Issues Vol. 169‎ > ‎

Vol. 169 No. 35 • SEP 01 - 07, 2018

01 Cover

posted Aug 31, 2018, 1:51 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Aug 31, 2018, 1:51 AM ]

03 Index

posted Aug 31, 2018, 1:50 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Aug 31, 2018, 1:50 AM ]

04 Engagements

posted Aug 29, 2018, 10:19 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Aug 29, 2018, 10:19 AM ]

05 Editorial - Faith and Suffering in Ireland

posted Aug 29, 2018, 10:05 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Aug 29, 2018, 10:06 AM ]

Pope Francis on August 26, 2018, spoke of the faith in the face of suffering he found in Ireland. “I have found so much faith in Ireland,” Pope Francis said. “The Irish have suffered so much from the scandals, but they know how to distinguish the truth from half-truths.” The Holy Father was in Ireland on August 25-26, 2018, to participate in the World Meeting of Families. He participated in numerous events in Dublin and Knock.

While the planned events were a joyful celebration of family, the issue of the abuse scandal arose on several occasions, with Pope Francis acknowledging the failures of Church leaders, apologising and pledging change. He noted that the healing process continues, but the faith of the Irish people remains solid. “The Irish people have a deeply-rooted and strong faith,” Pope Francis said, “I say that because that’s what I saw, that’s what I heard, that’s what I’ve come to understand over these two days.”

Abuse was front-of-mind among many in Ireland, both because of the recent resignation of Archbishop Theodore McCarrick after the finding of credible abuse allegations, as well as the release of the Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report on abuse in six dioceses.

The abuse issue received heightened attention by the release of a letter late evening of August 25, 2018, by a former Apostolic Nuncio to the United States. In the letter, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò questioned the Holy Father’s response to accusations against Archbishop Theodore McCarrick and other senior Church officials.

“I say this sincerely: Read it attentively and make your own judgment,” the Pope said in response to reporters’ questions about the Vigano letter. “I will not say a word about this. I believe the document speaks for itself.”

However, the Pope spoke on a number of subjects, including how to try a Bishop accused of abuse. Gently rejecting the wish of Marie Collins (a former member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors), the Pope said that a standing court such as the one called for in the motu proprio “Come una madreamorevole” is not the best option. Rather, Bishops might be tried by an ad hoc tribunal on a case by case basis. “It functions better that way,” the Pope said, citing the trial of the Archbishop of Guam. He also indicated another trial was proceeding along the same lines.

Asked about how the “People of God” can and should respond to evils perpetrated by priests, Pope Francis urged families to believe their children. “When you see something,” he said, “you must speak out immediately.”

On the other hand, he also criticised irresponsible media outlets for judging people before the facts can be ascertained. He called to mind a case in Granada, where a group of priests had been accused of paedophilia by a student who had written to the Pope. The humiliation the priests suffered proved to be a cruel injustice, because they were later found to be innocent. The Holy Father admitted that the work of journalists is delicate; they must say something, but, he insisted, “always with the presumption of innocence, and not with the presumption of guilt.”

Pope Francis praised the Irish minister who spoke about the tragic case of orphanages run by Irish nuns in Tuam—the subject of an investigation by the authorities into abuses that occurred over many decades. The Holy Father urged caution until the investigation could be completed, and the responsibility of the Church could be determined.

A journalist asked Pope Francis what advice he would give to a father whose child revealed that he or she was homosexual. The Holy Father said he would encourage a parent “to pray, to not condemn, to dialogue, to make room” for their son or daughter—because to ignore them or cast them aside would mean something was missing from their parenthood.

Source: Vatican News

06 Homily at Dublin of His Eminence Oswald Cardinal Gracias

posted Aug 29, 2018, 10:04 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Aug 29, 2018, 10:04 AM ]

Your Eminences, my brother Archbishops and Bishops, my dear Fathers, Religious Sisters and Brothers, and my dearest brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ: all of us belonging to one big family, the family of faith founded by our Lord Jesus Christ.

Today we celebrate the Feast of the Queenship of Mary. Very appropriately, on this feast of Mary’s Queenship the Gospel of the Annunciation is proclaimed to us. The joyful annunciation by the angel Gabriel of the coming of Jesus was the most important announcement in salvation history – and indeed of all history. It marks the beginning of the New Testament – the beginning of a new relationship between man/woman and God and with one another. Mary is introduced into the mystery of salvation through this announcement. At the angel’s message, she received the Word of God in her heart, and in her body she received Life for the world. Becoming the mother of the King of Kings, she becomes the Queen of earth and heaven. Mary’s ‘yes’ was the beginning of the Holy Family of Nazareth.

Present in Dublin for this World Meeting of Families, the ideal to which we all look when we reflect on the family is the Holy Family of Nazareth: Jesus, Mary and Joseph. The first reading from Isaiah speaks of a bright light on the horizon. This light in the midst of darkness is the Holy Family of Nazareth. In the midst of great assaults on family values and the institution of marriage itself, the Holy Family stands out as a bright, dazzling light.


08 Mother Teresa's heroic Courage - Elise Harris

posted Aug 29, 2018, 10:03 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Aug 29, 2018, 10:03 AM ]

There are many things about Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta that could be called heroic – her tireless service to the world's most rejected and her courageous witness to millions of what it is to live the Gospel, just to name a couple.

But the priest who oversaw her path to sainthood said that for him, one thing stands out above all the rest: her experience of spiritual darkness and what she described as feeling totally abandoned by God for the majority of her life.

"The single most heroic thing is exactly her darkness. That pure living, that pure, naked faith," Fr Brian Kolodiejchuk, the postulator for Mother Teresa's canonisation cause, told CNA in an interview. Fr Kolodiejchuk is a priest of the Missionaries of Charity Fathers, founded by Mother Teresa in 1989.

By undergoing the depth and duration of the desolation she experienced, yet doing everything that she did for others in spite of it, "that's really very heroic," he said.

Born Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu Aug. 26, 1910 in Skopje, in what is now Macedonia, Mother Teresa joined the Sisters of Loretto at the age of 17, but later left after she felt what she called "an order" from God to leave the convent and to live among the poor.

She went on to found several communities of both active and contemplative Missionaries of Charity, which include religious sisters, brothers and priests.

The first community of active sisters was founded in 1950. An order of active brothers was founded nearly 20 years later in 1968. Then two contemplative orders came - one of women (in 1976) and one of men (in 1979).

In 1989, the Missionaries of Charity Fathers was established and is a clerical religious institute of the diocesan right whose members make promises of poverty, chastity, obedience, and offer wholehearted and free service to the poorest of the poor.

Additionally, an order of lay missionaries was also founded in 1984, and several movements who organise various works of charity have also been born as part of the Missionaries of Charity spiritual family.


09 21st Century - Whither education? - Sr Gerard Paul, RJM

posted Aug 29, 2018, 10:02 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Aug 29, 2018, 10:02 AM ]

Education is at a crossroads today, where there is a vast gap between what we perceive and what we achieve. It is a window to the world and a powerful weapon to eradicate the evils of society, bringing in the winds of change to move towards progress.

We expect our schools to shape young people, to teach them knowledge, skills and values, but also to overcome the same social problems that we as adults have been unable to solve—to reduce poverty, to build the economy, to save the environment, to include the excluded, to look after oneself and care for others, to overcome materialism.

No doubt, Education today is a far cry from the ideal. Schools cannot achieve all the things we want from them, and they cannot satisfy all the expectations we have of them, perhaps because the goal of Education has shrunk to earning a livelihood.

Learning seems to stop, in most cases, with formal Education. The larger horizons of life are shut out of our vision for Education. The noble and sacred profession compromises its relevance and reverence, creating a severance between knowledge and experience, learning and life. Students do not experience what they learn in classrooms, yet every theory of learning avers that children learn best by doing.

The true purpose of education is to prepare children for life ahead, and what lies ahead we can only narrowly envision, blinded by the multiplicity of innovations, challenges and demands made on both teacher and the taught.

Our educational arena provides wide scope for an urgent need for introspection, leaving much to be desired. We are moving at an immeasurable pace with the advancement of technology overtaking us at every mile.


10 May her tribe increase - Noel D'Silva

posted Aug 29, 2018, 9:54 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Aug 29, 2018, 9:54 AM ]

The first time I met her was when she entered my simple office and shyly asked if there existed a vacancy for a teacher in the non-formal education programme for the very poor called (by many) 'The School under the Trees'. I asked her what made her choose this particular attempt at education for children who had difficulty, for many a reason, in entering a formal school. She replied in good English: "Sir, first and foremost I love children, and it pains me tremendously to see many of our beautiful children deprived of an education, just because they are poor. Secondly, I have learnt of your rather unconventional methods. I am a bit adventurous myself and would love to be a part of what you are attempting to do. Thirdly, I am proficient in Marathi, Gujarati and English. I have done my Dip. Ed. as well as a Course in Early Childhood Care and Education." As she spoke, her shyness seemed to disappear. She produced the requisite certificates, and after a few probing questions, I felt she would be an inspiring addition to our growing company of teachers.

She took her place as teacher-in-charge of a class called 'Prathmik I' with twelve students aged 7-9 years of age, girls and boys. She collected her class under the shade of a mango tree, and made the children sit on mats in a circle. She, herself, was part of the circle. The children, a bit fidgety at first, soon felt captivated by the teacher's smooth voice, as she taught them to sing in unison the Morning Prayer Song: sukhithevsarvana; devachiprathana.

Indu was given Marathi and Maths as the subjects for her Class. She did not go into these subjects right away. Instead, she won the attention and affection of her pupils by spending about two weeks recounting in simple Marathi the stories that mothers would tell their children, and by singing easily learnt action songs with plenty of clapping. In between such sessions, she would allow each child to speak about themselves, their home, their friends, and what they liked most. In this way, she also got to know her pupils in a very special way. As a matter of fact, she joined her colleagues in visiting the homes of her pupils during the first two months of the academic year. These visits proved enormously useful in understanding the difficulties of learning in a poverty-immersed situation.

What was praiseworthy about Indu was her spirit of innovation. This was evident in the time she spent in a basic Project Room preparing simple items to make her lessons interesting. Among them was the collection of bottle caps and painting them in different colours. These she made use of in a Maths lesson to act as coins for addition and subtraction.


12 The A to Z of the Special Teacher - Dr. Mrs. Elaine Anne Charles

posted Aug 29, 2018, 9:53 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Aug 29, 2018, 9:53 AM ]

Teaching, we know, is a 'vocation' and the term 'vocation' stems from a Latin word which means "a call to service". Teaching, for me, is a Divine Call, a call from God to serve the young and growing minds entrusted to a teacher's care. And because it is a Divine Call, it consequently challenges teachers to be different, to be a cut above the rest, to be in fact, Special People.

What are the qualities or characteristics that make for this specialness? It might seem like a tall and challenging order, but I believe that this is the A to Zee of the Special Teacher.

A for being APPROACHABLE and AVAILABLE. Approachability implies being easy to approach, to relate to and to communicate with. Such teachers are readily liked, appreciated and sought after. With approachability also goes availability, making oneself available to one's students in terms of one's time, assistance, guidance and support.

B says be BENEVOLENT. Benevolence implies 'a desire to do good' and that is the very mission of a true and special teacher. For if teaching is a 'vocation' and 'a call to serve others', then desiring to do good to them follows naturally and spontaneously.

C for being a good COMMUNICATOR. Teaching basically involves communication, both talking and listening. Exposing, explaining, discussing are the core of teaching, and this involves talking. So to be an effective communicator, factors like audibility, clarity, a pleasant accent and diction, good eye contact, a suitable pace of teaching and the ability to arouse and sustain student interest and attention are all essential. Equally important in communication is the skill of listening. One needs to listen with one's whole self, giving non-verbal signs that you are listening, avoiding interruptions and the temptation to give quick solutions to problems. So being a good communicator is vital to a teacher's specialness.

D for DRESS SENSE. Teachers need to present themselves well, for given the kind of world our students live in today, they are certainly influenced by a teacher's dress, manners and appearance, and a smartly dressed master or a well-dressed teacher does readily win attention and appreciation.

E for ENTHUSIASM and an ENCOURAGING APPROACH. To be special, a teacher must be enthusiastic and excited about his or her work, enjoying the subjects he or she teaches and students must be able to sense this passion for teaching in their teachers. Enthusiasm is infectious and easily passed on.

Equally important is an Encouraging Approach, which makes students feel they are worthwhile and that they can do it. Encouragement goes a long way in boosting a student's self-esteem. Besides, it costs a teacher nothing, except for some time, effort and caring.


14 Notes & Comments

posted Aug 29, 2018, 9:52 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Aug 29, 2018, 9:52 AM ]

Challenges that families face today


Prior to the World Meeting of Families in Ireland, we interviewed Brian and Ninette Lobo who play an important role in the pastoral outreach of the Archdiocese of Bombay. The couple talked about their experience as Catholic parents and discussed the challenges that families currently face, not only in India, but around the world.

Brian Lobo is Executive Vice President & Head of Corporate Affairs; he was part of the core team that set up and established the 'tomb for the unborn' and is working actively in the field of Apologetics to help defend the Catholic faith. Ninette has a degree in microbiology, but gave up her career to dedicate herself to the family. She heads the Diocesan Human Life Committee (DHLC), and last year represented India at a Bioethics Conference in Thailand. The couple have three children who work abroad.

Ninette said Catholics should put Christian values into practice in the family, at work, in everyday life. The challenges of the modern world include abortion, euthanasia, gay marriage, and the role of women. "[Only] when we exercise our faith and translate it into actionable works of God do we become an extension of Christ and his love for us."


Pope: Families can help God's dream come true


Pope Francis participated in the Festival of Families celebration in Dublin's Croke Park Stadium on August 25, and told families they are "the hope of the Church and of the world."

Months of preparation went into creating the event, considered one of the highlights of the World Meeting of Families 2018. There were about 70,000 people. Even the stage design reflected an ideal "circle of encounter" where families could sit close to Pope Francis, while sharing their testimonies and enjoying the performances.

The talent was provided by some of Ireland's best performers and musicians: a 1,000-voice choir, a 50-piece orchestra, and over 700 dancers from the best Irish dance schools across the country, as well as international artists like The Riverdance Troupe, American jazz singer Dana Masters, and Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli.

The testimony came from five families representing Ireland, Canada, India, Iraq and Africa. All shared a common theme of how their families had provided them with hope, love and support during the most challenging moments of their lives. Their testimonies focused on themes of forgiveness and hope in the family, the importance of grandparents, and even the role of social media and technology in family life.

When the Pope addressed the gathering, he described it as "a family celebration of thanksgiving to God for who we are: one family in Christ, spread throughout the world." Pope Francis' speech was filled with references to his Apostolic Exhortation, Amoris Laetitia, on the joy of love.


1-10 of 14