Issues Vol. 169‎ > ‎

Vol. 169 No. 26 • JUN 30 - JUL 06, 2018

01 Cover

posted Jun 27, 2018, 10:34 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jun 28, 2018, 11:46 PM ]

03 Index

posted Jun 27, 2018, 10:34 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jun 27, 2018, 10:34 AM ]

04 Engagements

posted Jun 27, 2018, 10:33 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jun 27, 2018, 10:33 AM ]

05 Editorial - Faith Information, Formation and Transformation

posted Jun 27, 2018, 10:28 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jun 28, 2018, 11:47 PM ]

The Parish Faith Formation Ministry must provide opportunities for people of all ages to grow as disciples of Jesus through engaging processes which deepen their information, formation, and transformation. Designed to touch the heart, as well as the intellect, Faith Formation helps people to deepen their relationship with God.

Faith Formation should lead us to grow in knowledge of the Church's teachings and traditions, Scripture, Liturgy, Morality, Social Justice, Prayer and Spirituality. Each person is encouraged to integrate their faith into their everyday life experiences, and to live their Baptismal call to be disciples of Jesus at home and in our world.

Members of the Catechetical Team must plan and implement a parish-wide Faith Formation Programme. The Team strives to do so by fostering an atmosphere of ongoing individual and communal formation in a way that is accessible and relates to individual life experiences. Allowing for diverse learning needs and a variety of opportunities helps create a life-long, vibrant learning environment, as we continue to grow as a community of disciples of Jesus.

In order to strengthen the partnership between family and Parish in passing on the faith, parents requesting Baptism for the first time must be asked to participate in a Pre-Baptism session. The Baptismal Preparation Team must offer these sessions at least six times a year. The team leaders must use the outline and resource materials provided by the archdiocese, and their own faith experience to facilitate a discussion about the Sacrament of Baptism, its meaning and symbols, the Rite of Baptism, and ways to nurture the faith of the child.

Adults entering the Roman Catholic Church, or those just thinking about it, must embark on a faith journey known as the RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults). The RCIA Team and anyone in the process ought to meet as a small-faith community to learn about the Catholic faith, Church teachings and its traditions, to pray together and share scripture in order to deepen their relationship with both God and the Catholic community.

This process involves a number of stages: Inquiry, which is the initial period, when a person begins to ask questions and expresses a desire to enter the Catholic Church. Those who decide to enter the Church should be trained for a life in Christ; they are called 'catechumens' - an ancient name from the early Church.

In this stage, they delve more deeply into scripture, prayer and the teachings of the Church in order to receive the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist at the Easter Vigil. Then comes the period that allows the newly baptised a time to reflect and learn more about the mysteries of the Mass and the Sacraments in which they now fully participate. The RCIA programme requires that sponsors should be confirmed adults in good standing with the Catholic Church, willing to attend some, but not all of the Catechumenate sessions, and be role models in living the Faith for the person they sponsor. They must form a small Christian community with those interested in becoming members of the Roman Catholic Church. They share the responsibility of leading prayer and scripture, and catechising the catechumens about the Church, its teachings and traditions.

Family Catechesis Team must also prepare and carry out two to three Faith Formation gatherings for families during the year. These events must be centered on the Church's Liturgical Year and engage families and children in learning about Church traditions, teachings, Sacraments and liturgy. Members of the Committee must assume various responsibilities including hospitality, crafts, leading groups, cleanup, and setup.

For Sunday School children, the Liturgy of the Word should be simplified and explained during a designated Mass. Trained Catechists should share their faith and the joy of the Gospel with children in different age groups to accompany them through all the stages of their life.


07 A Journey as Long and Enriching as Life - Fr Vincent D’Cruz

posted Jun 27, 2018, 10:27 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jun 27, 2018, 10:27 AM ]

Journeys are something so common, and yet sometimes so special. We have different kinds of journeys we undertake; some are long, others are short. Some journeys last from a few minutes to a few hours, while others could take longer. Some journeys are the sources for novels and biographies, others for movies. Whatever the type of journey, the bottom line is that we all take up journeys in our life almost every day.

Amidst all the many journeys we undertake, be it to school, work, college, the market, business trips, vacations etc. there is one journey that mostly goes unnoticed, or does not always enjoy the same attention and leverage other journeys might. This is our "Faith journey." Faith Formation Sunday gives us the opportunity to reflect and review our Faith Journeys at the personal level, the family level and at the communitarian level. These few lines written here aim to assist this reflection.

Before we really dig deep and get in touch with our faith journeys, it would do well to situate ourselves and understand what we are called to reflect on as we observe Faith Formation Sunday. What is this faith? Is it the same thing as 'putting our faith in a human person'? What does 'forming one's faith constitute?

To clarify these preliminary questions, we take recourse to the deposit of faith - The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC). Chapter III of the first part of the CCC spells out to us what faith is in its very title – 'Man's Response to God'. The chapter begins by stating that God, out of the fullness of His love, calls us His friends and invites us humans to enjoy His company, and the "adequate response to this invitation is faith." (CCC 142)

The term 'adequate response' could well be understood as the complete submission of intellect and will (CCC 143) and as the personal adherence of humans to God; as a free assent to the whole truth that God has revealed (CCC 150) in various ways, but most importantly, in the person of Jesus of Nazareth. Hence, on Faith Formation Sunday, we call to mind our Christian Faith, which is different from the faith we place in any human person.


08 FAITH FORMATION "before and after marriage" - Isabelle Cousturie

posted Jun 27, 2018, 10:26 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jun 27, 2018, 10:26 AM ]

Faced with the "predominant culture of the ephemeral and provisional" that weighs on Catholic marriage, Pope Francis proposes for young couples a catechumenate "as effective as possible" before and after the celebration of marriage — the first to prepare them for the Sacrament, the second to accompany and support them "spiritually" in their common life, especially in view of the Christian education they will have to give their children. "Too many sacramental marriages are null and inconsistent; it must be remedied," said Pope Francis, as he received the judges and lawyers of the Tribunal of the Roman Rota, on the occasion of their new judicial year. "You need to identify, with courage and creativity, a training project for young married couples, with initiatives aimed at increasing awareness of the sacrament received."

"Young spouses must feel that the Church loves them and is close to them!"

A great opportunity for evangelization

"Some couples are actively involved in parish life, others come for the first time; some have intense prayer lives, while others have a more general, less precise religious feeling," the Pope said. Preparing all of these couples is "a true opportunity for evangelization," which allows young adults to "renew their faith" and to "rediscover marriage and family, according to God's plans."

The Sovereign Pontiff made a severe diagnosis of the unions celebrated by the Catholic Church, deploring the "invalidity" or "inconsistency" of a great many of them. "Null because the couple say yes for life, without knowing what they say, because they have a different culture," he explained. "They have goodwill, but are not aware of the sacrament."


09 The legacy of two great men

posted Jun 27, 2018, 10:25 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jun 27, 2018, 10:25 AM ]

We are a community that relies on inspirational memory. We remember our ancestors in the faith, both to be grateful for them and to learn from them lessons for today. The two whose lives we celebrate on June 29 tell of God's power to transform and redirect a person's life. The lives of Peter and Paul were completely changed by their following Jesus. The failures in their lives, and even more so, their conversions, may surprise us, but they probably surprised them too! What Paul says in the epistle, Peter might have also said, "I have run the race; I have kept the faith." This "faith" does not mean formal doctrinal orthodoxy; rather, Paul acted as the faith required, witnessing to his faith in Jesus to believers and non-believers alike. His words give a keen insight into the cost and joy of being a disciple. In the end, Paul was imprisoned and executed in Rome during Nero's suppression of the Church in the mid-60s of the first century.

Jesus intended Peter to lead His followers after He Himself left this world. He also intended, one must assume, that others would carry on this leadership after Peter. This does not mean that the Lord approved in advance every development and protocol of the papacy since then, or that all actions of the Roman Curia have the stamp of divine approval. History has thrown up some popes of questionable character (though no spectacularly immoral ones since 1700). Some have been poor administrators, or lacked the capacity to inspire others. The ceremonial pomp surrounding the papacy often seems too lavish for the successors of Peter the fisherman. None of this cancels the essence of Petrine leadership or its importance for the Church. The promise to Peter did not guarantee that his successors would all be saints, or that all would avoid mistakes. Catholics should realise what is essential to the faith and what is not. We bear in mind the old dictum "Ecclesia semper reformanda" which also applies to the papacy. We believe in God and His love, as revealed by Jesus and the Church. We do not worship the Pope, but we deeply respect him as Peter's successor, a focus of unity and chief pastor of the Church.

There is a story told about Peter's death in Rome during the persecution under Nero. When he heard about Nero's plan to burn the city and blame the Christians, Peter knew that if he were found in the city, he would be arrested and put to death. Urged by his friends, he did the sensible thing and began to leave the city at night along the Appian Way. As the night wore on, the sky was lit by the flames rising from the city. Then Peter saw someone coming in the opposite direction, heading back towards the city, a face that even at night seemed familiar. "Where are you going, Lord?" (Quo vadis, Domine?) asked the bewildered Peter. "To Rome," was the reply, "to be crucified again" … and on hearing this, Peter turned around and returned to Rome.


10 The Joy of serving in a Ministry - Shefalle K

posted Jun 27, 2018, 10:24 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jun 27, 2018, 10:24 AM ]

The word 'Joy' immediately brings to mind Pope Francis, and obviously so when one is in the midst of reflecting on his beautiful Apostolic Exhortation 'Evangelii Gaudium' (The Joy of the Gospel) and having more than a year reflected on 'Amoris Laetitia' (The Joy of Love), considering that my ministry mostly caters to children and families. Children are always, in every season – bright or dim – joy personified, and infect their families with the same joy, coupled with innocence and firm faith in what they believe.

Being a catechist and one in-charge of the children's Mass, much of our service centres around bright faces, joyous hearts, opportunistic outlooks, positive vibes and a desire to always be on one's toes to give our best to glorify the Lord. In the last five years of my catechetical ministry, it has been the fervent desire of our Catechetics Team (Sunday School) to infuse joy in all we do, for that seems the best way to communicate Christ within us.

As every year, to make this year packed with the JOY of experiencing God through Scripture, Tradition and Church Magisterium, we aim to ponder on a subject rarely touched upon – the Holy Trinity. Indeed, the Holy Trinity is a mystery none have been able to solve to completion. The Catechism of the Catholic Church #234 very beautifully puts this: The mystery of the Most Holy Trinity is the central mystery of Christian faith and life. Only a flashback to your childhood will tell you how interesting mystery stories and puzzles were, as you tickled your brain cells to explore. The catechists of Our Lady of Mercy parish, Pokhran (Thane Deanery) will explore and dissect their faith life this year by a thorough reflection on the Holy Trinity, communicated to families and parishioners through our website. Yet, even St Augustine – a great Doctor of the Church, needed a little child to lead him to understand the mystery, and so the children of our parish will be the harbingers of ideas and thoughts that will lead us to understand the works of the Trinity shaping our faith.


11 Is Praying a waste of time? - Dom DeSa

posted Jun 27, 2018, 10:22 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jun 27, 2018, 10:23 AM ]

A prayerless life is a powerless life.

Why should I pray? My prayers are never answered. Guess God is too busy managing the countless problems besetting this troubled world to pay attention to an individual's prayer.

Perhaps many among us have felt this way, at one time or the other. Especially when we have prayed long and earnestly for something, and we don't seem to get any answer. It is a natural, and perhaps, frustrating emotion. No matter how good and/or sincerely we have tried to live as Christians.

Why should I pray?

It has been observed that two things about prayer are truly amazing: (1) God listens when we pray, and (2) When we pray, God works. Scripture tells us: "…whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours." (Mark 11: 24 NIV) And Bob Gass, a lay Protestant author and minister, avers that you and I may not have much clout anywhere and/or about anything, but when you pray, God listens.

Isn't that tremendous? And yet, why is it that so many among us Christians seldom pray? Gass notes: "We have the greatest privilege imaginable – access to the control centre of the universe, yet we rarely use it." And, he adds, "Our lack of prayer surprises God." More than being surprised, God laments man's insensitivity to the power of prayer, when he exclaims: "I sought for a man among them who would … stand in the gap before me – on behalf of the land – that I should not destroy it; but I found no one." (Ezek 22:30 NKJV)


13 No place for Hunger in the City of Mary - Annabel D'souza

posted Jun 27, 2018, 10:21 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jun 27, 2018, 10:21 AM ]

Raising awareness about global hunger, Mariapolis 2018 left a lasting impact on its protagonist teens and all other participants.

Literally translating as the 'City of Mary', the Mariapolis is an annual event of the Focolare for families, teens and youth who are members, and those wishing to know about it. There have already been four Mariapolises in different parts of India this year; the fifth will be in Goa in September. The Mariapolis for Mumbai and Pune this year was held at Papal Seminary, Pune, from May 24-27. Over the years, this annual Mariapolis has welcomed thousands of 'citizens' who have come together to live the Gospel and create a family based on mutual love. Fittingly, this year's theme of 'Be a Family' encouraged and inspired participants to adopt a Marian attitude of love and service towards one's neighbour.

Over a period of four days, participants actively engaged in reflections, soul-searching and sharing to identify opportunities to love in their daily lives. Music, interactive indoor and outdoor games and creative workshops were some of the key highlights at Mariapolis 2018 that attracted participants from as far as Hyderabad, Telangana and Goa. Over 180 adults, 60 children and teens and 40 youth made up this beautiful City of Mary this year. A first-time participant said, "Initially, I felt Mariapolis is about fun and entertainment. But it has given me a new meaning of holiness. I am a very spiritual person, and always wanted to do something more for the Lord. I think now I have received my answer."

#ZeroHunger Generation

In addition to the above, Mariapolis 2018 saw its teens respond creatively to a call against global hunger. They explained how teens like themselves all over the world (Teens4Unity) have decided to stand on the frontline with the entire global Focolare Movement supporting them in various concrete efforts to achieve the ambitious goal of being the world's first Zero Hunger Generation. Responding to a meeting between official representatives from the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the International Focolare Youth Centres in Rome on September 8, 2017, these teens want to ensure that by 2030, no one in the world should suffer from hunger any more.


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