Issues Vol. 63‎ > ‎

Vol. 63 No. 11 • MAR 16 - 22, 2019

03 Index

posted Mar 13, 2019, 10:34 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Mar 13, 2019, 10:34 AM ]


04 Engagements

posted Mar 13, 2019, 10:33 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Mar 13, 2019, 10:33 AM ]


05 Editorial - Triumph of the Transfiguration - Fr Anthony Charanghat

posted Mar 13, 2019, 10:28 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Mar 13, 2019, 10:29 AM ]

The Second Sunday in Lent spotlights the harmonious blend of fear and faith that form the triumph of the Transfiguration episode. It is so unlike our TV news telecast that focuses on divisive and destructive fear and anger to counter the menace of terrorism. Politicians are quick to interject, "Vote for me, and I will protect you." While we appreciate the promises and the need for a strong national defence, we know such hope is illusory. There is no evidence to guarantee lasting success, that there will be no 14/02 or suicide bombing, if we rely solely on failed human endeavours.

This Sunday's liturgy is of the Transfiguration, because the Gospel recounts this mystery of Jesus' mission of the Messiah. After Jesus had foretold His Passion to the disciples, "He took with Him Peter, James and John, and led them up a high mountain to pray. And He was transfigured before them, and His face shone like the sun, and His garments became white as light" (Lk 9:28-36). The disciples briefly glimpsed an even more intense splendour—that of the divine glory of Jesus which illumines the whole paradox of salvation.

The Gospel tells us that beside the transfigured Jesus, "there appeared Moses and Elijah, talking with Him"; Moses and Elijah, figures of the Law and of the Prophets. It was then that Peter, ecstatic, exclaimed, "Lord, it is wonderful to be here; I will make three tents here; one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah." But we have only one dwelling place, Christ: He is the Word of God, the Word of God in the Law and in the Prophets that will sustain us in our exodus to the Risen Lord.

In fact, the Father Himself proclaims: "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to Him." The Transfiguration is not a change in Jesus, but the revelation of His divinity: "the profound interpenetration of His being with God, which then becomes pure light. In His oneness with the Father, Jesus is Himself 'light from light'." (Jesus of Nazareth)

Peter, James and John, contemplating the divinity of the Lord, are ready to face the scandal of the Cross, after the experience of the power of prayer in this mountaintop spirituality symbolised in Scripture. They, too, are transfigured there, and are unafraid to go down to the valley of daily life, as they listen to the voice of the Father and understand the path to His glory. They acquire a new perception and divine vision, so that on seeing Him crucified, they would understand that His Passion was voluntary, and proclaim to the world the true splendour of grace and glory.

Let us too share in this vision and in this supernatural gift, making room for prayer, and for listening to the Word of God, especially in this Season of Lent, as Paul exhorts us to respond to the divine precept of penitence by some voluntary act, apart from the renunciation imposed by the burdens of everyday life, as our homeland is in heaven.

Let us not be afraid. But let us respond with hope and courage to the struggles of day to day life, to global uncertainty, to changing demographics and their impact on the Church, to shrinking budgets, and our own institutional scandals. Our faith, like the Apostles, urges us to be part of God's story of glory and help heal the world.

'The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?' God lives and will have the final word. We can trust God, because God will outlast every enemy. Let us invoke the Virgin Mary so that she may help us always to listen to and follow the Lord Jesus, even to the Passion and the Cross, in order to also participate in His Risen glory.

06 The ‘JOSEPH’ in Francis - Fr. Cedric Prakash SJ

posted Mar 13, 2019, 10:27 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Mar 13, 2019, 10:27 AM ]

Exactly six years ago, on March 19, 2013, Pope Francis began his Pontificate. It was the Feast of St Joseph, the Patron of the Universal Church. For Pope Francis, the Feast was not a mere coincidence; it was a clear message to the Church and the world, that he wanted his Pontificate to be modelled on the person and message of St Joseph (together with St Francis of Assisi).

His homily at the inaugural Eucharist focused on St Joseph. "In the Gospels, St Joseph appears as a strong and courageous man, a working man, yet, in his heart we see great tenderness, which is not the virtue of the weak, but rather a sign of strength of spirit and a capacity for concern, for compassion, for genuine openness to others, for love." He continued saying, "We must not be afraid of goodness, of tenderness." Pope Francis further said "that exercising the role of protector as St Joseph did, means doing so discreetly, humbly and silently, but with an unfailing presence and utter fidelity, even when he finds it hard to understand. The Gospels present St Joseph as a husband to Mary, at her side in good times and bad, and as a father who watched over Jesus, worried about Him and taught Him a trade. St Joseph responded to his call to be a protector by being constantly attentive to God, open to the signs of God's presence and receptive to God's plans, and not simply his own."

In focusing on the qualities of St Joseph, in his first homily, Pope Francis left no doubt that he would be doing his best to imbibe some of these qualities personally. As one looks back at these six years, the 'Joseph' in Pope Francis has certainly defined his Papacy in many different ways.

St Joseph epitomizes 'caring and protecting'; he cares for and protects Mary and Jesus throughout. It was not easy to do so, but he undertook the responsibility, which was entrusted to him with complete diligence. That is exactly what Pope Francis is doing today: caring and protecting one and all. He reaches out to the lonely, the sick, the aged, the excluded, the prisoner in ways most extraordinary. His caring and protecting reaches out to the whole of Creation. He inspires and encourages others to do likewise.

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07 Catholic Church defends Right to Water - Christiana Zenner

posted Mar 13, 2019, 10:25 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Mar 13, 2019, 10:25 AM ]

Six years ago, few people thought of the Catholic Church as ecologically activist or environmentally diplomatic. But Pope Francis' election to the papacy changed that, especially since the promulgation of his 2015 ecology encyclical, Laudato Si', on 'Care for Our Common Home'. In my analysis, fresh water is the most important point of papal reflection at the intersection of environmental and social justice. Fresh water is, in no uncertain terms, a fundamental life issue.

The magisterial Catholic Church has articulated two fulcrums for environmental reflection — theological and ethical — which apply in specific ways to fresh water.

Theologically, water is the matrix of Creation, a ritual substance par excellence, and a gift from God intended for the benefit of all people.

Ethically, fresh water is a substance that requires attention to justice: it is the poor and vulnerable who are first and most profoundly affected by lack of sufficient, clean, fresh water.

Pope Francis is surely the most visible, and most recent, authoritative Catholic voice on the topic of the centrality of fresh water to environmental and social justice. Citing his and Pope Benedict XVI's papal precedent, Pope Francis' concluding salvo at a 2017 Vatican-hosted 'Dialogue on Water' exhorted:

"The questions that you are discussing are not marginal, but basic and pressing. Basic, because where there is water, there is life, making it possible for societies to arise and advance. Pressing, because our common home needs to be protected. Yet it must also be realised that not all water is life-giving, but only water that is safe and of good quality — as St Francis again tells us, water that "serves with humility," "chaste" water, not polluted. All people have a right to safe drinking water. This is a basic human right and a central issue in today's world."

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09 Living with Brokenness - Christopher Mendonca

posted Mar 13, 2019, 10:23 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Mar 13, 2019, 10:23 AM ]

Brokenness is the leitmotif of the Biblical narrative.
It is the single thread that is woven into the fabric of life
as it intertwines itself between our amnesia and God's mindfulness,
between our infidelity and the LORD's faithfulness.
It begins with the story of Abram.
Presented with a vision of the LORD, who promises to be his shield,
he replied: "What can you give me, seeing that I am childless?" (Genesis 15:1-2)
Sarah's barrenness and his advancing years
only served to give his life a hollow ring;
the physical condition of his wife resonated well
with his feeling of emptiness at the time.
Not too surprising,
except that as the Letter to the Hebrews points out
he was being called by the LORD to look out into the starry sky
and in it find meaning beyond his own emptiness
and the barrenness of his wife Sarah.
Faith would give substance to his hopes
and convince him of realities as yet unseen. (Hebrews 11:1)
When our emptiness presents itself,
God's fullness far exceeds it.

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10 A Spirituality of Flourishing - Sr. (Dr) Patricia Santos RJM

posted Mar 13, 2019, 10:19 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Mar 13, 2019, 10:20 AM ]

The topic of flourishing is raising much interest across a multitude of disciplines. However, most research has not paid adequate attention to women, the poor and other persons at the margins of society.

Empowerment through social conscientisation, advocacy and skills training has enabled women in most parts of India to foster their capacities and has mobilised them to fight for their rights. However, in empowerment work and in most of the social work ministries in India, the emphasis lies on action for justice and liberation in social, economic and political spheres. While spirituality can be discerned in the commitment of grassroots organisations and of resistance movements striving for empowerment and liberation, the faith experiences that sustain people and make them resilient are not brought to the fore. Dr Santos endeavours to change this: she argues that women and people at the margins not only require social conscientisation and capacity building, but also love, care, fulfilment of basic needs, supportive relationships, and spiritual awakening, resulting in integral growth and flourishing.

From Empowerment to a Spirituality of Flourishing (SOF) at the Margins

The dissertation consists of three major parts. It starts with engaging with the women of Maharashtra by means of qualitative empirical research. The second part presents an overview of relevant scholarly research. This enables Santos to envision a Spirituality Of Flourishing (SOF) at the margins. The third part evokes concrete strategies and practices from feminist theologians and grassroots movements in order to develop a life-giving mission for flourishing. Santos states: "Engaging with Catholic organisations working for the empowerment of women and with scholarly research encouraged me to envision a move from empowerment to an SOF. Spirituality is not merely significant for flourishing; it is the very essence, mind, heart and gut of flourishing. Flourishing is an inherent potential and grace offered by the Lord to all persons, as well as a goal to be reached through personal and community efforts. The experiences and contribution of the poor and marginalised need to be taken into consideration to ensure the flourishing of all."

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11 Youth Pages

posted Mar 13, 2019, 10:18 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Mar 13, 2019, 10:18 AM ]

Archdiocesan Study Tour

The working of the Archdiocese of Bombay has always intrigued us. And hence on March 4, 2019, the Parish Youth Council of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception Church, Borivli, set out on an 'Archdiocesan Study Tour' across Mumbai. The purpose of the tour was to understand the functioning of the Catholic Church in the Archdiocese.

The tour began with around 30 youth from the Youth Council assembling in the church quadrangle. After saying a small prayer, the youth accompanied by a few Youth Animators, boarded the bus to their first stop, St Pius X College (Archdiocesan Seminary), Goregaon. Once there, we were taken on a tour of the Seminary's Chapel and Library. The librarian, Mr Richard Fernandes, briefed us on the importance of theological and philosophical studies. We then had a question-answer session with Fr Dolreich Pereira. We were also taken on a tour of the Archdiocesan Heritage Museum. We learnt a lot about the history of various religious artefacts displayed at the Museum.

We then visited Mount Mary Basilica, followed by a visit to the Diocesan Pastoral Centre (DPC), Bandra. We were greeted by Fr Vincent D'Cruz, in-charge of the Diocesan Catechetical Centre. He enlightened us about the functioning of the Church in the spiritual formation of young minds, and the steps taken to help them have a personal relationship with Jesus at a young age. We enjoyed a sumptuous lunch at the DPC.

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Peace Rally organised at Wadala

On March 9, 2019, Sahayini Social Development Society Vocational Training Centre, Auxilium Wadala, organised a Peace Rally for more than 1200 youth from various colleges and NGOs with the theme: 'Youth for Empowering Women, Nation Building and paying homage to our CRPF jawans slain at Pulwama'. Sr Rosaline Pereira and team commenced the Rally with a bhakti geet 'Asathoma Sadgamaya'. The Beauty & Wellness youth of Sahayini symbolically carried 12 lamps to mark the event and pay homage to the fallen martyrs. Mrs Rosemary Francis, the compere for the event, welcomed Sr Rita Dora Thomas (Provincial – Mary Mazzarello Mumbai Province), MLA Kalidas Kolambkar and all the distinguished dignitaries and guests. Sr Magdeline Sequeira, Vice Provincial of Mary Mazzarello Mumbai Province, paid tribute to the fallen soldiers, after which there was a minute of silence and a salute to the brave heroes of our country. >>>

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12 Movie Review

posted Mar 13, 2019, 10:16 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Mar 13, 2019, 10:16 AM ]

Captain Marvel

The seeds for the latest film to roll out from Marvel Cinematic Universe's (MCU) stable were laid post-credits at the end of 'Avengers: Infinity War'. (The post-credits teaser in each film from the MCU studio is proving to be the stuff of legend.) In spite of their best efforts, the Avengers are unable to stop Thanos from wiping out half of the human race along with half of the Avengers. Before fading away into oblivion, Agent Fury presses a button on a little device, seemingly a distress signal. But who was on the other side of that call? The latest offering from the MCU is the answer.

Carol Danvers (played by Brie Larson) becomes one of the universe's most powerful heroes, when Earth is caught in the middle of a galactic war between two alien races. 'Vers', as she is called on the planet Kree, is being trained as a combatant by her mentor, played by Jude Law. However, she doesn't seem to remember much about her past, and she suffers flashes of nightmares in her sleep. Ambushed by a group of Skrulls while on a mission to retrieve a Kree spy, she crashlands on the planet Earth, known to her only as 'C-53'. Thus begins a journey of rediscovery and learning her true identity.

The film is action-packed, and Brie Larson combines poise and humour effortlessly. She manages to stand tall amongst the other well-known male protagonists in the film. However, a comparison with the DC Universe's own Wonder Woman is unavoidable. Captain Marvel is no match for Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman in terms of sheer charisma, inner strength and resolve. While Gal Gadot oozed confidence and personality in her character, Larson seems a bit stone-cold and emotionless, and fights principally with the help of photon blasts acquired because of exposure to an exploding energy core. Is the MCU cashing in on 21st century feminism by calling in a woman super hero to save the Avengers? Captain Marvel at times seems just like the final jigsaw piece to lead MCU fans to 'Avengers: Endgame.

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14 Notes & Comments

posted Mar 13, 2019, 10:14 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Mar 13, 2019, 10:15 AM ]

A Plethora of Promises

Fr Joshan Rodrigues

The season of Lent coincides with election season this year around, and we can see our political leaders at their 'promising' best. There is a last minute dash to inaugurate as many projects as one humanly can. Hundreds of projects and proposals are passed by legislative houses in a matter of minutes, with scarcely any discussion on their merits or flaws. The impossibility of being physically present at every 'ribbon-cutting' ceremony has been overcome with the astute use of technology: read web conferencing. A plethora of promises are made before every election, but then there are promises made and promises kept.

We have been long accustomed to hearing promises made, only to find our hopes dashed in the months and years following. No wonder then, that a certain fatigue has crept in when we hear the oft-repeated exhortation that we must be good citizens who do our democratic duty. Hope turns to despair then, as we watch civic progress and development fail to keep pace with our eager expectations from the political class.

Contrast this with the season of Lent, which is a season of promise as well; the only difference being that this promise has already been fulfilled 2000 years ago. Hence, as Christians, we journey through this period of grace with the joyful confidence of encountering the Risen Lord at Easter. This promise has already been kept.

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Cardinal Tagle calls for 'Fast2Feed' poor children

UCAN

Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila has appealed to Filipino Catholics to mark the Lenten season by doing acts of charity, especially by helping feed poor children.

He urged people to deepen their relationship with God by donating money that would usually have gone on a meal, to Manila Archdiocese's 'Fast2Feed' campaign, which is part of the Philippine Church's Hapag-Asa programme.

It is a nationwide feeding programme that aims to reduce malnutrition among children up to 12 years old. The Hapag-Asa Integrated Nutrition scheme has actively partnered with the archdiocese, by mounting regular feeding programmes in poor and remote areas of the country. "We, Filipinos, have a deep relationship with our faith. The season of Lent is another opportunity for us to re-centre our lives by helping those who are most in need," Cardinal Tagle said.

"Under the Fast2Feed initiative, as little as 10 pesos a day can feed a child a manna pack-based meal," said the prelate. A "manna pack" is a rice meal formula, fortified with vitamins mixed with vegetables. "Let us make a difference in the lives of these hungry and malnourished children by donating whatever we save from fasting," Cardinal Tagle said. "To practise charity is concrete proof that we are striving to follow Jesus, and that we are making the gift of ourselves the active principle of Christian life," he added.

This year, Hapag-Asa is looking to provide one meal per day to 30,000 children for 120 days. "The development of their full potential will not be achieved unless they are cared for and fed with nutritious food," said Cardinal Tagle.

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