- The Global Compact

Today's world faces great challenges, and education is at the core of solutions for the future. That was the key message Pope Francis delivered on February 7, 2020, when he addressed participants at the end of a two-day conference in the Vatican entitled 'Education:

Dear Friends, I offer you a warm greeting on the occasion of this Seminar promoted by the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences on 'Education: The Global Compact'. I am pleased that you are reflecting on this theme, since today there is a need to join forces in order to achieve a broad educational covenant aimed at forming mature persons capable of mending the fabric of human relationships and creating a more fraternal world (cf. Address to the Diplomatic Corps, January 9, 2020).

An integrated and quality education, and the standards set for graduation, continue to represent a global challenge. Despite the objectives formulated by the United Nations Organization and other bodies (cf. Goal 4) and the important efforts made by some countries, equality of education has not yet been achieved in our world. Poverty, discrimination, climate change, the globalisation of indifference and the exploitation of human beings all prevent the flourishing of millions of children. Indeed, for many, these are an almost insurmountable wall, preventing the attainment of the goals of sustainable and guaranteed development proposed by the world's peoples.

Basic education is today a normative ideal throughout the world. The empirical data in your possession show that much progress has been made in giving boys and girls access to schooling. Today, the enrolment of young people in primary education is almost universal, and it is clear that the gender gap has been narrowed. This is a praiseworthy achievement. Nonetheless, each generation needs to consider how best to hand on its knowledge and its values to the next, since it is through education that men and women attain their maximum potential and become conscious, free and responsible. Concern for education is concern for future generations and for the future of humanity. It is a concern profoundly rooted in hope, and it calls for generosity and courage.

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Love Story of Joseph & Mary

Fr John Singarayar SVD

The emotional tone of most failed marriages is not passionate outrage, but rather exhausted indifference. It is rarely a case of the relationship cracking under some sudden strain. It is possible to repair a relationship or a marriage that has already suffered severe damage, but this requires work and commitment from both sides. Yes, they can. But how?

We are very familiar with the great loving couples of history. If I tell you to make a list of the great loving couples of history, who would be on your list? You might end up writing Romeo and Juliet, Anthony and Cleopatra. We may list Laila and Majnu or Shah Jahan and Mumtaz.

Mary and Joseph would probably not be on your list, for when we think of them, we do not normally think of them in that way, because the spotlight is on Jesus, where it should be. But I think that if we examine the love of Mary and Joseph, we would realise it was a love that stands the test of time. The love they had for each other, coupled with the love they had for God, culminates in one of the greatest love stories ever told.

The love story of Joseph and Mary has four stages, and in each stage, you will see how much Joseph loved Mary.

Stage I: Exultant Expectations

The first stage of Joseph's love story is one of exultant expectations. We read in the gospel of Saint Matthew (1: 18-24) begins with these words, "This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph…" The Scripture tells us that Mary and Joseph saved themselves for one another until after they were married. At this stage in Joseph's story, they were considered husband and wife, but they were not married yet; they were betrothed. Joseph had expectations that he would marry a young girl, and make his home beautifully together with many children in the family.

We all have expectations of our partners in our relationships. We want to have a beautiful wife, handsome husband, intelligent children, understanding lover, and so on.

What happens next? Do I realise my expectations in my life?

Stage II: Awful Disappointment

Now the second stage in Joseph's story is one of terrible disappointment, for verse 18 goes on to say, "But before they came together, she was found to be with child..." Here is a time of shock and disappointment. The Scripture does not tell us when Joseph was told that Mary was pregnant, or who told him. Maybe Mary told him about it. Joseph felt himself to be a ditched lover and betrayed by a trusted lover. He felt that the love of his life had been unfaithful to him. But notice, even in this stage of his disappointment, Joseph still loved Mary deeply. It takes a real love to overlook some weaknesses, to forgive and to forget, and to keep the marriage strong and going. I think that Joseph demonstrated a great love for Mary by being willing "to divorce her quietly."

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The Secret of True Love

Lorraine & Leon Bent

Conjugal partners cannot love one another perfectly in the "flesh" (Gal 5:19). The long and difficult path to True Love is "to love in the Spirit"! (cf. Romans 8:9; 7:14:25; 1 Jn 2:15; Gal 5:16-18, 22; Prov 4:23). Only in the realm of the Spirit will True Love bloom and grow. We have to live and walk in the Spirit (Gal 5:22; 1 Cor 12). We will attempt to point you the way.

What is the one indispensable ingredient for making marriages work? Family life educators usually answer: Communication. This is good news, because effective communication can be learned. Skills such as active listening, using "I" statements, paying attention to our feelings and those of our spouse, and learning tips for "fighting fair" make marriage thrive. Some couples use these skills intuitively, because they saw them modelled in their own upbringing. Others can learn them through classes, workshops and reading, and above all, at a Worldwide Marriage Encounter Weekend, with its life-changing message, which makes good marriages great, and great marriages heavenly!

The world teaches us that love is something one feels. If love is just warm fuzzy emotions, how will it enrich marriage? The New Testament and Holy Mother the Church teach us that true love is sacrificial. The primary expression of love is not embracing feelings of affection or being on Cloud nine; it is accepting the rough wood of the Cross.

The fact is that love is not limited to feelings and emotions. God gives us emotions so often tied to love, to remind us of the joy which love brings about. Very often, though, we find that love is difficult. Indeed, very often "True Love" is elusive. Love is a choice. One has to make "a decision to love." To learn about love, to study in the school of love, is to meditate on the Cross of Christ. We urge you: look to the Cross. Be sure to hang a Crucifix in your home that you may constantly gaze at the most perfect image of True Love. This is a blend of information, knowledge, and a mature twosome, powered by the Holy Spirit. It does not come by easily in the sunshine years, but in the endless joy-through-pain, twilight period of a marriage.

We need to prayerfully strive to sit at the foot of the Cross in marriage. Sometimes we feel the emotions of love, but not always. When good feelings fade, when we've had a sleepless night because our child was restless and cranky, we should draw consolation from the Cross. When we needlessly keep away from 'marital embrace', because we are hurt with each other, the Cross can inspire us to forgive and reconcile. When the nuptial act brings new life into the world, we must, in gratitude, go to the Cross.

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Pastoral Prognosis

Noel D'Silva

An essay into the future face of the Church in the Archdiocese of Bombay

We are at the beginning of the 20th year of the Third Millennium. What will be the shape of our Church? Will it be as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be? If the Church is 'semper reformanda', that is, always on the path of re-formation, then the status quo will be an anomaly. The Church must grow in order to attain the fullness of her being. Signs of this growth were very much in evidence in the year gone by.

What were these signs? Some of them were enunciated by our Holy Father. Some were emphasised and re-emphasised by our own Archbishop, Cardinal Gracias. Pope Francis has constantly been speaking in the past year of the baptismal responsibility of the lay woman and the lay man in the mission of the Church. "You are mission," he has stressed in speaking of this responsibility. For this reason, the Pope has given the laity stellar roles in two of the most recent Synods – the Synod on Youth and the Amazonian Synod. We can almost presume a change of preposition in the description of a Synod: Synod 'with' Bishops, instead of a 'Synod of Bishops'. While bishops remain the decision-takers at a Synod, the final decisions of a Synod are very much moulded by the inputs of the lay participants, religious and priests in a Synod. So much so that we can now talk of a Synodal Church, a Church of listening, participation and co-responsibility; a Church not dominated by the hierarchy; a Church at the humble service of one and all, especially the least in the eyes of the world.

This understanding of humble service was very much in the mind of our own Cardinal at the Diocesan ordinations to the Priesthood and other ceremonies, especially the Diamond Jubilee Celebration of St Pius X Seminary at Goregaon. On each of these occasions, Cardinal Gracias spoke about the need to go beyond a self-preferential Church that concentrates on the institutional and the prevalent parish organisations. The challenge for the Church in the Archdiocese, the Cardinal declared, is to move beyond the maintenance model, to move outwards to face the challenges of a world that is very much different from the world when the Seminary building was inaugurated. How do we proclaim the Gospel, how do we carry on evangelisation in this "new" world? Do we see evangelisation as dialogue, inculturation, the promotion of human rights, the advancement of the rights and dignity of women, the protection of the child in every way from every abuse, making the Church the safest place in all circumstances, making Jesus present as love, mercy and compassion? This is what is being asked of the Church today, he continued. All this will be in keeping with what St Pope Paul VI said of evangelisation as presence, witness, proclamation and integral human development. Hence, the Cardinal declared, we must move beyond seeing that our parish Cells and Associations – Sodalities, Small Christian Communities, Community Centres – just run smoothly; we must break new ground, be more creative in moving outwards as we meet the challenges in Mumbai, immersed in a fast changing world.

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February: Catholic Press Month

Is the Catholic Press dead?

F.M. Britto

Most of the passengers in the train are busy browsing through their android mobiles. I appear to be the only outdated person reading a magazine. My conscience is troubled: Am I allowed to read?

These days, people are more occupied with internet than reading the printed word. Definitely, the Internet has advantages over the printed medium. Faster in communication, internet offers you what you ask at the mere click of a button. Internet has a much wider reach than print media. They are both audio and visual, unlike print that speaks only to your eyes.

But does it mean that print media is dead and outdated? Print is a long-lasting, cost-effective and aesthetically pleasing method of communication. Print media is popular because it is one of the easiest ways to reach the targeted customers. Many opt for a physical copy, printed books rather than e-books. Magazines and books go deeper into a particular topic. Print media does not disappear immediately, but creates a lasting impression. It can be reviewed again and again. Scientific study reveals that children have a taste for study in families which cherish a shelf of books. Print will continue to survive, even if the percentage of users goes down.

The Catholic Church celebrates Press Month every February, way back from 1950. But we don't hear much about it these years. Is it because many do not read Catholic publications and books these days? Neither the Catholic Church nor Catholics seem to take the Press seriously.

The printed word is one of the outstanding achievements of humankind, and brought to India by Christian missionaries. In fact, it is the foreign Christian missionaries who first brought printing machines to India. And they started printing Bibles first in various vernacular languages. They also used the press for imparting Christian instruction and information, both to the baptised and non-baptised. The first Indian newspaper called Bengal Gazette was established by Christian Missionary James Augustus Hickey in Calcutta on Jan. 29, 1780.

Besides communicating faith through printed booklets, the missionaries also promoted local literature and spread humanism for social change. The Salesians launched their first publication way back in 1923 in the North East with the Khasi monthly 'Ka ling Khristan' (The Christian Family). It was followed by other publications in the 1930s in Khasi, Garo, Mikir, Hindi, Lotha, Angami, Manipuri, Lalung etc. By establishing the St Paul Society in Allahabad in the 1950s, the St Paul Fathers and Brothers spread Christian literature, both in English and Hindi.

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