Issues Vol. 63‎ > ‎

Vol. 63 No. 17 • APR 27 - MAY 03, 2019

01 Cover

posted Apr 24, 2019, 7:06 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Apr 24, 2019, 7:06 AM ]


03 Index

posted Apr 24, 2019, 7:04 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Apr 24, 2019, 7:04 AM ]


04 Officials

posted Apr 24, 2019, 7:03 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Apr 26, 2019, 12:38 AM ]


05 Engagements

posted Apr 24, 2019, 7:02 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Apr 24, 2019, 7:02 AM ]


07 Editorial - Divine Mercy Decimates Darkness

posted Apr 24, 2019, 6:53 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Apr 24, 2019, 6:53 AM ]

The Feast of the Divine Mercy, which we celebrate each year on the Sunday following Easter, reinforces the message of the Resurrection and the depth of God's boundless mercy and love that are made accessible to us through the events of Holy Week culminating in Christ's powerful breakthrough into Life and Light. In the words of St Pope John Paul II: "Divine Mercy is the Easter gift that the Church receives through the Risen Christ and offers to humanity" (Homily, April 22, 2001).

The Gospel proclaimed on this Sunday is always the story of doubting Thomas, but more importantly, of the disciples who have locked themselves up in the Upper Room out of fear. The tomb is open, but the doors to the hearts of the disciples remain closed. Easter may come and go, but the infinite outpouring of God's mercy may fail to move us. Our existential concerns may have trapped us in narrow spaces, from which we struggle to liberate ourselves. We fail to find the courage to face those painful and life-long wounds that we try to keep buried deep within us. Perhaps, like the disciples, we are afraid of disappointment, afraid of being judged, afraid of failing.

But closed doors and trapped hearts cannot keep Jesus away! The Risen Christ passes through closed doors, and unlocks them from within. He invites us to once again 'go out' and thus unchain those millstones we have attached to ourselves. Our understanding of the mercy of Christ is key to our relationship with Him, and the key to becoming 'disciples'. It is only when we fathom the profound implications of God's mercy for our salvation, will we desire to become 'missionaries of mercy' ourselves, showcasing the merciful face of God to others. Mercy is the greatest form of evangelisation.

As we ponder the mercy of God, we may feel contradicted by the twin tragedies that struck the world last week. The iconic Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris suffered extensive damage in a devastating fire on April 15. And then last Sunday, in what is being referred to as the Easter Bombings, eight blasts ripped through churches and luxury hotels in Sri Lanka, leaving more than 200 dead, and countless more maimed and scarred. Sadly, this has become an ugly and predictable dynamic, where violence is unleashed on worshippers gathered to celebrate the central mysteries of their faith. In 2016, 75 people died, and at least 300 were injured, when bombs exploded in a park in the heavily Christian neighbourhood of Lahore in Pakistan, as people were celebrating after Easter services. In 2017, bombings at two Coptic Christian Churches in Egypt on Palm Sunday left 45 people dead.

Death unleashed on a day of New Life can leave us bewildered about the meaning of Resurrection in our lives. However, the Resurrection is itself the greatest sign and sacrament, which reveals to us how God's life and mercy can blossom in the midst of death and suffering. The killing of Graham Staines, Sr Rani Maria and many present day martyrs has led to a conversion of hearts and a blossoming of the faith. The blood of martyrs is the seed of the Church.

After fire-fighters had put out the fire at Notre Dame, the main doors of the cathedral were opened, to reveal the Cross high above the main altar, gleaming over the smouldering embers of the interior, illuminated by a ray of light pouring in from one of the iconic stained-glass windows. This was a powerful image of God's mercy in the midst of destruction and a tragic sense of loss. Like the two rays St Faustina saw emanating from the Heart of Christ, the Cross in the cathedral is a reminder to us that God's mercy withstands all evil, fear, tragedy and hopelessness.

Where was God when the Notre Dame was up in flames? "He was everywhere and in everyone", said Fr James Martin SJ, "God was in the Fire chaplain Jean-Marc Fournier, who rushed into the burning cathedral to save the most precious relic that it held, what is considered to be the 'crown of thorns' that was placed on Jesus' head." God rushes into the arms of death to save what is most precious to Him – you and me! That is the most potent image of the Divine Mercy.

As we become painfully aware of the continuous attacks on our Christian brothers and sisters at home and abroad, we offer their sacrifice and souls into the hands of our Merciful God, and pray that the blood of martyrdom may bring peace to our troubled world.

Fr Joshan Rodrigues is on the Editorial Board of The Examiner.

08 Cathedral burnt or Civilization burning? - Eddy D'Sa

posted Apr 24, 2019, 6:52 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Apr 24, 2019, 6:52 AM ]

In April 15, the great cathedral of the Notre Dame de Paris burned. The orange monster rose and fell over the middle of the great church, eating the consumable guts of the building, spitting out red embers and belching out columns of smoke that could be seen for miles. This was not just a fire, but the dying of at least part of history. How many buildings do we have that were built with 13,000 oak trees that started growing more than a millennium ago? How many buildings do we have that are symbols of the very meaning of civilization? Notre Dame de Paris is a church building, but also a landmark of civilization whose construction was begun 858 years ago, taking 200 years to build. The Roman Catholic Bishop of Paris, Maurice de Sully, ordered the construction of Notre Dame in 1160. When it was begun, Paris only had 100,000 residents. The stature of the building must have been overwhelming. "What is civilization?" asked Kenneth Clarke, the historian, and went on to say that it is hard to define in abstract terms. "But I think I can recognise it when I see it." Then he turned to face the great cathedral, and said, "I'm looking at it now."

What do the great cathedrals represent? There are many answers to that question, but here is one way of looking at it. The cathedral has a vertical focus. Churches are built to facilitate worship. The pulpit and the altar and the spire depict God's saving act for us broken mortals. The cathedral's artwork depicts biblical characters and themes. Then there is the horizontal dynamic. A church is a gathering place for the people of God. They stream to it from the surrounding neighbourhoods, and so enjoy a connection with one another, the basic movement that forms community and society. So we can imagine standing back from the cathedral with an imaginary line going vertically up to the heavens, and a horizontal axis going out to the surrounding community. Join these axes together, and you have, of course, a cross. You also have civilization.

This is how Christian faith formed the basis of civilization in the history of the West, and why Christianity has been, for millennia, a civilizing force—when it is not corrupt. We need the vertical connection, and the horizontal. Human beings disconnected from their Creator are mere animals. Disconnected from one another, humans are animals that kill each other. God's saving acts in the world are to reconnect us with Himself through the saving mission of Jesus, and to reconnect us with each other as the family of God. That's what a cathedral represents. When churches are at their very best—of any size, any denomination, in any country, at any time—they proclaim and reinforce the truth that God has offered reconciliation and healing through His Son, Jesus Christ, and calls us out of society into a new family, empowered and guided by the Holy Spirit. When enough of that happens with enough people, a city or a region or a country can become more civilized. In history, Christian faith, when authentic, inspired the development of education, medicine, law, government, science, and art.

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10 Domestic Workers Movement - Fr. Felix D'Souza

posted Apr 24, 2019, 6:50 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Apr 24, 2019, 6:50 AM ]

A journey towards justice, dignity and empowerment

National Domestic Workers Movement (NDWM) was initiated around the year 1985 by Sr Jeanne Devos, icm, in order to coordinate the domestic worker groups at the national level. The National office is at Mazagaon, Mumbai and the National President is Fr Felix D'Souza of the Archdiocese of Bombay. NDWM functions under the CBCI Labour Commission as an expression of the concern of the Church for marginalised people. It enjoys the support of the diocesan authorities, numerous priests and religious, and a vast army of secular groups. The numerous activities and programmes are coordinated by the National Office, and Sr Christy icm (Executive member) has now been representing the Movement (Sr Jeanne was the representative until her retirement) at the government official meetings, as well as for international gatherings of unorganized workers. Currently, 17 states in India belong to the Movement. The celebration of International Domestic Workers (IDW) Day is one among the many events organised by the centres; some of the efforts at the various state levels are presented below:

1. Nagaland:

Around 600 Domestic workers of Dimapur converged to commemorate a day dedicated to them as a day of solidarity to protest the discrimination they face at their workplace.

2. Maharashtra:

Every year, NDWM Maharashtra celebrates IDW Day with new ideas to put forward its demands before the government. The main topic of this meeting was to pressurise the government to ratify ILO C 189. The Chief Guest at the event assured them that he would raise the issue of domestic workers in the Rajya Sabha.


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11 DIVINE RENOVATION The need of the hour! - Adele Pereira

posted Apr 24, 2019, 6:48 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Apr 24, 2019, 6:49 AM ]

“The Church exists to evangelize” - Pope Paul VI (EN)


In 1975, Blessed Pope Paul VI wrote Evangelii Nuntiandi, describing evangelization as the Church's deepest identity and mission.

St Pope John Paul II called for a "new evangelization" – not new in content, but new "in its ardour, method and expression." He reaffirmed the Church's mission to proclaim the Gospel to those who never heard it, but also stressed the obligation of the Church to evangelise those whose faith had grown cold.

Pope Benedict XVI emphasised that evangelization is not merely a programme, but rather an opening of the heart. It involves our being agents of the Holy Spirit in helping people have a profound experience of Jesus and His love, opening them to the Word of God, the Sacraments, to virtuous living, and ultimately, to their vocation to holiness.

Pope Francis wrote Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel), in which he speaks of the urgency of this mission and calls each of us to "a missionary conversion". He challenges Bishops and priests to take the lead in re-creating dioceses and parishes that are alive, on fire with the mission of spreading the Gospel.

Evangelization is at the heart of the Second Vatican Council, as well as the pontificates of all Popes following the Council. Their teaching is based on Jesus' Great Commission: "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptising them in the name of the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them all that I have commanded you." (Mt 28:19). In this Great Commission, the most important task is to 'make disciples'. Many were reached by those who went to different places in Jesus' name, baptised and even taught about Jesus. But what does it all amount to, if we are not following Jesus with our lifestyle, and others are not attracted to Him by witnessing our lives?

Well, if we are to carry out the Great Commission, where and how do we start?

Assess your parish health:

Answer these six simple questions that will help you determine if your parish is in need of Divine Renovation:

1. Total no. of parishioners in my parish:

2. No. of parishioners who come for Sunday Mass:

3. No. of parishioners who come for daily Mass:

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13 RESURRECTION affirms sanctity of Life - Dr Jeanette Pinto

posted Apr 24, 2019, 6:47 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Apr 24, 2019, 6:47 AM ]

Life is the most precious of all gifts that man has received, but does he know how to care for it? Does he know how to appreciate and live it well? One wonders when one sees how carelessly humankind deals with this gift. In one newspaper, Asha read a shocking story. A duffel bag had been hurled from a speeding car on the freeway in a so called 'smart city'. Inside was a baby girl – a nameless child who had died on impact just hours after birth. "Lord, what kind of society have we become that someone could throw a baby out of the window like a cigarette butt?" she muttered.

In an article about prisons, it was reported that imprisoned mothers are forced to keep their baby children with them in the prison. Here's a description of two-year-old Irfan in prison. 'He crawls along the dirty cement floor of a jail in India's financial capital, Mumbai, wearing only a soiled and torn vest, covered with flies, his tiny arms and legs erupting with vicious red boils. He defecates near a stinking open sewage drain, and begins to wail; maybe to be cleaned, possibly for food, or just the warmth of an arm around him - but there is no one willing to listen.' Aren't you horrified and deeply pained to learn of Irfan or any such baby's fate? Where is the dignity for that little human person?

We have often heard that human life is priceless. How so? Indeed, has anyone tried to measure the value or worth of human life? Let's use the scales of justice to measure the value of human life. On one pan of the scale, place human life; be it even the unborn babe, a child, a teen, an adult, or a senior; and on the other pan, what will you place to evenly balance the scale or let it tip down? Is it Money? Property? Riches? Jewels or what??? You see, you can find NOTHING to equate, or which is more valuable and precious than human life.

How about death? Regardless of race, religion, caste, geographical area or time, everyone dies. This is one fact of life that unifies all human beings. The fact remains that death is the end of the precious gift of life. Once the breath of life is gone, that life is lost forever. Indeed, one can measure the quality of life using statistical data in terms of life expectancy, luxurious lifestyle, probability of crippling, fatal or non-fatal injuries or deadly illnesses, and the like. But truly, the value of any human life cannot be exaggerated.

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14 The Big C - Dr Ian Pinto

posted Apr 24, 2019, 6:45 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Apr 24, 2019, 6:46 AM ]

Can Cancer be prevented and treated?

The word 'Cancer', when heard, often instills a sense of immense fear. Much of the fear is due to the perceived fatality and devastation associated with it. Cancer is ubiquitous, touching each one of us, directly or indirectly, affecting close family members, friends or acquaintances. Modern advances have revolutionised both the experience during the treatment and the outcomes of patients with cancer.

What is cancer? Cancer occurs when our normal cells get damaged and mutate, causing a loss of normal control on growth of a cell. Since these cells grow faster than the surrounding normal cells, it manifests in a lump or a tumorous growth. Hence, the first warning sign is a lump, bump, abnormal change or growth in the body. If this happens, one must immediately see a doctor. A biopsy of this lump would lead us to the diagnosis of cancer. Just as in battle, before one starts cancer treatment, one must know the origin and extent of the spread of the cancer, so a plan of attack can be formulated.

Can it be prevented? Yes, it can. A healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low in saturated/trans fats can go a long way in preventing cancer. Maintaining a healthy weight with a good diet and daily exercise is essential. Tobacco and related products like gutkha lead to more than forty per cent of all cancers, and avoiding them decreases your risk. The previously held belief that a drink a day after forty years of age keeps the doctor away no longer applies. New research reveals that even a drink a day can increase your risk of cancer, and hence it is important to limit alcohol intake. Avoiding sun exposure and use of sunscreen prevents skin cancers. Prevention of infections such as Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) and Hepatitis B, either through hygiene or vaccination, can decrease your risk of cancer associated with these infections. In women, breast-feeding and childbearing decreases the risk of breast cancer. 

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