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By Joachim Teigen

The Council of Cardinal Advisors assembled with Pope Francis in Rome on Wednesday for the third and last day of their 24th session.

Apostolic Constitution

A large part of their work has been dedicated to the draft of a new Apostolic Constitution of the Roman Curia, which will be submitted to the Holy Father for his final approval. The topics making up the new Constitution include the Curia’s service to the Holy Father and the local Churches, the pastoral character of their activities, the establishing and tasks of a Third Section of the Secretariat of State, and the proclamation of the Gospel and the missionary spirit as guiding principles for the entire Curia’s activities.

Protection of minors

Cardinal Sean O’Malley presented to the Cardinals the efforts that have been made to protect minors and vulnerable adults in the Church. He also made reference to the recent meeting between the Survivor Advisory Panel and the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, and stressed the importance of listening to the experiences of abuse victims and having their stories as a starting point.

Over the last days sessions have taken place in the mornings and afternoons, and the next meeting of the Council will take place from 11th to 13th of June.

Vatican News

26 Apr 2018 - 18:13

PATNA: Hundreds of students from city schools participated in the pre-celebration of World Earth Day organized by Tarumitra, an NGO, on its premises at Digha on Saturday. They marched to the Panchavati forest area of Tarumitra and performed ‘aarti’ and applied ‘chandan and tika’ to the trees. They also took the ‘green pledge’ to take care of environment. Patna mayor Sita Sahu inaugurated the sprinkler system at Tarumitra’s organic farm for water conservation with the help of solar energy. The event was also graced by Femina Miss India finalist and winner of India’s top next model 2016 edition Pranati Prakash.

Students planted saplings and prepared bird-feeders. They sang earth songs and performed dance and skits, displayed posters on ‘Plastic free Bihar’ and ‘Save Mother Earth’. Speaking on the occasion, Sahu said students and the elders have to take collective responsibility of taking care of resources and planet.

    e students of Radiant International School, Mt Carmel High School, Notre Dame Academy, Delhi Public School, Don Bosco Academy, St Dominic Savio’s High School, St Xavier’s High School, Leed’s Asian School, May Flower, Organic Kids, Baldwin Academy, Veena Vidya Niketan and S R Vidyapeeth, besides Jawaharlal Nehru University (Delhi), St Xavier’s College Patna and AN College participated in the event.

    Tarumitra founder Fr Robert Athickal, organic farmer Margaret Molomoo, Shashi Darshan, D N Prasad and Fakhri were also present on the occasion.

    22 Apr 2018 - 18:24

    Monday, 16th April 2018

    We begin this gathering praying to Lord Jesus to help us “to live one day at a time”.

    Then the DNC scholastics in an innovative way helped us to connect with one another through songs and we ended up singing “Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam” in a symphony of various languages of our Provinces – a symbolic gesture of “unity in diversity”.

    Father POSA highlighted about 16 Key Moments of SA Assistancy and the house added 5 more moments which are nothing but the Graced Moments in our life as a Corporate Body.

    In the concluding prayer we asked the Lord “to shepherd us” through the days to come. I am sure you will agree with me that the Lord has answered our prayer.

    Tuesday, 17th April 2018

    After the prayer by Jagdish, George Cordeiro and Dinesh Braganza introduced the theme for the day: Connect through Inner Journey. To facilitate the process of our sharing, Fr. POSA familiarized us with the method of Spiritual Conversation.

    After personal prayer, we met in 8 different groups and shared about our interior movements. The three level sharing was a helix like winding staircase that took us down to our depths where we felt connected.

    I will summarize the outcome of our sharing in three points:

    1. We became aware of the various moments of our life and many of us were overwhelmed by the present socio-political situation in India today.
    2. These elicited at one level “normal” “human” responses of disturbance, fear, anxiety, worry, helplessness, anger, questioning, confusion etc.
    3. At a deeper level all of us shared our consolations: despite the dark and difficult moments we have always experienced the mysterious guiding Hand of the Lord, filling us with a deep sense of gratitude on the one hand, and with strong hope and courage as we face the future.

    After this George Cordeiro did something beautiful: He asked us to consider, “What is God calling us to do today?”  It was in the same tone in which Adolfo Nicolas had called us to reflect as he convoked the GC 36: “What is Christ, the Eternal King calling us to do today?”

    Our responses could be summarized as follows: God is inviting us to move out of our comfort zone and take up the challenges, collaborate and net-work with others, move beyond hopelessness and make a qualitative difference to the situation in India with a pro-active attitude.

    The film (The Ultimate Gift) in the evening brought home the message that challenges in life are ultimately gifts from God to recognize and activate the God given strengths and resources.

    JossieD’Mello’s scholarly input helped us to understand “inner journey” as the heart of Ignatian spirituality. Combining Aloysius Pieris’ Four Types of Religious and Margaret Silf’s Three Levels of Self (Where am I? How am I? and Who am I?) he presented the evolution of Ignatius as a “people oriented introspectionist”to such an extent that Ignatius would see as God would see, that is from the perspective of “who I am” – “another man with another mind”.

    Connecting Jossie’s input andBhausaheb’s homily I see Ignatius utilizing “mirror neurons” in his contemplation of the Johnine Jesus and becoming like Jesus.  [Here I am taking a certain liberty in interpreting Jn. 14.6: “’I AM’ is the truth, way and life”.]

    Francis Gonsalves summed up the process of the day in terms of A to F of Connecting.

    The concluding prayer for the day, conducted by SatyaNilayam community, concentrated on the threefold connection in terms of

    Connecting High = stewardship

    Connecting Wide = solidarity

    Connecting Deep = spirituality

     

    Wednesday, 18th April, 2018

    After connecting collaboration should be obvious and easy. After a brief opening prayer by Tom Katathara, Mike Thanaraj introduced the theme of the day in terms of (what I would like to call) “Technology of Collaboration”. Based on the Positive Psychology of Martin Seligman, Mike presented the building materials for collaboration

    PERMA analysis

    Signature strengths

    Core Competencies of a team/organization

    Strength based organizations

    Secretes of Team Work

    Enabling conditions for Collaboration

     

    After personal prayer we followed the same three-level sharing method of Spiritual Conversation in our respective communities. Then we worked on the “Strengths to Collaboration Matrix” worksheet. It was an excellent exercise in articulating the four enabling conditions (Compelling Direction, Strong Structure, Supportive Context and Shared Mindset) that already exist in our attempts to collaborate with others.  The idea of the exercise, I guess, was to acknowledge the positive strengths we already have manifested in collaborating and to build on them and enhance them.

    This model, I am sure, will be a great help when we undertake new ventures in collaboration in the future.

     

    William Sequeira, in his homily during the Eucharist, highlighted the spirituality of collaboration in terms of “humility”. He elaborated on the Pauline text of Phil 2.1-11 that the “hallowness”(the sacredness) of our communities (which is the manifestation of collaboration with one another) depends on the “hollowness” (the emptying) of our ego.

     

    The film (Coach Carter) in the evening was a visual poetry on the tenacity and character of a man who was committed to build up a team and their wellbeing.

     

    If the morning session helped to articulate our strengths to collaborate, the evening session moderated by Edward, in the spirit of Magis, enabled us to voice our concerns to take collaboration to further depths.  The scope of the session was not so much to solve all the problems within a matter of an hour, but to become aware of them as a body and to commit to address them as a body eventually.

    DenzilFernandes, besides summing up the proceedings of the day, volunteered to present some features of the Culture of Collaboration – sharing, discipline, action-reflection process, common goal/purpose, mutual respect and mutual interest etc.

    In the context of Denzil’s sharing I like to highlight a point that was expressed during the course of the day that the formation of religious men and women in general and of Jesuits in particular does not prepare for collaboration.  Therefore the one challenge before this august body which deals predominantly with formation is to integrate excellence with humility – to focus on the Glory of God rather than personal glory.

    The evening prayer conducted by the community of ISI and VJ Delhi focussed on the theme of collaboration with inspiring texts from the recent GC 36.

    Thursday, 19th April, 2018

    Connection led to collaboration and collaboration must lead to celebration. As one member of the group (Tom Venad) had defined celebration is not so much partying, fun and frolic but giving expression to the vitality and vibrancy of life.  And that is the consequence of synergythat results from collaboration, in fact, another word for collaboration. 

    Now the question may arise as to what guidelines have to do with celebration.  I hope it may not sound too much of a contrived exegesis if I cite the text from Dt 30.15-20 where Moses shows the connection between (celebration of) life and law.

     

    Keith refreshed our memories of what we had read already from the hard copy of the guidelines which were given to us right at the beginning of our gathering, for our reflection and prayer.  As usual, after personal prayer we followed the method of three level sharing. And in the plenary session Raj Irudaya after clarification helped to consolidate the guidelines.

     

    The overall reception of the guidelines has been positive appreciation and a sense of ownership.  And in the spirit of Magis valuable suggestions have been made to make the guidelines even more demanding and challenging so as to make us men of the Third Degree of Humility.

    I cannot leave out the three evening Table Fellowship we shared here at PG Block, at DNC and at Papal Seminary during which we gave concrete expression to the Connection, Collaboration and Celebration.

    All in all the three day program was well planned, excellently executed, marvellously participated and now as we enjoy the fruits of these three days of deliberations our hearts are filled with deep gratitude first to the Lord, then to the organizers and MCs and to one another as Friends in the Lord.

    Let us keep our interior journey going which will enable us to remain connected which in turn will enhance our collaboration among ourselves built on our significant strengths which will lead to the celebration of our life as a corporate body aided by the inspiring and challenging guidelines.

    The Three days of deliberations concluded with the Thanks Giving Holy Eucharist Offered by Fr. George Pattery SJ (POSA).

    By M. I RAJ, S.J. (GUJ)

    (For photos go to the gallery)  

    18 Apr 2018 - 19:33

    In keeping with the spirit of GC 36 and as a follow-up of the recommendations given in the recent letters of Fr.General on Discernment in Common, the Assistancy organized a workshop on ‘Discernment in Common and Apostolic Planning’ for the representative Jesuits from the Provinces of the North and Central Zones. It was held in Navjivan Renewal Centre, Delhi from 6th evening to 8th evening April 2018. Twenty-five Jesuits from the provinces of Darjeeling, Delhi, Jamshedpur, Madya Pradesh, Patna, Ranchi and Nepal Region participated in it. Frs. Siji, Brian Pereira and Raj Irudaya were the animators of the workshop.

    The participants were helped to reflect on the deliberations of the first fathers in Venice and the development of discernment in common in the Society after Venice till now. The letters of Fr.General on Discernment in Common and Universal Apostolic Preferences were also shared and reflected upon. The method of spiritual conversation was used for group sharings. The participants also went through an exercise of choosing universal apostolic preferences. They were also introduced to the aim, method and process of apostolic planning. The active participation and involvement of the participants made the workshop very fruitful. The participants were all given the copies of the resource materials used during the workshop. They also felt confident to conduct this workshop in their respective provinces.

    We sincerely thank all the Provincials who had sent their men to this workshop. We are also much grateful to Fr. George Peter, the Director of NRC and the administrator Fr. Anil Minj for having helped us to conduct this workshop in a conducive ambience. The same workshop will be also conducted for the representative Jesuits from the Provinces of South and West zones from 4th evening to 6th evening, May 2018 in Indian Social Institute, Bengaluru.

    • Raj Irudaya, S.J.

    For the Organizing Team

     

    16 Apr 2018 - 13:48

    Ecology and Global Citizenship and Human Rights Educational Seminar

    The Jesuit Education Association of South Asia (JEASA) organised a 2 full day consultation on Ecology and Global Citizenship programme Consultation for the Zonal Educational Coordinators and the PCEs of the Central Provinces was held on 14-15 April, 2018, at Indian Social Institute (ISI), New Delhi. ADO was the partner of the programme. Mr. Lourd Baptista, Fr. Sunny Jacob SJ, and the PCEs prepared the seminar and prepared the action plan for the Assistancy. Fr. Robert Athikal SJ (PAT), Fr. Lancy SJ and Mr. Jothi (GUJ)were the resource persons for Ecology while Dr. Aloys SJ and Dr.Cyril SJ (MDU) were the resource persons for Global citizenship and HRE.

    ECOLOGICAL Prodramme: LEAF Model

    We, the humanity as a whole, have let down our future generation with broken home; the earth they have inherited is polluted and on the verge of total destruction. For the change to be brought in, it’s important that we train them to be the agents of change for a greener earth. LEAF program initiated by Gujarat Jesuit Ecology Mission & Green the Blue Charitable Trust is primarily a leadership and environmental education program with innovative pedagogy. The program enables the children to learn about key environmental issues and develop solutions to mitigate them. Some of the sustainable practices they learn are put into use in the schools and at their houses.

    LEAF program thus was designed and experimented as a pilot program in 2014 with 25 students at St. Joseph’s High school, Vadodara. We scaled up this program in a gradual manner every year and this year we have introduced it in eight schools situated at different parts of Gujarat. In the year 2017 to 2018, 401 students are participating in the LEAF program.

    LEAF program consists of eight day long workshops conducted within a span of ten months. The workshops are conducted outside the classroom often in places such as organic farm, bio-reserves, solar hubs, herbal garden and institutions where sustainable practices are implemented. In this way, students get firsthand experience of eco-friendly practices.  TARU MITRA experience too was shared by Robert, which is a well known model in India.

    GLOBAL CITIZENSHIP AND HR EDUCATION

    Saint Ignatius of Loyola strongly believed:

    • Faith must translate into working for justice.
    • No true expression of faith where concerns for justice and human dignity are lacking.

    Social justice

    • At the heart of Ignatian spirituality.
    • It tells us that, when people are suffering hardship and oppression, their business is our business.
    • It calls us to open our eyes to the needs of others who may be suffering due to the way we are living our lives and to respond accordingly.
    •  It calls us to be faithful, to be trustworthy, to be compassionate and to stand up against injustices we see in the world around us.

    Assumptions

    • We are all CITIZENS of this Earth which God had given to each one of us
    • Each of us has and equal RIGHT to live a life of DIGNITY

    This calls for holding our Governments accountable to

    • the Constitutions and form of Government that ensures Equality, Justice and Fratertnity
    • Care for our Earth as it is our only HOME

    Exercise our GLOBAL CITIZENSHIP and make a Commitment that every person on the face of this earth enjoys his/her Citizenship

    GLOBAL CITIZENSHIP: Introduction

    • Explore different definitions of Global Citizenship and
    • Understand why it is important to teach and accompany our students to become global citizens.
    • Brief look at Global Citizenship in the context of the Society of Jesus.

    This introduction will serve as a foundation for the remaining modules which explore important topics within Global Citizenship Education. 

     

    • Human Rights and Global GoalsExplore the themes of Human Rights, the Sustainable Development Goals and Catholic Social Teaching.
    • These themes serve as a framework for us to work together as Global Citizens and to respond to the Social Injustices of our world.

    This module will be an important introduction to the next module on Social Justice. 

    Social Justice

    • Consider other intrinsic concepts which are related to the different dimensions of the human being, to society and to their dignity and well-being. 
    • Values that we believe should be implicit in our behaviour (way of proceeding), in the dynamics and social structures which guarantee that dignity and well-being for all people are a matter of individual responsibility and commitment, as well as the responsibility and commitment of the community and of institutions.  
    • In this sense, for the Society of Jesus, justice is placed at the heart of its mission, obeying the promotion of it from the service of faith which is required, and in the continued and committed search to build bridges, particularly for the benefit of those most excluded in society.
    • Will deal with following concepts and their correlation:
    • Poverty,
    • Peace and Reconciliation, and
    • Human Mobility (or Forced Migration).
    • All these from the lens of Human Rights

    Right to Education

    DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS - Article 26.

    (1) Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.

    (2) Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace.

    (3) Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.

    Education is a fundamental human right and an essential factor for the fulfilment of other rights –

    • Enables children to develop their full potential to lead a full and productive life
    • It is the primary responsibility of every society.
    • The benefits of education are not exhausted in those who receive them, but extend to society as a whole and affect very different dimensions of progress, empowerment and collective well-being.
    • This module concentrates on understanding the importance of education as a Human Right for all people and on what we understand as quality of education – History of Right, Right to Quality Education, What can we do?

    Caring for the Common Home

    What kind of world do we want to leave for the next generation?

    • A question to answer in the context of climate change and its effects on livelihood. The world we inherited is not the world we will hand over.
    • UN has taken the lead and so has Pope Francis and Jesuits – intrinsic to Ignatian Spirituality
    • UN data of last two decades - Average global temperatures rose by 0.85 degrees Celsius, average global sea levels rose by 19 cm and emissions of carbon dioxide worldwide have increased by almost 50 per cent since 1990. These have far reaching impacts on people’s lives everywhere.
    • However those who will suffer the most will be the world’s poorest, most vulnerable communities.
    • Commitment to address climate change - December 12th 2015, adopted the Paris Agreement on climate change.
    • Not only nations but also individuals and groups are concerned and so on September 25th 2015, countries adopted a set of goals to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all as part of a new sustainable development agenda.
    • Each goal has specific targets to be achieved over the next 15 years.” This is an important step; an evaluation of these goals demonstrates the urgency and importance of caring for our common home. The United Nations envisages that all people will have to contribute to achieve these goals.
    • Pope Francis -  Laudato Si: Caring for our Common Home, presents his concerns and emphasises the need for all to understand the possible repercussions of these changes and initiate necessary interventions to address these concerns. 
    • The Module will look at the call from Pope Francis and will examine the relationship of Ignatian Spirituality and the Environment.
    • Having explored Social Justice earlier, it will now also look at Ecological Justice and explore actions to be implemented as responsible global citizens to maintain and sustain our common home.

    Sunny Jacob SJ

     

    15 Apr 2018 - 13:50

    Pope Francis released an apostolic exhortation in which he aims to “repropose” the universal call to holiness – which he says is the mission of life for every person.

    Published April 9, Gaudete et exsultate, or “Rejoice and be glad,” is Francis’ third apostolic exhortation. It is subtitled “On the call to holiness in the contemporary world.”

    The 44-page exhortation explains that holiness is the mission of every Christian, and gives practical advice for living out the call to holiness in ordinary, daily life, encouraging the practice of the Beatitudes and performing works of mercy.

    Pope Francis gives a general audience address on the Mass last month (CNS)

    • “I like to contemplate the holiness present in the patience of God’s people: in those parents who raise their children with immense love, in those men and women who work hard to support their families, in the sick, in elderly religious who never lose their smile.”
    • “Holiness is the most attractive face of the church.”
    • “The important thing is that each believer discern his or her own path, that they bring out the very best of themselves, the most personal gifts that God has placed in their hearts, rather than hopelessly trying to imitate something not meant for them.”
    • “In times when women tended to be most ignored or overlooked, the Holy Spirit raised up saints whose attractiveness produced new spiritual vigor and important reforms in the church.”
    • “We are frequently tempted to think that holiness is only for those who can withdraw from ordinary affairs to spend much time in prayer. That is not the case.”
    • “We are all called to be holy by living our lives with love and by bearing witness in everything we do, wherever we find ourselves.”
    • “This holiness to which the Lord calls you will grow through small gestures.”
    • “Do not be afraid of holiness. It will take away none of your energy, vitality or joy.”
    • “Thanks be to God, throughout the history of the church it has always been clear that a person’s perfection is measured not by the information or knowledge they possess, but by the depth of their charity.”
    • “Jesus explained with great simplicity what it means to be holy when he gave us the Beatitudes (Mt 5:3-12; Lk 6:20-23).”
    • “Giving and forgiving means reproducing in our lives some small measure of God’s perfection, which gives and forgives superabundantly.”
    •  “We need to think of ourselves as an army of the forgiven. All of us have been looked upon with divine compassion.”
    • “The saints are not odd and aloof, unbearable because of their vanity, negativity and bitterness. The Apostles of Christ were not like that.”
    • “In this call to recognize him in the poor and the suffering, we see revealed the very heart of Christ, his deepest feelings and choices, which every saint seeks to imitate.”
    • “It is true that the primacy belongs to our relationship with God, but we cannot forget that the ultimate criterion on which our lives will be judged is what we have done for others.”
    • “The saints do not waste energy complaining about the failings of others; they can hold their tongue before the faults of their brothers and sisters and avoid the verbal violence that demeans and mistreats others.”
    • “Christian joy is usually accompanied by a sense of humor.”
    • “The saints surprise us, they confound us, because by their lives they urge us to abandon a dull and dreary mediocrity.”
    • “A community that cherishes the little details of love, whose members care for one another and create an open and evangelizing environment, is a place where the risen Lord is present, sanctifying it in accordance with the Father’s plan.”
    • “I do not believe in holiness without prayer, even though that prayer need not be lengthy or involve intense emotions.”
    • “We should not think of the devil as a myth, a representation, a symbol, a figure of speech or an idea. This mistake would lead us to let down our guard, to grow careless and end up more vulnerable.”
    •  “The devil does not need to possess us. He poisons us with the venom of hatred, desolation, envy and vice. When we let down our guard, he takes advantage of it to destroy our lives, our families and our communities.”
    • “Discernment is not about discovering what more we can get out of this life, but about recognizing how we can better accomplish the mission entrusted to us at our baptism.”
    • — “Let us ask the Holy Spirit to pour out upon us a fervent longing to be saints for God’s greater glory, and let us encourage one another in this effort.”.

    > > > http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/news/2018/04/09/gaudete-et-exsultate-key-quotes/

    11 Apr 2018 - 16:01

    Kolkata: The Karwan-e-Mohabbat, a civil society initiative of solidarity and conscience in response to rising hate violence, visited the victims of Asansol riot in Bengal on April 8.

    “It is the dominant who have the power and knowledge and the look at the weak as the means to perpetuate violence,” said Jesuit Father Arjen Tete, professor of theology from De Nobili College, Pune.

    To speak of the collective silence, the Karwan–e-Mohabbat was crafted as a journey of atonement, solidarity, conscience, and justice. Since September 2017 it has visited eight States.

    It journeys in solidarity with victims of hate crimes in India.

    The shocking lynching of a 16-year old son (Md. Sibghatullah) of Imam Mohammed Imdadullah in Asansol in West Bengal is a point in a case. Asansol is around 200 km from Kolkata.

    Md. Sibghatullah just finished his Grade 10 exams and was lynched on Wednesday went to nearby Mosque, some 500 meters South of the Noorani Mosque where his father is Imam.

    The Riot was instigated with the Ram Navami celebration recorded songs which said, “Topiwale bhi sar jhukake Jai Sri Ram bolega” (Men in caps will soon lower head to say Jai Sri Ram).

    The body of the boy was found on Wednesday late night after brutally tortured by the violent mob.

    From different walks life, people praised the Imam who preached peace at the funeral of his son.

    On April 8, Karwan consisted of many Human Right activists and concerned citizens from different parts of the country.

    John Dayal, one of the members of the Karwan from Delhi, said that he was ‘happy to meet the Imam who preached peace’ even when he lost his young son and contained the violence.’

    Harsh Mander who is considered to be the man behind the Karwan said, “We are very timely to sympathize with the victims.

    There were initiatives by both the communities to help the victims in their locality.

    The Karwan visited besides the Imam, the victims of riot who lost the houses and valuables in the houses and shops in the locality, Rail Para which is also called Islam ‘para’ and Rama Krishna Para.

    Some 10 houses were razed to the ground on the day of the riot but interesting initiatives were the decision of the local temple trustee to put up the ‘Muslim Darga’ in the Hindu vicinity and one Khan donated Rs.10000/- each to the burned down houses who are Hindus.

    The locals suspect that the politicians have created the problem while the ordinary gullible people are the victims.

    There were some 20 human rights activists present and embraced the Imam and other victims who lost their properties.

    Udayani (awakening), the social outreach arm of the Calcutta province of the Society of Jesus, has been part of the Karwan in West Bengal both in the month of January and now and will remain in the future too.

    By Irudya Jothi SJ

    9 Apr 2018 - 06:44

    Say no to divisive forces: Bishops 

    Published on: 11:34 pm, April 8, 2018 by: mattersindia.com

    By Matters India Reporter

    Sundargarh: The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI) and Odisha Bishops have urged people of Sundargarh district not to give in to divisive forces.

    On 1, April 2018, in the late night of Easter Sunday, some miscreants vandalized a grotto outside the compound of St. Thomas Church, Salangabahal in Raurkela diocese, Odisha, mutilated the statue of Our Lady, and broke the head of the statue of Child Jesus in the grotto. They smashed a statue of Our Lady in another Grotto in Gyanpali village and attempted to burn the Church of the Victory of the Cross in Bihabandh.

    The antisocial elements had also chopped off the head of a statue of a bull at the Shiva Temple in the vicinity.

    On April 7, a delegation of Bishops which comprised of Bishop Theodore Mascarenhas SFX, the Secretary-General of the CBCI, Archbishop John Barwa SVD, Regional Chairman of the Odisha Catholic Bishops’ Council, Bishop Kishor Kumar Kujur of Rourkela, Bishop Telesphore Bilung SVD of the Archdiocese of Ranchi, Bishop Emeritus Alphonse Bilung of Rourkela, visited the affected areas.

    The prelates addressed the crowds and thanked them for their peaceful and prayerful response to the incidents. They told the people that they shared their shock, deep anguish and pain. Condemning the attacks on both the Christian and Hindu places of worship, they exhorted them not to fall prey to the divisive forces.

    According to the assessment of the security forces, there seems to be a systematic premeditated ploy to disturb the peace of the people who have been living in age-old harmony with each other in these villages.

    It appears that the anti-social elements targeted the holy places of two communities seeking to create a communal divide.

    Bishop Kujur thanked District Administration and the Superintendent of Police for their immediate action and for personally visiting and supervising the social security by camping in the locality, and for providing security personnel not only in the affected places but also giving adequate protection to the Churches in the district.

    “While we reiterate that the incidents against the places of worship should have never happened and bring us shame and pain, we are proud of the people of Sundargarh District who have shown that we are capable of fighting the forces that want to divide us and polarize us,” bishops said in a press note.

    9 Apr 2018 - 05:52

     

     

    Alleluia! The Lord is Risen! This is the Good News that the Church proclaims to all of humanity. The resurrection is the foundation of Christian joy and Christian hope. With the resurrection of Jesus, we know that He is truly Lord and saviour of the world. With the resurrection, He shows us that the way to life is through love and service unto death. Most of all, the resurrection frees us from the fear of death as the end of everything in life. Christian hope in fullness of life after death takes away the sting of death.

     

    POSA, and JCSA WISH ALL A VERY HAPPY EASTER  !

    31 Mar 2018 - 15:46

    On this sacred day, we listen to the story of the passion of Jesus as told by John the Evangelist. When you listen to this account, you find it to be simply overwhelming. It is almost too much to take in at once. The passion of Jesus is a gripping drama that reaches down inside of us and evokes our deepest and strongest emotions. It almost defies words of commentary or explanation.

    Each of us has stood near the cross at particular moments in our lives. We know this place well. The situation may have involved the serious illness or loss of a family member, grappling with a broken relationship, experiencing a terrible disappointment, facing a disability, a communal riot, unjust persecution, brutal lynching and murder of the 'other' or a thousand other things. Whatever the situation, we know that standing near the cross is indeed a painful place to be. The Gospels do not suppress or gloss over the pain of the cross. In an era in which talk about a Messiah who had been crucified sounded ludicrous to many people, the Christian Scriptures presented the death of Jesus directly and vividly. For Christians, keeping the memory of Jesus’ death is a living reminder that we are never alone as we stand near the cross in our own lives. While our faith does not magically remove the pain of that place, you and I are assured that Jesus, the crucified Son of God, is in solidarity with us at that place. He is intimately close to us because he has experienced that place in the most personal and intense way possible.

    Standing near the cross of Jesus is also, however, a powerful place to be. It is powerful not because God finds any joy in human suffering. It was human beings, not God the Father, who put Jesus on the cross. Christianity is not a cult of suffering. Standing near the cross of Jesus is a powerful place to be because it is the place where the power of God is present and at work – quietly, faithfully, patiently at work from within. At his own moment of death, Jesus held on to the hand of his Abba God, and, even in this hour of darkness, experienced communion with this tenaciously faithful God. And God was present and on the move to bring life out of death. The flow of blood and water from the pierced side of Christ is a sign of that new life that will become manifest in the raising of Jesus from the dead.

    For us, too, despite its pain, standing near the cross can be a powerful place to be. It is, in our context of unjust treatment, accusation, harrasment, violence, leagal hurdles, hatred and hate violence, killing and ethnic cleansing.....Standing near the cross of Jesus is a painful and a powerful place to be. As we pray this Good Friday, we are invited to stand there with Jesus and his disciples. And we are called to trust that what is happening there is what happens wherever the God of Jesus Christ is present: God is faithfully present and at work to bring life out of death. We believe that this, in fact, is what God does for a living.

    29 Mar 2018 - 19:22

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