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Cardinal's Message for Eid Milan

My brother Maulana Mamood Madani, General Secretary of Jamiat-Ulama-i-Hind, very distinguished guests, many of whom I know, and are good friends, my brothers and sisters of one big family.

I bring you warm greetings from the Catholic Church in India. I bring you greetings indeed from the whole Christian community in India as you have this Eid Milan, and celebrate 100 years of Jamiat-Ulama-i-Hind.

It is a singular honour for all of us to join together in a special way with our brothers and sisters of the Islamic religious tradition. At this moment, as we celebrate this Eid Milan, all of us feel a strong bond of affection for the whole Muslim community. God has brought us together today to celebrate this evening.

You have just completed your month of fasting - Ramadan. The fasting has helped you to spend time reconnecting with God in prayer, strengthening your feelings of love for the needy through the practice of Zakat, and has also bonded every family together more. Ramadan, though a month of fasting, has not been a month of pain, but a period of joy, because you have experienced the peace of God in your homes and in your persons.

Apostleship of Prayer Goes Viral

FR DR JOHN ROSE, SJ

175 years of the Pope's Worldwide Prayer Network.

The Apostleship of Prayer (AP) grew out of the Sodalities of our Lady, the first starting in Rome in 1563, and out of devotion to the Sacred Heart that gained popularity after apparitions to St Margaret Mary (1647-1690). But its explicit origin is around 1844, when some French Jesuit scholastics felt their zeal to go on a mission to the Indies or the Americas, frustrated by having to stay put for reasons of gruelling studies. Their Spiritual Director led them to "offer everything you are doing each day in union with the Heart of Jesus…," for the work of the Church, especially in the Missions. When they went around for their weekly catechetical teaching, they taught the villagers their manner of daily prayer which caught on. By 1861, to popularise it in the parishes, a magazine was published - The Messenger of the Sacred Heart - that eventually had its own version in nearly all Christian countries. The prayer groups connected with the AP have been well patronised by all the Popes, starting from Pius IX (1792-1878) down to the present one.

The influence of the main spiritual trends in post mid-19th century France, dominated by the devotions to the Sacred Heart and to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and by the main spiritual associations of the time, the Sodalities of Our Lady, could not have left untouched a young lady, Françoise-Thérèse. Before attaining the required canonical age, she managed to wangle her way into a cloistered convent. She was hardly 15 when she entered it in 1888, and spent her time doing convent duties, but for the most part, she lay in bed, battling a variety of illnesses, and in 1897, barely 24, after undergoing a terrible dark night of the soul, she died. Eventually, she was declared a saint, but what astonished was that, together with none other than St Francis Xavier himself, she was declared the Patroness of the Missions! Like her contemporaries, she had a great devotion to the Sacred Heart. And, like them, her prayer life must have been affected by the AP, for she made it of chief importance to pray for the Missions, at home and abroad, especially by praying for priests who were responsible for the spread of the Gospel. She corresponded with quite a few of them. "I have always the same thing to say to you," she wrote to her sister, Sr Celine, "Ah! Let us pray for priests; each day shows how few the friends of Jesus are… pray to the Sacred Heart; you know that I myself do not see the Sacred Heart as everybody else. I think that the Heart of my Spouse is mine… (Letter 122)"

The Sacred Heart of Love & Mercy

FR ERROL FERNANDES, SJ

Ever since the seventeenth century, when St Margaret Mary Alacoque was granted visions of the Sacred Heart and asked to spread this devotion, the Jesuits, represented by her confessor St Claude de la Colombière, played a fundamental role in spreading this devotion.

In recent times, one of the most loved and admired Generals of the Society of Jesus, Fr Pedro Arrupe was instrumental in reviving this devotion, and placing Jesuits once again at the forefront of spreading it. This devotion, according to Fr Arrupe, was "the centre of the Ignatian experience." It is an "extraordinarily effective means as much for gaining personal perfection as for apostolic success." Arrupe was aware of the fact that the devotion had to be spread using newer symbols, and made every attempt to do so.

The New Testament sees the heart as the centre of the whole person, the centre of spiritual life. Thus, while in the Old Testament, the term "heart" refers at times to the physical organ, in the New Testament, it is never used in this sense. Thus when Jesus pronounces a beatitude on the "pure in heart" (Mt 5:8) and announces that "they shall see God", it refers to an internal attitude, and not the physical organ of the heart. In this beatitude, purity of heart and vision of God do not lead to a flight from the world, or a private piety of the religiously gifted person. It expresses itself as obedience to God in the world, and as hope for a future vision of God that is more than the individual's own private deep experience. It speaks of interpersonal relationships, and does not intend to remove people from those relationships and lead them into religious self-sufficiency.

According to one of the visions made to Margaret Mary, Jesus made twelve promises to those who would have a devotion to the Sacred Heart. Of these, one is of special significance. It reads "Sinners shall find in My Heart the source of an infinite ocean of mercy." This promise is totally in keeping with the message of Jesus on every page of the New Testament. Jesus, the revelation of the Father's love, was consistent and constant in His message of the unconditional love of God.

Journeying back into history

FR WARNER D’SOUZA

The Golden Lily, gifted by Pope Paul VI to the Archdiocese of Bombay in 1964, makes a visit home for Corpus Christi.

Orvieto is a city perched on a volcanic rock cliff, a thousand feet above a valley that overlooks cyprus trees, in Umbria, Italy. Orvieto was one of the major centres of the Etruscan civilization, a Roman town, and thanks to its defensible position, it became an important city of Medieval Italy. It is also home to the Duomo or cathedral named after the Assumption of Mary—one of the most opulent pieces of Gothic architecture. Five Popes left Rome and resided in Orvieto, mostly in the time period from 1261 to 1304.

But the present Cathedral which replaced a dilapidated church was built to house a precious relic of Eucharistic importance. In 1263, a German priest was on his way home from a pilgrimage to Rome. He stopped at Lake Bolsena, near the Umbrian town of Orvieto, to celebrate Holy Mass. Though a pious priest, he found it difficult to believe that Christ was actually present in the consecrated Host.

While celebrating Holy Mass above the tomb of St Christina (located in the church named for this martyr), he had barely spoken the words of Consecration, when blood started to seep from the consecrated Host and trickle over his hands onto the altar and the corporal. The priest was immediately confused. At first, he attempted to hide the blood, but then he interrupted the Mass, and asked to be taken to the neighbouring city of Orvieto, the city where Pope Urban IV was then residing.

Cricket Prodigy gives God the Praise

Cynera Rodricks


The writer met up with cricketing star, Jemimah Rodrigues, in Bandra, and quizzed her on cricket, family, God, and her pillars of strength.

Jemimah Rodrigues, the youngest player of the Indian women's cricket team, has achieved such great success at such a young age. She started playing cricket at the age of four, and now at the age of 18, she's already playing for her country. I was fortunate enough to meet Jemimah personally and interview her.

Jemimah was born on September 5, 2000 in Bhandup, and began holding a cricket bat at the tiny age of four. In order to avail of better sports facilities, her family moved to Bandra. Jemimah's dad, Ivan Rodrigues, who has been her primary motivator in pursuing sports, would take her along with her two brothers, Enoch and Eli, to the nets everyday, and train them. She shares a small anecdote on how she would have to field for one hour, just to get a chance to bat for 15 minutes. Her parents assumed that it would be her brothers who would make a career in cricket, but Jemimah giggles, "how the tables have turned!" She studied in St Joseph's Convent School, Bandra, where her dad was appointed as a cricket coach. There he formed the first ever Girls Cricket Team in her school. Jemimah took to the game like a fish in water, and displayed an in-born charism for the game. At the age of twelve, she was selected for the Maharashtra under-17 team; at the age of 14, she made the Mumbai Seniors; and in 2018, at the age of 17, she made her debut in the Indian national squad at the ICC Women's World Twenty20 tournament in the West Indies.

Jemimah wasn't only making her career in cricket, but simultaneously training and playing hockey at the state level. In fact, she is equally good at the sport, being called up to represent Mumbai and Maharashtra, even before cricket. Choosing between the two sports was a tough decision to make. "It was a tough choice to choose between the two, as I was excelling in both these sports, and both of them were very dear to my heart," she says. "This decision was emotionally draining, but then I finally decided to give up on hockey." Her love for hockey hasn't diminished though.

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