Diakonia - The Gospel of Smiles

by Fr. Paul Moonjely

St. Paul’s Publications – 2019 - 208 pages - MRP: ₹220 /- ISBN: 978-93-5015-348-2

Available on Amazon and at the Pauline Media Center or St. Paul’s, Bandra.

Diakonia is important for us to live by and practice in the 21st century. But before we practice Diakonia, we need to know what it means.

For those who are not familiar with Diakonia, this amazing and informative book by Fr. Paul Moonjely is the book you should be reading. As it is mentioned in the book, ‘the Catholic Church’s core nature is expressed in her threefold responsibility:

1. Of proclaiming the Word of God (Kerygma-martyria)

2. Celebrating the Sacraments (Leitourgia) and

3. Exercising the ministry of Charity (Diakonia)

All this is mentioned in Pope Benedict XVI ‘Deus Caritas Est’. Fr. Paul Moonjely, the author of this book analyzes the Catholic Church’s role in the practice of the exercising of the ministry of charity to our fellow neighbours. Fr. Paul Moonjely himself is well versed in this field, having worked for 23 years in the field of social work and community development initiatives.

So, in this book, the author analyzes and studies the Indian condition where Diakonia can be practiced by the people of the Church. You may think this book is a theologically ‘heavy’ book, but you’d be wrong. The book is easy to read, very informative and well presented. It’s appealing to the eye and its contents are quick reading but of great value to introduce the theological perspective of Diakonia to the laity – you, a discerning reader.

The book talks about the ways we can practice Diakonia which goes beyond mere philanthropy practiced by most people in the world. References to Pope Francis’ writings as well as Pope Benedict XVI encyclicals are arranged in a precise and effective manner in this wonderful book to bring out the true meaning of ‘the Gospel of Smiles’ in the Indian context.

The book studies Diakonia in the Indian context: who are the ones in dire need in our country and how to bring succour to them without breaking the laws laid down by the Constitution of India. Dalits, tribals, other OBC’s, dalit women, child laborers, rape victims, genocide victims, Cancer patients, people suffering from HIV/AIDS, displaced persons and many more categories of people in need are dealt with by the book and how we as a community of peaceful people can not only help them out, but do something even more – empower them so that they are able to stand on their own two feet and be incharge of their lives, bringing happiness to their own lives without being dependent on anyone for their own happiness. Diakonia is about true upliftment and the true idea of creating a powerful and positive impact in a person’s life. Isn’t that a great way of evangelization as well as doing good to our fellow humans! This and more eye-opening fruitful words you will read in this great book.

Diakonia is not rocket science; it’s very easy to understand. Practicing it is, according to the author, a bit challenging if the country or state that we live in doesn’t support us. But we can make this happen because it really is time for good actions more than flowery words. It’s time for equality.

The book analyzes the parable of the Good Samaritan here in detail and how it fits the practice of Diakonia. The complex nature of Diakonia with its relationship to Scripture, the Sacraments as well as it’s place in the modern existential world is commented upon in a simple but intellectually fruitful way.

Those wishing to be empowerment animators are given guidance here of how to be a true facilitator of the Good News of the Lord Jesus Christ. Pope Francis’ theory of being evangelized by the poor is also a major theme here in this very important book which I implore everyone to read and study.

If you are called to be a Diakonia animator in any way, then this is a good book to start off your course in life. If you want to read something quick and intellectual about Diakonia in the Indian context then this is the book for you. Looking for a book under the broad subject of Missiology then buy your copy of this enriching book at the earliest.

Let’s do good works and good actions. Let’s not be armchair theorists and let’s start a revolution of equality, goodness and true charity.

Fiza Pathan is an accomplished author of twelve award-winning books and has won a number of international awards. She lives with her maternal family in Bandra and blogs on insaneowl.com. She reviews and researches books for The Examiner.