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SANGATI Don Bosco Magazine | Province of Panjim (INP)

Apr - Jun 2020 | Volume - 13 | Issue 02

LOVE ‘The Other’


SANGATI Don Bosco Magazine | Province of Panjim (INP)

Editor Joaquim Lobo, sdb Editorial Team Francis Xavier, sdb Jason Pinto, sdb Layout & Cover Design Joaquim Lobo, sdb Cover Photo Joaquim Lobo, sdb Other photos from public domain Consultants Fr Felix Fernandes, sdb (Provincial) Fr Clive Telles, sdb (Vice Provincial) Fr Francis Silveira, sdb (Economer) Distribution Lazar Vaz Printed at James Arts Crafts, Sivakasi Published by Boskon Communications Don Bosco M G Road, Panjim, Goa 403001 Ph : 0832 2221986

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Editorial If you are a stranger and happen meet a priest (though not all) from India, and for that matter even a decent lay person, in all probability he will ask you your name (which is absolutely fine) and then your surname and the place of your birth, which are very important for him, as they allows him to compartmentalize you into one of the casts which are deeply ingrained in him as he talks to you about the other things. His attitude towards you will be based on his calculations about you. Even a priest? you may ask. Yes even a priest, that’s how much the cast system is entrenched in the minds of the majority of the Indians, even the educated ones. Elections happen on the basis of cast and religion. Marriages are easier to be arranged if both the parties are from the same cast. Some promotions in work are done on the basis of ratings of the casts. Why some still believe that persons born in one cast are better than those born in the other casts, is an unsolved mysterious question to many. Fr Cedric Prakash SJ, talks about racism in some countries which is almost equivalent to the cast system of India. Seeing how the migrants in India were left in a lurch after the sudden lockdown of the country in March 2020 and were compelled to walk thousands of miles to their homes, is an unpardonable example to what extent the miseries of the poor and ‘low cast’ people are. Caste system is a deliberate attempt to marginalize and further supress to poor. Jesus’primary work was to proclaim Good News to the poor, the needy, the sick and the abandoned. God from the beginning is at the side of the poor and the needy. In fact, the first commandment God gives us is the commandment of ‘the love of neighbour’, that is, the love of anyone who is in need. ‘The Other’is always in need! You will be blessed, if you Love ‘the Other’. Joaquim Lobo, sdb This is a Salesian Panjim Province Magazine, and is directed towards the Salesian works in the regions of Sindhudurg, Goa and Karnataka. For private circulation only.

COVER STORY Fr Cedric Prakash SJ

LOVE ‘THE OTHER’ Two painful images will forever remain etched in the memory and conscience of humanity: the first, a little child playfully pulling out a sheet which covered his dead mother on the Muzzafarpur railway station in Bihar; the second, a white police officer in full weight kneeling on the neck of a black man in Minneapolis ,US,- for almost nine minutes till he could breathe no more. Both these defining images speak to us about man’s inhumanity to man; the victim in both cases is ‘the other’.

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George Floyd (46 years) a black American who was killed on 25 May by Derek Chauvin, a white policeman. The video of that killing filmed by bystanders, which has gone more than viral all over the world, vividly and painfully shows how Chauvin had pinned him to the ground and for almost nine minutes knelt on Floyd’s neck. Gasping Floyd is heard pleading “I can’t breathe”; Chauvin does not let go until Floyd breathes no more. The image of that brutal killing, the way Floyd begged for his life, will haunt America and the world forever.



At a 4 June Memorial Service, in an impassioned eulogy, civil rights leader Rev. Al Sharpton said visiting where Floyd died made him realize that what happened there is a metaphor for the African American experience. Sharpton said, “When I stood at that spot, the reason it got to me is that George Floyd’s story has been the story of black folks; because ever since 401 years ago, the reason we could never be who we wanted and dreamed of being is you kept your knee on our neck.” He added, “What happened to Floyd happens every day in this country, in education, in health services and in every area of American life. It’s time to stand up in George’s name and say get your knee off our necks!” The murder of George s p a r k e d spontaneous protests all over the United States, hundreds of thousands (from across the divide) have come out chanting “No to Racism” and condemning p o l i c e brutality; in some areas, the protests have also been violent: with plenty of arson and looting. There are also calls to the protesters, whilst defending their right to protest, to eschew every form of violence. There have also been protests all major cities of the world. People have come out on the streets demanding an end to racism and every form of discrimination. Strangely, both in the United States and in several parts of the world, ‘leaders’ seem to be numbed in taking a stand. Nearer home, in India we have experienced,

in the last three months, the pathetic situation of our migrant workers. That little child near the dead body of his mother says it all! The vast majority of migrant workers in India are adivasis, dalits or OBC’s; most are originally from the remote areas of India. They migrate to bigger towns/cities, better-off States to eke out a living. They have to struggle from hand to mouth. Yet it is these ‘others’ who are the lifeline of the country. Ever since the lockdown was announced, a humanitarian crisis unprecedented in India’s modern history, has severely disrupted the lives of India’s migrant workers. Millions of migrants have found themselves stranded w i t h o u t food, cash, and shelter, trying to get home. They have been subjected to violation of their fundamental rights under Articles 14, 15, 19, and 21 and often to severe police harassment on interstate borders. Many have reportedly died as a result of the lockdown, due to exhaustion en route home, starvation, suicides, police excesses, illnesses, and rail and road accidents. Exclusion and discrimination seem to be part of our DNA as people of India. Casteism is older than racism. We have internalised it in our behavioural patterns – in our food, clothing, and dress and even in our worship! We have just taken it for granted that we have the ‘divine


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right’ to discriminate against ‘the other’; one does not have to go very far to see how discriminatory attitudes have permeated into society. The ads in our ‘Matrimonial Columns’ (even in so-called ‘Catholic’ magazines) are a clear indicator of our biases and prejudices; the partner that we look for blatantly has to belong to a particular caste or ethnic group; the ‘colour’ of skin that one looks for is downright racist. The fact that the higher castes in most parts of India do not allow the lower castes to draw or drink water from their wells, seem to be an accepted norm. Many locals were complaining about the migrants: also wondering how they have official identities in their possession: ration card, Aadhar card, EPIC etc? Some of our attitudes are so blatantly discriminatory and patently un-Christian. The minorities of India are also discriminated a g a i n s t . There are i n nu merabl e instances to prove this. The rant and rave against the Muslims by Hindu extremists seem to become an order of the day. There is hardly a whimper of protest when members of a minority community are lynched. The then Chief Justice of India referred to lynching as the ‘new normal’. Once on bail, the lynchpin is even feted by the ruling party. A fourteen-year old Christian boy was lynched in Odisha at the end of May. In the midst of the breakout of the pandemic Covid-19, the only group which was held responsible was an assembly of Muslims, which actually met

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days after the ‘Namaste Trump’ tamasha in Ahmedabad; this massive gathering, brought in several people from abroad and thousands from all over Gujarat; and of course, all at the expense of the State exchequer. If you take a stand against the draconian Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and happen to a Muslim, then be assured that you can be easily incarcerated under the dreaded UAPA. Christians too are not spared: Churches are regularly attacked; church personnel are beaten up and Christians are systematically discriminated against. They are denied Government employment, even when they have the necessary competencies. These acts take place directly and subtly. Adivasis, tribals and other forest dwellers are at the receiving end of an exclusive regime. For years the forests and the forest lands were the natural habitat of these indigenous people. In very calculated moves, they are being denied what is rightfully theirs. The slum dwellers, the daily wage earners and the migrant workers as we have seen in this current pandemic, women and children are all victims of an unjust and exploitative system, which caters to a very small segment of rich, powerful and higher castes and clearly discriminates and excludes vast sections of society. The late 1960s and the early 1970s are historically a watershed. This period was



marked with protests against racism and injustices; against war and violence. The Civil Rights movement and the anti- Vietnam War protests saw millions come out in the United States. In Europe, there were student uprisings. The ‘hippie’ culture which was against what was happening in society, attracted youth from across the social spectrum. In April 1968, Martin Luther King Jr was assassinated; the years after that, witnessed a global social turmoil. People were genuinely angry with the growing divisions in society. Those years were also pregnant with new hope and yearnings for greater social cohesion, a better future for all. David Campton, a prolific British dramatist, wrote in 1972 an apparently innocuous and

simple one-act play entitled ‘Us and Them’. The play begins innocently enough with two groups of wanderers looking for an ‘ideal’ place to settle. Once they each find a piece of land (in environmental splendour) on the left of the stage and on the right of the stage, both groups agree to mark a line between their two territories. Over time, the line becomes a fence, the fence becomes a wall, and the wall grows in size until neither side knows what the other is doing.

Eventually, both sides begin to wonder what the other side might be doing. They wonder long enough and soon their thoughts turn to suspicion and suspicion to mistrust and mistrust to fear, with each side believing that the other is hatching a plot against them. As fear takes hold, both sides unknowingly make preparations for ensuing conflict until eventually it becomes violent. In the end, two survivors, looking at the waste they have inflicted on one other, conclude, “the wall was to blame”. The play was reflective of the growing polarization and divisiveness that had seized several nations and groups at that time of history. It was play meant to ridicule the abysmal depths to which human nature can fall. Sadly, ‘Us and Them’ is very relevant for our contemporary world and particularly for India. So, when Rev Al Sharpton in his eulogy to George Floyd said, “what happened to Floyd happens every day in this country, in education, in health services and in every area of American life. It’s time to stand up in George’s name and say get your knee off our necks!”, he was in no uncertain words referring to the Dalits, the Adivasis, the minorities, the migrant workers, women and other sub-altern sections of Indian society. In India we have umpteen metaphors (like Floyd’s life being snuffed out) to describe the painful reality of our people: Muhmmad Aklaq being beaten to death, the migrant workers being run over by a train, the little child playing with the cloth sheet which covered his dead mother… The cry of suffering is clear: “get your knee off my neck, stop strangulating me, and let me breathe...”


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Pope Francis has been consistent in his stand against exclusion. In a message after the death of Floyd he referred to racism as a sin saying “we cannot tolerate or turn a blind eye to racism and exclusion in any form and yet claim to defend the sacredness of every human life. At the same time, we have to recognize that the violence of recent nights is self-destructive and self-defeating. Nothing is gained by violence and so much is lost”. On 13 May, in an advance message for the 106th World Day of Migrants and Refugees 2020 (which is on 27 September) Pope Francis focuses on ‘Like Jesus Christ, forced to flee: Welcoming, Protecting, Promoting and Integrating Internally Displaced Persons’. He says, “I have decided to devote this Message to the drama of internally displaced persons, an oftenunseen tragedy that the global crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated. In fact, due to its virulence, severity and geographical extent, this crisis has impacted on many other humanitarian emergencies that affect millions of people, which has relegated to the bottom of national political agendas those urgent international efforts essential to saving lives. But “this is not a time for forgetfulness. The crisis we are facing should not make us forget the many other crises that bring suffering to so many people”. As one dwells on the reality of ‘Us and Them’; me and ‘the other’, one cannot help but be

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reminded of the lyrics of the popular folk song of Peter Seeger “Where have all the flowers gone?” It became one of the hit songs during the protests in the late sixties. Joan Baez and others popularized it, with two more contextualized verses added, including, “Where have all the soldiers gone? Long time passing Where have all the soldiers gone? Long time ago Where have all the soldiers gone? Gone to graveyards every one When will they ever learn? When will they ever learn?” Words powerfully relevant in our violent, exclusive ‘my’ world. ‘Us and Them’ is essentially about you and me. The now moment, the now people. We are the ‘someone’, ‘somewhere’ and today is that ‘someday’ – when we need to have the courage to learn from history and to ensure that it is no longer ‘us and them’, no longer ‘the other’ but just ‘WE’ in this journey of life! On the day of Judgement, when we ask the Lord “when did we see you hungry, thirsty, a stranger…?” The Lord will answer us, “Simple, my child, you did NOT have the courage to love the ‘other’!” Fr Cedric Prakash SJ is a human rights & peace activist and writer. Contact: cedricprakash@gmail.com





In the early days of the Corona Virus fear this year (2020) one of the whatsapp forward read as follows – “India does not need a virus to kill, we have fundamentalism and ignorance already.” A powerful message for us to be aware, reflect and act. We live in the 21st century which is characterized by commercialization and globalization. Yet the effects of fundamentalism continue to haunt us, especially in India. This brief article is not a research article, but a reflective article based on the various events in history which investigates not just past incidents, but also examines a type of fundamentalism within our own religious beliefs.

their Scripture is the only book to be followed and anything outside it is demonic and condemnable. It facilitated in creating nationstates and a forceful propagation of their ideas. Quite opposed to this was the South Asian culture, where people of different beliefs lived together in unity and harmony, without propagation of their own beliefs or opposition to other beliefs.

What is fundamentalism? How is it defined? Fundamentalism, is a type of conservative movement characterized by the advocacy of strict conformity to sacred texts. It began first in the Christian West, when various Christian sects held an uncompromised view that 8 SANGATI

India – A Melting Pot India is a melting pot of various cultures, traditions, beliefs, races, religions, etc. It is home to almost all major world religions. It has sheltered persecuted minorities and allowed them to assimilate in the vast nationhood that India stands for. It has had a history from the Greeks to the Chinese, from the Persians to the British, the French, the Dutch, the Portuguese, etc. April - June 2020

Each of these powers have left their own mark on the Indian people. In the Post-Independence period our national leaders always strived to maintain this heterogeneous nature of India. What’s interesting about India is that it was re-organized on linguistic basis so that the culture and traditions of diverse groups could be preserved. Thus, the emergence of a “New India” took birth in 1947, when the major part of India gained independence from the British imperial power. For the first time we had our own government to rule us. “Unity in diversity” is not just our motto, but our very DNA as Indians. Fundamentalism in India Despite the above mentioned diversity, fundamentalism is a major threat to our country. Fundamentalism in India has its origin since the British times. However, their method of “divide and rule” was only to block any nationalistic unity, which was being realized due to the efforts of our national leaders then. It ultimately saw to the partition of the Indian

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sub-continent into three countries. Yet India as a nation, chose to remain a secular country. India has seen some of the major communal riots in the world. The Calcutta Riots of 1946, the 1947 partition riots, the Sikh massacre of 1984, the Bhagalpur Bihar riots of 1989, the Gawakadal Kashmir massacre of 1990, the 1992 Ayodhya riots, the 1993 Bombay riots, the Gujarat carnage of 2002, the Khandamal riots of 2008 and so on are examples of this. All these sad incidents give a rather disheartening impression of India as a secular country. Fundamentalism in India has been one of the major obstacle for the real development of India. Fundamentalism in the Church While as Christians we look at fundamentalism in other religious groups, we need to look at fundamentalism within our own religious circles as well. Perhaps, we too are fundamentalists in our own way as followers of colonial or imperial Christianity rather than following the teachings of Jesus, although, it would be difficult to precisely distinguish between the two. Conceivably, many rules and norms in the Church which are apparently man-made are sanctified and universalized without any consideration of local cultures. It was disheartening when the Italian church suspended the rite of peace because it involves a handshake. But, is a hand shake the only way of giving peace? Indian Christians always traditionally give the sign of peace by joining hands (namaste). Is it not high time that as Christians (at



the global level) we learn from other cultures, which were Christianized before Rome itself? The same goes for the word to word Latin translation of the Roman Rite missal. If the history of Christianity and vis-Ă -vis the Church, the Holy Eucharist begins with Jesus Christ, then Jesus never spoke Latin and definitely did not celebrate the Last Supper in Latin. Latin was not even the lingua franca of the Roman Empire till the 4th century. Christians always used Aramaic-Syriac or Greek for their liturgy. We bind ourselves into unnecessary shackles and later spend our energy trying to defend those structures. Our Christian brethren in the Middle-East are a great example of inculturation for us. What is our response to this as Indian Christians? Hope for the future From the economic point of view, if Europe has advanced today, it is because they were able to separate themselves from the false notions of religion and religiosity. India needs a new renaissance, a new enlightening. The goal of every religion is spirituality, to reach

God. When politicians use religion to garner votes, there is no development. There is only corruption and ignorance. During the lockdown period a lot people from different religious backgrounds came forward to help each other. Religious leaders not only organized prayer and fasting, but also distributed food to many. We have cases of people who sold their land, so that the money could be utilized to feed those who are deprived of food. The Indian psyche to a large extent is unfathomable and like a large ocean ready to encompass everything. The ancient principle “Vasudhaiva kutumbakam� (the whole world is a family) is something which we need to explore once again. It resonates perfectly with the Christian truth that we are all children of the same Father, who is God. Let us take the spirit of fraternity and solidarity forward, living like brothers and sisters of one big human family, reaching out in love and service toward the suffering humanity, regardless of who we are, what we think and where we come from. There is still hope for the future. There is only one religion, one spirituality, one aim and one goal, and that is, LOVE.

The writer is a Salesian priest studing in Rome.


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I AM HOPEFUL Sr Melissa D’Souza FMA

Spread LOVE like a Virus Many of you must have watched the Hindi Film ‘Jai Ho’. An interesting part of the film is the ‘good practice’ that Jai (Salman Khan) tried to create. When anyone did a good deed he would say that instead of saying ‘Thank You’, do a kind deed to three other persons instead, and tell in turn to do a good deed to three others and so on. In this way, loving deeds would spread all over. Wonderful practice indeed! Not everyone succeeded, but those who did, made their surroundings a better and happier place. If we look at our present situation, we see faces wrapped in anxiety, worry and fear. We are aware that people are dying sad and lonely. Misery, sickness and death are on the rise. Migrants are still stranded in different places, with no proper shelter or other basic necessities. People have lost their jobs and many are frustrated and disappointed with life. Offices are empty as many are told to work from home. Some people, like the paramedical staff, the doctors, nurses, volunteers, police force who are on the frontline of the

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covid-19 pandemic are exhausted and wornout. And in the midst of all this, what keeps the world going? The only answer is LOVE. Love is the only force on earth that can keep the world going. Love of a doctor for a patient she/he doesn’t even know; love of a family helping a migrant with a meal, love of the police personnel, ensuring that people keep social distance, love of a neighbour who shares what they have with a needy neighbour. In the midst of sadness, distress and worry, we see hope when deeds of love and kindness and done. There are many who are spending their time and resources only to ‘reach out’ to those in need. I was touched by



the generosity of a neighbour of ours who came with vegetables to the convent door one day; it was the produce of their own land. But what struck me was what she said, “Every week I am giving vegetables to a different family”. How thoughtful, isn’t it? To think of all the neighbours and have something to share with a family every week! These are days, when we are told to stay safe. The police, the Government, the doctors are all giving us lists to safeguard and protect our lives. It is fear that is becoming the dominant emotion. What if I contract the virus? What if I am quarantined? But we need to realize that fear in itself is a killer. They say that many people die of snake bites, more out of fear than out of the venom. Fear leads to selfishness too. It makes me place myself, my safety, my family as a priority. The ringtone that we are all accustomed to hear these days teaches us a ‘care’ option. “Corona Virus se aaj pura desh lad raha he, par yaad rahem, hamme bimari se ladna he, bimar se nahi. Unse bhed-bhav na karem, unki dekhbal karem….” (The entire country is fighting against corona virus. We need to fight the disease not the diseased. Without making differences, we need to take care of them) It also goes on to say to respect those on the forefront like the medical staff, police etc and cooperate with them.

the small way we can. Above all, we need to spread messages of hope, of consolation and optimism. These are days, when we have more time with our family members. I need to ask myself, ‘Is my presence at home a joyful one?’ There is just one commandment that Jesus came to teach us; the commandment to love. He taught us this way, by His very life. If each of us tries to live by this commandment, life itself will become happier, not just for ourselves, but for others too. I would like to conclude with the words of a famous doctor. The 58-year-old Dr. Edwin Gomes, who is the Head of the Medicine department at the Goa Medical College, said this to his co-doctors, “We need to care for our patients”. Care is just another word for love. In an interview, he said, “Some people regard me as God, but I am only an instrument of God”. And yes, we all are – ‘Instruments of God’, sent to spread love and hope in these trying and difficult times. May each of us be a ray of hope to someone groping in the darkness of fear, pain, anxiety and depression. The writer is a Salesian nun of Mumbai province, working at Caranzalem, Goa.

Each of us ought to think of ways to be a spark of hope in the world engulfed by the disastrous Covid-19. What could my small contribution be to make love a reality today? We ought to replace the fear in our own hearts with trust. That could be the first step. Pray for the world, God is still in control. We may not be able to feed many people, but we could reach out in little ways to our own neighbours. If there is a chance to help a stranded migrant or family, let’s reach out in 12 SANGATI

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COURAGE & STRENGTH Anthony da Silva SJ

The Bicycle Girl of Delhi A Coronavirus Love Story

Since 21 March 2020, our nation and the world have been gripped by fears and anxieties caused by COVID-19. The virus has inflicted much suffering, pain and even death on innocent and unsuspecting people. New rules and strictures have come to dominate our daily lives. Masks, social distancing, curfews and lockdowns are now the “new normal”. Catholics have been unable to receive the Eucharist and other sacraments for over two months. Social distancing is the

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principal criterion for gatherings, shopping, or even a visit to the doctor’s. As a result, a radical transformation has taken place in the way humans behave and interact with each other. The masking of a larger portion of one’s face, especially the lips and the mouth, greatly hinder communication and make invisible our emotional expressions. In fact, even identifying another can at times become a risky game. SANGATI


In the face of such human challenges and sufferings people sometimes tend to become negative, depressed, anxious or even destructive. The contagious nature of COVID may wrap some in a pall of gloom and doom. But our response to the coronavirus can also be bold and creative, one that affirms values of love and expressed at times through service, compassion, or gratitude.

father finally arrived in the village, there was much rejoicing and relief. A sense of pride gripped the villagers at the incredible story of courage and grit of Jyoti and her father. When asked what gave her the strength to undertake such a journey fearlessly and single-handedly, she glanced at her father with love. This was after all her love story of compassion and care for her father.

The Love Story of the Bicycle Girl of Delhi The touching story of Jyoti Kumari, the 15 year old from Bihar but living in Delhi, highlights very well how the coronavirus pandemic inspired her love story.

Reflections and Lessons from the Love Story In Delhi, when the father started to become more depressed and fatalistic in his attitude, Jyoti realized that bicycling to the village was the best available solution. Once they hit the road and bicycled each day, they made steady progress. It was a back-breaking journey for Jyoti as the only rider, as well as for her father who had always to sit on the pillion. An occasional lift by a caring and generous truck driver was always a help. Jyoti firmly believed that once in the village and surrounded by family her father would recover and have new opportunities in life. This gesture of love not only gave the father new hopes but also filled Jyoti with greater self-confidence and a

Jyoti Kumari lived with her father, a rickshaw driver, in Delhi. A few months before the coronavirus crisis, the father had an accident which disabled him from driving his rickshaw. Promptly, the owner took back his rickshaw and Mohan Paswan, the father of Jyoti, was left jobless and nearly homeless. The devastating coronavirus then arrived suddenly in Delhi. People started to flee Delhi. Migrants tried to rush back to their villages in surrounding States. Paswan, who had almost used up his meagre savings, could pay neither the room rent in Delhi, nor the bus fare to Bihar. At this moment of near despair, the ever enterprising Jyoti suggested to her father that they buy an old bicycle. Additionally, she volunteered to ride the bicycle and carry her disabled father on the pillion, all the way (1,200 km) to their village in Darbhanga District in Bihar. After an initial shock the father finally agreed to his daughter’s daring plans. They rode for seven days and seven nights with frequent rest stops on lonely and sun baked roads. When Jyoti and her

determination to complete her school studies after the lockdown period.


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By nightfall each day on the road, they looked out for shelter in the villages or some rest place where other migrants from Delhi were also headed home, but on foot. At these rest stops Jyoti and her father always found

his daughter, was also filled with gratitude to her and the many roadside Good Samaritans. Jyoti was thankful that people were helpful and protected them especially by night, since she is a young girl of 15, and her father was disabled due to the earlier injuries. The coronavirus crisis highlighted our dependence on each other; also, how appreciation and gratitude strengthens community relations and the experience of love, by welcoming strangers and suffering people. Ms. Ivanka Trump, the daughter of the present President of the USA, on hearing of the story of 15-year old Jyoti Kumari, praised her and called her act, “ a beautiful feat of endurance and love�. The writer is a Jesuit priest and works at Xavier Centre, Porvorim, Goa.

compassionate local people, who offered them food, water and shelter for the night. She says she was struck by the care of the roadside villagers and their concern for the wellbeing of the migrants. Though themselves not wealthy, yet the villagers moved by compassion, shared the little they had with the exhausted travelers. Whereas in the cities the coronavirus tended to make people preoccupied with themselves and more inward looking, in the countryside care was also taken of the suffering and the poor. Of course, the frontline workers like doctors, nurses, medical helpers, police etc. cannot be thanked enough for risking their lives and reaching out to the sick and suffering. Mohan Paswan, the father, while feeling a deep sense of pride for the courage and strength of

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THE TOUCH Sanket Chauhan SDB

Desiring the Good of Others

None of us would have ever imagined that we would stay in holidays for so long! When we long for it we don’t get but now many seem to be tired of holidays. It seems just too much. Coronavirus or Covid-19 has affected everyone’s lives. May it be with sickness, death or the lock down. Even though governments and scientists are leaving no stone upturned to fight the pandemic it seems to have weakened the strongest economies and the superpowers. Our lives these days are so much governed by a virus that is hardly even visible. In the same way our lives are meant to be governed by love, which is the principle reason of our existence. To prevent us from corona we have been advised to maintain social distancing, avoid touching and getting close to people. The lock down in the country has affected almost all the aspects of our lives. Many times in our life too we close ourselves into our personal lock downs when we decide to stay away from those around us. We start maintaining emotional distancing from people so as not to get close to anybody, and are scared to ‘touch’ people’s lives and let ourselves be touched by others. We are so closed in on ourselves that we fail to recognize the needs of another; those

who require our attention, care, kindness and love. We could acquire all the social virtues but without love they all mean nothing.

Many of us at times have claimed to be in love even without knowing what love really is. Love is, desiring the good of another in any given situation. Even when it hurts me if I am able to ask the other person, are you happy? Then I have a good reason to believe that I am in love. Sometimes we associate the acts of kindness, generosity, sacrifice, mercy, forgiveness, etc. with love. While on one hand it is true that these acts could be manifestations of love but one can perform those acts for another person even without being in love.


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I can make a sacrifice for an unknown person without being in love. I can forgive someone without loving that person. I can be generous with my time and talent for someone even if I don’t love that person. But I cannot claim to love them without ever making a sacrifice; I cannot think of love without forgiving, I cannot say I love them without being generous, without having invested my time and talent for them. The best example of love is the image of the crucified Christ on the Cross. Jesus did not forgive our sins and then start loving us but he first loved us and that love brought out forgiveness for us. He didn’t first die for us and then begin to love us but he was ready even to give up his life for our sake. Jesus’ love for his disciples and people around him spread like a virus. It was present in his eye, voice, touch and every gesture.

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A pandemic like Covid reminds us how influential a touch can be. For those of us who have closed ourselves from other’s touch; touch of kindness, compassion, a touch of love. What we are is the result of those who have touched our lives. We too can strive to touch people’s lives so that we can spread love that is genuine, inspired by the love that we ourselves have experienced from God through others. Life after the pandemic will allow us to move about freely and meet people without having to maintain the ‘distance’ but let no virus affect our ability to touch other’s lives and fill them with love. Just as the virus doesn’t leave anyone the same after touching them, let us never leave anyone the same once we have met them but ‘touch’ their lives so that they may be filled with a genuine compassion, forgiveness concern and love. The writer is a Salesian student of Divyadaan, Nashik. He loves dramatics, music and to read.




The Online Mass

Not the Real Thing, but yet Wonderful! Coronavirus - the gift we didn’t ask for The season of the pandemic has thrown lives and lifestyles out of order. For months together, going to church and being at Mass was not an option since all religious places of worship were shut. For many, the option of not having to fulfil the “Sunday obligation” came as a welcome relief. For others, there was a disappointment of missing out on the immense graces of Holy Mass. Also, many of us may find ourselves ‘in-between’ these two categories, with an emotion of indifference so as to say, “Well, it doesn’t really matter if it’s not an expectation from the Church or the society. God is everywhere.” It is this last category of people that have not really understood the power of the Eucharist. Thanks to coronavirus, the lockdown mode and online streaming of services, many a Catholic has had eye-opening realisations of the beauty of Holy Mass! Many a wonderful lesson has been learned! Live streaming of Holy Mass through the internet does not replace the real thing. However, God has provided the facility for a reason, perhaps to awaken our thoughts and to show us that we could be taking many aspects of Mass for granted.

What really matters is not mere physical presence but a contrite heart of worship! Sincere participation in online Mass can happen in an empowering way, even within the walls of a bedroom or living room! What is needed is openness of heart and a desire to meet the Lord! If what is viewed on screen is an actual celebration of the Eucharist happening somewhere in the world, then much benefit can be gained, with the right attitudes in place and sincere participation in the Liturgy. “Long distance” and “remote location” are boundaries which the Holy Spirit can cross in a fraction of a second without effort! Prior Preparation As with the regular Church Mass, one needs to prepare himself even for an online service. As always, the heart has to be made fertile ground if it has to benefit from the Readings, Liturgy, Offertory and Communion. Jesus is calling one and all to worship in spirit and truth (Jn 4:24) and this has to be both the desire and intention, whether the Mass is online or not.


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While one does not need to dress up in his or her ‘Sunday best’, an attitude and ambience of sanctity needs to be in place. For example, a crucifix placed next to the TV or electronic device will enable a more attentive frame of mind and a more heartfelt Offertory. Invalid Excuses & Deceptions 1. The excuse that one finds it difficult to get into the flow of the online celebration mostly indicates that he was not truly or fervently participating in church Mass in the first place earlier when it was available. The stages of the celebration remain exactly the same, without any change. If a person could direct his or her heart to the foot of the Cross before, which is what Mass is all about, he or she will not find it difficult to replicate the same process interiorly at home. 2. Another excuse is that if the Holy Communion is not being received, there is no point in online Mass. This is far from the truth! An understanding of “Spiritual Communion” outlined below is of utmost importance.

from that Altar are not limited to that setting alone. Since the Holy Spirit blows where He wills (Jn 3:8) and Jesus can enter a closed room anywhere (Jn 20:19), all of us rightly can and should expect divine graces and Living Water to flow into our homes! An element of faith, sincerity of heart and a thirst for the living God is what matters. Here then is a chance for us to ask ourselves a few questions: Was I really attending Mass before in the right way? Was there something I was missing out at church earlier? Is there something I am missing out on now? What can I learn from the lockdown restrictions? How can I benefit from what the Catholic Church is providing through the internet? Some Awakening thoughts 1. A repentant person who is guided by what is seen on the TV screen to say from the depths of his heart, ‘Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy, Lord have mercy.’ is far better off than a person uttering the very same words at church without repentance (Matt 15:8).

3. Yet another excuse is that something “virtual” is not going to be a benefit. What has to be understood is that the online Mass being celebrated at a remote location is not a show or performance. This is an actual REAL and LIVE Mass happening in some place at that same time, and the graces

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2. A person who sincerely participates in “Spiritual Communion” from home with true surrender, is in a better position than anyone receiving Holy Communion at church without consciously preparing his heart for the same (2Cor 11:27). 3. Lesser distractions at home without the Sunday crowd have led many to a deeper and more profound time of surrender at the Offertory. People who have tasted this joy during online Mass will now be more attentive to regular service when it does reopen – a spiritual investment for a lifetime of grace! These realisations, among others, have come to many during lockdown. People who neglect the participation in online Mass are missing out on many wonderful blessings. Lessons through “Spiritual Communion” Through the Lockdown experience, many have learnt about Spiritual Communion, which, if applied in the physical setting in the future when churches re-open, will surely yield a spiritual treasure. Receiving Communion now becomes a more profound and impactful experience than ever before! This is how it was always meant to be. Unfortunately, many Catholics have failed to understand the seriousness of Holy Communion and of Jesus being present on the Altar. Whether it is by online Mass or at church, one needs to get to the foot of the Cross and reflect on Jesus’ Passion in order to experience a meaningful participation in

the Sacrament. Hidden within this prayer below are many lessons to be sought out and grasped. Prayer of Spiritual Communion My Jesus, I believe that You are present in the Blessed Sacrament. I love You above all things, and I desire to receive You into my soul. Since I cannot now receive You sacramentally, please come spiritually into my heart. I embrace You as though You have already come, and unite myself entirely to You. Never permit me to be separated from You. Amen. Even in church, “Spiritual Communion” has to precede the physical act of receiving Communion! Many of us Catholics are unaware of this basic truth – that a prayerful uniting with the crucified Jesus is what makes Communion a ‘UNION’. This ignorance renders a person incapable of truly being immersed in the Liturgical celebration and graces are missed out. So even when we go back to Mass at a church or chapel, the


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concept of this prayer needs to be imprinted on our hearts and minds in preparation, both before Mass, and also during the time of Holy Communion. Being physically present at church and spiritually absent in context of reflecting on the Passion of Christ will not yield the Eucharistic graces of the Mass. Through the season of lockdown and having no choice but to attend online Mass, this wonderful and very important lesson has been understood by many! What a blessing! Family Unity and Praying Together Devil: With Covid-19, I closed all your churches. God: On the contrary, I opened one in every home! “For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.” – Matt 18:20 These words of Jesus are a promise which never fails! A household opens itself to divine graces when its inmates pray together in unity within the walls of the house. Many families of the present times have neglected this practice. Many do it, but for the wrong reasons of carrying on a family tradition or as a ritual. This season of pandemic and the online Mass facility has helped millions of families get back to Family Prayer. This is the Lord at work!

family members as they may sit apart from each other due to lack of seats, babysitting or the convenience of going to different Masses. Even if this does happen at church among family, the risk is that the routine of the ‘sign of peace’ gesture may make the act heartless and meaningless. This is just one example of how the online Mass at home can lead to spiritual bonding in the family. Testimonies of people who benefited from online Mass 1. “We are so blessed that God has allowed us to continue to feast at His table through the online Mass during this lockdown. Although unable to receive communion physically, our family with 3 kids has continued to come to His table daily and receive communion with Him spiritually very tangibly as the highest form of our daily worship. God is indeed with us.” 2. “I have been going for Mass for 15 years, but now with online Mass and the ‘Spiritual

For example, when a sincere sign of peace is exchanged to one another at Mass, a spiritual bond occurs. This may not happen at church among

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Communion’ prayer, I have understood with deeper conviction the importance of the Holy Eucharist and the Holy Communion.” 3. “The online Mass has helped me focus on the Word of God and Liturgy without the distractions which I continuously had at church, especially that of looking at other women’s clothing and thinking of shopping. Now I have the confidence to overcome the same distractions when I return to church.” 4. “Our family never had so much spiritual unity and compatibility as nowadays, thanks to the online services which we attend together and encounter the Lord together in our very own home. Family unity has now improved tremendously and the children are growing in the Lord.” 5. “For me personally, it’s been so heartening to

see every member of my family play an active role in setting up the home altar and attending online Mass in a state of grace. This made such a difference to everyone! Truly God makes a way when there seems to be no way!” Conclusion Online Mass definitely does not take the place of the real thing. Online Mass can replace the church Mass only when the latter is NOT available. When churches do open up and the option of attending Mass is available, we have to let go of the comforts of the living room and go to the Altar! It will be a mistake to avoid doing this, unless there is a situation of serious illness, handicap or extreme weather conditions. The “Sunday Obligation” will hold good and the online Mass will neither fulfil it nor replace it. We are called to worship at Mass with the wider community.


As with other tragedies, struggles and suffering – Through Jesus, water is turned to wine, sorrow to joy and darkness to light. The positive difference in people’s understanding of Holy Mass because of the pandemic is worth noting. Thousands of “out-standing Catholics” April - June 2020

will henceforth be active participants and sincere seekers! When the situation allows for churches to open and for Masses to resume, returning to Mass at church can now be done more sincerely with a deeper reverence for the Lord. Equipped with certain spiritual truths learnt while in lockdown mode, one can draw all the more benefit from this empowering Sacrament! Indeed, the ways of God are mysterious. He turns all things for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Rom 8:28). May our spiritual eyes be opened by always remembering the concept of “Spiritual Communion”. Let’s not merely attend Mass for the sake of doing so, but participate wholeheartedly and reap the

empowering and transforming benefits of meeting Jesus in the Holy Eucharist! The writer is an architect and is involved in the implementation of low cost housing for poor families. He actively shares God’s Word through writing. He is presently based in Bangalore after serving a 2 year commitment with a lay Catholic community in Kolkata.

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THE NEW WAY Fr. Nelson Lobo OFM Cap


THE BIRTHDAY OF THE CHURCH (Time for the Catholic Church to be re-born in 2020) Pentecost is said to be the day when the Church was born. Therefore we Christians remember it as the birthday of the Church. The Church was born amidst fear and anxiety. After the descent of the Holy Spirit in tongues of fire, darkness and gloom were dispelled and the apostles became fearless. COVID-19 pandemic has cast a gloom on the world and has impacted our Church in a great way; Our Eucharistic celebrations, our worships and devotions were gone for a toss during the lockdown. Family prayer and personal devotions may have increased; but the usual way of going to the Church has come to a standstill and the new way of

being the Church has emerged. A Church from home of course c o n n e c t e d to the parish Church online. The traditional understanding of being the Church is under the lens. The Church has already entered in a ‘new normal’ life. The Church will now need to re-invent itself and play a prophetic role in the emerging context brought about by COVID-19 pandemic. In the last two thousand years the Church has witnessed and responded to many such epidemics and pandemics, to wars and natural disasters. But the current pandemic is different and dangerous because we deal with an unknown invisible marauding enemy in the


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form of a virus. Therefore vaccine is taking time to come by. In such a scenario it is expedient that the Catholic Church re-invents itself and takes re-birth reading the signs of times. This calls for immense courage to change our thinking and pattern of working and adapt to the new ones. Though challenging but immensely crucial for the survival of the Church. It is a God given opportunity to focus upon what is utmost needed in our relationship with God and our neighbor as a Church and do away with superficial pageantry and large Church constructions. ‘The shepherds should live with the smell of the sheep…. This is what I am asking you – be shepherds with the smell of sheep’ said Pope Francis addressing priests at the Chrism Mass on Holy Thursday on March 28, 2013. The Pope explicitly said in his apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel): “I want a Church which is poor and for the poor.” This is the time to put this into practice. We need to acknowledge and appreciate those courageous priests, thousands of nuns (especially doctors, nurses and social workers) and a few bishops rolling up their sleeves and coming to the forefront offering not only their hospitals, schools, hostels, retreat houses, pastoral centres, etc. to accommodate people during the lockdown and quarantine period but also offering their very selves in service of the suffering. In order for the Catholic Church to have a new Pentecost experience in pandemic times to renew and re-invent itself a few suggestions are in place. If COVID-19 continues and we are forced to live with it and adjust ourselves then we need to seriously think of the following suggestions. IN LITURGY: The first Sunday (when the lockdown is completely lifted and masses allowed) needs a well planned Eucharistic celebration. That first Sunday mass is going to be historical (will go down in history),

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memorable (people will remember the date for a long time) and symbolic (will give hope for the future) therefore special. So far people came to the Church. It’s time the ‘Church’ goes to the people. Consequently Eucharistic Celebrations could be held at different times and in different places/wards to maintain social distancing. Catechism classes either could be held online or at ward level. The Sacrament of Reconciliation could be taken to the people in their houses or in their chapel wards. Going out to where the faithful are may make the church more vibrant and relevant. Many priests, religious, nuns and seminarians were creatively and constantly committed to the pastoral care of the lay faithful online. Their informal, non-institutionalized and nonclericalised forms of worships and liturgical practices were highly appreciated. This needs to be supported and continued. This is the present and also the future. IN SOCIAL WORK: Many Catholic institutions in their congregational capacities opened up to accommodate the migrant labourers and to serve the poor. Greater co-operation and collaboration is called for between the diocesan and religious clergy that creates a synergy of services and resources. This co-operation and collaboration must also be expandable in exploring the possibilities of networking with NGOs and civil society organizations to reach out to the needy. Civil and spiritual human resources pooled together can provide huge relief to the poor families who are affected especially with regard to widows, domestic workers, rickshaw pullers, rag pickers, migrant workers, daily wage earners, migrants, transgenders, people with disability and support staff of our own institutions. IN EDUCATION: Education sector has been badly hit by the pandemic. Millions of students and teachers are unsure of their



future regarding education. Since the Church runs numerous educational institutions it has a great role and responsibility to re-invent itself and to reach out to the students, teachers and parents. So far the students came to the school. It’s time the ‘school’ went to the houses. This was bound to happen by 2030 thanks to pandemic it got anticipated. Online teachinglearning process is here to stay. This will be a huge challenge to the management due to poor network and technological illiteracy among many parents. Greater challenge will be however to address the issues in the rural educational institutions totally cut off from the technological world. The other concerns that will engage the school management are: how to balance online classes and the behavioural, attitudinal, social and civil formation of a child? How to control the screen time of the children so that it does not have adverse effect on their minds and behaviours? How to create awareness of online sexual exploitation of kids?. Online predators and opportunists are looming around like roaring lions waiting to swallow the innocents. Paying heed to what Pope Francis said in Evangelii Gaudium school management has to seriously consider the

issue of fees without compromising on the quality of education. Many of the youth were in the forefront creating creative clips and videos showcasing their talents and hobbies and also brightening up the life of the people. How to keep this innovative strength of the young people should also be the concern of the management. Fr. Cedric Prakash commenting on the message of the Pope speaks about “six pairs of verbs that deal with very practical actions that are much needed to day. These are (i) you have to know in order to understand (ii) it is necessary to be close in order to serve (iii) in order to be reconciled, we need to listen (iv) in order to grow, it is necessary to share (v) we need to be involved in order to promote and (vi) it is necessary to cooperate in order to build. The Church to re-build and to re-invent itself has to keep in mind these six verbs. Praying for the outpouring of the new Pentecost for our times so that we as a church are re-born. The writer is a Franciscan Capuchin priest of Goa Province at Shanti Niwas, Cuncolim, Goa. He writes, gives talks and retreats.


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t f i G l u f r e d n o God’s W called “Don’t you ever get the feeling that all our life is going by and you’re not taking advantage of it? Do you realize you’ve lived nearly half the time you have to live already?” - Ernest Hemingway Not so long ago, I would probably read this quote and swipe right. Forget all about it and continue existing – because living is for few. Isn’t it paradoxical that most of us spend most our years working towards a better life and then die without actually having lived at all? We fail to understand that the very purpose of life is that one must live it. Being a school teacher by profession I do have younger kids coming to me with existential questions such as What is the true meaning of life? And I have always maintained that the very first responsibility we have towards life is to live it. Truly live it. We lose track of reality. In the process of earning money, we forget that we earn to live, we don’t live to earn. Our kids need to know that. They

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need to understand that losing themselves in this race is not how one leads. This definition of life that we have devised must change. One need not be living in an expensive bungalow with an Audi parked at the entrance, to live. To live is to love. To live is to laugh. To live is to feel. To live is to be alive. Robert Frost in his poem Dust of Snow refers to an incident. A man is worried and anxious that a mistake has ruined his day. Lost in his thoughts, regretting the mistake, he is walking to nowhere. Just then, a crow shakes down the dust of snow on him from a hemlock tree. And that small act changes everything. His day is saved. It’s beautiful how Robert Frost tells us that even something as deadly as a hemlock tree can make one feel alive. One just needs to truly accept life in all its colours to be able to truly live it. One just needs to have an eye for life. To see it through all difficulties.



We don’t pay attention to the little things. A random hug from your sibling, your dog’s face when you return home from work, the first sip of coffee in the morning, the tick-tock sound of the clock, hot baths, food, sleeping, and waking up. Waking up to life. To a new day that so many people didn’t have the privilege to wake up to. It’s the little things that we don’t pay attention to and it’s the little things that make life worth living. So many of those little moments have gone unattended. Gone forever. And right now, at this moment, as you’re reading this article, don’t you dare tell me you haven’t taken life for granted.

Do not stand at my grave and weep I am not there. I do not sleep. I am a thousand winds that blow. I am the diamond glints on snow. I am the sunlight on ripened grain. I am the gentle autumn rain. When you awaken in the morning’s hush I am the swift uplifting rush of quiet birds in circled flight. I am the soft stars that shine at night. Do not stand at my grave and cry; I am not there. I did not die. - Mary Elizabeth Frye The writer is a school teacher at Sunshine Worldwide School, Old Goa and is passionate about reading, writing, and traveling.

Today, we look around and we see death hovering over us. I know these are difficult times. I have had those anxiety attacks. I’ve had the fear sink in. But one thing I know for sure is, even if the world descends into complete darkness, I will cling on to life.


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GOD’S CREATION Valentine D’Souza

Life is a Blessing Genesis, the first Book of the Bible opens with vivid imagery in describing the Creation of the world. …. “darkness covered the deep, while the Spirit of God hovered over the waters” … and God said “Let there be Light, and there was light!” An image is formed in our minds of a dark, dreary formless void, where stillness and emptiness reigned supreme when the Spirit of God wills that the landscape be lit up with the warmth of kindly light, the light of wisdom. For she is a reflection of eternal light, A spotless mirror of the working of God, an image of his goodness. (Wis 7:26) It is God, in His infinite Wisdom, who created the world that can sustain life in all its variety, all its beauty and all its complexity. In Proverbs we find “Wisdom” made to speak this truth,

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“When there were no depths I was brought forth… When he established the heavens, I was there… When he marked out the foundations of the earth, Then I was beside him like a master workman… Rejoicing in his inhabited world… (Prov 8:2431) Yes, God rejoiced in his creation and “thought it was very good”. And he created man in his likeness and gave him dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the sky, over the cattle, over all the animals,… with a command to subdue it. The command to subdue, is a command to bring order in this world, according to the Will of God and lead it to its God appointed destiny, for is not man created in the likeness of God? And so man is called to bring peace, joy and harmony in a world filled with a diversity of every kind.



There is unique bond between God and man - the bond of love. The prophet Jeremiah, by the inspiration of God, quotes God, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart.”(Jeremiah 1:5a) And the Psalmists says, “For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from You when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, Your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be.” (Psalm 139: 13-16) In every man also, there is a reciprocal longing for God. It is this longing which drives man to search for Him in various pursuits on land and sea, in the stillness of the night or the breaking of dawn. To live a fruitful and committed life is not easy. There are many distractions and sometimes we agonize over the manner of living. Should we live like this, in this dwelling place or should we migrate to better lands. When we were just married, my wife Hilda and I, received a gift of a beautiful embroidered work set in a frame. It carried the message” Life is a mystery to be lived, not a problem do be solved.” The mystery can be exhilarating in good times but when things go bad, it can lead one to despair. There are days when things go out of control and you are at your wits end. It is during these times that you need a supportive circle of friends and your God. The present pandemic threw up a lot of issues that were not foreseen by many, including me. To some, it meant loss of livelihood and starvation. One hot and humid May afternoon, I sat in the balcony on a rocking chair wondering how to

get through this hot day. It was difficult to stay indoors as there was a power outage and the electricity would resume some time later in the evening. I did not want to load the inverter unit to conserve the backup power for the night, just in case the power inexplicably goes off once more. And so I sat in the chair with little to do, partly because the lockdown had dried up many options, when I heard the chatter of a group of little birds and wondered what the commotion was all about. A little later, I noticed a long line of ants winding their way up the wall, each carrying a burden, quite heavy for their size. A little further, another group of ants were getting the same job down, in a collaborative way, walking with the load to another ant and passing it over and that ant doing the same after walking some distance with the load! I watched in fascination until I wondered “what the ants must be thinking about me”! Surely not this ”That lazy laggard sitting in a chair twiddling his thumbs whilst we are about our work”! Oh! Could the little birds be discussing the same thing. What’s he doing sitting there when the monsoon is round the corner? We, little creatures do not enjoy such luxuries! It got me thinking about my life. Have I served my Creator well, who has loved me from the beginning and desires that I spend all the days, even till eternity, with Him? There is a beautiful saying “Your life is God’s gift to you, what you do with it is your gift to God”. How does one repay God for this wonderful gift of life which has the promise of eternal life waiting for us at the end? It is not easy to answer that question because it takes a lifetime! It is because our life is a gift from God, that it is sacred from the beginning.


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The Servant of God, the famous French geneticist and father of modern genetics, Dr. Jerome Lejeune, who is credited with the discovery of the extra chromosome 21 responsible for the condition known as Down syndrome, was an ardent defender of the sanctity of human life. In February 1989, Lejeune was a witness in a very unusual case argued before Judge W. Dale Young in Blount County, Tennessee. In that case, Junior L. Davis filed a suit against his ex-wife, now Mary Sue Davis Stowe, over the custody of seven cryogenically frozen embryos that the two of them had created at a fertility clinic prior to their divorce. Lejeune’s testimony gave the scientific evidence that all seven of these frozen embryos are indeed living human beings, persons like the rest of us, made in God’s image. He called the canisters in which these tiny frozen human persons, along with thousands of others, were imprisoned “concentration cans,” and in 1992 published a book under that title, one of the finest pro-life books ever written. (Witnessing to the Sanctity of Human life-The Example of Dr. Jerome Lejeune MD by William E. May August 2011)

3. Abortion and infanticide are unspeakable crimes. 4. Objective morality exists. It is clear and it is universal… 5. The child is not disposable and marriage is indissoluble. 6. ‘You shall honor your father and mother.’ Therefore, single parental reproduction by any means is always wrong. 7. In so-called pluralistic societies, they shout it down our throats: ‘You Christians do not have the right to impose your morality on others.’ Well, I tell you, not only do you have the right to try to incorporate your morality in the law but it is your democratic duty.(a quote from Dr Pilar Calva MD in the Culture of Life Foundation”) In his life time he suffered much, for his defense of life from the moment of conception, to the point of being ridiculed by his peers, and even being looked over for the Nobel Prize in medicine.

In 1991, he wrote a summary of his reflections on medical ethics in seven brief points: 1. Christians, be not afraid. It is you who possess the truth. Not that you invented it but because you are the vehicle for it. To all doctors, you must repeat: ‘you must conquer the illness, not attack the patient.’ 2. We are made in the image of God. For this reason alone all human beings must be respected.

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Let us pray for the beatification of Jérôme Lejeune, that soon, a cure might be found for Down syndrome and that his love for life, in all its fragile forms, may come to be embraced by all. The writer is a president of ADMA in the Salesian province of Panjim. He loves to read, write, sing and give a helpig hand.




The Precious Gift of Life Why is the earth round? Why am I on this earth? Where have I come from and where am I going? Who is God? Why can I not see myself wholly? Well, the list of questions can go on and on… as a little boy who grew up when technology in India wasn’t a reality, and the only daily form of entertainment was Doordarshan TV for which, I’ve had to go to my neigbours house to watch. The toys I had were a novelty only in the beginning but soon I outgrew the affinity towards them. And that is how I floated in ‘question land’ if I may call it. But as I journeyed through life into adolescent, to teenage y e a r s and into adulthood, I have come to realize that these questions were not just mine. Each one of us has

our own set of questions and many a times we can’t find any answers to them or don’t reach a consensus. I say this because there are some questions that might not seem to have a logical reasoning, yet if we try to understand the context of it, we might not get an answer but perhaps be satisfied with the understanding of the context that we are in. Come to think of it, you and I did not choose our coming into this world, we couldn’t even choose the timing or choice of family for ourselves. We couldn’t even choose our race nor our ethnicity when we were born, yet, when we come into this world we are bombarded with different choices and not just choices, but the free will to choose? Have you ever realized what this


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really means? Have you ever taken a step back and pondered and thought about it; that our life is a gift and this wonderful gift comes from God. So why did God choose to gift us with life and why is life with all its hardships, wonderful? Well, there is an adage which goes like this; ‘Yesterday is history and tomorrow is mystery, but today is a gift and that is why we call it the present’. But most times of our present living we are either reminiscing our past or constantly worrying about our future, and hence we miss the very essence of what we have now. Each one of us has something or the other to be grateful for; for the food we have, the clothes we wear, the roof above our heads, and one of the most important things that this time of lockdown has thought us, is our families, for which we all ought to be grateful for... Everything else doesn’t even come close. In all the chaos, confusion and fear that was caused by the pandemic of COVID-19, the one thing that has stood by us all are our families. And for those who might say what about the homeless or the hungry or those who don’t have families; what about them? They ought to be grateful for the very gift of life that they lived, to see this world and all in it. Think about the ones who lost their lives due to the pandemic or any other illness, no one would want to trade their place with them right? Those people might have had their own dreams, ambitions and hopes for tomorrow but their time perhaps ran out or was limited. And that leads us to the next question that if we are on the earth and it is a gift from God, why would there be something called ‘death’. The answer to that is, death is a consequence of man’s choice, a choice man made and we ourselves make in our daily lives. Let’s look at it from the perspective of nature, which has its own recourse. There is a law in place which is set in motion from the beginning of time. Many years ago they were dinosaurs’

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and these species were humongous in built and were hunters. Do you really think that the human species and dinosaurs could co-exist? Nature took its own course and made way for the human species. If we look at it from the context of religion, human beings are a creation of God and are made in His image and likeness. We were made to subdue the earth, but by our actions we have come to destroy it. Take for example this pandemic of COVID-19; there are many theories about it. But world organisations reckon that this virus originated in a wet market where wild animals were kept in confinement and were being sold as food products. This in essence, it is against the very norm of nature, we have domesticated animals and fish that gives us all the nutrients we need from our food. So why the need to hunt and feed on wild animals? It is through such action that man went against the very nature of God. Biblically put, man sinned against God by his disobedience and brought upon himself the wage of sin, which is death. But couldn’t God stop man from committing that sin because if God is God, then he can do anything right? True that, for everything is possible with God, but we have to understand God’s nature and how did all things come into existence. For children (infants to adolescent) your parents are everything to you and whatever they say; even if they shout at you, they are your only resort. For teens and young adults, when you are attracted to someone, you could climb the highest mountain or swim across the sea, nothing would seem arduous. For young parents, you would do anything to protect that little bundle of joy, whose presence just fills your life up. For parents and grandparents, your thoughts are never about yourself but your children and grandchildren. For best of friends, you just want the very best for your friend. What is this unexplainable joy within us that causes us to do things for the other? It is the nature of Love and out of this very



nature God created us. But Love is not self seeking or selfish, on contrary love seeks the good of the other. And because God loves us unconditionally, he gave us the gift of life and a free will. A will that lets us choose what we want, where we want and when we want. Let’s look at the world today, we can see what we have done with our ability to choose and makes choices. We have consumed more in the last two decades, than in the last century put together. There is plenty on earth, yet there are millions of who sleep hungry. Greed, power and warzones has become our new normal, and as long as our needs and wants our met nothing else matters. Perhaps this time of lockdown has bought about the much-needed time that we’ve all been longing for. And while many seem frustrated with this unending captivity, it’s a good time to journey within and reflect on our own choices we’ve made. When you see and realise that the choices you made were the best, you will realise that the comfort you got was because of where you are. And that is because God placed you there and it is only

from God that all good things come. Each one of us have made choices we wouldn’t be proud of and to help us change recourse, God, in His loving nature sent His only son down to earth, giving Him human nature, and in doing so made us one with Him again. And as Jesus shared in our human nature we too have a share in His divine nature. Whilst we were created for eternity, our actions brought about death, but Jesus has overcome death. Which means that life continues even beyond earth, so why traverse the earth then? Would you get into a business arrangement or marry someone you don’t know? The obvious answer is no. Likewise how will we spend our eternity with our God we don’t know then? God has given us this wonderful gift of life, to know Him, love Him and serve Him; and we do so by the choices we make, for by the choices we make everyday we give to Him as our present.


The writer is a Creative Media Professional with interests in Filmmaking and Anchoring. You can read more of his writings on his blog www.mirroredreflections.in

April - June 2020

WELLBEING Neil Fernandes SDB

The Value of Human Touch When we were born, the first of our senses available to us was the sense of touch. Even before we could see who our mother was we felt the loving touch of her gentle hands on our body. One of the most important parts of human heritage is our need for physical contact. This is especially important at birth when babies need to cry, suckle and cling to their mothers to help them survive and create a bond. Hence, a baby feels secure and loved when in their mother’s arms. Once kids are older, touch has been known to help with learning engagement. But, over the years, the word touch has been corrupted. When used in today’s world it mostly connotes sexual or violent behaviour and desires. A teacher is now afraid to touch a student via a gentle tap, the warm embrace of a priest is seen as a ‘negative sign,’ a boy holding a girls hand is still an unthinkable offence in some parts of the country. Touch has lost its credibility. The novel Coronavirus entered into this world slowly, yet cunningly. It started small, but went on to conquer the whole world. Earth was brought to a standstill, people were left jobless. They were afraid to touch each other so as to save themselves from contracting

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the virus. Touching became a taboo. Social distancing was the norm. But, in all this, we humans realized one thing; we had used and abused this God given gift of the sense of touch. We missed greeting each other with a firm handshake, consoling each other with a warm hug, affirming one another with a pat on the back. We now understood the value of the human touch. The power of touch is immeasurable. There are no words in the English language to express this power. The closest that English has come to expressing the immensity of touch is by the phrase, “I am touched.” It just goes to show how much a simple touch affects us. There are no words soothing enough to match the warmth of a touch. It’s not only humans that need touch. Primates also often pick at each other’s fur throughout the day. In the 1950s, Harley Harrow, a psychologist, carried out an experiment wherein a group of baby monkeys were confronted with two ‘mothers;’ they were not ‘mothers’ but dolls- one holding a bottle of milk and the other consisted of a soft fluffy material. The monkeys could choose their mothers. The result of the experiment shocked Harrow. Majority of the monkeys chose the



fluffy mother. Apparently, the cuddly feeling of body contact and closeness was more important to them than being fed with milk. Hearing, seeing, smelling, tasting- these are the senses we usually think of when it comes to our survival. Rarely would we add our sense of touch to that list. Somehow, this crucial sense of ours has been underestimated for a long time. But, in actuality, touching is a very crucial function- holding a knife, typing a message on our phones, checking the temperature of a sick person, noticing heat on a stove plate. Our sense of touch is just as important for our survival as compared to other senses. The benefits of physical touch, and the biological releases that come with it, go beyond social bonding and can manifest positively in our mental and physical health. Our sense of touch has vital function for our psychological and physical well-being. When we touch each other, unknowingly we are helping others to live healthier lives. Known as the ‘feel good’ hormone, oxytocin is a product of physical touch, especially through a warm hug. It helps humans to connect to others and promotes positive sensations that foster a sense of well-being and happiness. It helps inspire positive thinking and maintaining an optimistic outlook to the world. The role of oxytocin for bonding also extends to helping generate feelings of compassion during interactions. This can contribute to an expansion of trust among individuals during social situations. This may be the reason why many people have developed cold feelings for they haven’t been touched.

Physical touch also helps to improve the function of our immune system. In fact, according to a study conducted at the Carnegie Mellon University in 2014, a hug can help us brave the chilly months and not suffer from colds. Regular hugs lower stress levels in our body and therefore the vulnerability to catch a cold. Physical touch helps reducing diseases that are associated with the heart and blood, and is also instrumental in lowering heart rate and blood pressure. Furthermore, physical touch increases levels of dopamine and serotonin, two neurotransmitters that help the body to relieve stress and anxiety. From the above stated facts we can unmistakably arrive at the conclusion that touching, within its limits, is good for health. But, as mentioned before, somewhere we have forgotten about this great gift that we have received- the gift of feeling. The rise of the virtual world has been really detrimental to touch. Being on virtual devices distances people physically and emotionally from each other. Now, with the corona virus arriving at its peak all over the world, physical contact has become a taboo. It is because of this precarious situation that we are finally beginning to value this gift of touch. How long will it be till we are able to touch again? I hope it doesn’t take long, for all of us need to be touched in order to make this world a better place. When all this is over, let’s not forget the value of human touch, instead, let us cherish it and use it to bring everyone closer to each other, to unite the world and make this world our family.


The writer is a Salesian doing his practical training at Don Bosco Agro-Ed Complex, Sulcorna, Goa. April - June 2020

PRAY Mashada Vaz

Walk with All of us are on this journey called life. It is in fact a long, long journey. It always involves experiences of different kinds. Experiences we would love to cherish till our last breath, and experiences we wish we could go back in the past and change. We wished we had done differently, or we question God why did that have to happen to us and why no one else. The answers to the questions of life are found in the ‘giver of life’. The one who gives us life, is the one who provides us with all that is needed to go through our life. But it is always in our hands where to look for the answers. We always have a choice. God did not force us to love Him. Jesus did not force us to call out to Him in times of adversity. We were given a choice. And it is our wish, whether we choose to walk with the Lord or not. We could take each step, in life however we want. But what is so special in walking every step with Jesus? We may all have life changing moments that open our hearts and minds to God. Everyone grows up knowing God and worshipping God. But not everyone develops the need to walk with Him. To walk with Jesus, is having assurance at every step that all that happens is with accordance to God’s plan.

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the Lord

To walk with Jesus, is to know for a fact that every little thing you do, you do it for the glory of God. To walk with Jesus, is to know that sorrowful times are times for us to redirect ourselves to Christ and trust Him even more knowing that He has us in His care. To walk with Jesus, is to never forget His presence in times of utmost joy and happiness and never forgetting to continuously praise and thank Him for all that He has done. To walk with Jesus, is to walk with a friend, a father, a guide, an advocate who is always there for us no matter our situation.

Humans feel the need for having assurance of a secure future. We try to peep into the future to make sure we are safe, healthy, and happy. We do not care for people who come our way and whether or not they need our help, but we want to be sure of the thought that, no one comes to disrupt our future. But... we are almost half the time never right. We can never think of every aspect to secure our life. Moreover, we are always wrong when we try to take matters into our hands. It never leads us anywhere. God wants the job of looking into every matter of our life. What do we get by taking everything into our hands and try to control everything? Disruption of our peace of mind. Unhappiness. Discontent. And what



do we get when we leave everything into God’s hands? Peace of mind. Happiness. The satisfaction even though we may not know where we are headed, but we have our Lord who knows and cares for us and guides our way. We humans are weak. We fall faster than we can make up our minds to get up. But how comforting it is to know that we have someone who wants to make sure we are okay; A friend who is willing to take up our burden onto Him, so that we may rest. Jesus said, all of you who are weary and burdened come to me, and I will give you rest. If he himself said this to us, why are we burdened with even the slightest of our problems? I know, its natural for us to easily feel overwhelmed with everything the world asks from us. But once we think about it, we realise that all of us are on a temporary journey, that must end at some point. We must think about who we put first - the world and its worries or our God the creator of this universe and who is bigger than all our worries? Having a prayerful life is the key to walking with the Lord. Prayer is the link that keeps the connection between God and us intact. Prayer need not be sophisticated, but is a simple conversation with Him, who knows our hearts and minds way before we came into this world. It is like having a normal conversation with a close friend. Sometimes, you have lots to express, whilst other times, you just feel relaxed and happy even in the silent company of that close friend. Our God is never the one to force himself upon us. He has given us the free will to choose what we want to do – whether to get Him involved in our lives or not. Either way, Jesus awaits humbly, for us to welcome Him into our lives.

the other way. Doubt and fear begin to creep into our minds; challenges and troubles, seem to come our way often. But through that verse we are reminded, that not everything we can see and comprehend, is what is real. For the Bible also tells us in 2 Corinthians 4:18, not to fix our eyes on what is seen, but to gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now, will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever. We need to keep the faith in our Lord first, before anything. Because our God, is a God of miracles and He works in ways we cannot see. Therefore, it is by our Faith and Trust in Him, we know that He is working in every aspect of our lives, even though at times it may seem to us like He is not. We need to invite God in every part of our lives. We are created for His glory, so that we may do His will in this world. During our journey sometimes we may drift apart. But our God always accepts us back with open arms. He loves us a lot. And making Him a part of our lives is the least we could do for Him. The blessings that will follow then, will be in abundance, just like He promised. He wants us to remember Him at all times, knowing that when we walk with Him, we are assured that no matter what the world hits us with, we have nothing to fear because He is Emmanuel – God with us. The writer is a student of IT, passionate about music and singing in tiatr and choir. She loves to cook and read as well.

2 Corinthians 5:7 says, “For we walk by faith, not by sight.”. This is a verse we all need to keep reminding ourselves, during our journey in life. At times, it may seem to us that nothing is happening in our favour. Things keep going 38 SANGATI

April - June 2020

INTERVIEW Sharlaine Menezes

“I have two hands and am capable of aiding” In Focus:


Q. In a situation like this, most of us are taking it the harsh way. How has the lockdown and pandemic affected you? The lockdown has been cruel to a lot of lives where it has greatly affected jobs and incomes. It is a tense situation! The COVID-19 has affected educational systems worldwide, leading to the near-total closures of schools, universities and colleges while creating stress amongst students answering final examinations. I know this is more about the world and others, because seeing this makes me unhappy. People

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have been torn mentally too. I wanted to do my bit so to help others who are in worse positions in life. Q. Before we I get into details, tell me a little bit about you Godfrey. I’m 23. I recently graduated with a business degree and am working with Kotak Life. Life is a hustle but I don’t forget to give back to society. I am working with an NGO while also part-time into Modeling. For me it’s like as I grow older,



I discover I have two hands and am capable of aiding those in need. Q. As a youngster what did you do during this period and how you helped those in need. I was looking after the kids from the slum areas for the last 4 years helping them get their basic needs. So as their parents were working for daily wages I knew it would affect them drastically whether nutrition or mental health. I then visited them personally and got to know that more than 150 families were suffering from hunger. I was truly shocked to see this. So I tried my best to raise funds and acquire grocery wisely during lockdown period. What also caught my attention were the huge number of migrants & homeless people at the railway station who were in need of food. So we prepared food for them at railway station with help of RPF. Where I had a team to help me there, the slums was a different tale. I had to do it all alone because I did not want to risk anyone’s life. So carried fruits and snacks for the children and every week a grocery kit was given to the families. We also laid focus on single mothers. Apart from humans, we had a small team to look after the stray dogs as well! It was a heartwarming experience. Q. Why did you think it was important to help others while risking your own life? I just feel this stood as the most difficult

time and there was a need for me to be someone to reach out the needy people rather than leaving them to suffer in this lockdown. If not luxuries, the basic food is what all a human need to stay alive and I found it important to provide as much as I could. If not widespread, it was in my locality that I thought of helping them because to me it didn’t matter who they are and where they come from. What mattered most was that they are human and leaving them to starve wasn’t an option. I just collected what I could and distributed. When I realized the number of those starving was increasing, I knew I had to help them. I knew it was a blessing in disguise. Q. In your opinion, do you see the pandemic as a boon or curse to the world? I truly believe that this pandemic is test to check whether there is actually good left in the world. Q. What message do you have to the people during a time like this? Ans: I believe that nothing last forever, not even the virus’s harm! My advice is to stay home and healthy and get out only when required. In addition, do help those in need selflessly, you will be blessed.


The writer is a Mass Communications student of Don Bosco College, Panjim. She loves to compose and sing rap songs. April - June 2020

GRATEFUL Aliester D’Souza SDB

She Knew

The Price of Love She knew that He would be here one last time: just an irrational feminine hunch. He was reclining at table surrounded by disciples and friends, respectable men all of them, and all invited to the home of a righteous man – she wasn’t supposed to be there. But, one last chance she had.

She knew she had just to say a word of thanks. But, when the heart is full, even eloquence fails to encapsulate the emotions of the redeemed soul unlike her flask of costly nard that contained so well the potion and its fragrance within its alabaster self.

She knew she had to do something. Though all seemed perfect there was something unfitting that had to be done. For ever since she saw Him come to town this evening, she had felt compelled to whisper a word of gratitude for all He had done for her one summer morning a couple of years ago. She doubted if He would remember that He had shown her mercy: for she was one person before and a complete other after she met Him.

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Its hard to say, but I think she knew what she was doing when she walked amidst His disciples and friends; every eye followed her, every tongue mute, as she rushed forward and in a flourish broke the alabaster jar, perfume poured and flowing upon His feet while the room was filled with the sweet fragrance of a thousand roses. Then, like His slave, with her black cascading hair, she wiped His feet dry, slowly and devoutly, for beautiful indeed are the feet of those who bring Good News.

The room was abuzz with murmuring of the astonished men who judged the woman and her act estimated, measured and counted the cost by putting a price for love and rueing that it was wasted unwisely. But, the Lord looked kindly upon the worship of the woman and extolled her devotion; she gave the best she had with the lavish gratitude of the forgiven soul. So, this remarkable story of love is told from age to age in remembrance of her who didn’t count the cost when she loved the Lord. Aliester is a Salesia Brother of Mumbai province working at Don Bosco Lonavla.


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OUR FUTURE Fr. Nelson Lobo OFM Cap

The World after COVID-19 (COVID-19 is mutating so also the future of our world) The human world is in a shock. It will take us at least another year to overcome from it. No one ever expected such a state of affairs that we are now in. We relied too much on science and technology. With many unimaginable medical breakthroughs we thought we could effortlessly live for 100 years. We had medicines and vaccines for any diseases. Only the mountain called cancer was waiting to be conquered. Life had become fast and glamourous. Everyone became ambitious and

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greedy. And then an invisible enemy made a silent but steady entry into the human world and devastated it. It sent shivers down our spine. It left us totally paranoid and panicky. COVID-19 is definitely here to stay for some time and it is undeniably mutating (like itself) the thoughts and action plan of our future world. It is already on the verge of derailing the global economy and plunging many lives into uncertainty and despair. The disturbing questions are: what does the future hold for



us and for our kids? What will happen to our jobs and monthly incomes? What happens to our lives? What happens to those who are now unemployed? Coronavirus is hitting the economy really bad. It’s reshaping the world landscape with socio-economic, political and psychological impacts. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said this is the greatest test for humanity since WWII. There are a number of possible futures, all dependent on how governments and society respond to corona virus and its economic aftermath. Hopefully we will use this crisis to rebuild, produce something better and more humane. Nine mutations in the human world are bound to happen post COVID-19. 1) World Economy: Rampant spread of Coronavirus forced down on us lockdown jeopardizing global economy. Economists estimate the economic fall-out from the COVID-19 pandemic could approach $10 trillion dollars - that’s around one-eighth of global GDP. We face a serious recession in the near future. Why? That’s because we tend to think of the economy as the way we buy and sell things, mainly consumer goods. This mindset needs to change and will change. We need to think differently so that we produce less stuff without increasing poverty. Why were many countries so ill-prepared to slow down production? A recent World Health Organisation (WHO) report reads: they did not have the right “mindset”. Economist Simon Mair writes that the mindset is driven by two linked beliefs: The market is what delivers a good quality of life, so it must be protected and the market will always return to normal after short periods of crisis. These views are common to many Western countries. But they are strongest in the UK and the US. Money (i.e. exchange value) centered economy is time and again into crisis due to either manmade or natural disasters. Post COVID-19 global

economy should be life centered so that even if people lose jobs they should be able to survive. The idea that people should depend on the monthly income to remain alive should change. 2) Globalization: globalization made the world a global village. Just like every slice has two sides no matter how thin the slice is so also globalization. Globalization brought the world in close vicinity and proximity but it also brought in vulnerability. That’s the reason the corona virus spread so quickly. Globalization won’t simply stop due to the corona virus. Rather, the pandemic would push globalization to become more localized and regionalized. This is because the virus exposed several key weaknesses of the long and complex global supply chain that we have relied so much on. 3) Decline in US leadership: The pandemic exposed the chinks in the armour of U.S. leadership. The Trump administration was slow in orchestrating a response and reluctant to marshal international collaboration unlike his predecessors in the past during global emergencies. Kori Schake, deputy directorgeneral of the International Institute for Strategic Studies, wrote that the corona virus pandemic is a “leadership test.” He further continued: “The United States will no longer be seen as an international leader because of its government’s narrow self-interest and bungling incompetence”. Likewise, the European Union (EU) also underperformed in the corona virus outbreak and therefore their leadership also in global matters is under scrutiny. China and Russia closely followed by India could be the next generation world leaders. 4) Artificial Intelligence (AI) Technologies: The pandemic will also accelerate the development of robotics and artificial


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intelligence technologies. The growth of these technology is in full swing since past twenty years. The Top ten nations have invested billions of dollars in such technologies. Post corona pandemic these technologies will receive greater importance and usage. 5) National Security: Corona virus from China has created trust issues among nations that in normal circumstances enjoyed trade deals. Therefore American and European leaders have urged for a reconsideration of the supply chains for critical resources such as medicine. Post corona world governments will go for massive collection of human data in their attempt to control the spread of the disease. This move of course will trigger privacy concerns among the citizens. Collecting of human data is the new business for it has the power to influence elections the world over. 6) Work from home: This will be the new normal. Many jobs that can be done sitting from home will not require the employees to go to the office. This could save a lot of money for the company in terms of infrastructure and employee maintenance. This will also lessen the burden of the multi-national companies to provide visas and housing facilities to its employees.

the employees? In times of economic crisis companies do (for short time) hold on to their employees hoping that the economy will bounce back. But, if things start to look really bad, then they start axing the employees beginning with the least needed. So, more people lose their jobs or fear losing their jobs. In a normal crisis the government spends. But normal interventions don’t work during long periods of lock down. So this pandemic highlighted that many jobs are not essential or pointless. Simon Mair says ‘people are compelled to work pointless jobs because in a society where exchange value is the guiding principle of the economy, the basic goods of life are mainly available through markets. This means you have to buy them, and to buy them you need an income, which comes from a job’. People deserve to live even if they cannot work especially the sick and the differently abled. In order to give up pointless jobs and create more employment without depending on the MNCs the government should step in to develop not cities but villages. The concept of smart cities should be shoved under the carpet and the money invested in villages providing basic facilities of electricity, water, education and medicine. Agriculture based economy

7)Un-employment & pointless jobs: Companies come into existence to make money. More demand entails more production. If production multiplies the company expands hiring more employees. No market no production so no profit. How to pay

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can never go in crisis if the government fully backs it up with schemes for farmers and back up plans in times of natural disasters. Smart cities will concentrate on shareholder capitalism (exploiting natural resources and causing environmental disasters) bypassing the interest of employees and suppliers like farmers. We need stakeholders capitalism in villages that takes into confidence the farmers and the common man.

totally inhuman to be insensitive towards them. Migrants and refugees are closely connected. Their fates are similar. They are used and abused by those who claim to have some money and status. Post COVID-19 migrants woes will and should feature in labour laws and government’s plan in disaster management. As far as India is concerned internally displaced migrants will be a power to reckon with during the next elections.

8) Children’s health: We say our children are our future. A young country has a better chance of survival and progress but if our children are in danger of dying what progress can we talk about? This pandemic created panic among expecting mothers. Delivering in the hospitals was frightening. Lack of medicines and nutrition for the people and water and soap for health workers created panic. This pandemic could turn into child survival crisis. So post pandemic investing in health and nutrition, medicine and clean water is of paramount importance. Addressing one crisis should not come at the expense of another.

Post COVID-19 the world needs a strong, democratic state that mobilizes resources to build a stronger health system, prioritizes protecting the vulnerable from the whims and insecurities of the market and enables citizens to form volunteer groups so that everyone contributes in fighting the global pandemics. It is fitting to conclude this article with the words of UN Secretary General in his call for solidarity, “We are facing a global health crisis unlike any in the 75-year history of the United Nations — one that is spreading human suffering, infecting the global economy and upending people’s lives.” He also added “We must ensure that lessons are learned and that this crisis provides a watershed moment for health emergency preparedness and for investment in critical 21st century public services and the effective delivery of global public goods. We have a framework for action – the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. We must keep our promises for people and planet.”

9) Migrants Woes: COVID-19 brought before the world the dark and harsh reality of the rich and poor migrants. Indian poor migrants walking miles together with their little belongings on the head and children dangling around their waists brought tears to our eyes. The combined insensitivity of the government and the police department made our blood boil. Some died on their way; many remained hungry and thirsty, thousands walked bare feet or on homemade plastic bottles slippers. It was a pitiable sight;


The writer is a Franciscan Capuchin priest of Goa Province at Shanti Niwas, Cuncolim, Goa. He writes, gives talks and retreats. April - June 2020


Lessons from COVID-19 “The purpose of life is to obey the hidden command which ensures harmony among all and creates an ever better world. We are not created only to enjoy the world, we are created in order to evolve the cosmos.” - Maria Montessori These are unprecedented times. In a day and age where atoms and bits converge in a way like never before, who would have thought an organism a few nanometres in size would bring much of the world to a standstill. It is no secret that the Corona virus has caught most of the nations off guard. As knowledge around the virus keeps growing, and efforts for an affordable and accessible vaccine near us, it bodes us well to learn from the current global situation and be better prepared for the next time we might come across a similar gray rhino.

propagated: Some which says Corona Virus is a hoax, and others which advise unscientific unproven treatment for a pandemic which still doesn’t have a cure. Other times, people might just not go along with a short term inconvenience like wearing of masks. Going along with leading thinkers and doers, who are at the forefront of medicine, research, policy and action might be a good way to make more informed decisions and a longer shot at staying around.

Lead with Thinkers and Doers: We have various reports of false news being

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“Government’s first duty is to protect the people, not run their lives.” - Ronal Reagan Governments: Given the lever of policy making and vast resources, Governments are, in more ways than one, capable of making decisions that can have cascading effects (for better or worse) at scale. The key to making initiatives work lies in analyzing the challenge ahead, dissecting it at macro and micro level detailing for specific frames of reference, planning for what would be required to get through the challenge, creating a team/ task force which has demonstrated leadership and execution capabilities, taking on the challenge which includes taking quick decisive action when presented with any new feedback/ information and then keeping on the persistence track till the tide gets over. Unambiguous and fast communication between all levels of decision making and execution, for eg between the Central and State Governments for seamless execution is something which is super crucial to the success of initiatives which expand beyond a single state/ union territory. It also makes for a good strategy for the Government to partner with people and organizations in the private sector, which have demonstrated leadership and capabilities towards the common goal. Public private collaborations leveraging on technology, data (with privacy concerns taken care of) and execution accelerate the pace of desired outcome. Targeted dynamic and granular lockdowns based on spread, density and signs of recovery, with social distancing and safety mechanisms in other areas are a good way

to go, to ensure the economy does not come to a complete standstill. This extends as much to food security, as it does for regular product manufacturing. Some of the effects such as where the production/ manufacturing, assembly and finish happens will also come into play based on prevalent situations in the respective regions and ease of movement between the same. The saving grace, as we can clearly see, is in the details.

Public Healthcare: It’s pretty much evident how important a nation’s public healthcare system is, plus the need to ensure that individuals across different states, regions and social strata have access to quality and affordable healthcare. Treatment capacity that can be ramped up fast, plus ensuring safety of all those at the front line (quality infrastructure, PPEs, trained backups, ensuring they are taken care of well and especially paid on time) will also determine the quantum of lives that can be effectively saved in the long run. Given how ill prepared most of the nations


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are, it makes perfect sense to increase the investments in public healthcare, along with public education, clean energy and other investments that have a greater return for a nation, with time. In a connected world, we can expect continued ways the system will continue to be stressed with repeat incidents of infectious diseases. Creating quality capacity and capability ensures we can save more lives more times.

to normal (however we define normal) is anyone’s guess. “We could never learn to be brave and patient, if there were only joy in the world.”- Helen Keller

“There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happen.” - Vladimir Ilyich Lenin Economy, Jobs and Livelihood: Owing to shutdowns and lockdowns in various parts of the world, businesses across sectors, esp travel, hospitality and commercial real estate, have taken a major hit. Given continued lag in economic activity, businesses have also had to take the decision of mass layoffs. 10% of India’s population, or 139 Million (13.9 Crore) people may deplete their lifetime savings by the end of June and would find it difficult to meet essential consumption. Adding in the unorganized sector, which also includes a fair number of migrants and daily wage earners, we could expect this to be closer to 50-60% for India in the months ahead. In America, more than 40 million Americans have filed for first-time unemployment benefits since the Corona Virus pandemic forced the US economy to shut down in March; with one in four American workers having filed for unemployment insurance. A fair amount of change, especially in digitization of the world, less dependence on commercial real estate and less geography based hiring (given acceleration in flexible work, and work from home) is expected to keep accelerating for now. When we get back

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Public Behaviour: Till an affordable and accessible vaccine for Corona virus is made possible, ensuring individuals follow the below pointers as a standard regular practice will ensure the safety and well being for us and our families: • Stay at home/ Shelter in place, wherever possible : Don’t step out unless you have an important reason to do so. • Practice social distancing in public : Stay 6 feet away from others. • Cover a cough or sneeze with sleeves or tissue: Dispose the tissue and wash hands afterwards. • Wash hands with a soap or hand sanitizer: If coming back home from outside, consider taking a shower. By behaving responsibly, we not only protect ourselves and our families, but also others. We had Bill Gates making the case for a Global Healthcare System way back in 2015, and have incredible leaders like Seth Berkley at GAVI,



amongst others, leading the way for a way out from the current pandemic. Post the current rough learning curve, the world needs to cement in the need for ongoing global collaboration on research and sharing of benefits that come from the same. We have seen the need for global collaboration for healthcare, and the same also applies to other challenges ahead such as climate change and development of artificial intelligence. Genius and capabilities exist across continents and leveraging human brilliance through continued global collaboration should be a no-brainer to ensure continued progress of human race. Monce is a Founder & Chairman, THEV Consulting. Link to original post: https://www. monceabraham.com/lessons-from-covid-19/


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Resurrecting Family Life After the eruption of the life-threatening pandemic COVID-19, life is not the same anymore. However, with the exponential growth of digital communication platforms, there has been a shift from traditional offices to virtual offices for companies who now use these platforms to conduct meetings and conferences. The pandemic has also greatly affected community and religious practices, with the traditional attendance of Mass now being shifted to participating in online Masses and other prayer services. Never before our lives were affected so drastically. The power, position, privileges and paisa have failed before the situation. And the truth is out that the tiny virus has brought down the pride of the rich and strong to the level of every other human being. This virus does not differentiate between ages, religion, race, colour,

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nationality and gender. It affects each and every one. The lockdown was one of the first reactions to fight the virus. It affected our social and professional life. All most all the countries implemented it as soon as it began to affect them. It resulted in confining us to the four walls of our homes. Many have written on the impact of lockdown on the society. We will not discuss on the negative impact as we see them in the news and on social networking sites. The messages of the positive impact rarely appear on social networking sites. We have hardly seen positive news in the newspaper but to name a few; wild animals are seen roaming on the streets in the cities, the nature is getting healed, the rivers are becoming clean, metropolitan cities are enveloped in fresh air, the crimes such as robberies, molestations,



murders has drastically reduced, the death rate too has reduced, problems related to indigestion have reduced because people are forced to eat home cooked and healthy food, etc. There is yet another benefit we have received among many other things. While attending the National Conference of regional secretaries/ directors, Archbishop Sebastian Kallupura, the chairman of the National Commission for Families and the Co-adjutor Bishop of Archdiocese of Patna said that the families are beneficiary in the lockdown when they were forced to remain at home. They had a chance to spend time with their loved ones. This is one of the blessings during the lockdown. Someone has rightly said, “No amount of money and success can take the place of time spent with your family.” The world before COVID 19 was fast and furious. It was running after money. It was busy in investments. It did not have time for families. Parents found themselves in a ‘daily grind’ as they got up, went to work, only to reach home late at night. They had no time for their children. The spouses did not have time for themselves. Family time was pushed in the corner. It was reduced to a meagre annual outing. The family had become a matter of convenience. It was no more a priority. We did not find pleasure in spending time with our families. We spent hours and hours on our mobile phones because we could easily switch between our work and

entertainment. We forgot that we are born in families and they nourish our lives; and someday, we will also die in our families. Actor Michael Fox says, “The family is not an important thing. It is everything.” But we failed to realize it. We proudly say that time is money. We invested all our time in earning it but failed to invest our time in our family. This pandemic has paved the way for us to realize the importance of spending time in our families. Family Time is Important It builds relationships: Someone has rightly said, “Quality of life is dependent on the quality of relationships.” The more time we spend with our families, spouses and children, the more it helps to better our relationships. It clears misunderstanding and conflicts. The differences are accepted as we accept the persons. There is a happy environment in the home. The children relate with their parents. There is no communication gap. Every family member feels the longing to return to home because they find happiness in their personal life at home.


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It boosts parenting: Each one of us is busy in the world to make our livelihood. Every parent wants to secure their families by working hard. In the pursuit of success and money, parents do not have proper time for their children, and the children find themselves lonely. They seek support from their friends. Thus, their friends become a priority in their lives. One mother shared that her daughter chose to stay with her girl-friend during the lockdown. She was hurt with her daughter for staying away from her but she failed to realize that she was working all through the years. The lockdown had forced her to stay at home. I told her to focus on spending time with her daughter in all possible ways to reassure her that she loves her. Parenting does not mean we need to give them lessons and talks but rather it means to spend time with our children. This is the best thing that any parent can do for their children. Choose anything that the children like and do it as a family. Children like their parents spending time together. They respect them. They grow up into well balanced and healthy individuals. These children will be open to their parents. They will not hide any problems, difficulties, bullying, etc. Since they share their problems, they will find solutions to their problems at the right time. I often tell parents when they ask me for parenting skills to spend maximum time with their children even though they are grown up. It brings healing: In one of the family sharing, during the lockdown, a family shared with me that two family members were not talking to each other for many months. It so happened that these two members remained in the house and the rest of them had gone to the neighbouring district for a wedding. They were locked down for many days. During that time, healing evolved and they resolved their misunderstandings. Relationships


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communications stop with each other. After fights, we often avoid people with whom we are in conflict. It further creates a devoid in the relationship. Spending time together in the family gives confidence to the person and they experience forgiveness. At the same time, if any member of the family has experienced an unpleasant incident then the family becomes a channel of healing. The person feels that they are not alone. It creates a sense of security. The family time helps the person to release his or her tension by talking to family members. It further helps the person to reconcile or know the problem objectively. Spending time with the family during a conflict situation either within the family or outside the family is always helpful to the person. It brings learning: Spending time in the family is also significant because it helps in the process of human development. It not only helps a person in developing relationships but also it teaches great lessons for life. The parents are able to instill family values, ancestral traditions in their children. The children learn from their parents the dynamics of family management. Most of our children get married. Their parents become the guide for them. As a director of the family apostolate in the diocese, I draw a lot of inspiration from my parents. Their family life has become a living example for me. In some cases, children become the teacher for the parents. Blessed Carlo Acutis from Italy whose life was highlighted in Sangati became the guiding force for his parents. They were not religious, but young Carlo inspired them. I read a news item that said Actor Hritik Roshan was learning music from his child, during the lockdown. Spending time with our family could bring a lot of learning to each other. Plan Your Family Time There could be many more benefits of spending time together in the family but I restricted myself to four of them. However, I



wish to share with you yet another thought i.e. every family should have an action plan. Our thoughts should be put into practice. We need to be aware that spending time with our family is an important priority. It is not done for the sake of doing it. Family time is a quality time. All the members of the family keep aside their work and devote time to their families. The gadgets and mobile are kept aside. At the same time, it does not disturb the routine work such as learning/studies, bedtime, prayer time, official work or business activities. Therefore, it is planned properly with the consultation among the family members. The experts say that, the family time should be at least fortyfive minutes to one hour every day and four to five hours during the weekend. The Activities During the Family Time We can plan many activities during family time. One thing that needs to be always kept in mind is that there is an active participation from all the members. Every member gets equal opportunity to share or participate in the activity. Passive participation will not help the person to grow in the family. For example, watching a movie on the television or in the theatre could be a family activity but it will not help family to come together unless they discuss the subject matter of the movie or share their views on the movie. This could be the case in all the activities. Therefore, every activity should be planned in a such a way that the interest of all the family members are kept and the objectives of the family time is achieved. To name a few family activities to be done together: have family meals, celebrate family occasions such as birthdays, anniversaries, religious festivals, visit a place of worship, pray, go for a walk, play (indoor or outdoor games), visit your children’s friends,

cook, cleaning or gardening, learn new hobbies, go for excursion/picnic/outing, etc. whatever may be the activity see that the objectives of the activity are achieved. The parents evaluate the activities among themselves and plan to improve them. Conclusion Spending time with the family is one of the best activity. It gives greatest pleasure to individual members of the family. The lock down due to COVID 19 has forced us to be indoors. It gave us ample of time to reconnect with our families. Family time is one of the blessings in the trying moments. It has built our relationships, allowed parents to be with their children so that they could learn from one another. It has also brought healing in family brokenness. Let us count on these blessings as we step out of our homes to resume our work. We have invested enough time in our family during the lock down, it will soon produce fruits in days to come. We need to realize the importance of family time as something more precious than money and continue to this practice of being with the loved ones. Stay safe! Stay home! The writer is the director of the Family Commission and the Judicial Vicar in the diocese of Sindhudurg.


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Opening Up to Change A New Way of Living Post-Pandemic Covid-19 took the world by storm – or better, by breath. Life all over the globe came to a grinding halt and people were forced to take refuge in their homes to curb the spread of the virus. The suddenness of the lockdown forced an instant lifestyle change for people of all walks of life. All that was considered ‘normal’ instantaneously was no more. The machine of routine was paused and people were forced to find a new normal within the confines of their homes. The outside became an unsafe and dangerous place. Fear crept in. The unsettling news of the daily astronomical rise in cases kept everyone on their nerves.

For the first time in a long time, the Government pleaded helplessness, of course not verbally but in action, and their helplessness was compensated with the goodwill of the many good Samaritans who came forward to facilitate the distribution of resources and provide access to basic amenities. The term ‘social distancing’ was coined to instant trending status and became not just the watchword of the pandemic but also the defining character of public life. Every aspect of life from something as mundane as standing in a queue to complicated

Stories of struggles to find basic amenities and access basic facilities began to make the rounds. The plight of the migrants and the poor came to the fore. The imposition of lockdown along with serious social distancing measures ensured that the poor were pushed to the edge of existence. Thankfully, many people came forward to contribute their bit to alleviate the pitiful situation.

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procedures like travelling have been qualified and characterized by social distancing. The insistence on social distancing from the part of the Government and the medical sector has ensured that it becomes a lifestyle pattern. Social distancing is destined to be the ‘new normal.’ While some people took to lockdown life with gradual ease, others were itching to return to the mechanical rigour of pre-Covid life. This growing tension put pressure on Governments to lift lockdowns and ease things back to normalcy. But will things ever be normal again? The very notion of what was once considered normal has undergone and will continue to undergo serious change. People are still trying to figure out ways of dealing with life under the present circumstances and are engaged in working out ways of living post-pandemic. A lot of this has to do with lifestyle change. Nearly every aspect of human life is set to undergo a massive transformation. While there will be tangible external change there ought to be serious internal change or else we are headed for more trouble in the immediate future. Education is one field which is severely affected and which desperately has to undergo change in order to remain relevant and feasible. Schools, which have been shut down, have turned to online classes to ensure that the transmission of knowledge continues and that academic progress is unimpeded. While this is a huge external change in the mode of teaching and learning, it doesn’t seem promising unless it is accompanied by an internal change of attitude and commitment on the part of those involved.

never viewed as a necessity, as it is viewed now. Or perhaps it was seen as deficient in something that physical classes offered. Whatever be the case, it is now the new normal and everyone is forced to adapt their lifestyle to accommodate it. If met with resistance then the whole project fails. So if a student does not give time for listening and learning from the online classes and instead simply attends them without personal commitment, their education is incomplete and there is nothing that can be done to remedy it. Teachers are no more personally responsible for the students learning and remain unsure of the students’ comprehension. While there are feedback forums they cannot replace the face-to-face interaction that teacher’s enjoyed in classroom environments. Thus, we see that the onus of learning is now heavily laid on the students shoulders and without an internal change of lifestyle, students are at a risk of turning out poorly educated. This dynamic is applicable to all other spheres of life. The pandemic has changed our style of living and has forced us to adopt new and suitable ways of doing things. The past is behind us. As we look to the future we see that we have to adapt to the times in order to remain safe and to continue doing what is important. External change is bound to take place periodically. During the pandemic, perhaps it came a little too soon and demanded a little too much but that’s how life is – you don’t always get a house; sometimes all you get is stones but it’s up to you whether you want to put those stones together to build a house or wallow in self-pity and live like a pauper. Covid-19 has thrown a lot of things at us. What are we going to do about it?

Online classes is not a novelty. It has been around for years. Then why is it that it was never considered normal? Perhaps it was 56 SANGATI

The writer is the Salesian of Panjim Province doing his theology at Jnana Deepa Vidyapeeth, Pune.

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#LockdownLessons for Life in the ‘New Normal’

The lockdown due to the Corona Pandemic has taken its toll on everyone. Almost everyone is looking forward to the lockdown ending. However, some of the lessons that we have learnt during the lockdown are worth practicing even after the lockdown is lifted. 1. #MeTime During the lockdown most people have started paying greater attention to personal hygiene, physical exercise and development of their skills and talents. Some have taken to meditation, reading and reflection as well. This attention to health, self-growth and introspection is something that should not cease in a post-pandemic world. Building up one’s immunity with a healthy diet, regular exercise and attention to hygiene are useful practices, even in the absence of a pandemic. Eating healthy and tasty homecooked food, and reducing the consumption of fast food, contributes to good health. Regular time-outs to continue working on oneself will go a long way in helping one to keep growing in body, mind and spirit and also, come to a better understanding of oneself.

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2. #ReachingOut Former classmates, childhood buddies, distant cousins and even one’s exes! Many long-lost friends and acquaintances seem to have found an excuse to get in touch and catch up with all that has changed and developed over the last few months, if not years. In many such conversations, close bonds have been re-forged, past hurts forgotten and misunderstandings clarified. Reaching out and maintaining contact with friends and family on a regular basis is often therapeutic and a source of healing in relationships. This lockdown also witnessed people reach out to the homeless, migrants, unemployed and many others who were left vulnerable and on the verge of starvation. The aged and housebound were looked after by neighbours, in the absence of their relatives or domestic helps. The assistance and respect for Covid warriors like health care workers and civil employees, like the police, was commendable. This spirit of appreciation, charity and sense of belonging expressed in the form of care and material help should become a permanent characteristic of our society. It will ensure a sense of gratitude for the privileges one enjoys and the upliftment of the marginalized.



3. #FamilyFirst Usually coming together as a family – even for meals – is very difficult. However, the lockdown not only brought the entire family together, but also forced them to stay in each other’s company for an extended period of time. In addition, ‘work from home’ made it possible for all the members of the family to chip in when it came to household chores like cleaning, cooking and washing. Fun-filled activities together as a family like games, art, cooking and even binge-watching serials made family-time quite enjoyable. The new normal should see families come together more often, especially for a meal. Enjoying some entertainment together will also enhance family bonds. Moreover, helping out regularly in house-hold chores ought to continue even after the lockdown.

4. #EarthCare There has been a noticeable improvement in the environment in major cities across the globe. In many places, animals were found strutting around the streets. The reduction in pollution is largely because of the shutting down of industries and fewer vehicles on the road. However, the consumption of only essential commodities and using resources sparingly have also contributed to a healthier environment. It should not take a lockdown to remind human beings that it’s never too late to do their bit in conserving nature. Little steps to

prevent waste, save natural resources and use non-polluting alternatives are good means to show our care for the environment. 5. #GodConnect Despite the inability to frequent churches during the lockdown, especially during Holy Week, the faithful have been able to participate in liturgical celebrations through digital platforms. Many catholic institutions have made the effort to use technology to reach out to their congregations and provide online pastoral services. Several forums to clarify matters of faith and religion have also gained popularity during the lockdown. Once public celebrations of worship resume, Catholic institutions that have embraced technology and realized its efficiency and effectivity, should continue to provide its devotees with relevant and valuable content. The laity in turn should continue to follow and collaborate with their pastors in communicating the faith. The lockdown has also facilitated family prayer in the form of watching online liturgical services as a family and praying the rosary, especially during the month of May. Continuing to pray together as a family – at least the rosary – along with a little Bible-reading will serve in nourishing the family spiritually. May the #LockdownLessons learnt during the Corona Pandemic in the form of love for self, others, family, nature and God, continue to enrich lives even during the ‘new normal’. The writer is a Salesian of the Mumbai province, working as Asst Director, Tej-Prasarini: Don Bosco Communications, Matunga.


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OPTIMAL LIFE Nandini Cardoso

What COVID teaches us? It began in China, and initially all we did was look at the news and feel bad for the people there. Little did we know that in a month it will hit us and change our lives in such drastic ways. Things have changed so much in the last two months. The way we interact with people, the way we work, the way we shop, travel or eat outside; it has all undergone major changes. And due to this, we have also realised the importance of a lot of things we maybe took for granted before. How Fragile Economy is: When you see people being laid off, getting salary cuts, migrant workers running out of jobs and wanting of one meal, our heart goes out to them. But the way it is, we have realized how utterly fragile the economy is, as how it is entirely unsustainable without the work-force or prolonged lockdowns.

see the truth and don’t take it for granted once we have it back again. Taking Care of Environment is Not That Difficult: Oceans and rivers have cleaned up. Residential areas are seeing the return of wildlife. The quality of air has improved drastically. The ozone layer has started repairing itself. If we really don’t see how important it is, and how we human beings can save the environment if we have to, then all of this was for nothing. We need to be cognizant of this important factor even when the lockdown opens up and we resume our lives.

Importance of Human Interaction for Good Mental Health: Self isolation has also invoked the sense of community in all of us. Not being able to communicate like you used to, no meeting people in office, at bars, at concerts or even gather around for a cup of tea at a roadside tea stall; all of these things that became a part of our ‘mundane lives’ now become so much more important. Hopefully we

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How important water is, and how dangerous the lack of it is: A simple act of washing your hands regularly for 20 seconds at a time has revealed the weak water infrastructure we have, and made the water crisis glaringly obvious to those who didn’t believe it existed. When millions of people in the country can’t have access to clean water to wash their hands in the middle of a pandemic, the alarm bells should be ringing high and loud. Along with doing our bit by saving as much water as we can, we need to educate ourselves about water conservation. We really don’t need much to live: We have lived through a lockdown. The availability of food, water, shelter, communication, medicines and education and entertainment on television & the internet has kept us going. The lockdown has forced us to ask what we really need to live reasonably well. And the answer in most cases is – not too much. While physiological and security needs have been paramount, many have found ways to learn new skills or do things they have always wanted to do but couldn’t make time for. Families and friends have engaged over video calls and many have “met” members of their family more often during the lockdown than they otherwise do!

Despite the lockdown we have discovered that we can satisfy all needs in Maslow’s hierarchy. Many have learnt what really matters to them. Even though places of worship were closed: Every home opened its doors and heart for worship, people began to pray and began to get closer to the God we celebrated the most important feast of Christians, Good Friday and Easter Sunday during lockdown and we felt close to God. We learnt that though we make plans for the future, ultimately life is uncertain and that our plans sometimes don’t go according to what we want and so we need to be accepting and grateful for our blessings. We learnt about courage and bravery and how ordinary people got together to help each other. We saw pain and tears and we learnt that we were united in our suffering and pain. To understand the catastrophic impact of the present pandemic we must also realize that unlike the previous epidemics, this time the human race is countering with such a virus that does not care about prosperity of a nation or bothers about the financial status of an individual. For the first time in the human history this invisible and ubiquitous virus has taught a lesson that whatever power human may have, it could not subjugate every living being of this world. The recent invasion of a virus against human has proved this once again. The writer is a school counsellor. She loves working with young and strives to make a difference in their lives.


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Global Pandemic, Local Learning The novel coronavirus or COVID-19 has caused mass destruction all over the globe. It is truly insane, how an unseen organism has not only taken the lives of many but has also created a traumatizing impact on this generation. The virus that initiated in China took over the whole world as days went by, bringing about extreme changes in our lives and livelihood in a way we could never imagine. Every bad experience has lessons that come along. Apart from all the chaos, it did give us the time to sit back and reflect on what all this pandemic has taught each one of us. The deadly virus has put all our lives on a halt. With the lockdown all over the world and being deprived of living our normal lives, we learned how to value our daily routine and all the simple things we did. We did not appreciate our work, our education, a walk along the beach, shopping, go out and eat, the little meet-ups we had with our friends and family and all the time we spent leisurely outdoors until it had all been taken away from us at an instance. It also taught us how to grab every opportunity we get to do something we love and not save them for the future, and how to live in the present and not take experiences for granted, as everything can just change in a couple of minutes. It also shows us how we do not need all our materialistic pleasures to

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survive and how we can live contently with the few essential things we have by using them wisely. We now realize how we once took each day for granted and failed to thank God for all that He has blessed us with each day. It also brings us closer to God each day, reminding us that it is not us who have authority over our lives and the world but it is God alone who is supreme and can save us and world from something we cannot see. The pandemic has given us the freedom to let us spend quality time with our family, not at a fancy restaurant or a holiday destination, but simply at our homes, the place we once thought would not be a perfect spot to spend a good time. We were often so busy with our work lives; we did not have the time and patience to sit and engage in a conversation with our family. We have been so caught up in doing the work assigned to us and been dug up in our little world, we never had the time to look around at anyone else. With the lockdown, we can now reconnect with lost friends and family, the people that truly matter to us, and once again strengthen the bond we shared. It also taught us how to value people and the time we spend with them in our lives. We often took every outing, or every person-to-person conversation for granted, made excuses to go see someone, or have been occupied with



ourselves or social media even in the presence of others, and now with the quarantine and social distancing, this is what we miss the most, the feeling of being surrounded by people and spending a good time together. It has also given the time to discover and reflect on ourselves physically, mentally, and spiritually. We are now able to explore more of our talents, try new things, and work to be a better version of ourselves. The coronavirus has also developed our relationship and concern for the environment and its well-being. It has made us understand how humans are the cause of the major damage done to the earth. We always believed that we are supreme and have control over everything on this planet and through our selfish actions, overexploited the planet’s resources causing massive harm to the environment. We threatened the wildlife and are responsible for the extinction of several species of organisms. Now, an organism, invisible to the naked eye has been clearing out the human population and has been creating worldwide chaos, reminding and cautioning us about the damage we caused to the environment and that we do not have power over everything on this planet. It displays before us the outcome of our deeds. With all our lives on hold, the level of pollution has been decreased, the land, skies, and oceans are making life better for the creatures once again. The wildlife is at peace with all the animals strolling around fearlessly and birds flying around gracefully, and nature found its way to heal herself while humans were kept locked in their houses. The virus puts before us the strength in unity. We may be of different races, colour, skin, religion, or nationality, but at difficult times like this, the world unites and works together as one. This is where the importance of humanity comes into the picture, that no matter what we rise by lifting and being there

for others. The concern of all the nations has only been the health of its people and the ways to cure the disease and each one of us plays a fundamental role by taking the required care and precaution for not only our safety and health but also for our fellow beings. As days go by, the pandemic will pass, there will be an economic crisis globally but the world will fight it together and will be back to normal with time. It will leave fear in the minds of people. Even after all this is over, each of us must remember the several lessons we learned in this challenging period. We must continue being more responsible and less selfish towards nature and remember we also are a big part of it. We must not forget that is it not wealth that counts but your health and well-being. Above all, be kind towards everyone and keep spreading love and care. People can just be taken away from you and keeping grudges against someone will do you no good. After this ends, let us not forget to continue loving each other and value life. Every individual deserves to be cared about and we can overcome any circumstance if we stand together as one.

Apart from her deep interest in curriculum, Biotechnology, the writer enjoys reading, writing and playing the keyboard.


April - June 2020

EPIPHANY Valerie Carvalho e Abreu

Lockdown Realizations In this fast paced, technologically advanced world, did any of us imagine that one day everything comes to a grinding halt. Nobody in their wildest dream ever thought that a time would come where each one of us would be locked up in your home with each other with nothing to do, nowhere to go, an unappealing uncertainty. But looking at the bright side, Covid 19 has taught us many things, some obvious but chosen to be ignored. As silly as it may sound but Covid 19 has taught us what our parents and primary school teachers have been telling us to do all the time, wash our hands! Yes, basic hygiene measures may seem obvious, but they are important. Believe if you may but since the onset of this virus, health experts have said that the tried and tested method of avoiding getting sick is to maintain basic hygiene. With all the technology and worldly pleasures around us, we failed to prioritize things that

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are most important - “Family�. With everyone’s busy schedule, although we all share the same roof, time was either never sufficient or we would get too busy in our own world failing to even have our meals together. Through this pandemic, we managed to do all that we had been missing and even more. We ate our meal, played various games, watched series, spoke our hearts out and most importantly prayed together! The church and all other places of worship have been closed for their devotees during this lockdown, however, it has restored many family units. From participating in the Eucharistic celebration together to praying the rosary daily, we have made sure to make time for God. This pandemic has compelled us to mask ourselves to be protected from the deadly covid-19. This has definitely made us realize the importance of breathing freely without any hindrance, making us realize the importance



of plants and the environment as a whole. Deforestation must be reduced to maintain the purity level of the atmosphere. Animals have been moving freely all over the place in different parts of the country and the world showing us what we have done in the name of development and what we have taken over - their natural habitat. This has also showed us that the air is much cleaner and the earth green without the interference of human beings. Covid 19 has rotated the lives of our generation, associated with spending more and saving less. The uncertainty of the future have forced us all to pause and review our lifestyle and spending habits. A generation that believed in buy-now-pay-later is suddenly talking about saving for a rainy day! A lesson much needed and well learnt is that everyone should have at least six months of expenses covered. Taking a microscopic look at where money goes and reduce everything that is non-essential is the need of the hour! The one most important topic of curiosity remains for all the working class. Office workers, who most of the time have sweared by the long working hours and working from the office thinking it is productive, have found that it is precisely the things which make it less productive, it’s not the work but lunch in the canteen with colleagues, a chat at one’s work desk are the things they really miss. Most have that work can be completed

remotely and video conferencing has changed the way we work. Not that going to office is bad, but we learnt that channeling our focus is the right way. From doctors working tireless round the clock, saving numerous lives, not caring for their own safety, to farmers making sure that even though the world has stopped, we get our daily bread; from the police officials working countless hours to make sure that law and order is maintained to the local sanitary workers, picking garbage from our houses and off the streets making sure we are comfortable. We have always looked up to super-heroes and movie stars and have imagined them saving us at the time of distress, but, times like these have made us realize that not all superheroes wear capes.

The writer is a faculty at Don Bosco College, Panjim. She enjoys travelling and exploring places and has a passion for food and football. She has played national level tournaments.


April - June 2020

AN OPTIMIST Alisha Souza

Is there a Silver Lining to the COV I D-19 Pandemic? 2019 witnessed many a discovery. From finding an exoplanet with water vapour to obtaining the first image of a black hole in the Messier 87’s Galactic Centre, several breakthroughs were made. But none of them prepared us for the virus that would shake the foundations of the world; impacting lives, economies and political systems, altering life as we knew it. Since the coronavirus was declared a pandemic, the world has been battling with its impact and consequences. After nearly 3-4 months of living amidst the virus, the world is learning to embrace this “new normal.” For the last

few months, people stayed indoors, venturing outside only when absolutely necessary. While many struggled to get used to this new lifestyle; others embraced it, honing and developing skills that they had earlier lacked the time for. So is there a good side to the COVID- 19 pandemic? Perhaps only the optimists would answer with a definite yes. Perhaps not. From the outset, this pandemic has demanded that humans adopt a new way of living - one that limits social interactions, gatherings and the like. While many acclimatized themselves to these changes, others couldn’t. Reports indicate a global rise in mental health issues during this pandemic among young people deprived of the life they were so used to, and among adults faced with uncertain futures. The fact that the world is experiencing something unprecedented cannot be challenged, but there has been

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some good that has come out of it. Nature has bounced back. With motorways clearing and factories temporarily closing, carbon emissions have declined, pollution levels have dropped, waters cleared up, animals are venturing into the open – the near-extinct prospect of a thriving nature has been a sight for sore eyes. But nature isn’t the only thing flourishing. Humans, although initially hesitant, have finally hopped onto the bandwagon. Young folk are learning guitar, ukulele and dance through online tutorials. Many are rising from their shyness and using social media to entertain and connect with others through live singing, virtual dance competitions, online birthday celebrations and more. Every second person is donning the chef’s hat and whipping up a range of delicacies – from pickles to pizzas and cookies. The truth is that like every situation that has been or is yet to come, this pandemic too has its good and bad sides. For those experiencing the latter, try to weather the storm till you see

it through. However, all those who are lucky to be relatively unscathed by this virus, use this time well - bond with your family, recuperate from the overdrive your lives had turned into, and chase that which your heart desires. The world is waiting to bid farewell to this pandemic, but the question remains- when this happens, will we rush back towards what we left behind, only to drown in our selfish oblivion yet again or will we start afresh and tread carefully, remembering that in the midst of all that darkness and fear, beauty emerged. People embraced new hobbies, did things never done before, and explored the multiple capacities that existed within them. I stand with the optimists and hope that when we emerge from this, we will be a better society, thinking not just about ourselves but about humanity as a whole and the world, as our own. The writer is an assistant professor at the Don Bosco College, Panjim, committed to a positive change in the students.


April - June 2020

NATURE WINS Ashford Menezes

Stand Still Nature cried that she is being abused, But that didn’t stop the Corporations from the things they wanted to use. They let our air, water and environment get pale, Nothing really mattered, as long as consumers got their stuff on sale. War torn countries cried stop the killing, But that didn’t stop the Govt’s from their arms and ammunition billing. At the cost of Tax payer’s money, innocents were beset Nothing really mattered, as long as Countries claimed we’re here to reset. Jobseekers cried out, we don’t have work; But that didn’t start the hiring, for bottom lines came first. Try next time, or on another project they said appalling, Nothing really mattered, as long as the ball was rolling. The common man cried, the interest rates are very high But that didn’t stop establishments from hitching the next ride Take or leave it the choice is yours, was the one-sided broach Nothing really mattered, as long as the que was aplenty and easy to approach The Homeless cried, we have nowhere to go; But that didn’t stop the life, as we all seem to be wanting more With hands stretched out, they asked for a penny Nothing really mattered as long as there weren’t many But now the tides have turned, And we know what it is to be burned. We see clear Skies and clean water as the Pollution drops Spending on Health by Governments seems to be at the top.

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Everyone is being thought off like a needy neighbour, Humanity is the only thing, that everyone seems to harbour Beyond Country, Status, Religion or Race This Pandemic called COVID-19 has helped us see our real FACE. Far too long we’ve detested real change, always making it a fuss, But as nature would have it; The world stands still to see the obvious. Writer is a Creative Media Professional with interests in Filmmaking and Anchoring. You can read more of his writings on his blog www.mirroredreflections.in


April - June 2020


From WUHAN to COVID A Pandemic from Death to Life The dawn of 2020 had been bombarded with the spread of a pandemic — the dreaded coronavirus — COVID-19. While coronaviruses have garnered the attention of many for some years now, COVID-19 has been one of the deadliest. The number of deaths it has amassed can be compared to the ‘Domino Effect’. While COVID-19 has had its origins in December in China, the story of COVID has its origins further down the timeline.

It all began With Us Having A Need (WUHAN). Philosophers and theologians throughout history have remarked that we human beings have always been searching for goodness. We have been searching for the truth. We have been searching for beauty. And the search goes on. In philosophical jargon, we could say that we are searching for the ‘transcendentals of being’. As the search went on, and invariably goes on, the goals slowly became muffled and blurred. Inevitably, this distorted search led us to the ‘pangs of death’. However, we did not perceive it as such. Amid the global pandemic, while the world has hibernated with lockdowns in many countries, nature is reviving itself from the ‘pangs of death’. 1. Wants to Needs: Our inclination to fulfil our wants led to the explosion of

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consumerism. However, with lockdowns being issued most of us have learnt the difference between our needs and our wants. Greed was replaced by Necessity. The things that sustain us took precedence over the things that satisfy us and bring us comfort. 2. Destroyers to Caretakers: Since the start of the Industrial Revolution, there has been a snowball effect on our contribution to pollution. Instead of being caretakers and preservers of the environment, we have become pollutants, destroyers and parasites. Yet, due to the global pandemic and our hiatus from the daily circus of life, the environment is undergoing its process of cleansing.

has been spreading its fragrance across continents and borders. The number of crimes has reduced. Hate wars and posts causing community division have also been put on the back-burner. The world seems to be united in the effort to overcome this deadly coronavirus. Reflecting on these highlighted scenarios, we see it funnelling down to one person: Christ. The values of simple living, oneness with nature, peace and charity were handed down to us twenty centuries ago. These values hold special significance. They clear our blurry vision; thus becoming the antidote from the ‘pangs of death’. Ergo, what began with WUHAN ends with COVID: Christ Our Victory In Death.

3. Violence to Peace: Before the spread of the coronavirus, newspapers thrived on publishing news linked to hate, violence and division. However, that has reduced considerably while the coronavirus scare reigned supreme. While many politicians nationally and internationally continue to argue among themselves, peace


The writer is a student of Philosophy at Divyadaan, the Salesian Institute at Nashik.

April - June 2020


Technology Easing Lockdown Blues 2020 began as any other year with the same promises and plans. We never thought that this year would be so different with the unprecedented pandemic of COVID 19 affecting millions of people globally and having a huge impact on our lives. The effects of human to human transmission of COVID-19 were first seen in China following which the virus spread all over Europe and America. The huge loss to life prompted many countries to adopt strict lockdown rules which meant that most people would need to work from home and stay home as much as possible. Although isolation helps in achieving the goal of reducing infections, reduced access to family, friends and other social support systems causes loneliness increasing mental issues like anxiety and depression. In India the lockdown was enforced in March 2020 and as a practising physiotherapist many of the patients and families that I work with were severely affected. The Parkinson’s society support group sessions for people with Parkinson’s were also discontinued due to the lockdown. This caused a lot of difficulties for the people with Parkinson’s and their families.

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Parkinson’s is a neurodegenerative disorder which is progressive in nature and has motor symptoms such as tremors, slowness of movement and stiffness as well as non motor symptoms such as depression, mood disorders, constipation among others. The anxiety caused by the lockdown had an adverse effect on their condition and many complained of increase in symptoms which affected their quality of life. Furthermore the lack of physical exercise and deprived of the joy of meeting their friends at the support groups added to their decline in general wellbeing. Being the coordinator of the Goa chapter of the Parkinson’s disease and Movement Disorder Society we decided that to help our patients we needed to use technology and try to reach out to them. We were able to start online sessions for our patients all over Goa and now have weekend sessions using online platforms such as Zoom, WhatsApp video calls and Google meet. Although there were challenges in getting our patients online, the success achieved in helping patients continue their exercises and the positive feedback from patients and families made the effort worthwhile.



The lockdown also has had a tremendous effect on the healthcare providers in a rehabilitation setup. The requirement of social distancing has changed the way we can treat people. Thanks to technology we are now able to provide teletherapy sessions to our patients so that there is no discontinuation of therapy which is vital to help people with disabilities continue their exercises and improve their quality of life. The access to technology has allowed people to improve skills in their respective fields through online courses as well as webinars. This has helped many people learn new skills in their field so that when they return to work they can continue to be an asset to their institutions. I have been able to access a lot of online sessions and courses on telehealth from all over the world which has now helped me provide a much better online session than I would have been able to otherwise. Besides this there have been online hobby and creative classes to help people cultivate new hobbies and interests which they may not have been able to do otherwise due to lack of time or no available resources. The internet has thus brought the whole world closer and allowed people to have unlimited access to an ocean of knowledge.

As we wait in anticipation for the ease up of the lockdown restrictions we are all grateful for the role of technology and the internet in helping us find a way to carry on our lives, relationships, work while most of us our confined to our homes. The shock to our way of life caused by Covid-19 is with us for the foreseeable future, and there is no doubt that we will need to continue to adapt. Among all the hardships and difficulty there is also an opportunity: to modernise, to address inequalities, and to harness the power of new technologies to advance the greater good. The writer is a Physiotheraphist and an ADMA member in the Salesian Province of Panjim.

Social distancing has also kept families away from each and access to video calls has helped many families stay in touch with each other, chat on messages and sometimes even celebrate birthdays over a video call. More than anything the possibility of listening to online mass has been a tremendous comfort to many Catholics. The comfort of being able to pray and participate in the Holy Eucharist everyday has made it easier to go through the lockdown even though we are unable to receive Holy Communion. 72 SANGATI

April - June 2020

MESSAGE OF RECTOR MAJOR Ángel Fernández Artime

“Dream and Help Others Dream” (Pope Francis to the Salesians) Greetings to all of you, friends of Don Bosco’s charism around the world, or readers who may have chanced upon the Salesian Bulletin - the communication tool that Don Bosco himself founded and loved so much. Today’s greeting bears a message filled with the Family Spirit and expressive of wonderful closeness on the part of the Holy Father, Pope Francis, to the entire Salesian Family, even if it was specifically addressed to us, the Salesians of Don Bosco, at the time when we were holding our General Chapter. The Holy Father, this simple man of God and the most credible leader in the world, who prayed alone in the vast, empty piazza in front of St. Peter’s Basilica on a rainy and cold afternoon, as night was falling on March 27, 2020; this man of God who prayed for all mankind, which has, perhaps as never before, seemed so Promethean[1] as in the present century, while, at the same time, never so fragile as when stricken with a virus that has paralyzed the planet; this man of God who never before had been so alone when praying and, yet, at the same time, never so accompanied; this same man of God, just three weeks prior had

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wanted to be present to our General Chapter via a message that, far from formal, was familiar, purposeful, and challenging for the children of Don Bosco. Among the many significant things that he says to us, Pope Francis ends his message with the following words: “I would like to offer you these words as your ‘Good Night’ – just like those that take place in every Salesian House at the end of the day – inviting you to dream and to dream big – knowing that all the rest will be given to you in addition. Dream of open, fruitful, and evangelizing Houses capable of allowing the Lord to show very many young people His unconditional love and to permit you to enjoy the beauty to which you were called. Dream… not only for yourselves and for the good of the Congregation but for all the young people who are deprived of the strength, light, and comfort found in friendship with Jesus Christ, deprived of a community of faith that includes them, and deprived of a horizon that holds life and its meaning. Dream… and help others dream!” What a beautiful challenge this is for the numerous people who are part of Don Bosco’s



Family and for so many others who feel a great affinity for this saint who lived for young people, for his boys [and for his girls through the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians of whom Don Bosco also dreamed, and founded, together with St. Mary Domenica Mazzarello, to be the “living monument of his gratitude to Our Lady, Help of Christians”.] I am neither remaining silent about nor ignoring the pain people have experienced during this grave crisis that the world is living, the serious health crisis due to the pandemic that has already claimed almost 377,000 lives as I write these words. Neither am I ignoring another very serious crisis: the lack of wages and food for tens of millions in the world, with more than 100 million people having lost their jobs in just two months’ time, some of whom have received some State aid, but the majority who have not and who have no other recourse. Nor do I forget the great suffering of families, of children, and of young adults, especially the poorest who are always the most affected by anything that hits our society, even if it seemingly has nothing directly to do with them. It is precisely because I do not ignore these realities, because I do not look the other way, that I feel a pressing need to make Pope Francis’ words a reality; i.e., to undertake both as a goal and a task to help young people dream, and dream big, because it is possible to dream at the same time as being realistic. Poor young people if, in addition to all that must be done to survive during this time, we kill, annul, or maim their dreams and their desire to do something great and beautiful with their lives. What is left for them if they don’t find real meaning and purpose in their lives – the kind of meaning that motivates and energizes them every morning? I am wondering: Do we adults remember

our own dreams? Do you remember yours? I would like to think we do and that somehow they are coming true. Well then, let’s keep believing during this century in which so many are saying that the “utopias” have come crashing down, that it is possible to have and share visions, ideals, and dreams. Let us continue to believe and to desire that after this pandemic will have finished that our world and our society will not just go back to pick up again where it left off, as though “regaining lost time”. I know there are things that we need to rethink, such as taking very seriously that our common home, planet earth, can “feel better” and “breathe more deeply” because it just returns to us what we give to it: life or stress. I want to dream and hope that we do not give up taking steps in favor of an ever more just society. I want to dream and I pray that the racism that exists in some parts of the world (and which is far more prevalent than we think), is disappearing. I want to dream and wish that we will trust and believe more in our young people and in the generations that will follow us. This is why I make the words of Pope Francis my own, “May I dream and help all those whom I meet dream, too.” May the Good Lord bless you. Don Angel [1] A reference to the Greek mythological figure, Prometheus, who stole fire to give to mankind to enable it to become like gods, with their power. The parallel with today’s mankind is that never before have we tried to play God as we do now – trying to control life and death and all manner of natural realities through the modern “god” of science – and, yet, a microbe has put the entire world on shutdown and man on his knees.


April - June 2020


WORLD NEWS Bangladesh arrests human traffickers after migrants’ murder in Libya

Bangladesh police have arrested more than 50 people accused of extorting money from people on false promises of jobs overseas, in a major crackdown on human trafficking after massacre of 30 migrants. The survivor said that they had paid between $8,000 and $10,000 to the traffickers to reach Europe through Libya. However, as the trafficking gang began torturing them to extort more money, the hostages attacked and killed one of the traffickers. In retaliation, the gang opened fire on them killing 30 and injuring 12. The Libyan government has issued arrest warrants for suspects following the deaths. The Holy See and Pope Francis have been vigorously advocating the rights, dignity and safety of migrants and refugees as the Church accompanies them in all stages of their journey. To this end, the Vatican has a special Migrants and Refugees Section, and the Catholic Church worldwide celebrates its own World Migrant and Refugee Day on the last Sunday of September.

Mozambique’s Prophetic Bishop is no more

He spoke truth to power in Portuguese colonial Mozambique. Inevitably, this brought him into direct conflict with the dreaded colonial police -PIDE, Polícia Internacional e de Defesa do Estado. Manuel Vieira Pinto was probably one of a handful who dared criticise President Samora Michel (sometimes face to face) and actually be listened to by Samora. Arch. Bp. died at a age of 96 at Portugal. He wrote socio-political pastoral letters and defended the rights of Mozambicans. He was the leading voice of an outspoken group of missionaries -priests and nuns who took to heart Pope Paul VI’s encyclical, Populorum Progressio, (1967).

Protect biodiversity, prevent pandemics

On this year’s World Environment Day, celebrated on June 5, the United Nations drew links between the health of the planet and human health, and highlighting the importance of protecting biodiversity, the system that supports life. At a time when one million animal and plant species are believed to be on the verge of extinction, the theme chosen for this year’s World Environment Day was biodiversity.

April - June 2020


U.N. Rights Body Adopts Antiracism Resolution Amid Controversy

The United Nations’ top human rights body has agreed unanimously to commission a U.N. report on what it views as systemic racism and discrimination against black people around the world. But the Human Rights Council declined pressure to single out the United States after the death of George Floyd in U.S. police custody sparked worldwide protests. The Council’s 47 members approved by consensus a revised resolution on discrimination during talks in Geneva, Switzerland. It was presented by African nations for an urgent council debate, following the death of George Floyd, the unarmed black man who recently died in U.S. police custody.

Akhuwat – world’s largest interestfree micro-finance organization

Based in Pakistan, Akhuwat is the largest interest-free microfinance organization in the world based on the Islamic principle of lending. Akhuwat, meaning fraternity in Arabic, has a vision of a poverty-free society based on the principles of compassion and equity. Its mission is to alleviate poverty by empowering socially and economically marginalized segments of society through interest-free microfinance and education. The brain behind Akhuwat is Dr Muhammad Amjad Saqib, its founder and executive director. 75



Don Bosco School Father Peter Gonsalves Makes His Albums Available for Free on YouTube Alaknanda Awarded As Outstanding COVID-19 lockdown School & Teacher begins to ease, of Substance by with Unlock 1.0, the Spirit Delhi Minorities reminds that God Still Commission Loves the

Don Bosco School Alaknanda, New Delhi has been awarded as an ‘Outstanding School, and Saiby Mathew, the Coordinator of the school has been conferred with the ‘Teacher of Substance Award’ by the Delhi Minorities Commission, Government of NCT Delhi. Don Bosco School, Alaknanda, New Delhi is truly a special school. Throughout the history of the school, academic excellence and high achievement levels have consistently placed it among the top schools in the country. A common thread throughout Don Bosco School Alaknanda’s storied past is the enthusiastic management, excellent teaching staff and efficient support personnel. The dedication of the staff, their technical skills and collaboration ensure that the school meets the needs of all the students. The parental and community support has been a constant encouragement, throughout the years.

World and with the Blessed Virgin Mary Mother of the Church, the sons of Don Bosco together with the entire Salesian family, alumni, cooperators, collaborators, and well-wishers can journey on being ‘signs and bearers of God’s love to the young. In order that this may be so, Indian Salesian Father Peter Gonsalves, Dean of the Faculty of Social Communication Sciences of the Salesian Pontifical University [UPS] Rome, and appointed by Pope Francis in 2017 as Consultant to the Vatican Secretariat for Communications, offers 02 of his musical albums: The Peter Gonsalves Collection and The Marian Collection, for ‘free’ on YouTube.

Radio Salesian Darjeeling to Partner UNICEF Sponsored ‘Mission Corona’ in Nepali

Darjeeling Radio Salesian(90.8) - The Voice of the Hills - based out of Salesian College Sonada, has been selected as a partner in raising awareness about COVID-19 in a national project sponsored by UNICEF. Titled ‘Mission Corona’, the 5 month initiative will feature a 25-minute weekly programme in Nepali language that will focus on issues related to the usage of masks, home quarantine, physical distancing, building immune system, and elderly care, among others.

Fr Joshtrom Appointed Head of Laudato Si Year

The Vatican has appointed Indian Salesian Father Joshtrom Kureethadam SDB the coordinator of the Sector on Ecology and Creation. Father Kureethadam is to coordinate plans to materialize the visions of Laudato Si as Pope Francis has announced 24 May 2020 to 24 May 2021 as a special year of the papal encyclical.


April - June 2020


New App “Salesian@ Prayer”launched


Summer Youth Camp at Don Bosco Naples

On June 22, after 105 days, the gates of the Salesian Don Bosco Institute in Naples for young people in the neighborhood finally reopened. The lockdown, however, did not stop the work of the many educators and volunteers of the Salesian Institute who during these months, through social networks and digital platforms, followed young people who often live in difficult family contexts. On June 22, an educational action was restarted through the summer project “The Dream Network”, 4 weeks of activity in 3 time slots with around 300 young people involved.

After 150 years, the gift of the Past Pupils is renewed ... to today’s “Don Bosco”

The new app Salesian@Prayer is available for the download. It contains daily, weekly, monthly, annual and special ocassion Salesian prayers in 8 languages. “Proprio Salesian”- Missal, Lectionary and Liturgy of the Hours will be made available soon on the app and the website sdb.org.

Mr. Michal Hort, President of World Confederation of Past Pupils of Don Bosco with the Rector Major

April - June 2020

Just as Carlo Gastini, expressing the sentiment of all the Past Pupils of the Don Bosco Oratory, donated coffee cups to the Saint of Youth on June 24, 1870, so too yesterday, June 24, 2020, on the 150th anniversary of that tribute, representatives of the Past Pupils of Don Bosco gave Fr Ángel Fernández Artime a set of coffee cups, accompanied by words of sincere gratitude. Vito Gentili, Salesian Past Pupil and collaborator in many Salesian initiatives said on behalf of all the Past Pupils of the world: “The figure of Don Bosco is fascinating and we see you [Fr Artime] as his Successor. We feel your closeness and encouragement towards us. Thank you for the many initiatives to strengthen the Salesian Family, for your dynamism, action, prayer and testimony.” The symbolic rite took place at the end of the Eucharist presided over by the Rector Major in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart. A tribute which, in the best Salesian tradition, is not an end in itself, but has a solidarity value. In fact, the cups were accompanied by coffee from the “DI BOSCo – the Coffee of Past Pupils” project. “A project,” they reminded everyone, “that is not only based on the quality of the coffee produced, but also on the quality of the people who produce it and with whom we collaborate. The ‘Gastini blend’ comes from the collaboration of Past Pupil entrepreneurs from Europe and Asia, thus creating a global project.” In fact, the sale of coffee and cups produced for the anniversary, in a limited edition of 150 copies, will serve to support the educational and social projects of the Past Pupils in America, Africa and Asia. SANGATI





KDS Reaches Out to Migrants on Shramik Trains

DBCE Holds Online Webinar in Engineering Career 2.0

Konkan Development Society (KDS), the province development office of Salesian Panjim province reached out to the migrants travelling on the Shramik Trains to their native states recently. With the lock down still effecting the availability of provisions and the lack of financial support the migrants travelling back to their native states have been facing numerous hardships. Most of them are accommodated in temporary shelters with minimal food and facilities. KDS has been networking with other community service organizations to feed these workers and to help them in their anxious quest to return to their families. Each migrant traveler was given 5 litres of water, toast, biscuits, bread and bhakris with chutney to supplement their food stocks for their journey home.

Don Bosco College of Engineering Fatorda (DBCE) Training and Placement Cell, organized the second online webinar on the topic, Career in Engineering for prospective students and parents of class 10, 11 and 12 on Webex video conferencing platform on June 8, 2020. The objective of the webinar was to help aspiring students to acquire a challenging engineering career in life. Registrations from various cities of Goa successful took part in the session moderated by Prof. Avila Naik and coordinated by Dr. Shreyas Simu.

Don Bosco College of Engineering, Fatorda-Goa (DBCE) department of Electronics and Telecommunication Engineering under the banner of Don Bosco Electronics and Telecommunication Society (DBEATS) in collaboration with InfiCorridor Solutions Pvt. Ltd., Mumbai organized a four days online programme on Aerial Robotics: Designing for Beginners using Autodesk Fusion 360 from June 16 to June 19, 2020. This webinar (web-seminar) series was organized under the capacity building and training initiative of InfiCorridor Solutions for college students. The main objective was to help develop skills among students to design and create Aerial Robotics model by applying the basics of design and systems engineering. The workshop covered topics such as Designing components, Assembling the components to create a model, Basics of Design and Systems Engineering, Rendering and Animating the models and Basics of Simulation using Finite Element Analysis.

Don Bosco College of Engineering, Fatorda (DBCE) together with four other engineering colleges of Goa successfully participated at the webinar on Pre Offer Connect organized by TATA Consultancy Services Ltd (TCS) on June 18, 2020. Around 274 engineering students took part in the programme.

DBCE Holds Webnar on Aerial Robotics


DBCE Participates in TCS Webinar

April - June 2020



DBCA SulcornaGoa NSS Unit holds Relief Aid

Stay home and Stay Safe, keeping in mind the norms of social distancing and taking all required safety measures, Don Bosco College of Agriculture (DBCA), Sulcorna NSS Unit organized its first COVID-19 Relief Aid. Groceries packets prepared by agriculture students were distributed to 43 families in the neighboring villages affected by the pandemic lockdown from May 8, 2020 to May 10, 2020. Teaching and non- teaching staff, MTS along with students contributed to help the people of Goa suffering due to the pandemic. The packets were prepared by NSS volunteers and supplied to underprivileged families in the surrounding villages.

KDS Out Reach to Stranded in Goa

With the last of the Shramik trains leaving the shores of Goa, Konkan Development Society (KDS) has turned its focus on helping stranded families and the under privileged with provisions in this time of Covid crisis through out the month of June, 2020. The pandemic has dealt a huge blow to lives and livelihoods of many in the state of Goa says Fr. Lawrence, executive director of KDS. Konkan Development Society is continuing its distribution of food relief and hygiene products to families who are struggling to come to terms with the new normal. Till date we have had the opportunity to help over 7000 plus families and our staff has spared no effort to see that those who approach us for help are provided with the essentials that they need, he added.

MBBS distributes 145 Food packets to poor in N. Goa

Margaret Bosco Bal Sadan (MBBS) joined the like minded people and groups in the rescue work of distributing food packets to the needy families and individuals of the Corona crisis lockdown in Mapusa, Moira, Canca-Tivim, Paliem, Ucassaim and Nerul from March 29, 2020 onwards. MBBS, a boy’s home for marginalized in the northern part of the Goa state of the Salesian province of Panjim in collaboration with individuals and groups reached out to 145 families with provisions. They also made arrangements to provide hot cooked meals and provisions to over 400 people on a daily basis.

April - June 2020





1. Editorial ... pg 2 2. Love ‘The Other’ - by Fr Cedric Prakash SJ ... pg 3 3. Fundamentalism: The Deadly Virus - by Fr Jason Pinto SDB ... pg 8 4. Spread Love Like a Virus - by Sr Melissa D’Souza FMA ... pg 11 5. The Bicycle Girl of Delhi: The Coronavirus Love Story - by Anthony da Silva SJ ... pg 13 6. Desiring the Good of Others - by Sanket Chauhan SDB ... pg 16 7. The Online Mass: Not the Real thing, But Yet Wonderful - by Vinay Silva ... pg 18 8. Pentecost: The Birth of the Church - by Fr Nelson Lobo OFM Cap ... pg 24 9. God’s Wonderful Gift Called Life - by Sandeep Doifode ... pg 27 10. Life is a Blessing - by Valentine D’Souza ... pg 29 11. The Precious Gift of Life - by Ashford Menezes ... pg 32 12. The Value of Human Touch - by Neil Fernandes SDB ... pg 35 13. Walk with the Lord - by Mashada Vaz ... pg 37 14. An Interview with Godfrey Rodrigues - by Sharlaine Menezes ... pg 39 15. She Knew the Price of Love - by Aliester D’Souza SDB ... pg 41 16. The World after COVID 19 - by Fr Nelson Lobo OFM Cap ... pg 43 17. Lessons from COVID 19 - by Monce C Abraham ... pg 47 18. Resurrecting Family Life - by Fr Alex D’Mello ... pg 51 19. Opening up to Change: A New Way of Living Post-Pandemic - by Ian Pinto SDB ... pg 55 20. #Lockdown Lessons for Life in the ‘New Normal’- by Mylin Noronha SDB ... pg 57 21. What COVID Teaches Us? - by Nandini Cardoso ... pg 59 22. Global Pandemic, Local Learning - by Shannon do Rosario ... pg 61 23. Lockdown Realizations - by Valerie Carvalho e Abreu ... pg 63 24. Is there a Silver Lining to COVID 19 Pandemic? - by Alisha Souza ... pg 65 25. Stand Still - by Ashford Menezes ... pg 67 26. From WUHAN to COVID: A Pandemic from Death to Life - by Ethan Fortes SDB ... pg 69 27. Technology Easing Lockdown Blues - by Joanne D’Souza ... pg 71 28. “Dream and Help Others Dream” - by Ángel Fernández Artime SDB ... pg 73 29. Church World News ... pg 75 30. Salesian South Asia News ... pg 76 31. Salesian World News ... pg 77 32. Salesian Province of Panjim News ... pg 78

Profile for Salesian Bulletin India

Sangati June 2020  

Sangati June 2020  


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