Issues Vol. 63‎ > ‎

Vol. 63 No. 14 • APR 06 - 12, 2019

01 Cover

posted Apr 4, 2019, 10:05 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Apr 4, 2019, 10:05 AM ]

03 Index

posted Apr 4, 2019, 10:00 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Apr 4, 2019, 10:01 AM ]

04 Engagements

posted Apr 4, 2019, 9:59 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Apr 4, 2019, 10:00 AM ]

05 Editorial - Priests Forever in a Changing World

posted Apr 4, 2019, 9:56 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Apr 4, 2019, 9:56 AM ]

As we join in celebrating the sacerdotal ordinations of four deacons in the Archdiocese of Bombay on April 6, 2019 by our Archbishop, Cardinal Oswald Gracias, we cannot help but think of the Holy Father's summit on clerical abuse of children that concluded in February, and the concrete experiences that were shared by the victims. On one hand, the fact that the Holy Father referred to the problem of abuse of children as amounting to "human sacrifice" of children by those who are ordained with a mission to protect them, exemplified the gory nature of the problem. But on the other hand, the magnitude of the scandal perceived by members of the Church and society speaks clearly about the high standards that are expected of ordained ministers, as they attempt to be configured to Christ. I pray that our four new deacons may be graced by our Lord to understand these high standards and rise up to them.

As they configure themselves to Christ, the Teacher par excellence, they are to "preach and teach" in the name of the Master. The ministry to preach will engage them in the challenge of making God's word come alive vibrantly in many a liturgical setting; while the ministry to teach will open up many an opportunity to catechise, conduct retreats, counsel and be involved in social transformation. The ministry to preach and teach is not effective, if it is not supported by the life witness of the preacher and teacher. St Pope Paul VI summarised this requirement in an unforgettable dictum: 'Modern man listens more willingly to witnesses than to teachers, and if he does listen to teachers, it is because they are witnesses.' (EN, 41) In the contemporary world, transparency in the behaviour of public figures has become a premium value. The priest will need to know how to internalise transparency to enhance his witness value, without failing the test of personal integrity. The more easily his interior dispositions are known and appreciated, the better preacher and teacher he can become.

As they configure themselves to Christ the High Priest, they are to be mediators between the flock of Christ and the heavenly Father, in order that people may be able to experience divine grace. The Holy Father has exhorted priests not to become clerical dispensers of Sacraments, obstructive of the heart that seeks to genuinely connect with the compassionate God in the Sacraments. In the contemporary world, this has led to the faithful seeking audaciously their own practical solutions to their hunger for that deeper encounter with God, bypassing the offer of the Church's sacramental life. Ministers of the Sacraments need to challenge themselves to understand this deep yearning that is there in the hearts of the people, although externally there seems to be a decline in the celebration of the Sacraments. This sensus fidei, when grasped correctly, will enable God's ministers to help His people to return to a more meaningful celebration of the Church's Sacraments.

As they configure themselves to Christ the Good Shepherd, they are to be leaders of the community in persona Christi, according to the authority that Christ has in the community, and which He shares with His priests. Once again, the experience of the recent summit has attempted to provide checks and balances vis-à-vis clerical authoritarianism, by proposing the setting up of systems of accountability. In the contemporary world, accountability is seen as a means to societal responsibility and solidarity. Lumen Gentium gives this advice to pastors, which our newly ordained could take to heart: "The latter (pastors), helped by the experience of the laity, are in a position to judge more clearly and more appropriately in spiritual as well as in temporal matters." (LG, 37)

We are grateful to God for calling these four deacons to the Priesthood. We are also grateful for the six others called to the priesthood last December—Salesian Frs Justus Mendis, Rudolf D'Souza and Sunil Pinto, as well as Jesuit Frs Ivan D'Souza, Dean Fernandes and Patrick Vaz. These young men are doing our archdiocese proud, and they fill us with the hope that our city can indeed continue to provide labourers for the Lord's harvest.

Fr Aniceto Pereira (Rector, St Pius X College, Diocesan Seminary, Goregaon East)

06 Four New Priests for Bombay Archdiocese

posted Apr 4, 2019, 9:53 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Apr 4, 2019, 9:54 AM ]

Ordaining Prelate: Cardinal Oswald Gracias

April 6, 2019

Leon Viegas

Parents: (Late) Ignatius and (Late) Glenda Viegas

Parish: St Pius the Tenth, Mulund

Motto: Called to be a disciple. Sent to make disciples. "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men" (Mt 4:19)

Thoughts about the priesthood began after attending a Jesus Encounter Retreat, where I had a deep experience of God's love for me. After this Retreat, there was a hunger to study God's Word and to intercede for others. Soon, I began to feel that God was calling me to be His priest. At that time, I was not ready to accept His call; but the thoughts would not go away. I approached the late Bp. Ferdinand Fonseca for guidance. He felt that I had a genuine call to the priesthood. (I was hoping that he would say I didn't have a call.)

I started reasoning out that these thoughts were probably coming to me, because maybe I was not happy with my job or my salary. I bargained with God, saying that if you are really calling me to the priesthood, get me a new job in a multinational firm and double my salary. Within a month's time, I joined a multinational firm with my salary doubled. I still kept denying that this had anything to do with God. The company wanted me to move to Hyderabad. However, since my dad was unwell, it was difficult to move. So I prayed the same prayer again, and soon I got a job with another firm, and again double the salary. This was just impossible to put down to chance.

But in spite of getting what I desired, I still felt an emptiness within me. I went back to Bp. Ferdinand, who advised me to go for the Seminary interview. He told me if you are selected, then that is God's will for you, and you can consider joining. I went for the interviews, was selected, joined the Seminary, and was at peace, knowing that this is where God wanted me to be.

Now at the threshold of priestly ordination, there is a deep sense of peace, knowing that God is with me. My seminary experience has been a wonderful time of discovering myself, and growing in my relationship with Jesus through the four pillars of seminary formation - human, spiritual, intellectual and pastoral. During seminary studies, we learnt the opinions of various theologians. This has led me to seek and discover what the Church really teaches, which in turn, has led to a greater love for the Church. As a disciple of Christ, I want to help others have a personal relationship with Jesus, and to grow as disciples of Christ, through service and witness to the Faith.

Ashwin James Castellino

Parents: (Late) Kenneth and (Late) Bridget Castellino

Parish: Our Lady of Mt Carmel, Bandra

Motto: "Never flag in zeal, be aglow with the Spirit, serve the Lord" (Romans 12:11)

The seed of my vocation was nurtured by my parents. My mum and dad were God-fearing parents, who brought me up well in the faith. I still remember the words of my father, "Without Jesus, life has no meaning." This is what I carry with me all through my life.

But as I grew older and entered my youth, the idea of the priesthood just disappeared. I found myself caught up with all the youthful passions. I was good in my studies, and after I graduated, I got a good job in an international bank. I lacked nothing in life. I would go for Sunday Mass, and was also involved in the Charismatic Prayer Group, and that was it. But even though I had the money, the luxuries of life, there was no inner peace. There was absolute zero satisfaction. I knew my life was incomplete; I was missing something in my life. It was during this time of restlessness, I remembered the words of my father, "Without Jesus, life has no meaning." That seed of my vocation now came to my mind, and this is when I seriously started giving it a thought. It was difficult, because it meant giving up a lot of things - like my job, my family, my lifestyle, etc. But I realised that by holding on to these, nothing ever gave me satisfaction or peace. So it was worth taking the risk.

What helped me make a decision was personal prayer. I would sit in the chapel and really ask God if this was His will in my life - to be a priest. Secondly, I spoke to a priest, about what I felt, and he was able to guide me. In prayer, there was this deep sense of joy and inner peace in serving God. God speaks in the silence of your heart. God also confirms His call through people we meet or the ones who give us counsel. I remember, on many occasions, when I went to visit people who were sick or aged, they would ask me, "Are you a priest?" I was stunned and told them, "What makes you think so?" These helped affirm my decision to walk towards the priesthood.

At this moment, there are mixed emotions; feelings of great joy to serve God in the ministry of the priesthood and also a humbling experience, as I look back and see how God has been working in my life, in spite of my many weaknesses and limitations. My vision for my pastoral ministry is to be available to God's people, and to do my best in whatever capacity I can.

Omar Fernandes

Parents: Yvonne Therezinha and John Dominic Fernandes

Parish: Our Lady of Mt Carmel, Bandra

Motto: "I in them, and you in me - so that they may be brought to complete unity." (Jn 17:23)

As a child, I was very involved in Church activities, but as a youth, I began to make more time for my friends and hobbies, and less and less time for God. Mass was just a 'Sunday obligation'. After college, I pursued a career in aviation, and worked for Kingfisher Airlines. Eventually, I was informed that I was going to get promoted, but for some reason, that news didn't bring me joy. My mother was our Parish SCC Coordinator at the time, and she told me to carry a pocket Bible along with me to work, and read it between flights to get some peace of mind. I followed her instructions, but decided to go one step further, and reflect and pray with Scripture. One fine day, as I sat down to pray, I was shocked that I had spent two hours in prayer; it felt like just two minutes. After this experience, along with personal prayer, the Eucharist also became very meaningful to me. I felt God calling me to be a part of His Mission. After discerning with the help of my Spiritual Director, I finally answered God's call. From flying with "the king of good times" to fishing for the One True King!

I owe a lot to St Pius X Seminary for helping me discover my talents, and getting me out of my comfort zone. Courses in Theology and Philosophy helped me understand my faith better. Moderator groups, manual labour, horticulture, sports, weekend ministry and the various spiritual exercises in the Seminary catered to my holistic formation.

I love sports! If I'm not playing, then I'm watching. I had the honour of being part of St Andrew's College, Bandra's first and only team to win the University football title, and later the Senior and Super division MDFA leagues with Companeros SC. Over the years, we've been able to form an extremely good Seminary football team as well. The people who inspire me are not restricted to the saints alone, but also athletes like Muhammad Ali, Ayrton Senna, Georges St Pierre, Nemanja Vidic, Arthur Ashe, Valentino Rossi and Usain Bolt, to name a few. Music is a big part of my life as well. As my Ordination day arrives, I ask the good Lord to always accompany me on this fabulous and life-changing journey ahead.

Renold D'Souza

Parents: Roque and Gretta D'Souza

Parish: Our Lady of Fatima, Ambernath

Motto: "To be an instrument of Christ's Love"

"The priesthood is the Love of the Heart of Jesus." These words of St John Marie Vianney aptly explain my vocation to the priesthood. My parents' simplicity, sincerity and selfless service inspired me. Their love for the Sunday Eucharist, the Bible, the family Rosary, the priests and religious, and also for the poor and needy, shaped my vocation.

My ambition in life was to become a doctor. I could not see this dream through, but my liking for medical sciences led me to complete my post-graduation in Clinical Research. It was during these years that I started reflecting deeply on my vocation. I underwent many ups and downs and turbulent moments, during which I began questioning God, love, faith, marriage, the purpose of my life itself. My search for answers ended in frustration. I came to a point where I could no longer find joy in anything around me.

It is said, 'Our disappointments are God's appointments.' A turning point came in my life when, out of sheer desperation, and at the incessant request of my close friend, I attended a prayer meeting. It was during one of these prayer meetings that I heard a voice within me saying, "You will receive the fullness of peace, when you receive me in the Eucharist." And these words rang true when at the Christmas midnight Mass, I experienced the Eucharistic Lord as never before. This experience was the answer to all my questions. The Lord restored to me everything I had lost. Broken friendships were restored, hurts were healed, forgiveness became the key to unlock the many blessings God had kept in store for me. Life became passionate; the love of God inspired me to give myself in service. My purpose in life from then on was to lead others to Jesus to experience His love. And eventually, this desire blossomed into a call to the priesthood.

As I enter into my priestly ministry, my desire is to reach out to broken families and those under pressure. No matter how hopeless the situation may seem, I am convinced that the love of Christ can bind and heal all relationships. I believe that the Sacraments are true conduits through which God heals, restores and strengthens the bonds of love and unity in family life, and the community at large. I pray that I may remain faithful to the mission that the Lord has entrusted to me.

09 Marching Ahead - Bp Allwyn D’Silva & Shawna Nemesia Rebello

posted Apr 4, 2019, 9:50 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Apr 4, 2019, 9:51 AM ]

The theme of Pope Francis' Lenten message this year is a biblical verse from St Paul's letter to the Romans: "For Creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God". The Holy Father states that the children of God will be revealed through a conversion that involves going forth from bondage and decay to glorious liberty. All of Creation is called to this conversion; it is not limited to human beings alone. True conversion is not easy, entailing travail that we must decisively engage in. But through conversion, we will be enabled to rediscover the joy of God's plan for Creation and for each of us. We are to love God, our brothers and sisters, and the entire world, and to find in this love our true happiness. However, sin has ruptured our communion with God, and undermines our harmonious relationship with the environment. God's law of love is then forsaken for insatiable covetousness which, sooner or later, destroys all those in its grip.

The Archdiocese of Bombay is attempting to mend our relationship with Creation and the environment, and our communion with God through the Green Diocese Initiative. Noting that responding to the ecological crisis forms an integral part of the Church's mission, the Archbishop of Bombay, Cardinal Oswald Gracias, launched this initiative on September 1,2018. He appointed Bishop Allwyn D'Silva as his delegate for the process of greening the diocese, and the Archdiocesan Office for Environment as the nodal point to animate our efforts. Several activities and events are taking place as a result, with parishes, schools and other groups stepping forward to care for Creation.

Talks on greening have been given to various groups including seminarians, the Archdiocesan Pastoral Council, the Priests' Council, and during meetings of Thane, North Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, Central Suburbs and Bandra deaneries. Talks have also been conducted for members of the Social Apostolate, the Office for Lay Collaboration in Ministry, the Catholic Lawyers Guild, etc. Schools are having environment-themed exhibitions, an example being one put up by St Sebastian Goan High School, Dabul on "Care for the Earth – Go Green" in December 2018. Last month, a botanical garden was inaugurated at St Anne School in Malad. A Creation Chapel in the parish of Our Lady of the Sea, Uttan was blessed in January this year.


10 The LIGHT Within Casts No Shadow - Christopher Mendonca

posted Apr 4, 2019, 9:49 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Apr 4, 2019, 9:49 AM ]

In our unredeemed human nature,
every virtue contains its opposite defect.
The danger of becoming proud of one's humility
or allowing our search for perfection
to mask the arrogance we secretly nurture towards the 'sinner'
is something every sincere seeker is familiar with.

Even as the Law was being engraved in tablets of stone
and Moses experienced a theophany on Mount Sinai,
the Israelites' hearts were being turned into stone
as they forgot the wonders of the LORD
and began worshipping the golden calf.
The sacred had been permeated by the profane,
and Israel would have to learn how to deal with its profanity.



posted Apr 4, 2019, 9:48 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Apr 4, 2019, 9:48 AM ]

Olga Valladares, RIP

The Examiner mourns the passing away of one of its stalwart members who was on the Board of Trustees, and later, its Editorial Board. Olga Valladares contributed several articles on the local history of Bombay and on the Goan Catholic community. Her writings focused on the culture and typical customs of the community.

Olga Valladares, who pioneered the writing of local history in Mumbai city through her column in the Evening News of India, which was part of The Times Group, during the late seventies and early eighties, died on March 18 in Melbourne, Australia.

A native of Mumbai, Olga wrote her column called 'Mumbai, The Way It Was', in a simple and direct manner, explaining the social and architectural history of Mumbai from the sixteenth century Portuguese era, and connecting with institutions and structures still present in the city. She did her research for her columns at the Heras Institute of Research at St Xavier's College and the Asiatic Society Library in South Mumbai, and also presented academic papers on city history at national and international seminars dealing with city and regional history.

She was born in Mumbai (Bombay), India, on January 15, 1931, to Joanna and Francis Xavier Baptista. Her paternal family hailed from Vasai, while her maternal family was from Bandra. She was brought up in Cavel, where her father had built a home.


11 Movie Review

posted Apr 4, 2019, 9:46 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Apr 4, 2019, 9:46 AM ]

The Least of These

After two decades of the incident, Graham Staines' story has finally been adapted on celluloid. Directed by Aneesh Daniel, the film, starring Sharman Joshi, Stephen Baldwin and Shari Rigby in the lead roles, released in India on March 29, 2019.

Some aspects of the film are disappointing. First, while the script does not underplay the pre-existing religious tensions in the region, somehow it comes across as if these tensions existed solely because of the presence of Graham Staines, and not because of several other missionary activities that have been ongoing for over a century before Staines set foot in Odisha. Second, while the film is about Graham Staines, the focus is mostly on Sharman Joshi, who plays the character of a prejudiced journalist - Manav Banerjee. Manav is tasked with exposing the missionary's conversion tactics. All we see or know of Staines in the film is through the eyes of this journalist. As a result, Joshi takes up most of the screen time, while Staines (played by Stephen Baldwin) gets sidelined. Third, Sharman Joshi and Prakash Belawadi (who plays an unethical newspaper editor) fail to impress, in spite of being fine actors. Fourth, the main perpetrator of the ghastly event is shown to be an individual who is not motivated by any political agenda, which may not have been completely true.


12 Notes & Comments

posted Apr 4, 2019, 9:45 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Apr 4, 2019, 9:45 AM ]

Pope Francis visits Morocco

Christopher Lamb,

Pope Francis used the first day of a visit to Morocco to showcase how his pontificate is becoming a bulwark against political forces which combine a closed-door policy to migrants with hostility to Islam. During his 27-hour trip to the Muslim-majority country, the Pope told a group of migrants they were at the "centre of the Church's heart", while urging Muslims and Christians to join forces to counter "fanaticism and extremism" and to stand firm against the exploitation of their religion to foment conflict and division. For the Argentine Pope, the Morocco visit neatly combines two major priorities of this pontificate—the global refugee crisis and building bridges with Islam.

The 82-year-old Roman Pontiff arrived in a rainy Rabat on Saturday, March 30, following in the footsteps of Pope John Paul II who, in 1985, became the first Pope to visit the North African Muslim-majority country. On his arrival, Pope Francis was greeted at the airport by King Mohammed VI. His popemobile was cheered by crowds, as he made his way to the Hassan Tower, the minaret of an incomplete 12th century mosque, alongside the Moroccan King who travelled in a parallel motorcade, and stood up to wave at people through the sunroof of his car.


Does Pope Francis not want people to kiss the papal ring?

Christopher Lamb,

There is no mention of it in the Gospels, nor is it a matter of Church doctrine or apostolic tradition. But the question of whether or not to kiss the ring of a Pope has been the subject of intense debate among Catholics, after a video of Pope Francis awkwardly withdrawing his hand from some people greeting him at a shrine in Loreto went viral.

The custom of kissing the ring of the Pope, or any bishop, was developed as a way of showing respect for the office that individual held, and is also linked to kissing the hands of a newly ordained priest as a sign of respect for the Sacraments that he will now bring to the people.

One of the symbols of the papal office is the 'Fisherman's ring' (St Peter, the first Pope, was a fisherman) which dates back to the 13th century, as it was used to seal documents. Pope Francis only wears the fisherman's ring for special ceremonies, and prefers to wear the one he had as Archbishop of Buenos Aires, in Argentina.

A few caveats are needed before the Pope Francis critics jump to the assumption that he is doing away with "yet another" tradition.


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