Issues Vol. 169‎ > ‎

Vol. 169 No. 42 • OCT 20 - 26, 2018

01 Cover

posted Oct 16, 2018, 10:51 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Oct 18, 2018, 6:03 PM ]

03 Index

posted Oct 16, 2018, 10:50 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Oct 16, 2018, 10:50 AM ]

05 Official & Engagements

posted Oct 16, 2018, 10:46 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Oct 16, 2018, 10:46 AM ]

06 Editorial - Together with young people, let us bring the Gospel to all

posted Oct 16, 2018, 10:42 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Oct 18, 2018, 6:03 PM ]

Dear young people, I would like to reflect with you on the mission that we have received from Christ. In speaking to you, I also address all Christians who live out in the Church the adventure of their life as children of God. What leads me to speak to everyone through this conversation with you is the certainty that the Christian faith remains ever young when it is open to the mission that Christ entrusts to us. "Mission revitalises faith" (Redemptoris Missio, 2), in the words of Saint John Paul II, a Pope who showed such great love and concern for young people. The Synod to be held in Rome this October, the month of the Missions, offers us an opportunity to understand more fully, in the light of faith, what the Lord Jesus wants to say to you young people, and, through you, to all Christian communities.

Life is a mission

Every man and woman is a mission; that is the reason for our life on this earth. To be attracted and to be sent are two movements that our hearts, especially when we are young, feel as interior forces of love; they hold out promise for our future, and they give direction to our lives. More than any one else, young people feel the power of life breaking in upon us and attracting us. To live out joyfully our responsibility for the world is a great challenge. I am well aware of lights and shadows of youth; when I think back to my youth and my family, I remember the strength of my hope for a better future. The fact that we are not in this world by our own choice makes us sense that there is an initiative that precedes us and makes us exist. Each one of us is called to reflect on this fact: "I am a mission on this Earth; that is the reason why I am here in this world." (Evangelii Gaudium, 273)

We proclaim Jesus Christ

The Church, by proclaiming what she freely received (cf. Mt 10:8; Acts 3:6), can share with you young people the way and truth which give meaning to our life on this earth. Jesus Christ, who died and rose for us, appeals to our freedom and challenges us to seek, discover and proclaim this message of truth and fulfilment. Dear young people, do not be afraid of Christ and His Church! For there we find the treasure that fills life with joy. I can tell you this from my own experience: thanks to faith, I found the sure foundation of my dreams and the strength to realize them. I have seen great suffering and poverty mar the faces of so many of our brothers and sisters. And yet, for those who stand by Jesus, evil is an incentive to ever greater love. Many men and women, and many young people, have generously sacrificed themselves, even at times to martyrdom, out of love for the Gospel and service to their brothers and sisters. From the Cross of Jesus, we learn the divine logic of self-sacrifice (cf. 1 Cor 1:17-25) as a proclamation of the Gospel for the life of the world (cf. Jn 3:16). To be set afire by the love of Christ is to be consumed by that fire, to grow in understanding by its light and to be warmed by its love (cf. 2 Cor 5:14). At the school of the saints, who open us to the vast horizons of God, I invite you never to stop wondering: "What would Christ do if He were in my place?"

Transmitting the faith to the ends of the earth

You too, young friends, by your baptism, have become living members of the Church; together we have received the mission to bring the Gospel to everyone. You are at the threshold of life. To grow in the grace of the faith bestowed on us by the Church's sacraments plunges us into that great stream of witnesses who, generation after generation, enable the wisdom and experience of older persons to become testimony and encouragement for those looking to the future. And the freshness and enthusiasm of the young makes them a source of support and hope for those nearing the end of their journey. In this blend of different stages in life, the mission of the Church bridges the generations; our faith in God and our love of neighbour are a source of profound unity. This transmission of the faith, the heart of the Church's mission, comes about by the infectiousness of love, where joy and enthusiasm become the expression of a newfound meaning and fulfilment in life. The spread of the faith "by attraction" calls for hearts that are open and expanded by love. It is not possible to place limits on love, for love is strong as death (cf. Song 8:6). And that expansion generates encounter, witness, proclamation; it generates sharing in charity with all those far from the faith, indifferent to it, and perhaps, even hostile and opposed to it.

Human, cultural and religious settings still foreign to the Gospel of Jesus and to the sacramental presence of the Church represent the extreme peripheries, the "ends of the earth", to which, ever since the first Easter, Jesus' missionary disciples have been sent, with the certainty that their Lord is always with them (cf. Mt 28:20; Acts 1:8). This is what we call the missio ad gentes. The most desolate periphery of all is where mankind, in need of Christ, remains indifferent to the faith or shows hatred for the fullness of life in God. All material and spiritual poverty, every form of discrimination against our brothers and sisters, is always a consequence of the rejection of God and His love.

The ends of the earth, dear young people, nowadays are quite relative and always easily "navigable". The digital world – the social networks that are so pervasive and readily available – dissolves borders, eliminates distances and reduces differences. Everything appears within reach, so close and immediate. And yet lacking the sincere gift of our lives, we could well have countless contacts, but never share in a true communion of life. To share in the mission to the ends of the earth demands the gift of oneself in the vocation that God, who has placed us on this earth, chooses to give us (cf. Lk 9:23-25). I dare say that, for a young man or woman who wants to follow Christ, what is most essential is to seek, to discover and to persevere in his or her vocation.

Bearing witness to love

I am grateful to all those ecclesial groups that make it possible for you to have a personal encounter with Christ living in His Church: parishes, associations, movements, religious communities, and the varied expressions of missionary service. How many young people find in missionary volunteer work a way of serving the "least" of our brothers and sisters (cf. Mt 25:40), promoting human dignity and witnessing to the joy of love and of being Christians! These ecclesial experiences educate and train young people not only for professional success, but also for developing and fostering their God-given gifts in order to serve others better. These praiseworthy forms of temporary missionary service are a fruitful beginning, and through vocational discernment, they can help you to decide to make a complete gift of yourselves as missionaries.

The Pontifical Mission Societies were born of young hearts as a means of supporting the preaching of the Gospel to every nation, and thus contributing to the human and cultural growth of all those who thirst for knowledge of the truth. The prayers and the material aid generously given and distributed through the Pontifical Mission Societies enable the Holy See to ensure that those who are helped in their personal needs can in turn bear witness to the Gospel in the circumstances of their daily lives. No one is so poor as to be unable to give what they have, but first and foremost, what they are. Let me repeat the words of encouragement that I addressed to the young people of Chile: "Never think that you have nothing to offer, or that nobody needs you. Many people need you. Think about it! Each of you, think in your heart: many people need me." (Meeting with Young People, Maipu Shrine, January 17, 2018)

Dear young people, this coming October, the month of the Missions, we will hold the Synod devoted to you. It will prove to be one more occasion to help us become missionary disciples, ever more passionately devoted to Jesus and His mission, to the ends of the earth. I ask Mary, Queen of the Apostles, Saint Francis Xavier, Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus and Blessed Paolo Manna to intercede for all of us and to accompany us always.

Pope Francis' Message for World Mission Sunday 2018

08 MISSION MUSINGS on Raigad Mountains - Fr Richard Quadros SVD

posted Oct 16, 2018, 10:40 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Oct 16, 2018, 10:40 AM ]

Today, the Church is confronted by challenges it has never known before. The fast growing world demands self-reflection within the Church. In order to explore its mission, the Church has to consider its identity, function and conviction. The Church will be reminded of its missionary function in the world in relationship with God, State, civil society, other religions, non-believers, and its own inner dynamics. The world today is governed by modernist principles and confronted by post-modern philosophies; this forces the Church to think innovatively and creatively about its mission methodologies.

In the backdrop of increasing challenges to the Church, the haunting question is how the Church has engaged itself with the incarnated Word of God through its mission methods. The identity of the Church is established on the proposition that it exists as a response to the work God is accomplishing in human history. Human beings, under the inspiration of divine revelation, founded witnessing communities, inherently inspired by the Holy Spirit, who is the prime mover and the principal agent of the mission of the Church. Therefore, the community that witnesses to the revelation of God is fundamentally missionary in nature. So every member of the witnessing community is called to fulfil the mission that the divine revelation has handed over to the members of the community. In other words, the members are called to be on proclamation mode all the time.

The Church’s Mission as ‘Proclamation’ is understood as announcing Christ to the world, to make Him known and loved by as many people as possible. The proclamation takes on as many forms as there are means of communication; by speaking and writing, and especially by reflecting the virtues of Christ in one's own life and behaviour and dialoguing in action with faith seekers and people of other faiths. The proclamation is also the duty of every Christian. "Jesus Christ," declared Pope John Paul II, "is the stable principle and fixed centre of the mission that God has entrusted to man. We must all share in this mission and concentrate all our forces on it, since it is more necessary than ever for modern mankind." (Redemptor Hominis, 11)


10 Practical Strategies of Evangelization - Bp Robert Barron

posted Oct 16, 2018, 10:38 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Oct 16, 2018, 10:39 AM ]

Proclaiming the Good News has to do with announcing the Resurrection of Jesus from the dead, declaring that Jesus is divine, celebrating the deep humanism of Christianity, and finally, insisting on the indispensability of the Church as the mystical body of the Lord. In this article, I would like to reflect on simple practical strategies for evangelization.

First, deepen your knowledge of the Catholic tradition. A recent survey showed that, among the various religious groups, young Jews have the weakest sense of their own religious heritage, but second only to the Jews in this dubious distinction were young Catholics. This is nothing short of tragic. We have an extremely smart, rich and profound tradition, including the incomparable Scriptures, treasures of theology, spirituality, art, architecture, literature, and the inspiring witness of the saints. To know this tradition is to enter into a densely textured and illuminating world of meaning; not to know it deprives one of spiritual joy, and perhaps even more regrettably, renders one incapable of explaining the Catholic faith to those who seek to understand it better. Most Catholics stopped their formal religious education in eighth grade, or perhaps in senior year of high school.

No wonder we are relatively poor evangelists. So resolve this year to read a good and serious book of theology, perhaps a classic such as St Augustine's Confessions or Thomas Merton's Seven Story Mountain. Make an effort this year to delve into a great Catholic literary master such as Dante, G.K. Chesterton or Flannery O'Connor. Or study the paintings of Caravaggio and Michelangelo, and the sculptures and architecture of Bernini. Enter into the prayerful reading of the Bible.

Second, invite someone you know to come back to church. Evangelization can focus on the conversion of the nations, or on the Catholicising of Protestant Christians, but it can also focus much more narrowly on the re-activising of inactive Catholics. Everyone reading these words knows someone—a friend, a co-worker, a family member, perhaps even a godson or goddaughter—who has stopped attending Mass or availing himself of the Sacraments. Resolve in the next year to send that person a note, give him or her a phone call, sit down for a good conversation—and urge him or her to come home to church. This overture might cost you; it might prove a bit uncomfortable or embarrassing. Evangelization is always a risk. For the sake of that person's spiritual health, take it.

Third, let the language of the faith be naturally on your lips. Many of us Catholics—consciously or unconsciously—censor our own speech against anything smacking of our religious convictions. We learn early on the etiquette of a pluralist society; it is not polite to talk in public settings about politics, or especially religion. To be sure, we should never be aggressive or overbearing in regard to our faith, but we should never acquiesce to social conventions that require a privatization of our religion.


11 Misiones: Plus Verbis Factis - Eddy D'Sa

posted Oct 16, 2018, 10:37 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Oct 16, 2018, 10:37 AM ]

Our generation has made social justice the focus of Missions. But have we forgotten Jesus? Taking a look at the trends in Christian Missions in recent years—most notably the shift among younger missionaries from proselytising and preaching to doing more service and social justice-oriented work as Mission. A shift in focus from words to deeds. We sometimes tend to now hold the term "missionary" at arm's length, afraid of the colonialist connotations of the word. We prefer being involved in "social justice" under the auspices of a more generalised Christian sense of charity, rather than operating under anything resembling "soul winning." One even hears the explanation: "We believe in Christ, but do NOT want to limit ourselves in any way." Spreading Christianity through deeds alone aligns with a quote attributed to St Francis of Assisi: "Preach the Gospel always, and if necessary, use words." But here's the fact: Our good Francis never said such a thing. None of his disciples, early or later biographers have these words coming from his mouth. It doesn't show up in any of his writings. The closest comes from his Franciscan Rule of 1221, Chapter XII on how the Franciscans should practise their preaching : "No brother should preach contrary to the form and regulations of the holy Church nor unless he has been permitted by his minister … All the Friars … should preach by their deeds." Essentially, make sure your deeds match your words. The trouble with this preach/practice dichotomy of preaching the Gospel in deed—it's simply impossible to preach the Gospel without words. The Gospel is inherently verbal, and preaching the Gospel is inherently verbal behaviour.


13 Empowering the tribals- Fr Calistus Fernandes

posted Oct 16, 2018, 10:36 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Oct 16, 2018, 10:36 AM ]

Jankalyan Centre for Community Organisation (CCO) is situated at Mahad Taluka, Raigad Distict, 180 km away to the south-east of Mumbai at the foothills of Mahabaleshwar, the so-called Mission area of the Archdiocese of Bombay. According to the 1991 Census, Raigad district has 2,23,000 tribals. This comprises 11% of the total population of Raigad. Among these, 4% tribal Katkaris stay in Mahad taluka. Today, the face of Raigad is undergoing a rapid change due to the setting up of numerous industries and globalisation. A large section of this tribal community still live in dehumanising conditions. Lack of basic amenities like health, water, shelter and education, malnutrition, illiteracy, superstition, exploitation (especially of women), unemployment, deforestation and other equally serious factors, has threatened the lifestyle and the very existence of these tribals.


Jankalyan, along with the other 20 CCOs working in Raigad district, unitedly commit to serve the people, especially the marginalised and the oppressed, with a preferential option for the tribals, to promote abundance of life based on life values and communal harmony through fellowship, aiming at the integral development of people by enabling them to commit themselves towards becoming self-realized, with a strong belief in their potential to become aware of their unjust and oppressive situation and change it through their personal and collective action. In this effort, the Church-based CCOs cooperate and network with like-minded individuals and non-governmental organisations to be more effective.


To actualise the vision into action, the CCOs work at the grassroot level, especially among the marginalised, to boost the spirit and consciousness through the process of empowerment, with well reflected and clear-cut objectives.


14 LAITY for the New Evangelization - Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko

posted Oct 16, 2018, 10:34 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Oct 16, 2018, 10:35 AM ]

The Church today ought to take a giant step forward in her evangelization effort, and enter into a new stage of history in her missionary dynamism".1 This statement in Christifideles Laici is still very relevant today, and the role of the laity in this process continues to be irreplaceable. Christ said, "You too go into my vineyard" (Mt 20:3-4), and this invitation should be seen as a clear call to an ever growing number of lay men and women to take on their responsibility in the life and mission of the Church. This refers to their responsibility in the life and mission of all the Christian communities – dioceses and parishes, and ecclesial Associations and Movements. The engagement of lay people in evangelization is already changing the life of the Church2, and this is a major sign of hope for the Church.

The enormity of the harvest to be collected for the sake of the Gospel today gives a note of urgency to the Divine Master's missionary mandate: "Go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation" (Mk 16:15). Unfortunately, nowadays, a mentality of relativism has taken root, and is spreading even among Christians. This creates a great deal of confusion for our mission. Some examples are the following: the tendency to replace mission with a kind of dialogue in which all positions are equal; the tendency to reduce evangelization to human advancement and no more, being convinced that it is enough to help people to be better people or to be more faithful to their own religion; a false concept of respect for the freedom of others that refrains from teaching the need for conversion. These and other doctrinal errors are addressed in the encyclical Redemptoris Missio (1990), then in the declaration Dominus Iesus (2000), and later in the Responses to Some Questions Regarding Certain Aspects of the Doctrine on the Church (2007) issued by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. These documents deserve to be studied in depth. Evangelization is an explicit mandate from the Lord, and therefore it is not of secondary importance. It is the reason why the Church is a sacrament of salvation.


16 Notes & Comments

posted Oct 16, 2018, 10:29 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Oct 16, 2018, 10:29 AM ]

Abortion is like hiring a hitman: Pope Francis

In his general audience on October 10, Pope Francis said that abortion "suppresses innocent and helpless life in its blossoming."

"Is it right to take a human life to solve a problem? It's like hiring a hitman," Pope Francis said in St Peter's Square, in a departure from his prepared remarks.

"Violence and the rejection of life are born from fear," the Pope added. For this reason, parents who learn that their unborn child will have a disability need "real closeness, true solidarity to face reality; overcoming understandable fears," he explained.

Pope Francis lamented that parents receiving a difficult prenatal diagnosis often "receive hasty advice to stop the pregnancy." It is contradictory to suppress "human life in the womb in the name of safeguarding other rights. How can an act that suppresses innocent and helpless life in its blossoming be therapeutic, civil, or simply human?"

The Pope's remarks on abortion came during a reflection on the fifth commandment - "Thou shall not kill." In recent weeks, the Pope has dedicated his weekly general audiences to a series of reflections on the Ten Commandments recorded in the scriptural books of Exodus and Deuteronomy.

"One could say that all the evil done in the world is summarized in this: contempt for life," Pope Francis told the pilgrims gathered in St Peter's Square.


Indian delegate: we desire to find ourselves

What the young people of India are asking of Catholic bishops is that they "help us find our way by realizing ourselves, not just by imitating Western models," said Percival Holt, a young Indian present at the Synod of Bishops.

The 25-year-old Holt, who has a long involvement in Catholic outreach, described the life experience of the new generations of his country, their anxieties and fears. A new "prototype of youth" emerged from his words, made of more open relationships between males and females and with other religions, of interest for Western culture, of search for personal autonomy and good jobs to achieve economic independence. A new awareness of being Christian has formed: "Prayer is no longer enough for us. Today's youth want to put their faith into action."

Percival has a Master's degree in biotechnology; he lives in New Delhi, and is the President of the Indian Catholic Youth Movement. He started attending the group at the age of 17, and has since got to know different Indian realities. He points out that "there is a marked difference between how young people live in the country, from north to south."


Synod: accompanying the choices of young people by offering 'higher' goals

The Synod on Young People focused on accompanying the choices of marriage and consecration, promoting both in order to meet the need to give young people the opportunity of looking up at higher goals.

Two traits of accompanying both marriage and celibacy for the Kingdom of God require being welcoming and showing high goals and the demanding proposal of the Gospel.

The Church must also promote the two vocations, because they both fall within the broader "baptismal vocation" of each and every Christian.

The interventions of some of the day's auditors stressed such an approach, emphasising the inadequacy of an ecclesial proposal centred on an ethical theism in the face of the profound thirst for the Spirit among the young.

Young people want Jesus, and the Church has the duty to show Him, and not to consider "lost time" the work dedicated to pastoral outreach towards the new generations.


"We wish to learn your life"


Joseph Pamplany, Auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Tellicherry in South India, described what the young people are saying as "really enriching". He explained that it "sheds new light upon the future mission of the Church, especially for young people."

Bishop Pamplany is representing the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church of India in the ongoing Synod of Bishops, which he said is prioritising the discovery of new pastoral methodologies. He said that he's very happy with the "proceedings of the Synod", describing them as being "systematically arranged."

He talked about the interventions so far, by both the Synod Fathers and the young people. Bishop Pamplany said there are some "cultural differences, as well as national differences" especially between "youth from the Third World and First World. But the major challenges being raised on the Synod floor resemble what we experience in India as well."


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