and snacks. When we finally reached Don Bosco High School, the priests—Fr Royal D'Abreo and Fr Valerian Pereira—gave us a warm welcome, and we were offered some refreshments.

Fr Vincent D'Cruz conducted the first session on the Sacrament of Confirmation. He explained how the Sacrament is one of maturity, and why it is an important stage in Christianity. He elaborated how happiness cannot be found in materialistic things or anything related to greed and pride.

In the evening, we explored the massive premises—two huge grounds and a basketball court; some of us played football and basketball with the aspirants. There was a lovely chapel where we spent time in prayer. There were game rooms for playing badminton and table tennis too. The whole campus was well maintained, with a lot of greenery and beautiful flowers.

Later in the evening, we had another session; Fr Vincent spoke about how we can find God in our everyday lives, in everything we do. He asked us about our belief in Jesus Christ, and asked us to talk about our doubts on religion.

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13 Book Review

posted Feb 20, 2019, 9:03 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Feb 20, 2019, 9:03 AM ]

Reflections in a Broken Mirror

by Dom De Sa

I was quite delighted to receive a copy of Reflections in a Broken Mirror.

Dom's acquaintance with the Holy Bible, influential writers, thinkers and personal reflections is quite impressive. Though a layman, the quality of his writing is not that of a 'layman'. He has touched quite a noteworthy level of substantive, thought-provoking essays with some soul-stirring narratives.

In his reflections on the Resurrection, he writes, that the Risen Lord is "to remain for many of us, the hope that all our dying will not, ultimately, be the breaking of us, but the making of our humanity." (page 66) Yes, death is not annihilation, but the flowering of one's life, if it is accepted in total surrender to the Lord, Crucified and Risen.

In the section on "Thy will be done", De Sa states, "Yet our acceptance of God's will is rarely that of eager hearts. If we will be frank with ourselves, it is more often abject resignation to the inevitable. We surrender to "our fate" or to "our destiny" – not to a loving and gracious benefactor, in whose will is our true joy." (page 228)

In the Gita, it is said, "Death of the one born is inevitable." According to modern philosopher Hiedegger, "Man is a being for dying." For us Christians, however, death is not just ineluctable existential facticity, but an act of profound faith and a total self-surrender into the hands of the merciful Saviour. 

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