16 Notes & Comments

posted Apr 19, 2018, 9:13 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Apr 19, 2018, 9:13 AM ]

An Inviting Challenge


St Mark the Evangelist, who wrote the second Gospel, is symbolised by a lion – a figure of courage and monarchy. He is referred to as "Saint Mark the Lionhearted" because when he was thrown to the lions, they refused to attack or eat him. Instead, the lions slept at his feet, while he petted them. When the Romans saw this, they released him, impressed by this sight. His symbol is the winged lion. The winged lion of Saint Mark is the symbol of Venice. In the 9th century, Saint Mark became the patron saint of the city, the lion a guardian of peace and power. In its paws, the lion holds a book, sometimes a book and a sword. The winged lion is on the seal of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria, See of Saint Mark. Mark is said to have founded the Church of Alexandria, one of the most important episcopal sees of Early Christianity.

Although the Gospel of Mark was written anonymously, it is ascribed to the Evangelist Mark who is believed to have been the "John Mark" of the Acts of the Apostles, Barnabas' cousin and a co-worker with Peter in Rome. In his first letter, Peter sends greetings from himself and "Mark my son." He was the son of Mary of Jerusalem (Acts 12:12).

Except for being referred to as John in Acts 12:25, 13:5; 13, and 15:37, elsewhere in the New Testament, he is consistently called by his Latin surname Mark.

John Mark is identified by two incidents: As the man who carried water to the house where the Last Supper took place (Mark 14:13), or as the young man who ran away naked when Jesus was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane (Mark 14:51–52). Other incidents which record the presence of John Mark are when Mark the Evangelist hosted the disciples in his house after Jesus' death, that the resurrected Jesus Christ came to Mark's house (John 20) and that the Holy Spirit descended on the disciples at Pentecost in the same house. Furthermore, Mark is also believed to have been among the servants at the Marriage at Cana, who poured out the water that Jesus turned to wine (John 2:1–11).


Pope: Do we follow Jesus out of faith or 'self-interest'?


Ask if you follow Jesus out of faith or "self-interest" and do we see what Jesus really did for me in my life? These are the questions that Pope Francis asked in his homily at Mass recently at Casa Santa Marta. The Pope reflected on the day's Gospel (John 6:22-29), in which the crowd wanted to make Jesus a king after the multiplication of the loaves and fishes. Jesus rebuffed them, saying, "You are looking for me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate the loaves and were filled." Pope Francis pointed out the two elements of Jesus' response. On the one hand, he said, they were seeking Jesus in order to feel His Word in their hearts, that is, out of faith. On the other, they were merely curious to see His miracles. The Holy Father said these were good people, but their faith was a little too curious and self-seeking.

Pope Francis then spoke about another example of faith in Jesus, that of Stephen in the First Reading (Acts 6:8-15). He spoke so clearly, the Pope said, that his interlocutors in the Sanhedrin could not resist his wisdom. "He followed Jesus without weighing the consequences: 'This works for me; that doesn't'… He was not self-interested. He loved. So he followed Jesus, sure in his faith. They laid a trap of slander, and they led him into it. So he was stoned to death, giving witness to Jesus."


Pre-Synodal Meeting for the Amazon


"Through this synod, we have the important opportunity to innovate our current Church in the Amazon and to be in the midst of different peoples in a new way, with enthusiasm, commitment and dedication," said Fr Justino Rezende, Salesian priest from the Tuyuca ethnic group; he is in Rome to attend the work for the Pre-Synod phase of the special Synod of Bishops of the Amazon Region which will take place in October 2019. On April 12-13, eighteen members of the Synodal Council and thirteen experts on the Amazon met. Pope Francis participated and presided in the launch of the meeting.

Fr Justino Rezende, in his presentation on Thursday 12, commenting on his joy of being one of the participants, of being before the Pope for the first time, and of the presence of the Church in the midst of his people, expressed his desire on behalf of the indigenous peoples to "give thanks to the many missionaries, priests, bishops who gave their lives for us, people of the Amazon and indigenous peoples. Some died to defend us and many of them acquired the indigenous face, learned the culture, language, traditions and today they are buried in the lands of mission. Thanks to this missionary work, many lay faithful got involved in the Church; catechists, extraordinary ministers, religious and priests have emerged, and this is the face we must offer as a Church."


Role of the PYC & PYAT


So the Youth Census is completed, you have a PYAT in place, and you're now ready for the next step.

What next?

The PYAT (Parish Youth Animating Team) will meet together with the PYD and plan an Orientation programme for the youth of the parish (Class XI and above – below the age of 25 years). It is usually best to organize this Orientation in the first fortnight of June; aim to get the maximum participation by contacting the youth through SCC animators and their peers.

The Orientation may include ice-breakers, a short session, some prayer time, and an overview of the year's calendar of youth activities. (A list of Resource Persons and session material is available at Diocesan Youth Centre, Bandra). It may also include the election of the NYG representatives to the PYC.

Regular NYG meetings may be organised every month for one hour only (where the PYA assigned to the NYG plans the meeting based on a common theme across all NYGs of the parish). The NYG meetings are to be held within the SCC area, to ensure greater participation (see the diagram) of the youth within the area. The focus areas of the NYGs are Fellowship, Formation and Service, in keeping with the aims of the Indian Catholic Youth Movement (ICYM).