22 Notes & Comments

posted Apr 5, 2018, 9:16 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Apr 5, 2018, 9:16 AM ]

A Pro-Life Bishop

Dr Jeanette Pinto

Who in the Archdiocese of Bombay does not know our dear Bishop Agnelo Gracias? Well, he was born in Mombasa, Kenya, Africa, in July 1939, completed his priestly studies in Parel and St Pius X College, Goregaon, Bombay and received his Doctorate in Spiritual Theology in Rome. Then he joined St Pius X College as Professor and Spiritual Director, and was also Rector for many years. He served as Parish Priest at St Michael Church, Mahim and was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Bombay in 2001. In 2002, he was elected Chairman, CBCI Family Commission, and held several other important positions in the Church hierarchy, until he retired recently.

About the year 2006, he became the Spiritual Director of the Diocesan Human Life Committee (DHLC) with its office in the Archbishop's House. He guided and spurred the Committee to greater action by his enthusiasm, motivation and support. The sanctity of life, especially as regards the issue of Euthanasia, is close to his heart. He visited Aruna Shanbaug, the lady who lay in a coma for almost 38 years, and prayed for her at her bedside at the KEM Hospital. The Right to Life under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution is uppermost in his mind; he has made all efforts to create awareness and conscientise the laity on this issue.

Bp Agnelo has played a key role in collaborating with other archdiocesan organisations, especially the Family Commission and FIAMC, and to network with other Pro-life bodies. He encouraged the DHLC members and others to write Pro-life articles, and has been an inspiration in spreading the Pro-life message. He helped build a number of 'Tombs to the Unborn Child', has taken an active role in the 'March for Life', and was involved in various Pro-life seminars and panel discussions. His foresight helped create the 'Kevin & Hilda Pro-life Award'.

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Pre-Synod dedicated to the young

.Agenzia Fides

As part of the preparation for the Synod of Bishops dedicated to young people, to be held in October, a 'Pre-Synod' took place from March 19-24, attended by 300 young people from all over the world, not only Catholics, but also from other Christian and other religious confessions, and even atheists.

One of the participants was Davi Rodrigues da Silva, National Secretary of the Youth Pastoral of Brazil, a country where, according to him, "the first challenge young people face is to survive; young people in Brazil are exterminated every day because they belong to an age group with the highest index of homicides suffered."

This is a reality for which "the young Christian must be a sign of hope," said Davi Rodrigues, recognising that within the process proposed for the Synod, "the young Brazilians are deeply committed to responding to the questions that were proposed to dioceses all over the world." In this sense, the Pope's attitude stands out, because "it opens to the possibility that every person, especially the young, can share and say what he thinks through the Internet."

Commenting on the meeting at the Vatican, in which he participated with four other young Brazilians, Rodrigues da Silva said he was able "to bring the contributions and reflections of over 45 years of youth pastoral activity in Brazil, showing the different realities in which the Church is present as a privileged meeting place with the Master. We are called to be in those places to discover ourselves more and more missionary disciples, announcers of a world of justice and fraternity."

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The problem of Gun violence

The rally of the 'March for Our Lives' (March 24, 2018) was prompted by the recent tragedy at the Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. It provoked a national examination of conscience about violence, guns, and the failure to protect public safety that community leaders should support, said Boston Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley at a Mass for Peace, Justice and Healing at St Anthony Shrine, Boston, MA. The tragedy of Parkland is about a painful narrative of violence that claimed the lives of the young and the old, students in school and families at a concert; people going about their daily lives as citizens, people who left home in the morning with the confident expectation of returning home safely after school or work or an evening of entertainment. Into all these activities of daily life, chaos and killing erupted – without warning, without purpose, without limits and without mercy.

The Cardinal said, "Senseless violence of so many students being killed in the midst of a school day traumatises all of us, and has had repercussions throughout our country and around the world. The catalyst for bringing thousands of people together at St Anthony Shrine, Boston, MA was a reaction of the students in Parkland. They have been devastated by the loss of their friends and classmates, but they have refused to be silent. They are leading our society in an examination of conscience about violence, guns and our laws and policies concerning these matters."

This local rally, and those in many other cities throughout the country, is connected to a much larger event taking place in Washington DC. At all of these gatherings, people are coming together to address a problem which threatens the common good of our nation­—the problem of gun violence.

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