18 Notes & Comments

posted Apr 30, 2019, 6:10 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Apr 30, 2019, 6:11 AM ]

Card. Gracias: Retired priests are 'burning furnaces of prayer'


Retired priests are "examples of burning furnaces of prayer" for the Church, says Cardinal Gracias. Cardinal Oswald Gracias, Archbishop of Bombay, celebrated Easter Morning Mass with the 23 retired priests at the Clergy Home in Mumbai. "All of our priests follow Jesus, follow Jesus in our ministry in the Gospel; through our baptism, we enter into Christ's death and Resurrection. This is our guarantee that our apostolate is effective. That there is never a hopeless situation for a Christian, no room for despair in our ministry, no room to say that this is a lost cause. No sinner can sin so much that he can never be forgiven. No situation is so complicated that it can never be resolved. No conflict so great that peace cannot come," he said.

"Our retired clergy participate by their prayer, by their example, by the memory of work they have done before, inspiring our young priests. That is their apostolate. And those that are still in their apostolate, that they continue in their communities, in our places of residence, civil societies, nation, world, making God's kingdom of peace present," he added.

The cardinal mentioned he was at the Vatican on April 11, when Pope Francis dramatically kissed the feet of the South Sudanese President Salva Kiir and his rival, Vice President Riek Machar, after the two attended a Retreat in Rome to solidify a peace deal in the conflict-ridden East African country. "I was in the elevator with the Holy Father immediately after this. I asked the Holy Father how the meeting was, and the Holy Father was very concerned: 'I hope they don't fight; I hope they don't go to war,'" Cardinal Gracias recounted. The cardinal said the Pope told him: "I am begging for peace. I would like to go to Sudan. No situation is impossible."


Cardinal urges to vote for secular parties that protect the Indian Constitution

Bella Jaisinghani, TIMES OF INDIA, April 25, 2019

The head of the Catholic Church in India, Cardinal Oswald Gracias, recommended that citizens vote for a secular party that protects the Indian Constitution, even as he received BJP MP Poonam Mahajan and Congress aspirant Milind Deora, who came to seek his support ahead of Monday's (April 29) general election in Mumbai. Cardinal Gracias had issued a pastoral letter on March 14, saying that India needs leaders who "understand that authority is service, listen to the people, understand their anxieties and their needs and respond effectively."

In an interview to TOI on April 25, Cardinal Gracias assessed the economic and social changes that have come into effect since the Narendra Modi government took oath in 2014. The Cardinal had proposed a vote for "good governance" at the time. "I do see a certain insecurity among minorities, although I do not think it is required. India is a free country. Yes, whichever party is elected must uphold the secular traditions of the Indian Constitution, which has the best framework to protect universal rights. Our government must work for the economy, ensure safety of women and children, minorities, tribals and Dalits. Social harmony is important to progress. A country's greatness is measured by its care for weaker sections," he said.

He has broached the subject of attacks on the Christian community with the government. "I am worried about polarisation. There must be peace and there must be reconciliation. But I have met PM Modi, and I can see he is trying. Nobody wants injustice. But the government should give a clear signal that injustice or exploitation is not acceptable. That law and order will be observed."

The Catholic community has been at the forefront of providing quality education and healthcare. Cardinal Gracias said, "Thankfully, the government is now consulting our Education Commission over the changes they had planned to the syllabi, and I am happy that these have been put off for now. One needs to keep long term welfare in mind. Tampering with education has the capacity to alter the mentality of people. Even things like changing names of places can have a similar effect. One must not change history to suit one's ideology. We should preserve and promote scientific temper at all times. Truth is truth. One should not be afraid of the truth."


Darkness on a day of light: hatred kills hundreds in Sri Lanka

Bp Theodore Mascarenhas SFX Secretary-General, CBCI

Easter April 21, 2019, appeared to be unfurling like Easter of any other year for me and for the rest of the world. We had finished a grace-filled lent, commemorated the passion of the Lord and every bishop, priest, religious and faithful was joyously participating in the blissful celebration of Easter. I had celebrated the Easter vigil in church of St. Teresa at Pushp Vihar on the peripheries of Delhi. The overflowing Church was buzzing with joy and fervour as must have been Churches throughout the world, some having already celebrated Easter and others preparing to celebrate the great feast depending on the time zones.

On Easter Sunday, thousands would go to Church to celebrate the Mass of the Resurrection of the Lord. After all, Easter marks the victory of life over death, light over darkness, hope over despair. Christians in Colombo were in Church like every other year to pray, to rejoice and to participate in this feast of light, life and hope.

But the devil was active elsewhere and evil forces were planning on how to bring discord, death, distress and destruction.

A wave of deadly blasts hit Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday, killing at least 390 people and seriously injuring over 500. I had left for the airport on Easter Sunday, after celebrating the morning Mass and received the news of the tragedy as I was preparing to board a flight to Rome. I still find it unbelievable that there are persons filled with so much hate that they are willing to tie a bomb around their body and blast themselves to bring death to others. That too on the feast of a community, killing innocent worshippers. There is no heroism, no bravery, no gallantry in killing unguarded, innocent, blameless people.