Webinar for Youth
A webinar on the topic 'Why is God interested in my love life?' will be held on Sunday, January 24 from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Zoom. The session will explore the sacredness of the human body and raising human love to divine expectations. This will be done within the framework of St Pope John Paul II's Theology of the Body. The resource persons are Fr Joshan Rodrigues and Ms Adele Pereira. This webinar is being organised by Nirmala Niketan, Churchgate. There are no programme fees. Please register latest by January 22 with Sr Rena Rodricks on 99699 28149. The session is open to college-going and working youth.
Webinar on the Economy of Francesco
Bishop Allwyn D'Silva, Auxiliary Bishop of Bombay, hosted a webinar on the Economy of Francesco on Saturday, December 19, 2020; it was attended by 23 people. This webinar served to debrief its namesake event commissioned by Pope Francis (held November 19-21, 2020). One of the research delegates, Dr Caren Rodrigues, was the main speaker at the Mumbai webinar; Prof. Agnelo Menezes, former Principal of St Xavier's College (Autonomous), Mumbai was the moderator.
Dr Rodrigues explained that the Economy of Francesco is essentially a movement that started out as a three-day event organised by the Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development. It seeks to transform theoretical underpinnings into tangible proposals for a different kind of economy – an economy that brings life, not death. Thus, delegates were part of twelve 'villages' or sub-groups that focused on both commercial and human aspects. These sub-groups included: Finance and Humanity, Work and Care, Agriculture and Justice, Energy and Poverty, Business and Peace, Women for Economy, CO2 and Inequalities, Vocation and Profit, Businesses and Transition, Life and Lifestyle, Policies and Happiness, and Management and Gift.
Part of the Management and Gift sub-group, Dr Rodrigues' proposal was on tangible changes in Human Resource Management (HRM) practices, based on extensive research undertaken during the COVID-19 pandemic. These HRM changes would serve as a "gift" to employees while creating economic value for organisations. Thus, organisations would have a way to deal with employees in case of future socio-economic disruptions. Within the framework of the free market, the proposal offers a way to balance the relationship between organisation and employee, which is usually fraught with distrust.
Dr Rodrigues noted that the Economy of Francesco isn't dogma-driven, but secular for an inclusive transformation of the economy. These broad ideas can be borrowed on a smaller scale to relevant sections of Church and society. She spoke about how the pandemic made people get used to the idea of not splurging, and rethink consumption. Colleges or schools, for example, could reconceptualise how much and what is being consumed, and thereby formalise the reduction of waste on campus. In this way, proposals can be taken up at the grassroots as well. These ideas could also be put to the bishops and Church leaders, and they could pick up what is realistic in their context. In his closing remarks, Bishop Allwyn D'Silva highlighted the need to rethink our economy and our practices in the Church.
The webinar may be viewed on: https://youtu.be/JEbyLSv9iWY
Shawna Nemesia Rebello
Sowing Seeds of Justice
Building a Community of Communities (BACC)—an online training organised jointly by Institute for Community Organisation Research (ICOR) and Justice and Peace Commission (JPC)—began in August, and concluded in December 2020. It was a response to Pope Francis' call through the Vatican document on Parish Reform. At the online valedictory meeting on January 9, the two valedictorians, Snehalata Alphonso and Mary Benson, resonated the sentiments of the other participants who hailed from Mumbai, Pune and Goa.
"Once into it, I began wondering what am I to do with this training. My area of work was play. I got exposed theoretically to varied areas that needed attention. I really wondered how I could be committed to the learning received here. I believe the feedback form after every session and the assignments allowed for ideas on how to prepare a rough pathway to utilise this knowledge," said Ms Mary Benson from Pestom Sagar, a Physical Education teacher. "The course was indeed enlightening; it was a doorway to a whole new perspective of life, faced by many even within my SCC, and how to encounter these areas in the Christian spirit. Through case studies, the course highlighted simple solutions to problems that was motivating and gave a feel of possibilities."
The ten individual topics were so varied, yet they can no longer be viewed as disconnected issues—migrants, slum-dwellers, labour issues, domestic workers, gender perspective, children, healthcare, mental health, caring for Creation and community organisation, a social work methodology.
The other valedictorian, Snehlata Alphonso from St Francis Xavier Church, Dabul, a teacher at an International School, said, "The past five months at BACC have been very enlightening, as it added a boost to something I have always held close to my heart – 'working to make a difference'. This course empowered me to believe that through small initial steps, great things are possible. The awareness created about the various issues gave me the impetus to become more empathetic, and motivated me to do more. Looking at the enthusiasm and passion with which the organising team and the renowned guest speakers presented the session inspired me to work towards the various causes. Each of the guest speakers, well experienced in their respective fields, handled and addressed their topics very eloquently, passionately and professionally. The icing on the cake for me was the 'Evaluation Form' after each session, which actually worked like a reflection exercise, allowing me to reflect on what impressed me the most and how I could apply that in my personal space. The cherry on top of the icing was the very practical and realistic assignments that followed each session, which further allowed for analysis and reflection. All in all, BACC has empowered me to build a community of communities, and I look forward to implementing my future plan in my parish community and neighbourhood."
Pamela Fernandes of the JPC concluded the valedictory session with these words: "the training has ended, but this is just the beginning of a long journey, and I add, this journey will help you find your true self. From contact and observation with the participants through the past five months, the seeds of justice have been implanted. These will disturb the comforted and comfort the disturbed. Some of these have grown roots, while some are still incubating. We look forward with hope. The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few. Therefore, pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into His harvest!
Compiled by Pamela Fernandes
Justice and Peace Commission
Foundation Course for Eco Ambassadors
The CCBI Commission for Ecology, together with the CBCI Office of Justice, Peace and Development, organised an online Foundation Course for Eco Ambassadors that was conducted over four sessions in November 2020. The objectives of this course were as follows:
• To gain knowledge on the state of the world's environment,
• To understand the connection between our faith and care for Creation,
• To understand the impacts of environmental degradation on the poor,
• To understand the different ways of responding to the eco crisis, and
• To develop an attitude of love and respect for Creation.
The sessions covered Eco Crisis (conducted by Fr Luke Rodrigues SJ and Ms Shawna Nemesia Rebello), Eco Spirituality (by Sr Mudita Menona Sodder RSCJ), Eco Justice (by Fr Stephen Fernandes and Fr Joshua D'Souza) and Response (by Fr Joseph Gonsalves). The participants then developed and submitted their plans of action that would demonstrate their way forward as an Eco Ambassador.
The e-Certificates of Completion/Participation of the eligible 31 participants from 12 dioceses pan-India were displayed during the online valedictory session held on January 9, 2021. The feedback given was positive, and the participants hoped for similar initiatives in the future. Bishop Allwyn D'Silva, Chairperson of the CCBI Commission for Ecology, exhorted the participants to be responsible stewards of Nature. There was also a suggestion that a dossier for Eco Ambassadors be prepared and disseminated to the participants and bishops.
Requiem Mass at Orlem
The year 2020 had been a year of deep sorrow, during which, because of COVID-19, some of us experienced deep sorrow at the sad demise of our loved ones. The pain and helplessness was unbearable, since the possibility of a fond goodbye was nearly impossible. To help tide over this pain, Our Lady of Lourdes Church, Orlem celebrated a special Requiem Mass on January 8, 2021 at 6:00 p.m. for our dearly departed, so as to be rest assured of their peaceful reunion with the Lord.
The appreciation and overflow of gratitude to the Parish Fathers and the Divine Mercy Cell members for organising this meaningful and heart-warming service was indeed overwhelming. Soothing words of sympathy to the bereaved members brought tears to one and all during the Holy Mass. People abroad who participated in the online streaming of the Holy Mass expressed thankfulness. This gesture of comfort and concern during the hour of pain will forever be etched in our heart and mind.
Stella Rebello, Our Lady of Lourdes Church, Orlem