February - 2017 | Volume - 59 | Issue - 02 | â‚¹ 15
PRAYER HABITS Lessons from Jesus Everyday
NEW SALESIAN PRIESTS OF SOUTH ASIA 2017
Names D’LIMA Shaun D’MONTE Ajay LOPES Vishal NORONHA Mylin SHELKE Ajay Mondol Dorpon Beng Michael Minj Anjulus Toppo Nirmal Digal Kumuda Biswakarma Stephen Myrthong Cornelius Jojowar Naresh Sangma Daniel Mallavarapu Anil Aduri chinna Babu Salibindla Sandeep Inna Reddy Gorumuchu Christuraju
Bangalore (Karnataka & Kerala ) (09)
Devikanth Maria Vivek Vijay Martin Thekkepookombil Augutine Marottiyakulam Jose Christudas Benny D’Souza William Kannukettiyil Bince Parecattil Jomy Pananchickal Sojan
Lawrence Susainathan John Christopher Thomas George Savari Vincent Prabu Lourdu Savari Rosario Devadoss Robert Inniyasi Xavier Raj Selvaraj Reagen Jude
New Delhi (06)
Toppo Nirmal Minj Anup Ekka Pratap Kumar Ekka Jai Masih Kujur Sanjit Kumar Beck Abhay
Panjim, Goa (03)
Roshan D’Souza Sandesh Fernandes Milton Fernandes Kharmawlong Clarence Myrthong Carmel Dhar Leeborki Sohshang John D. Cajee Dabitlang Daniel
Irudayam Inbaraj Jaba Martin William Rayappan Dhanaraj Savariraj Francis Xavier Antony Arul Kumar Antonysamy Augustin Arockiasamy Selvakumar Aruldoss Albert Raja Packiam Lourdu Jeyaraj
William Costa Viraj Ranpathi Devage Nadeep Fernando
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Theologate DBYC - JDV Pune DBYC - JDV Pune DBYC - JDV Pune DBYC - JDV Pune DBYC - JDV Pune Sacred Heart Theo. College, Shillong Sacred Heart Theo. College, Shillong Kristu Jyoti College, Bangalore Sacred Heart Theo. College, Shillong Kristu Jyoti College, Bangalore Sacred Heart Theo. College, Shillong Sacred Heart Theo. College, Shillong Sacred Heart Theo. College, Shillong Sacred Heart Theo. College, Shillong Kristu Jyoti, Bangalore Kristu Jyoti, Bangalore Kristu Jyoti, Bangalore Shillong, Meghalaya Kristu Jyoti, Bangalore Kristu Jyoti, Bangalore Kristu Jyoti, Bangalore Shillong, Meghalaya Kristu Jyoti, Bangalore Kristu Jyoti, Bangalore Kristu Jyoti, Bangalore Becchi Don Bosco, Kavarapettai Shillong, Meghalaya Becchi Don Bosco, Kavarapettai The Ratisbonne Monastry, Jerusalem Universita Pontificia Salesiana, Rome Becchi Don Bosco, Kavarapettai Becchi Don Bosco, Kavarapettai Becchi Don Bosco, Kavarapettai Becchi Don Bosco, Kavarapettai Kristu Jyoti, Bangalore Kristu Jyoti, Bangalore Kristu Jyoti, Bangalore Kristu Jyoti, Bangalore Kristu Jyoti, Bangalore Sacred Heart, Shillong Kristu Jyoti, Bangalore Kristu Jyoti, Bangalore Kristu Jyoti, Bangalore Jnana Deepa Vidyapeeth, Pune Kristu Jyoti, Bangalore Ratisbonne, Jerusalem Ratisbonne, Jerusalem Sacred Heart Theologate, Shillong, India UPS, Roma Sacred Heart Theologate, Shillong, India KristuJyoti, Bangalore KristuJyoti, Bangalore KristuJyoti, Bangalore KristuJyoti, Bangalore Becchi Don Bosco, Thiruvallur Becchi Don Bosco, Thiruvallur Becchi Don Bosco, Thiruvallur Becchi Don Bosco, Thiruvallur Becchi Don Bosco, Thiruvallur Sacred Heart Theologate, Shillong, India. Sacred Heart Theologate, Shillong, India. Sacred Heart Theologate, Shillong, India. FEBRUARY 2017
CONTENTS FEBRUARY 2017
Number and News Speak Up Before [being] Dalits, we are Indians. The government should realize it. We want equal treatment. We are not fighting for fame, money or power.” (26 year-old Raja Vemula, the brother of Rohith Vemula, a PhD student at the University of Hyderabad committed suicide on January 17, 2016 after controversies over his Dalit activism on campus)
In America, the number of Catholics connected to parish has risen over the past half-century from to million, while the number of priests has fallen from to . In France, about priests die every year while are ordained. Priest numbers there have fallen from in to about . In Brazil priests serve Catholics.
59,000 38,000 800 100
29,000 1995 15,000 18,000 140 million
Photo of the Month Atri Kar, a school teacher from Hoogly’s Tribeni District is the First Transgender from West Bengal to appear for the Civil Services Exam. After her requests to include ‘OTHER’ category did not elicit any response from West Bengal Public Service Commission, Atri decided to take a legal recourse and the State Administrative Tribunal has decided the case in her favour.
Social Media: Twitter Source: Pope Francis On the Wall: Peace is an “active virtue”, one that calls for the engagement and cooperation of each individual and society as a whole. Posted on: 17 January 2017 As on: 24 January 2017 Likes: 23,032 Shares: 8,533 Comments: 414 Chosen Comment: @Pontifex We are Christ’s body in this broken world. It is to us to be his hands to carry and his feet to set free. It is for us to forgive. (Joshua Welbaum)
IN THIS ISSUE
The Message of the Rector Major
Formation Is Lifelong By Ivo Coelho SDB
Youth – Faith – Growth By Antony Christy Sdb
PRAYER HABITS: Five Lessons from Jesus Everyday By John Alexander SDB
Dowry: A Grotesque Evil Of False Prestige By Sr. D.J. Margaret FMA
Let them come to me Children
The Salesian Bulletin
- a family magazine
Editorial Editorial Lord, save us from Indifference
Editor A. Raj Mariasusai sdb News Editor [Salesian & Church News] A.J. Frank sdb Correspondent David Mariaselvam sdb Designers A. Paul Victor S. Veera Circulation: Gnana Amala Infenta J. Office Assistant: I. Vinoth Kumar Editorial Board Joe Andrew sdb / Joe Mannath sdb Agilan sdb / Joaquim Fernandes sdb Advisory Board Maria Arokiam Kanaga - President SPCSA K.M. Jose - President Salesian Publishing Society / Xavier Packiam - Financial Advisor / Godfrey D'Souza Nirmol Gomes / Nestor Guria Vattathara Thomas / Thathi Reddy Joyce Mathew / Jose Mathew / Felix Fernandes George Maliekal / Albert Johnson Joseph Almeida Editorial Office The Salesian Bulletin, Bosco Illam 2nd Floor 26/17 Ranganathan Avenue, Sylvan Lodge Colony, Kellys, Chennai - 600 010 Phone : 044 - 26451991 Kindly Send your Subscriptions & Donations M.O/D.D/Cheque in favour of Don Bosco - Salesian Bulletin A/c No : 0138053000021812 IFSC : SIBL0000138 Branch : 0138 Kellys Branch, Chennai Office : email@example.com Editor : firstname.lastname@example.org thesalesianbulletin Fallow & Like us on Facebook @dbbulletin
The Publisher or the Editor is not held responsible for the views expressed by writers in this magazine. They do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Salesian Bulletin. All disputes are under the juridiction of Chennai Courts only. The Salesian Bulletin
In many of my seminar sessions, the answer invariably I get for defining ‘indifference’ is ‘not being passionate’. But I always tell them that it is anathema to bring in ‘passion’ to describe ‘indifference’. Indifference is just ‘not being’ and full stop. One of my favourite author, Holocaust survivor and Nobel Laureate, Elie Wiesel during his speech at White House as part of the Millennium Lecture Series in 1999 hosted by President Bill Clinton and First Lady Hillary Clinton, defined indifference in the light of his experience as a holocaust survivor and the result of reflecting on it in many of his books. What is indifference? Etymologically, the word means “no difference.” “A strange and unnatural state in which the lines blur between light and darkness, dusk and dawn, crime and punishment, cruelty and compassion, good and evil.” His explanation of indifference exposes the ugly face of indifference. The ‘indifference’ that I am concerned is that one that is lacking interest or enthusiasm in things. Indifference makes neither like nor dislike something. This status of ‘not being’ is seductive and one gives into being vegetative. Discussing it, in his “The Perils of Indifference” Elie Wiesel opines that it “is more dangerous than anger and hatred.” It is never creative. Even anger and hatred elicit a response but not indifference. Indifference is like cancer. It easily overpowers one’s body and soul. In its very nature, like cancer, hard to fight but it can be overcome. It is not merely a fight but a battle. God’s people were plagued with indifference. Book of Jeremiah is replete with such indifferences. Jeremiah 37:2 “But neither he nor his servants nor the people of the land listened to the words of the Lord which he spoke through Jeremiah the Prophet.” We read similar in Ezekiel 3:7, Zechariah 1:4, when Judah was captivity, and the people act as if nothing is happening around. We read in Lamentations 1:12, “Is it nothing to you, all you who pass by? Look around and see.” In Jesus’ words we hear it in Matthew 13:15, “For the heart of this people has become dull, with their ears they scarcely hear, and they have closed their eyes, otherwise they would see with their eyes, hear with their ears and understand with their heart and return, and I would heal them.” We understand from Jesus’ words that indifference is a serious illness that needs healing of ears, eyes and heart. We cannot be slothful in zeal but fervent in spirit (cf. Romans 12:11). Jesus calls the ‘slothful’/ ‘indifferent’ servant in his parable (Matthew 25:26) as ‘wicked’ and such indifference is evil and seriously a sin. Overcoming indifference or apathy is not an option but an obligation. Lord, save us from our indifference to people, places, events and situations. Only the Lord can save us from cancerous indifference by shadowing us with His grace. Let us treasure passion and zeal. Passion and zeal are Godly. They fuel our lives.
A. Raj Mariasusai SDB Published by M. Arockia Raj on behalf of Salesian Publishing Society, Bosco illam 2nd Floor, No. 26/17 Ranganathan Avenue Sylvan Lodge Colony, Kellys, Chennai - 600010. and Printed by Fr. Harris SDB at Salesian Institute of Graphic Arts No.49, Taylor's Road, Chennai - 600010 / Editor: M. Arockia Raj
January - 2017 | Volume - 59 | Issue - 01 | ₹ 15
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Quality Pastoral Leadership
I am very heartily touched to read this month’s ‘The Salesian Bulletin’ (December 2016). But at the same time, I am shocked to hear the devastation caused by the Cyclone on 11.12.2016. We prayed in our Family Prayer for the speedy recovery of citizens of Chennai. I am very touched by ‘Zen Master’s Mercy to a Robber’ explained briefly about the Divine Mercy & Compassion of the Lord is very fitting tribute that too in this year of Jubilee of our Father’s Mercy. Also Rev. Fr. Rector Major’s Christmas Message & Christmas as Epiphany are very delighting. My congrats to you and to the Bulletin Team. I wish you and all your dear and near ones and the Salesian Bulletin Readers a Bright Prosperous New Year 2017. Sreedhar A. A Vijayawada, A. P The 10 Q interview of Fr. David Mariaselvam has brought out many generally, unknown facets of the interviewed. It is not easy to present so briefly an interview with lots of interesting information. The answers of Fr. Antony Joseph are simple and inspiring. Leema Roseline Goa The cover story on ‘Quality Pastoral Leadership’ is a need of the time. The leadership deficit is felt more and more with the emergence of new social issues. Though the pastors are generally good people, their leadership is failing due to ego and failure in participatory nature. The writer has elegantly put forth his arguments to enlighten and empower the pastors. Annie Silvanus Nashik, Maharashtra
Thanks for sending my copy of The Salesian Bulletin of January 2017 issue with excellent content as usual. B.P.Pereira Madurai, TN
Congrats on your editorial on Brokenness in Pastoral Leadership. It prevents us from being self-admirers. By the way, I would like to point out that the evangelist Matthew whom you quote in the editorial is spelt as Matthew, not Mathew. This is a rather widespread spelling mistake of which many are not aware. It is not that Mathew is a wrong spelling but that it is not that of the evangelist and apostle Matthew. Any English bible would give the spelling as Matthew, not Mathew. I am particularly alert on this matter since he is my dear patron and also because of my general interest in correct spellings. Matthew Adukanil sdb Sagayathottam, Tamil Nadu
Your editorial on ‘Brokenness is Blessedness in Pastoral Leadership’ is enlightening. I fully agree with your views. Pray that all pastors value their brokenness to realize the strength that God gives them benevolently. Sr. Tamilarasi fma Vellore, Tamil Nadu I wish the upcoming Don Bosco Youth Film Festival of India a grand success. Salesians are always known for their innovation and creative way of reaching out to the young people. This definitely one great way. You are touching the hearts of the youth. The publicity advertisement, the theme and the article on curtain raiser are perfect way to make it big. Celine Immaculate Secunderabad CORRIGENDUM Letters to the Editor, Page 5, January 2017 – The letter written congratulating Fr. Cedric Bout had the name of Fr. Lazer Arasu, Bombo, Uganda instead of Laura Shahani, Chennai. We regret the mistake.
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FAMILIES NEVER GO OUT OF STYLE
Our family has been the most precious resource we have had in life. It was truly a cradle of life in which we felt loved, cared for, protected, and accompanied so that we can manage on our own in life.
y dear friends, readers of the Salesian Bulletin, friend of Don Bosco and his works throughout the world, and my dear Salesian Family: I greet you with all cordiality, wishing you the best in 2017, the new year that the Lord have given us as a gift.
Prompted by the beginning of a new year, and faithful to a tradition that comes down to us from Don Bosco himself, the Rector Major offers a strenna for the upcoming year. It is first delivered to the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians and, with them, to the entire Salesian Family around the world. This year’s theme, in keeping with Pope Francis’s apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia, is on the family -- all families worldwide -- and has as its slogan: “We Are Family: Every Home, a School of Life and Love.” Precisely this slogan and all that I have written as a commentary on it permits me to greet you with this reflection in which, with all sincerity, I state that families never go out of style: they are always “in fashion” in every age, for they are vital and essential in the lives of all people, in all ages, and in all cultures. Numerous studies and research reveal this. And I wish to confirm this, too, by referring to the experience that each one of us, each one of you who is reading this, has had. We must recognize The Salesian Bulletin
that, far beyond the limitations of our own families -- our real, “flesh and blood,” imperfect families – this notwithstanding, generally speaking, our family has been the most precious resource we have had in life; it was what led many of you to form your own family, following your lay vocation. It was truly a cradle of life in which we felt loved, cared for, protected, and accompanied so that we can manage on our own in life. It has been, and continues to be, for many of us, the place where we receive affection and where we replenish our energies and the “life space” that gives us serenity and creates personal harmony. While writing this letter to the Salesian Family around the world, I felt in my heart that I should expound upon what the very Son of God, Jesus of Nazareth, did: He had not only a mother chosen by God but also a family in which to be loved and cared for; a family in which He lived and learned many things, just as happens with us. Ultimately, He “learned how to be human.” And I also thought about Don Bosco. He himself narrated to us what living without a father from less than two years of age entailed - certainly having a family but feeling like an orphan, even with the gift of an exceptional mother like Mama Margaret. Mary Domenica Mazzarello (Maín) also came to mind. She lived in a religious context FEBRUARY 2017
on a farm, very similar to that of Don Bosco, but different in that her infancy, adolescence, and young adulthood were lived entirely in her native town of Mornese and in the bosom of a numerous family that had the protection of both father and mother There are many other life and family stories I could share with you.
My travels around the world have helped me see how important the family and families are, with their cultural and ethnic diversity, and how truly essential and fundamental they still are in all societies, as the first and common school of humanity.
Together with this, I invite you, dear readers, as Pope Francis has done, to take very seriously the value of and contact with families, for they are the house and the home for every boy and girl. It is here that one learns the fundamental value of love and of the affection that upholds and which parents give to their children. It is in the family that one teaches and learns the arts of dialogue, communication, and understanding, in living together day by day, with encounters and disagreements, and what life itself is like. It is also in the family that one experiences limitations, but also the most precious and essential of values: love, faith, freedom, respect, justice, work, honesty, etc., putting their roots into everyone’s life. There are yet other things that are not so much in fashion these days but which, with great reason, ought to exist in families, for they are significant. It should be the family that educates to temperance and moderation and that teaches that a word pledged has great value, and that committing oneself to something or someone shows the quality and dignity of the person. It is the family – or it ought to be the family – that offers the great gift of passing on the Faith. And so, in answer to Pope Francis’s strong appeal, what can we do to support the families and FEBRUARY 2017
their children whom we meet on a daily basis in our educational presences around the world? We can:
• place our bets decidedly on accompanying,
to the extent that they need and want us to, the journey that many of those families who are known to us are making;
• help families educate and grow through affection and the heart;
• be a “home open” to them where they know and feel that they will always be well-received;
• accompany the young who have a dream for their life plan and for matrimony;
• be fearless in proposing human, moral, and
spiritual values to our young people and their families for, certainly, they desire and need these more than they can say;
• foster in the families of the young people under our care, the sense of joy in loving.
• help, through this awareness, to eradicate every type of discrimination against girls and women wherever we encounter them;
• maintain always an attitude of empathy and
be ever ready to grasp the sometimes difficult realities in which many of the families around us are living; and
• return, decidedly, again and again, to the authentic family atmosphere of Valdocco that Don Bosco so desired.
I hope that we will able to go forward to make some of these things happen. May the Family of Nazareth help us, as Pope Francis asks in his prayer: “Holy Family of Nazareth,
make us once more mindful
of the sacredness and inviolability of the family, and its beauty in God’s plan.” 7
The Salesian Bulletin
YOUTH – FAITH – GROWTH
YOUTH ICON FROM THE BIBLE
Moses - he was drawn from the water, as his name suggests. While all the Hebrew newborn males were gone, one boy remained! He grew up in the palace of the very king who wanted to have him killed along with the rest of the male children. He was a bold young man when he killed a man from the dominant class, the ruling class of the society but went scot-free. He was a frightened young man when he ran away becoming aware that his act of having killed an Egyptian were not anymore a secret. After all these events of peculiar nature, Moses realises he had been chosen all the while and specially cared for. He was saved alive from the water and he would soon walk the people to life across the waters! He was provided for at the palace and he would soon become the instrument of God’s providence to the people of Israel. He questioned the injustice meted out to a Hebrew and soon he would challenge even the Pharaoh for the same. What Moses should be doing as God’s chosen prophet or God’s chosen leader, was already revealed to him while he was still a young man.
Moses refused to be intimidated by the hegemony of the ruling class, though he was given a pseudo-identity as belonging to that class. May be we need to give the due credit to the mother of Moses, who would have nurtured him with the right understanding right from the early age. The credit that goes to Moses is his readiness to be taught, his conscientious life and his courage to stand up against the unjust system, when it mattered the most. Moses was not anymore a youngster when he was chosen to be the leader, but all the signs of that leadership was already seen when he was a young man.
ICON 4 : MOSES
And you my dear friend...
• do you feel that you are special in the eyes of the Lord? What are those experiences that make you feel so? • are you able to make the presence of God work for your good and for the good of those around you, even in circumstances that may not be apparently growth giving.
ENCOUNTERING THE WORD MADE FLESH: Jesus Christ, the Son of God (Questions 71-112) We are still in the first section, I BELIEVE but we enter into the second chapter: I believe in Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ the Son of God and Saviour is the earliest of the revelations that built up the Church. It is interesting to note in the Early Christian Ages when Christianity was still a persecuted sect, people used the symbol of the fish (which they called the Fish of Life) to secretly signify Christ. Even today we have the tradition of using the symbol of fish in the liturgical ambient. This was so because the Greek word for fish spelt ICHTHYS and pronounced Ichthus, was an acronym for Iesus CHristus THeuos hYuos Soter (Jesus Christ, The Salesian Bulletin
Son of God and Saviour). The name Jesus itself means ‘God saves’ and Christ means ‘Messiah’ or ‘the anointed one’. We take our name from Christ, as we are called ‘Christians’ and we believe that Jesus Christ was at the same time man and God, as divinity and humanity are united without division or confusion in his single personality. This is the mystery of Incarnation. We need to beware of misunderstanding or misrepresenting Jesus as merely a man, or as God appearing to be man or as two different persons within Jesus, one divine and one human - all of these are heresies, incomplete and incorrect understanding of Jesus, the Son of God. Jesus Christ is truly and fully God and truly and fully man at one and the same time. • How do you relate to Jesus Christ in your experience? FEBRUARY 2017
ANTONY CHRISTY SDB
KNOW YOUR CHURCH: Who is the most important person in the Church? Do you feel like saying the Holy Father? Or the Bishops or the Teachers of the Word? None of this would be right answer, because the most important person in the Church is You. When we speak of the Holy Father, the Bishops, the priests and categories as such, we are referring to what is known as ‘the hierarchy’! Hierarchy in a social or corporate system is a protocol where one is more important or more respected than another. Within the Church, hierarchy is not about who is more important or who is more respected - but it is about the role that is played. Some in the Church
UNIQUE AND INFINITELY VALUABLE (Questions 47-60) - The Human Persons: Are they so very important, and why? What is the Social Doctrine of the Church fundamentally based on? What is the need of a society? Why should a person be just towards another in a society? Human persons are Imago Dei that is the human beings bear the image and likeness of God and they have the gift of communicating and relating to God. No person can be by himself or herself. We grow in interdependence. Family is the primordial cell of every society and in a family man and woman possess same dignity and grow in complementarity. Human being is at the same time material and spiritual, and is capable of transcendence as a specific and unique capability. Hence a just society should respect and promote the dignity of the human person, ruling out any form of exploitation and instrumentalisation for FEBRUARY 2017
have an indispensable role to play - they are namely, the Bishops, the Priests and the Deacons as they form what is called the Ministerial Priesthood. I can hear you gasping - what about the Holy Father? The Holy Father, as the Bishop of Rome, has a crucial place in the hierarchy and an additional role among the Bishops as a brother among brothers who ensures the unity of the One Universal Church. However this hierarchy does not make them in anyway a step higher than the rest of the Church - the religious men and women and the laity, who form the majority that is called the Royal Priesthood. Everyone is equally important and each one has a unique role to fulfill. The Church is the People of God and that definition says it all.
any reason whatsoever - political or social or economic or any other. God created human beings in God’s own image and therefore there are no fundamental differences in human persons in their dignity, sex, nationality, religion or the colour of the skin! Freedom is a fundamental value that a human person is endowed with - Freedom from (the external freedom from control); Freedom To (the possibility to make choices); Freedom For (inner freedom to choose good on one’s own). God who in the depths of one’s inner life is communion and relationship by free choice. - How mindful are you about the fact that you are unique and infinitely valuable, because you are made of God’s image and likeness? 9
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DAVID MARIA SELVAM SDB
(Fr. David Mariaselvam interviews Fr. Jose SDB, the New Provincial of Salesian Province of Chennai (INM). Fr. K. M. Jose has been a shining example of simplicity and friendliness.) 1. Did you ever expect that one day you would be a provincial? Even in my wildest dreams, I never expected to be a provincial.
2. How was your experience as the Vice Provincial? Even as a vice provincial I was surprised at the choice but I enjoyed doing my ministry as I enjoyed the trust of the provincial and I had freedom. When the Provincial asked me to continue for the second term, I declined and withdrew from leadership, as I thought it was not meant for me.
3. What made you to accept this call? It took four days for me to accept this ministry and the Rector Major wanted me to take up. I was preaching a retreat then, I felt a push from the Lord which was strong. My spiritual renewal that took place in the Renewal centre and my life of prayer, actually gave me the courage to say this â€˜Yesâ€™.
4. What will be the areas of focus? Religious identity, happy community living and the mission directed towards the poor will be my areas of focus.
5. What is background?
I did my Bachelors in Physics at Sacred Heart College Tirupattur, I did my MA in Psychology and my Masters in Youth ministry and Counseling at Fordham University in the US.
6. Will youth ministry be a special area during your tenure? I think that our youth ministry department is doing a good job. I will The Salesian Bulletin
continue to strengthen it and move forward. I will focus also on holistic formation of both young people and the salesians.
7. What is going to be your unique contribution for the unity of confreres? Once the religious identity is achieved, we will start looking at the other as the child of God which will eventually help us to live a better community life.
8. What are you passionate about? Right from the time of my ordination I was interested in conducting workshops for the youth and various other groups. I am passionate about the animating presence and various other animation programmes.
9. What are your previous experiences that would serve as a platform for leadership at Province level? I was Rector in Citadel for 8 years, 2 years in Broadway, 6 years in Sacred Heart College and I am currently the Rector in Don Bosco Renewal Center Banglore. As you see, I have been formed in different fields.
10. Can you share a little about your vocation? I was an uncontrollable character when I was a boy, and it was Fr. Philip Thayil SDB who invited me to join the Salesians. Four of us from our region went for the vocation camp and two of us who were very naughty got selected. I joined the aspirantate in Tirupattur and I got attracted to the Salesian way of life and remained as a Salesian. And am here in Tamil Nadu almost close to five decades. FEBRUARY 2017
SR. D.J. MARGARET FMA
DOWRY: A GROTESQUE EVIL OF “FALSE PRESTIGE AND FALSE PRIDE”
ny young man who makes dowry a condition for marriage discredits his education and his country and dishonours womanhood. Young men who soil their fingers with such ill-gotten gold should be excommunicated from society.” Mahatma Gandhi Dowry system is the worst curse of the Indian society. Differences in social composition, in terms of caste, class, ethnicity, region, religion, and culture, reveal the hard truth of dowry wherein the sacred affair of marriage is destroyed and it is turned to a business deal. It is really heartbreaking that in a progressive world of today, the evil of dowry continues to exist in all its ghastly forms. The richer the family of the bridegroom the higher is their demand. As a result many homes are broken, several families are driven to ruin, and numerous girls remain unmarried only because they are too poor to afford a rich dowry. Dowry, which was at one time a token of love and affection, has become a cause of oppression, discrimination, and exploitation of the worst order. Dowry as a false prestige and pride does not only affect the individual victims, the brides, but the entire social fabric. Many parents have to sell all their property to get their daughters married. Again, if the parents fail to pay the dowry at the time of marriage or after marriage, the brides have to suffer inhuman torture in their husband’s houses. As a result, some of these newly-wed brides commit suicide, some are put to death and some are compelled to file divorce suits. The dreadful burden of dowry (a one-way gift) not only mars the joyous traditions of marriage, but on several occasions a woman is tortured, slighted, humiliated and spurned in cases of bride-burning for no fault of hers. One woman dies every hour due to dowry related reasons. Fearing that her new born daughter would suffer the same fate, she kills her daughter and burns herself to death. Thus the dowry (false prestige and pride) has become a vicious evil.
The primary reason behind the dowry system is the existence of a patriarchal society. The dowry system has imposed an invisible chain upon the freedom, self-respect and the dignity of women and continues to haunt them since time immemorial. The legislative measures taken against the dowry system aren’t enough to bring a revolution. In order to root out the evil of dowry from society, we shall have to build up a strong public opinion against it. Only when women themselves rise against the ignominy of dowry, will society be forced to change its attitude toward them. Ensuring employment opportunities for women and making education feasible seems to be the first step to ensure annihilation of the dowry system from society. Women need to learn and educate others about the ill-effects of it. It can be achieved by providing equal rights to both genders. Altering the mindset of the masses, and making them realize that a girl child is an entity, not a liability is the long-term solution to the issue.
It is everyone’s moral duty, social obligation and legal right to fight the dowry system. If there is a desire to put an end to the dowry system, individuals should start taking the initiative themselves. The lofty expenditure of the marriage ceremony must be cut down. The practice of mass marriage should be encouraged for the sake of economy. Boys and girls in schools and colleges should be made to take a pledge that they would neither seek nor give dowry. They should be educated through films, television plays and talks, camps, lectures and radio talks... Women’s organizations, voluntary associations, the intelligentsia, political and religious leaders, and people of good will have to express their serious concern for finding legal and reformative remedies to curb the menace of this social evil. Only then, would there be a ‘dowry free’ and developed country. 11
The Salesian Bulletin
MEDIA MATTERS C. M. PAUL
Polyglot priest With the motto “communicate or perish” T.J. Francis may be the only person in India who has translated the New Testament in three different languages which are not his mother tongue.
he myriad of tribal dialects in northeast India has intimidated even hard core missionaries from mastering any local language. That was not to be with young Salesian missionary T.J. Francis who decided that he would master the language of the people wherever he was posted. That decision was made almost 40 years ago. Northeast India squeezed between independent nations of Bhutan, Bangladesh, China, Myanmar and Nepal comprises the contiguous Seven Sister States (Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, and Tripura), and the Himalayan state of Sikkim.
About 8% of India’s size, the region has a population approximately 40 million (2011 census), and 3.1% of the total Indian population. Northeast India constitutes a single linguistic region with about 220 languages in multiple language families (Indo-European, Sino-Tibetan, Tai–Kadai, Austro-Asiatic) that share common structural features.
It is in this context of Babel that Governor of Meghalaya & Arunachal Pradesh honoured Fr Francis working among Adi people of Arunchal Pradesh at Mebo for his outstanding contribution in developing tribal languages and literature at an award giving ceremony for “North East India Award on Peace, Social Work, Youth & Education and Tribal Literature 2016” held 10 December at Christ International School, Nongsder, Umiam in Meghalaya.
The citation reads, “In recognition of his great contributions for the development of tribal languages of the North-East, we confer upon him “the NORTH EAST INDIA TRIBAL LITERATURE AWARD 2016. His story is inspiring as he committed his time and talents to develop many native languages of the region by contributing to The Salesian Bulletin
the literary development of the North East in a unique manner.”
The award consisted of a citation and prize money of Rs 25,000. Last year’s award was conferred on his teacher, late Prof. Fr. Silvlanus SDB of Sacred Heart College, Shillong.
Among 20 odd original publications of Fr Francis in tribal dialects include several grammar books in Wancho and Rongmei (both first ever) and an Anglo-Rongmei-Rongmei-Anglo Dictionary, also a first ever.
Fr Francis also has translated parts of the Bible in Rongmei, Wancho and Nyishi and written over 200 hymns in these languages. Currently Fr Francis has completed a prayer book and a hymn book in Adi (Teyong ke Bedang) which is ready for publication.
Born in Kerala on 7th January 1959 Francis Thottathimyalil Joseph (T.J) joined Salesian aspirantate at Don Bosco Vaduthala in Ernakulam Kerala in 1971 and opted for Assam missions and reached Shillong where he completed PreUniversity degree with distinction and joined the novitiate in 1977. After his first profession on 24th May 1978 Francis went to Salesian College Sonada, FEBRUARY 2017
Darjeeling to pursue Philosophical studies and complete BA honours. While there, he learnt the first northeastern language Nepali and even acted in some Nepali dramas at Sunday youth centres.
After a teaching stint at St. Anthony’s College Shillong and Savio Juniorate Mawlai Francis completed Theological studies (B.Th) in Sacred Heart College Shillong where he mastered local Khasi language in few months and was able to preach retreats in as far flung places as Sohrra in Khasi Hills during his MTh (Master of Theology) days.
As he was mastering theology the seeds of few Arunachal languages like Nyishi, Wancho was sown when he visited Arunachal Pradesh during Christmas and Easter holidays. After Master of Theology (MTh) studies Fr Francis was assigned to Don Bosco Tamenglong in Manipur where none of the missionaries then had mastered Rongmei, a very difficult tonal language. In six months Fr. Francis learnt the language and preached his fist homily and then went on to write the first ever Rongmei Grammar, as well as the first ever Rongmei Dictionary (Rongmei-Anglo, Anglo-Rongmei). Recalling difficulties he faced in mastering Rongmei language Fr Francis says, “the greatest challenge I faced yet was the Old Testament in Rongmei (the Deutro-Canonical Books) - “Intang makmei buk chanei.”
He wrote also the “Holy Week” services in Rongmei, “Jubilee Kang” a hymnal and several novena books while working among the Rongmei people for 7 years. Fr Francis could also celebrate the Eucharist for people in Langmei and Zemei languages.
While in Manipur’s Tamenglong and Khoupum Valley Fr Francis found time also to complete MA degree in English literature as well as studying sufficient Manipuri to communicate and preside over Eucharistic celebration in Manipuri language. In 1995, Fr Francis went back to Arunachal Pradesh at Palin where he had 159 villages covering three districts of West Arunachal Pradesh. His earlier knowledge of Nyishi was perfected and he translated the Gospels “Tugung Pui” in 1999 (a first ever) book in Nyishi, (N.T. Gospels,)
wrote a hymn book “Jubilee Yale”, prayer book, and translated the “Holy Week” (Derubo Hapta) in Nyishi ”in spite of his busy schedules.
Fr Francis stayed among the Nishis for 7 years till 2001 contributing first books in Nyshi literature so much so that a student from Rajiv Gandhi University, Itanagar did a research paper on that first book “Tugung Pui” in 2016.
From Arunachal Fr Francis was transferred to Tamenglong in Manipur as Rector and Principal of Don Bosco School where again he contributed much to the literature by starting and editing a monthly magazine called “Parish Khuan”, and 3 other Magazines on social and developmental issues in Rongmei, Zemei, and Liangmei”
In 2003 Fr Francis was transferred to Kohima in Nagaland where he learnt the basics of Angami language and was able to pronounce correctly this difficult language and tried especially using the local language in liturgy.
In 2004, he was transferred to Arunachal Pradesh to a mission at Mintong where he translated The New Testament in Wancho and released it in 2014 While working as assistant parish priest he learnt Wancho language in two years time wrote Wancho Grammar and “Rangting Lam” hymnal.
He also gave Wancho language a script (Roman), a grammar and syntax and wrote all the prayers and hymns which they now use in Church. “Rangting Lam” which means way to Heaven is the hymnal in its new form which has 250 hymns and prayers which was released along with four Gospels (“Amaikia Ka:ho) and “Hochau Hat –tham” (Holy Week Liturgy) in Wancho. Transferred to Maram in Manipur as the Rector and Principal of Don Bosco Higher Secondary School Fr Francis learnt to preach in Maram and wrote several hymns in Maram language which people still use. Bishop P.K. George made Fr Francis parish priest of Longding in the Wancho Mission during which he completed single handed the translation of New Testament in Wancho language. Fr Francis says, “a priest who does not communicate in the languages of the people is hardly effective.” 13
The Salesian Bulletin
NALLAYAN PANCRAS SDB
BROTHER JULIAN SANTI PIONEER, GURU AND INSPIRER
have fond memories of the years I spent with Brother Julian Santi, both as a student of Tipografia and later as a staff member. I always looked at him as a “living Don Bosco” since he came from Colle Don Bosco - Becchi. With much trust and friendship we grew up as Salesians, and I looked at him as my model and guide. After some years of my formation and experience here in Italy, I was lucky again to work with him in the same community. I cherished his fraternal presence and guidance. I understood that he is an extraordinary salesian brother who cares for the poor and abandoned youth. He is a true son of Don Bosco and a faithful servant of our Lord Jesus Christ. To foster virtue, knowledge and art to the youth, he has been dedicating his whole life in Chennai, TamiI Nadu. In 1947, the young Julian found himself at Colle Don Bosco, the magnificent Institute of Graphic Arts. This became his alma mater and the setting of all that he was to achieve later in his life.
Here at the Colle, he experienced a profound spirit of family. There was a growing sense of harmony, mutual understanding, serenity, joy, enthusiasm and love. This inspired him with a great desire to become part of the family of Don Bosco. This was indeed a call from God and Julian Santi accepted it gratefully. He made his first profession on 16th August 1952. The Divine call did not end just there. In the same year, he arrived in Madras (Chennai) to work in St. Joseph’s Technical School at Basin Bridge.
Brother Julian Santi
The Salesian Bulletin
He has been working day and night knocking on the doors of generous benefactors. His genuine spirit of work for the poor was blessed by God and money started coming. Every letter was replied on the very day it was received, like Don Bosco, who would say “Thank you” to anyone who did him a favour and the favour continued.
Brother Santi soon realized that money to educate his poor boys was not all, when the machines they were being trained on, totally outdated. Like the Creator of the Universe, Brother Santi also said, “let us have a Printing Press, with the newest and latest machines in printing technology, train our boys and equip them to learn and earn better. He now turns to his friends and benefactors. They responded in a very positive way. These friends and benefactors were really not from the affluent, but people who worked hard for their living. His own family got involved. They, in turn, worked from their homes to reach out to his entire village to contribute generously to his appeal.
Brother Santi made several visits to Italy. He looked for every possible means to talk about his poor children of Madras and find personal sponsors for every poor child. Further with every visit, he brought new printing machines to SIGA (Salesian Insititute of Graphic Arts). He saw the poor children with the eyes of his heart. For his tireless work to enhance the printing press, in 2007 he was awarded the Johannes Gutenberg Award by the Chennai Association of Printers. This did not make him feel elated in any way, and as he put it, “everything reflects the goodness of God and the cooperation he received from his benefactors and the community.” After 53 years at the helm, he handed the baton on 24th May 2010 to the younger generation of Salesians. He is remembered by everyone with gratitude, love and affection as the PIONEER & PATRON of SIGA. His simplicity, frugality in daily life, his hard work, the convinced religious life of witness and faithful reflection of Don Bosco are a vivid manifestation of committed salesian life.
Almost all the past pupils would boast that their hero of SIGA is Brother Santi, and for many, he was their Guru, mentor, friend and guide. Even when he could hardly speak a word in Tamil, he taught them composing and binding. He was a loving friend. He did get angry when mistakes were made, but then work went on as usual. He never kept anything in his heart, but he continued to love them as before. They grew along with him and enjoyed his loving friendship. If they were FEBRUARY 2017
out on a picnic, he showed his love by sharing the meals of his workers. If they sat at a table, he sat along with them and enjoyed their company. This revived their spirits and desire to work better. He never failed to visit the workshop nearly every hour, to guide, direct and encourage the staff and the students. He is rather timid and shy and never looks for any appreciation or laurels. The sight of the poor and their pain would be a great suffering for him. During the admission time, he used to affirm boldly to the other Salesians, that the only criteria for admitting the boys were that they should be very poor. He often remarked that SIGA should shelter all those poor boys who have nobody. He is a man of the community. Today, even at 84 he is regular for all the religious duties and is always present for all community moments.
Through his contacts, family and friends, he offers educational scholarships to more than 500 students every year, almost all from very poor socio-economic backgrounds. He has adopted several rural villages and given life to the mission. All that SIGA is today is solely due to the hard work of Brother Santi. The recent monument for his poor boys is a four-storied building with excellent hostel facilities.
I can proudly acclaim, that this institution is bearing witness to the spirit and charism of Don Bosco. His life is his message. His simplicity, deep commitment, care and concern are for the growth and future of the poor boys in SIGA. One of the past pupils when asked with the question of whom he liked most – Don Bosco or Santi, the boy replied that he liked Santi the most, as he saw Don Bosco in him. His life has been a wonderful tribute to Don Bosco.
Asked about his dreams for the future, he would humbly say, “I am in the sunset of my life, and I have found a lot of joy and satisfaction working for the poor boys. I would like to give my last breath here in India, and I hope that the good Lord, will welcome me into his kingdom, with the reward of the faithful servant.” Brother Santi is a legend, hats off to the Santi family and to Castello di Godego that has given us this wonderful person. His life continues to be a blessing and inspiration to many. 15
The Salesian Bulletin
IVO COELHO SDB
FORMATION IS LIFE LONG
young Salesian used to tell the story of the Salesian priest who was boasting of his 25 years of experience. Immediately another confrere corrected him: he has one year of experience repeated 25 times. It is not enough to have experience – we have to learn from it, and only then we become “experienced” or wise. This distinction between “experiences” and “experience” is, interestingly, at the very heart of the two chapters of our Constitutions on formation. In article 98, there occurs the little phrase “learning by experience”: the Salesian learns by experience the meaning of the Salesian vocation.
When we keep in mind, further, that such learning is done in the light of faith and the Salesian charism – article 98 begins, in fact, by speaking of Jesus and Don Bosco – we realize that we are really talking of discernment. Article 119, in fact, makes a lovely synthesis when it speaks of the Salesian learning to discern the voice of the Spirit in the events of daily life – whether good or bad, happy or difficult. Such discernment is the core of “ongoing formation” or “lifelong formation.” The two chapters of our Constitutions on formation The Salesian Bulletin
were written from the point of view of ongoing formation, as The Project of Life of the Salesians of Don Bosco informs us. Fr Pascual Chavez, in fact, gave a talk to the novice masters with the title “Ongoing Formation as the Guide and Orientation of Initial Formation.” This is interesting to keep in mind: it is not initial formation that orients ongoing formation, but the other way round. Ongoing formation is the “mother idea” of formation. When our Constitutions use the word “formation,” they mean, precisely, “ongoing formation” – that formation that lasts all our life, and is our daily response to the call of God (C 96). God’s call, far from being an event in the past, is a daily, ongoing reality, and our response to that call is naturally therefore also something that is ongoing. Every day God calls us, and every day we are invited to respond to his call – and in that response is the core of ongoing formation. All the little and big things we do in the name of ongoing formation are really only aids to this fundamental attitude, the attitude of discerning what it is that God is calling us to do every day, and the willingness to obey with joy. What then of initial formation? It is the time when we teach and learn to live life in an attitude of discernment. Among the core skills to be
learnt would be mindfulness or attentiveness to our experience, and processing of experience. When we speak of mindfulness, Tony De Mello immediately comes to mind: tony who insisted so much on slowing down, learning to really see a leaf, a tree, to enjoy a sunset. It is delightful to see Pope Francis now speaking of the “pastoral look” and the importance of “serene attentiveness,” and inviting us to learn to dwell before the mystery of the other who is our burning bush, holy ground before whom we learn to take off our sandals. As for processing, it is the difference between telling people what to do and helping them to stay with their experience in order to unpack it and discover its roots. In our culture, elders, teachers and formators easily tend to intervene authoritatively. Surely there is place for such interventions, but if we want to reach the heart we need to learn other skills. When a young Salesian asks permission to accept an expensive gift, perhaps the latest cellphone, one way is to simply say No. The other way is to sit with him and work through the situation – which is neither easy nor always comfortable, but the royal road to the heart, to the level of convictions, motivations and attitudes. FEBRUARY 2017
Such mindfulness and processing can be done in the context of the friendly chat or spiritual accompaniment. It can certainly be done in small groups. I think it would be the core reality of the pastoral accompaniment that GC27 is asking us to work out with our young Salesians. The experience that is being processed could be anything, the whole of life: prayer, relationships, community life, ministry, health; personal history, family, the ups and downs of life; how we feel about ourselves, our bodies, our sexuality, our gifts and our lack of them; the good as well as the bad, the evil, the sinful. And the aim is to help a person learn to do this by himself – learning by experience the values of the Salesian vocation, learning to discern the voice of the Spirit in the events of daily life. We have to learn to think of formation not so much as an adjective but as a predicate. Not “lifelong formation,” but “formation is lifelong.” A simple linguistic change that encapsulates a change of mentality. A little attitude that makes all the difference. 17
The Salesian Bulletin
Court acquits accused in Indian nun rape case Church officials in India are upset over the acquittal of two people accused of gang raping a Catholic nun and are awaiting a response from the Chhattisgarh state government before taking further legal action. A fast-track court in the eastern Indian state acquitted 19-year-old Dinesh Dhurv and 25-year-old Jitendra Pathak on Jan. 5. The men were accused of raping a 48-year-old Catholic nun in a church-run health care center in the state’s capital of Raipur on June 20, 2015. The court said investigators had failed to provide enough evidence to establish the crime.
Sri Lankans seek justice for murdered Tamil priest Sri Lankan human rights activists have called on the government to renew investigations into the killing of a Catholic priest and activist by the military in 1985. Father Mary Bastian, an ethnic Tamil, was shot and killed at Our Lady of St. Anne’s Church in Vankalai during the earlier stages of the three decades long civil war.
Chinese Catholics Upset - Fast Over Eucharist Desecration
Card. Patrick D’Rozario, Archbishop of Dhaka is urging his faithful to seek out families in need to help them. “Go and seek out the homes of Christians that are the farthest from your parishes and visit them. Bring the joy of the Gospel to these families. Their members need closeness and spiritual advice,” Bangladesh’s first cardinal told 50 priests, 20 nuns and 30 lay Catholics at a ceremony at the Archbishop’s Residence
Catholics at a parish in eastern China fasted on Jan. 2 as reparation for the desecration of the eucharist by a member of the congregation during Mass on Christmas Eve. The incident took place at St. Michael’s Cathedral in Qingdao Diocese in Shandong province.A man ran up to the altar and broke the eucharist into pieces after receiving communion during Mass. Catholics present immediately removed him but his act has upset many Catholics.
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Catholics in Kerala observed New Year Day as a day of prayer for the release of Salesian Priest Thomas Uzhunnalil, a native of this southern Indian state, who was kidnapped in Yemen past March. Christians expressed solidarity with the abducted priest by taking part in Masses and special prayers organized by parishes across the state in response to a call by the All Kerala Catholic Congress, a political arm of Christians in the state.
Card. D’Rozario tells Bangladesh priests and religious to visit more families
Indians pray for priest kidnapped in Yemen
Missing priest in Mexico found dead
Cardinal O’Malley appointed to Vatican office for Doctrine of the Faith On 14th January, Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston has been appointed as the newest member of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. He is already a member of the Pope’s Council of Cardinals and President of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors.
Persecution of Christians has risen for the fourth straight year
Global persecution of Christians has risen for the fourth year in a row and is on a “rapid rise” in Asia, the advocacy group Open Doors UK warned on 11th January in its annual report on Christian persecution. For the 16th consecutive year, Communist dictatorship North Korea was determined to be the “worst place on earth for Christians”. All top 10 countries with the worst persecution of Christians are in Asia and Africa. Somalia ranks second on the list, followed by Afghanistan, Pakistan, the Sudan, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Yemen, and Eritrea.
First Filipino to lead a US diocese will take reins in Salt Lake City
On 10th January, the Vatican announced the appointment of Filipino-born Bishop Oscar A. Solis 63, currently an auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, as the new head of the Diocese of Salt Lake City. He will be the 10th bishop of the Diocese and the first Filipino to head a U.S. diocese. FEBRUARY 2017
The body of Father Joaquín Hernández Sifuentes, a priest belonging to the diocese of Saltillo, in northern Mexico who had been missing since Jan. 3, was found on Jan. 12th in Parras de la Fuente, a town 90 miles west of Saltillo. Two persons have reportedly been detained in connection with the murder. Drug trafficking, has led to increased murder and kidnapping in Mexico. In the last four years, 16 priests in the country have been murdered.
Pope Francis Meets Palestinian President in Vatican
P a l e s t i n i a n President Mahmoud Abbas visited the Vatican on 14th January, before inaugurating his country’s new embassy to the Holy See, where he met with Pope Francis for a discussion focused largely on peace efforts in the Middle East. The president was in Rome to inaugurate the new Palestinian embassy to the Holy See, just one year after the Holy See-Palestine agreement, signed May 13, 2015, took effect and made official the Holy See’s recognition of the State of Palestine.
Oldest Dominican Nun celebrated her 110th birthday
Sister Marie Bernadette, who lives in Dax monastery, in France’s NouvelleAquitaine region, is not only the oldest sister in the order but she will also set a historic record of 90 years of religious profession this April 18th. At the Dax monastery, the Dominican sisters lead a life of prayer, contemplation, and they also do sewing and make pastries for income. 19
The Salesian Bulletin
MATTHEW ADUKANIL SDB
THE DEATH OF HUMOUR Humour punctures absurdities, Caprice and eccentricities But it could be a double edged sword Spurting both laughter and lash back.
Truth, sanity and rationality Huddle behind locked doors Must bow to mafias, militants and mobs Switch to silent mode before religious hot heads. Preceptors, film producers, editors beware Don’t announce the emperor naked Satirists you are an endangered species You dig your own grave if you are cheeky. You evolved from quadruped simian ancestors An erect biped with a sense of humour Begetter of Mark Twains, Charlie Chaplins Molieres, Birbals and Laxmans. You were savagely shot dead in Paris Issued fatwas world wide by mullas Whisked away from literary festivals This planet is no safe habitat for you. ‘An eye for an eye Leaves the whole world blind.’ ‘If someone forces you to go one mile Go two miles with him.’ Such were the teachings of world’s greats The likes of Gandhiji, Jesus and Buddha Insults and taunts bounced off them Like repelled rain drops on duck back. But humour must self-impose a line of control And defer to sensitive spiritual protocol Lampooning, mocking sublime divinity Offends propriety, decency and dignity. The Salesian Bulletin
CHARITY BEDS Poor Get Access to Beds at Private Hospitals
A Delhi-based organisation, Charity Beds helps the city’s poor get access to beds reserved for the Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) in private hospitals. Over 600 beds in Delhi’s private hospitals are available for the poor, daily. And they remain unoccupied due to lack of awareness. Established five years ago by Kapil Chopra, President of the Oberoi Group, Charity Beds has been working relentlessly as a bridge between society’s economically weaker sections who are in need of medical care, and private hospitals possessing the resources required to do the same. Between 1999 and 2005, the Delhi government granted land to 43 private hospitals with a condition that a percentage of total beds in each hospital were to be set-aside for the poor. In the years that followed, very few private hospitals complied with the policy. In 2011, the Supreme Court intervened and directed the hospitals to reserve 25% of their out-patient department and 10 per cent of the beds for economically weaker sections.
An Engineer Working Hard to Set up a Public Library
Meet Surya Sen Singh, a 31-year-old Mumbai resident who is working day and night to fulfil his duties towards his roots – his village in Uttar Pradesh. His mission? To make sure every child in rural UP gets the chance he/she deserves. For 31-year-old Surya Sen Singh, this was a crisis way too close to home and not one to be ignored. In fact, it is still the reality of his birthplace – Kansaharia, a village located about 100 FEBRUARY 2017
FIFA WORLD CUP to be ‘The best live football India has ever seen’
In a few months, India will witness its biggest ever football event. The Under-17 Fifa World Cup is scheduled to begin on October 6. Six Indian cities, namely Kolkata, Kochi, New Delhi, Navi Mumbai, Guwahati and Margao, will play hosts to what could be a game-changer for the beautiful game in India. It will be the first time an Indian team will play at a football World Cup said the tournament Director Javier Ceppi. In a statement Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged the nation to rally behind FIFA U-17 World Cup 2017.
PRIVATE PUBLIC LIBRARY km away from Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh. Being one of the lucky kids in the village who could move to Lucknow for higher studies after Class 10, Surya went on to become an engineer and is currently working in Mumbai. But the boy who left still has his heart in the village. Whatever he did in life, Surya always knew that giving back to his community and its children is his duty. And he has been trying to fulfil it for over a year now. While Surya started the school using his own money, he is now raising funds to equip the library with the required resources. 21
The Salesian Bulletin
MARIA AROKIAM KANAGA SDB
as you never heard before...
The Last and
the First W
hen Jesus went for a banquet that a Pharisee laid out, he saw several people jostling for the first places, near the chief guest and the host. He grabbed the occasion to advise them that taking the prominent places could lead to shame while taking the last place could lead one to honour. God did that every time, he reasoned. Everyone heard him, but no one took him seriously. In fact some took offence and others ridiculed him. The lust to be first was ingrained in people that they would brazenly do it, the Kingdom heaven be damned. In the kingdom of men, what mattered was prominence and power! The next week another leading Scribe had invited this popular, though troublesome preacher from Nazareth, for a banquet in his honour. Publicity was his aim. Jesus knew this, but poor The Salesian Bulletin
as he was, he rarely refused invitations for a good meal. When he arrived in the Scribeâ€™s house with his disciples, there was a grand commotion. People were pushing, shoving and elbowing each other to capture the best places in the banquet hall.
The host was standing at the entrance waiting for the chief guest. This time he offered water for the feet, sprinkled perfumed oil on his head and gave him the traditional welcome kiss. The hall was sumptuously decorated. The V.I.P. table was at the centre of the hall, prominent and well lit. Jesus had a quick look at the small crowd of pompously dressed guests trying to get close. Then he glanced at the end of the hall, where there were mere benches and the lesser children of God were there. They were actually uninvited, but hungry gate crashers. FEBRUARY 2017
Jesus clearly saw that last week’s warning – that the first will be last and the last will be first – had not minimally gone home. But the Kingdom of heaven had to be right. It could not be habitually proven wrong by human behaviour. So Jesus turned around, to the consternation of the host and his family and all the other prominent invitees, and walked solemnly towards the end of the hall. The poor in that section were wondering what was happening, and were practically hiding their faces to avoid being thrown out. He went to the last bench, and sat there in the midst of the publicans, prostitutes and shepherds. The protests of the host were of no avail. He reluctantly followed Jesus and stood nearby. The servants therefore had to change direction and serve that table first, to the quiet glee of the poor. Jesus put his hands out in a gesture of explanation. “I could not find another way of proving that the last shall be first and the first shall be last!” He looked around quietly and his poor and humble friends, now honoured by his presence. “In the kingdom of men, the powerful always Lord it over the poor. But God has his own way of turning the tables and proving his point. He puts down the mighty and raises up the lowly. He leaves his throne and takes his place among them. And that makes them the most privileged in the Kingdom.
Thus I tell you solemnly once again that the first will be last, and the last, first!”
This message was so central and fundamental to Christian vision of God, that the first Christian communities created virtually a hymn of how Jesus himself followed this path. “Make your own the mind of Christ,” St. Paul wrote to the Philippians (Phil 2: 5-11) and then quoted this famous hymn, which is a masterly summary of all Christian theology: “(Christ Jesus), being in the form of God, did not count equality with God, something to be grasped,
But he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, becoming as human beings are; And being in every way like a human being, he was humbler yet, even to accepting death, death on a cross. And for this God raised him high, and gave him the name which is above all other names; So that all beings in the heavens, on earth and in the underworld, should bend the knee at the name of Jesus And every tongue should acknowledge Jesus Christ as Lord to the Glory of God the Father.”
The Salesian Bulletin
Sad Demise of Father Chipfukho Salew Thomas SDB
Don Bosco Silchar Shines at 5th National Kuo Shu Championship Kuo Shu is a traditional form of Chinese Martial Art also known as Kung Fu. The students of Don Bosco Evening School, Silchar who represented the state of Assam in the 5th National Kuo Shu Championship at TVS Palace, Bengaluru won two gold medals, three silver medals and one bronze medal.
A letter on behalf of the cause of martyrdom of Akash Bashir, Salesian past pupil
On January 6 Fr. Francis Gulzar who is the pastor of St. John’s Church and the vicar general of the archdiocese has sent a letter to Archbishop Francis Shaw, OFM, “to request formally that the official process be undertaken to declare Akash Bashir a MARTYR, in recognition of his sacrifice on behalf of his community, the parish of Youhannabad.” Akash Bashir was a young Salesian past pupil who sacrificed his life to prevent a massacre of the faithful gathered in St. John’s Catholic Church on March 15, 2015.
Sad Demise of Brother Dennis Cutinha SDB
Brother Dennis Cutinha, aged 72 belonging to The Salesian Province of Chennai passed The Salesian Bulletin
away on 4 January 2017 at Dominic Savio, Tirupattur. He was a Salesian for thirty three years. The funeral services took place on 5th January, at Don Bosco, Tirupattur.
Father Chipfukho Salew Thomas SDB of Dimapur Province expired on 10th January, 2017 at CMC Hospital, Imphal, Manipur. His funeral service was held at Salesian College, Dimapur on 12th January, 2017.
The State of Gujarat honours Don Bosco The Chief Minister of Gujarat, Hon. Vijay Rupani, and the Deputy Minister, Nitin Patel, awarded the Don Bosco school in Chhotaudepur an honorary certificate and a scholarship for its contribution to sports in Gujarat state. In a competition organized by the State Government, students of Don Bosco School won the gold medal in various sports.
Great Indian Missionary passes away in Eastern Africa
Father Thomas Punchekunnel SDB, an Indian missionary and a great pioneer and builder of Salesian East Africa for 36 years died in Kenya on 4th January 2017 due to cardiac arrest. He was 69years old. He worked in India as a priest for five years, before joining the Salesian Missionary Expedition in 1980.
Inaugration of the Pastoral Communication Course KJC, Bangalore The Pastoral Communication Course, first of its kind in Asia, started at Kristu Jyoti College, Bangalore with 30 participants from India and abroad on January 7, 2017. The duration of the course is for three months, integrated with theory and practice. The course was inaugurated with the lighting of 50 lamps digitally by the participants to mark the occasion of the Golden Jubilee of Kristu Jyoti College.
Cause of the Servant of God Francesco Convertini On 10 January 2017, the Ordinary Session of Cardinals and Bishops members of the Congregation of the Causes of Saints, a positive opinion was expressed, with all affirmative votes, concerning the fame of holiness and the heroic virtues of the Servant of God Francesco Convertini, Salesian missionary in Bengal. He was born in Locorotondo (Bari) on 29 August 1898 and set out from Genoa to India after receiving the Missionary Crucifix from the hands of Blessed Fr Philip Rinaldi. He died in Krishnagar, India, on 11 February 1976.
Salesian World Pray for the Liberation of Fr Tom
Under the invitation of the Rector Major, Fr Ángel Fernández Artime sdb, the Salesian Congregation and the members of the Salesian Family joined together in every part of the world and prayed the novena to Mary Help of Christians from 15 to 23 January for the liberation of Fr Thomas Uzhunnalil SDB, who was kidnapped in Yemen last March. This initiative was proposed by the Association of Mary Help of Christians (ADMA) of Turin.
Appointment of new Provincial of Ireland and Malta.
The Rector Major Fr Angel Fernández Artime, with the consent of his Council, FEBRUARY 2017
appointed Fr Eunan McDonnell to succeed Fr Michael Casey as Provincial of the Salesian Province of St Patrick (Ireland and Malta), for the six-year period 20172023.
Election of the Superior General of the Institute of the Daughters of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary Sr. Miryam Fabiola García, has been elected as the 18th Superior General of the Institute of the Daughters of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary. This institute was founded by a Salesian missionary priest, Fr Louis Variara, to care for the leprosy patients. This was the first Institute to officially become part of the Salesian Family. Currently, the Institute has about 400 members offering their pastoral service in 12 countries.
Parliamentarians in Argentina Want Laura Vicuña Declared A Saint.
A group of Argentine members of parliament are calling on Pope Francis to hasten the canonization of Blessed Laura Vicuña, as patroness of refugees and women who suffer violence. Blessed Laura Vicuña was born on 5 April 1891 in Santiago, Chile, and died on 22 January 1904 in Junin de los Andes, Argentina, before she turned 13 years of age. The Chilean-Argentine girl was beatified by Pope St John Paul II on 3 September 1988, and her feast day is celebrated on 22 January. 25
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Father Damien on his deathbed
Fr. Damien (now St. Damien)
hristmas was near and the parish school children were putting on a Nativity play. The director of the show urged the children “don’t worry if you do not get the words exactly right, just put your heart into the performance.” The night of the play arrived and the children were all excited. A little boy was playing the innkeeper. When Joseph asked for a room, the boy replied “There is no room in the inn.” Then thinking of the director’s instruction he called out, “Joseph, wait, there is no room in the inn but you can have mine!” From Jesus we learn that it is not enough to give but we have to give ourselves to those who need us. In the Gospel we see the various degrees of giving. The Father gave us His best – His own Son! As I had written in the first article of this series - the most celebrated verse in the Bible speaks about the joy of divine ‘giving’. “For this is how God loved the world: he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.” (John 3: 16). God is defined as love and hence love is also about giving. The ultimate type of giving also includes self with that giving. Self-giving is the highest form of giving. That is the reason why Jesus said: “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (Jn. 15: 13)
In the gospels we see a variety of models of giving. A rich young man came to Jesus wanting The Salesian Bulletin
to attain eternal life. And Jesus asked him to observe the commandments and in particular the commandments related to loving his neighbour. The young man proudly declared that he was practising all these commandments. Jesus looked into his eyes and told him: “If you wish to be perfect, go sell your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” When the young man heard this word, he went away grieving, for he had many possessions. (Mt. 19: 16—22). And Jesus was also sad. Jesus loved this young man and wanted him to give himself. Then we have the story of Zacchaeus . He was the chief tax collector, a man hated by the Jews and a rich man (and most probably a lot of that money came through cheating others). He meets Jesus and he is converted and immediately. He was willing to give half of his possession and to pay back those whom he had cheated.
We then have the incident of the poor widow giving away all that she had. The best part of this incident is that what Jesus said. “this poor widow has put more in than all who have contributed to the treasury; for they have all put in money they could spare, but she in her poverty has put in everything she possessed, all she had to live on” (Mk 12, 43-44). The rich people who put in large sums were not giving of themselves, only from their FEBRUARY 2017
JOE ANDREW SDB
SELF-GIVING AT THE HEART OF SANCTITY excess. It did not pain them to give. In other words their generosity, despite the large sum, is seen as superficial whereas the widow’s generosity is seen as genuine and true. Her gesture was not glaring, but the Lord sees in the heart and recognises the most beautiful reality of the faith: total gift of self, or, the most perfect imitation of Divine life. God does not give superfluously, as the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI, recalled at the beginning of his pontificate: “He takes nothing away, and he gives you everything. When we give ourselves to him, we receive a hundredfold in return. Yes, open, open wide the doors to Christ - and you will find true life.” (Benedict XVI, homily 24 April 2005). The next level is the way Christ gave. His generosity knew no bounds. St. Paul, in his Letter to the Philippians, reminds us: “Though he was in the form of God, did not deem equality with God something to be grasped. Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found human in appearance, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross.” (Philippians 2:6-8). This is total self-giving. The cross is the symbol of total self-giving.
The life of Fr. Damien (now St. Damien) is a great example of how one should live Christ’s total self-giving. Fr. Damien, now St. Damien was born in Belgium in 1840. After a retreat he decided to join the Fathers of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary and took the name Damien. He was sent on a mission to the Hawaiian Islands in 1864 and ordained a priest in Honolulu that same year. On the island of Molokai the Hawaiian government had set up a leper settlement in 1858. It was known as a living graveyard because there was no cure for the disease. Once people contracted the disease they were taken to the island by force and never again saw their family. There was no food brought to the island either, these poor sick FEBRUARY 2017
lepers were supposed to fend for themselves even though as the disease progressed one lost nearly all one’s fingers and toes. In 1873 at his own request and with the permission of the bishop Fr. Damien decided to minister in Molokai as their resident priest. Fr. Damien knew that having served on the island he would never be allowed to leave the island due to the contagious nature of the disease. From the 600 lepers there at that time there was often more than one funeral every day. For a long time Fr. Damien was the only one to help them. Not only did he help them spiritually but in every other way also. He dressed their ulcers, helped them to erect cottages and he built many buildings himself; he dug the lepers’ graves and made their coffins. Fr. Damien was a thorn in the side of the government constantly begging on behalf of the lepers. Instead of funerals being a sad occasion on the island, Fr. Damien turned them into a happy occasion with processions, torchbearers, music, bands and choirs. Fr. Damien taught the people their value in the eyes of God. Then when people came to the island they were given a royal welcome. In 1885, twelve years after he first began to minister on the island he noticed the first symptoms of the disease as he no longer felt hot water on his feet. He continued to help for as long as he could but he died three years later in 1888. Pope John Paul II beatified him on 4th June 1995 saying, “he showed forth Christ’s tenderness and mercy for every human being, revealing the beauty of that person’s inner self which no illness, no deformity, no weakness can totally disfigure. He offered the lepers, who were condemned to a slow death [his very life]...; he became a leper among the lepers; he became a leper for the lepers. He suffered and died like them, believing that he would rise again in Christ, for Christ is Lord.” May we enjoy the power and joy of giving! 27
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PRAYER HABITS JOHN ALEXANDER SDB
Five Lessons from Jesus Everyday
Fr. John Alexander is the Rector and Correspondent, Don Bosco Mat. Hr. Sec. School and Don Bosco School of Excellence, Egmore, Chennai. He is the author of Jesus Everyday: Christian Living in Our Times, Published by the New Leader Publications, 2017. Excerpts from his book exclusively written for ‘the Salesian Bulletin’. “Prayer is not asking. Prayer is putting oneself in the hands of God, at His disposition, and listening to His voice in the depth of our hearts.” ST. MOTHER TERESA
“The function of prayer is not to influence God, but rather to change the nature of the one who prays.” SOREN KIERKEGAARD
alking about prayer is not easy. This is not merely because prayer is so indefinable, and before it, we feel inadequate and small. It is mainly because prayer is a relationship with God, with more richness than any of the deepest human relationships can offer. When the disciples asked Jesus, “Lord, teach us to pray” (Luke 11:1), he did not respond, “Sorry, I can’t – it’s just indefinable and unexplainable.” Rather, He taught them a set of words, a simple prayer – The Lord’s Prayer that contains prayers of adoration, praise, petition, thanksgiving and forgiveness. Jesus, the wise Master of prayer could do so because He appreciated a unique communion with the Father. Moreover, as St. Paul tells us, prayer is a divine gift, not merely a human effort: “Likewise the Spirit The Salesian Bulletin
helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words” (Rom 8:26). We therefore learn to pray only by praying more and more, with the help of the Holy Spirit. 1. Communion and Communication
Prayer is a communion and communication with God. It is simply spending time, communicating personally, intimately with someone we love. God has created us, loves and sustains us. Prayer is our response of love and gratitude. It is similar to falling in love with another human person. When we were first attracted to the person, there was a great need and desire to be with that person. We had a lot to speak and share. We wanted to know all about our beloved. We wanted him or her to FEBRUARY 2017
It is no doubt that our “entire life” is a prayer and we should be praying “always.” And yet, the truth is that we will not pray “always” if we do not pray at “specific” times. FEBRUARY 2017
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know about us. As the relationship deepened, however, speaking became less important, we just wanted to be together doing things, enjoying and cherishing each other’s presence. It is so with prayer, our relationship with God.
Initially, we may have many things to say. Yet, if the relationship is to grow, it has to involve listening as well as speaking. Otherwise, we will not hear his response which may be quite different from what we expect.
Effects of prayer are unpredictable and cannot be measured in human terms. God can sometimes surprise us. He meets us in the least expected places and times. The 12th century Cistercian monk, Guerric of Igny, makes a beautiful connection between prayer and the gospel episode of the empty tomb. He says that our prayer can be like the experience of the three women who failed to find Christ at the empty tomb, but suddenly encountered him on the garden path. Guerric says to his fellow monks: “You know how it is, brothers. Some days we go to our lectio and the Lord is not there; we go to the tomb of the altar and he is not there; and then, as we are going out to work, lo, half-way down the garden path we meet him.” We therefore need to be open to the ways of the Spirit. Communion can be nurtured and deepened by formal as well as informal moments of communicating and spending time with the Lord. 2. Longing for God’s Mercy The parable of the collector (Luke us how prayer
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Pharisee and tax 18:9-14), tells and life are like the two sides of the coin, and what the required predispositions are if our prayers are to be pleasing in the sight of God. Jesus spoke this parable to people who were self-righteous and who looked down on others. He wanted them to understand that it is only
humility in front of God and men that can elevate their prayers.
The parable first speaks of a Pharisee. He did not really go to pray to God; he went to inform God how good he was. He prayed with himself. The parable then speaks of a tax-collector. He stood afar, and would not even lift his eyes to God. He prayed, “God, be merciful to me a sinner.” Jesus concluded that it was the tax-collector’s prayer – a prayer without pride and prejudice that was accepted by God. By this He made it clear that no man who is proud and who despises his fellowmen can pray. He also emphasized that true prayer is not limited to “moments” of prayer, but is very much connected to a life that reflects Godlike qualities of love, compassion and forgiveness.
Our prayer becomes worthy when we recognize ourselves as sinners and in need of God’s mercy like the way the tax-collector did. This invitation is not only for the lay faithful, but also for priests, religious and bishops. Pope Francis is a leading example of this. When he met with prisoners in Palmasola, Bolivia, during his journey to Latin America in 2015, he said, “Standing before you is a man who has been forgiven for his many sins.” Gospel figures like Zacchaeus, Matthew, Peter, the Samaritan woman and the good thief were blessed by God precisely because there were open to forgiveness. Among the doctors of the Church, St. Augustine, for example, considered the need to acknowledge our sinfulness and correct our life and attitudes as a prerequisite for a fruitful dialogue with the Lord. In his advice to Anica Faltonia Proba, a Roman noblewoman who was a Christian believer, he reminded that even before one knows what to pray for and how to pray for it, he or she must become a particular kind of person pleasing to the Lord. He says, “You must account yourself ‘desolate’ in this world, however great the prosperity of your lot may be.” He further reminded that the things we ought to love third or fourth are somehow the first in our hearts. God, whom we should love first, comes after success, prosperity, status, and pleasure. For our prayers to be rewarding, we should correct misplaced priorities. In fact, the Bible has many instances to warn us that our prayers may not be “powerful and
effective” (James 5:16), if they are done with selfish motives (James 4:3) or if we try to pray while willfully disobeying God in some area of life (Ps 66: 18) and when our prayers are not done with dependence on Jesus (John 16: 24-26) or with faith (James 1:6). 3. The Habit of Prayer
Great teachers of prayer tell us that we should pray regularly, resolutely and persistently, whether we feel like praying or not. Besides the community moments of worship and prayer we may have on Sundays and other days, we should identify and set apart a particular time for our personal and family prayer and be faithful to it every day. Time is of essence for growing in our relationship with God and succeeding in prayer. Prophet Daniel (Dan 6:10) got down on his knees three time a day to pray to God and praise him. St. Phillip Neri said: “It is an old custom of the saints of God to have some little prayers ready and to be frequently darting them up to heaven during the day, lifting their minds to God out of the mire of this world. He who adopts this plan will obtain great fruits with little pain.”
We should have the same concern about the needs of the soul to be rested and nourished through prayer and communion with the Lord. It is no doubt that our “entire life” is a prayer and we should be praying “always.” And yet, the truth is that we will not pray “always” if we do not pray at “specific” times. St. Paul exhorts us that we should “pray without ceasing” (1 Thess 5: 17), implying that we should do everything all day with conscious reference to God. Nevertheless this kind of spontaneous and constant habit of prayer will not flourish, unless we take up the discipline of regular, structured and daily prayer.
4. Courage to Change
We feel the power of prayer when we know that God meets our needs and expectations. But the impact of prayer is felt to be stronger when it completely transforms our life and reorients our view and vision of everything – things, health, happiness, people and purpose. Prayer brings a new perspective because it puts God into the picture. When our needs, fears, hopes, questions, struggles and sins are illumined by God’s word and presence, we look at them differently.
Prayer is having a “coffee break” with God everyday, says the Trappist monk Basil Pennington
What sort of friend would someone be, if he or she is not willing to spend time with the friend on a regular basis? Prayer is having a “coffee break” with God everyday, says the Trappist monk Basil Pennington. By this he wants to underline the importance of regularity in prayer and at the same time that casual and informal friendship we need to cultivate with the Lord. If we want friendship with God, then we should spend a significant amount of time with Him personally in prayer.
We have a twenty-four-hour day. In these twenty-four hours I need to eat, sleep and generally take care of my body. I also need to fulfill my duties, get work done and spend time with my family and friends. Can I stop at that? No, I should also make a conscious choice for time with God – Holy Mass, sacraments, Bible reading, Lectio Divina and prayer. FEBRUARY 2017
Praying is like going on a journey and getting on to a higher plateau. I can view how far I have travelled. Sometimes I might have moved farther than I have really thought. Or, it could be that I have made less progress than I believed. At other times, prayer can make me realize how selfish and unforgiving I have been, and urge me to change and embrace healing and grace.
As Henri Nouwen in his book, With Open Hands, points out, many of us come before God in prayer with “clenched fists,” and as a consequence, are unable to receive God’s blessings. Nouwen says, “When you want to pray, the first question is: How do I open my closed hands?” Prayer therefore is an 31
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act of transformation: opening our closed hands, letting go of our fears and darkness, and allowing God to enter into the very centre of our life.
When we dare to let go and relinquish our fears, our hand relaxes and our palm spreads out in a gesture of receiving. We must do this not by force or violence, but by surrender and by reminding ourselves of God’s love and promise. “Perhaps you can find your way to prayer,” Nouwen reminds, “by carefully listening to the words the angel spoke to Zachariah, Mary, the shepherds, and the women at the tomb, ‘Don’t be afraid’.” Psalm 73: 17-20 gives us a common example of the reorientation of prayer that most of us can go through. Here we come across a man filled with envy and resentment at the many people who exploit and abuse others and never seem to pay for it. They prosper while he struggles and his life is filled with troubles. Therefore he laments: what’s the use of serving God! In vain, I have kept my heart pure and have washed my hands in innocence. Then he says how “going into the sanctuary” and “discerning their ends” have answered his queries. Prayer was a “turning point” that reminded him that God is in control of all life and history. He realized that the evil doers may temporarily thrive, but their sins will eventually destroy them in this and the next life. 5. Mystics and Shepherds
Honest, persistent and rich experiences of prayer lead to a joyful life in the Lord. In living a Christian life, the most important thing that a believer needs to do is to open up to the mercy of God and allow Jesus to come into his or her heart. And alongside he or she should try and be merciful with others. In prayer we are mystics, acknowledging our sinfulness and wanting to be filled with God’s mercy. And in our family, Church and society we are called to be shepherds who can show God’s mercy to others.
Church, the visible body of Christ to the world, should be full of mercy in all her mission. Pope Francis says, “Mercy is the very foundation of the Church’s life. All of her pastoral activity should be caught up in the tenderness she makes present to believers; nothing in her preaching and in her witness to the world can be lacking in mercy.” The Salesian Bulletin
Practically, this would mean the Church and its leaders should encourage people to take up various works of mercy like feeding the hungry, healing the sick, welcoming strangers, visiting prisoners, forgiving the offenders and comforting the suffering. In doing so, as Pope Francis notes, the attention should go to those at the fringes of the society so that these too can experience God’s mercy. He says: “The Church does not exist to condemn people but to bring about an encounter with the visceral love of God’s mercy. I often say that in order for this to happen it is necessary to go out: to go out from the church and the parishes, to go outside and look for people where they live, where they suffer and where they hope.” Similarly, our families should become abodes of God’s mercy. Pope Francis says, “The family is the first school for children, it is the unwavering reference point for the young… It is the first school of mercy, because it is there we have been loved and learned to love, have been forgiven and learned to forgive.” If we want our children to imbibe the spirit of mercy, parents, teachers, priests and religious leaders should be role models of mercy and compassion. How can we expect our children to learn kindness and experience God’s mercy in violent and unforgiving homes, rigid parishes, discriminating and non-accommodative schools and colleges? For children to imagine of a loving God and to develop a personal relationship with Him, they require a supporting environment and inspiring examples. FEBRUARY 2017
HUMOUR A. J. FRANK
Tit for Tat
All in Use
A fat guy and a thin guy meet: Fat guy: “When I see you, I’d think a famine broke out!” Thin guy: “And when I see you, I’d think you’re the one responsible for that!”
Customer: “Waiter, could you bring me some tooth picks, please?” Waiter: “I’m sorry sir but you’ll have to wait a little bit, they are currently all in use.”
Appointed Job interview in psychiatry: Interviewer: So you’re interested in working with us. What is your experience with mentally disturbed people? Youth: I’ve been on Facebook for 5 years now. Interviewer: Very good, the job is yours.
The Perfect Father
Husband brings the child home from kindergarten and asks his wife, "He’s been crying the whole way home. Is he sick or something?"
Jenny: I can't be your valentine for medical reasons.
"No," replies the wife, "he was just trying to tell you he isn’t our Tommy ."
Jimmy: Really? Jenny: "Yeah, you make me sick!"
Good Deal Police officer talks to a driver: Your tail light is broken, your tires must be exchanged and your bumper hangs halfway down. That will be 300 dollars. Driver: Alright, go ahead. They want twice as much as that at the garage.
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ABRAHAM KADAPLACKAL SDB
Where is God when we need Him most? not think I have forgotten you or that I have stopped loving you because I am no more there to tell you’ I love you!. I will think of you everyday mother and I will love you more every day. One day we will meet again. If you like to adopt a boy so that you will not be alone, he could stay in my little room and use all my things. If you want a girl, probably she will not be happy with the things of boys, you will have to buy toys and other things girls want. Do not feel sad when you think of me, I am in a marvellous place. My grandparents came to receive me, when I arrived. The angels are very friendly. Jesus is very different form his pictures we have on earth, though as soon as I saw him, I understood it was he. As soon as he saw me, Jesus took me to see God the Father. Mamma, can you imagine he physician said: “I am very sorry. We that? I felt part of the family and I spoke to him and have done all that we could.” The mother he listened to me with great patience. He also told understood the situation and stopped me that I was an important, very important young crying, she only said with bitterness: “Why man. I told God that I wanted to send you a small Children get cancer? Perhaps God is not interested letter to thank you and to tell you all that you have in them? God, where were you when my son read, though I knew that it was not allowed. God gave me a paper and his own personal pen to write needed you? this letter. I think the angel who will help you find The mother asked the nurse to accompany her, it, is called Gabriel. God told me that he would when she was bidding good- bye to the remains of reply to what you have asked, when you said: her son. She lovingly touched the hair of her son. “Where was He, when I needed Him”. God told me The nurse asked her if she wanted to have a lock that He was in the same place, when his other son. of her son’s hair. The mother wanted it. The nurse Jesus was in agony on the cross. Mother,He was cut it, put it in a plastic bag and gave it to her. really near to me; he was consoling me and giving She said with great simplicity. “Jimmy was me strength and courage, as He does with all His eager to donate his organs. He said they could help children. I do not feel pain any more, the cancer someone. That is what he wanted. I was unwilling has disappeared: I am happy , I was not able to at first, but he said to me: ‘mother, I will not use bear the pain anymore and above all God could my organs after death, and by donating them, I not resist seeing me suffer in that way any longer. will help a boy to spend one more day with his Hence he sent Angel of Mercy to take me away. mother.” My Jimmy had a heart of gold, he always The Angel told me that I was a special case for him. thought of the others, and was eager to help in Signed: with love, God and Jimmy. the way he could.” That night she wept till she fell (Original Published in ‘Bollettino Salesiano’, asleep, clutching the cushion of Jimmy. She woke October 2016, translated by Fr. Abraham up around midnight and saw near her a page of Kadaplackal SDB, Photo : ‘Bollettino Salesiano’ paper neatly folded and opened it. It said: “Dear Italy Picture credit : Fobricio Fubani) mother, I know you will not see me anymore. Do
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MY FIRST BIBLE
LET THEM COME TO ME One day Jesus was preaching in the temple. He went to rest for a while in the afternoon. At that, many children like us rushed to see him. His friends stopped the children. They told them that they couldn’t see him, as he is tired and resting. They did not allow the children. Suddenly everyone heard a voice speaking. “Let the little children come to me.” Yes, it was Jesus’ voice. He said, “Don’t stop them. The heaven belongs to them.” The children had great fun with Jesus.
“If you do not become like little children you cannot enter heaven.”
Have you seen or spoken to your district collector or the bishop of your diocese?
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Date of publication: 1st week of every month. Regd. No. TN/CCN//609/2017-2019 & WPP No. TN/PMG (CCR) WPP-339/2017-2019. Registrar of Newspaper for india NO. 1459/1957 Posted at Egmore R.M.S - Pathirikai Channel. 06. 02. 2017
OUR LADY LOURDES SHRINE - PERAMBUR
117th ANNUAL FEAST | 11 & 12 FEBRUARY 2017 70th NATIONAL PILGRIMAGE 02-02-2017 THURSDAY - FLAG HOISTING 6.00 p.m. Rosary & Combined Holy Mass
08-02-2017 WEDNESDAY – 6th DAY OF NOVENA 6.00 p.m. Rosary & Holy Mass Theme
Theme : Mary - the highly favoured one the Mother of God (Lk 1:30-35; 42-43; 46-48) Main Celebrant : Rev. Fr. S.J. ANTHONYSAMY, Vicar General - Madras-Mylapore Archdiocese Animation : St. Francis De Sales Zone
03-02-2017 FRIDAY – 1st DAY OF NOVENA 6.00 p.m. Rosary & Holy Mass Theme
09-02-2017 THURSDAY – 7th DAY OF NOVENA 6.00 p.m. Rosary & Holy Mass
: Mary - the handmaid of the Lord (Lk 1:38)
Main Celebrant : Rev. Fr. MANI LAZAR SDB (Director - DBYES, Chennai) Animation : St. Joseph’s Zone
: Mary - the Mother of compassion (Jn 2:3)
Main Celebrant : Rev. Fr. DAVID MARIASELVAM SDB (Asst.Director - DBICA, Chennai) Animation : St. Cecelia’s Zone
04-02-2017 SATURDAY – 2nd DAY OF NOVENA 6.00 p.m. Rosary & Holy Mass
10-02-2017 FRIDAY – 8th DAY OF NOVENA 6.00 p.m. Rosary & Holy Mass
Theme : Mary - woman of joy and bearer of the Good News (Lk 1:39-56) Main Celebrant : Rev. Fr. JOHN CHRISTY SDB (Director - DBICA, Chennai) Animation : St. Anne’s Zone
Theme : Mary - the mother who suffered with her son (Lk 2:35; Jn 10:25) Main Celebrant : Rev. Fr. ARULDASS RAVI SDB (Provincial Secretary - Chennai) Animation : Religious of the Vicariate
05-02-2017 SUNDAY – 3rd DAY OF NOVENA 6.00 p.m. Rosary & Holy Mass Theme
: Mary - the Mother of silence & prayer
Main Celebrant : Rev. Fr. AROCKIA RAJ SDB (Editor - The Salesian Bulletin, Chennai) Animation : St. Nicholas Zone
11-02-2017 SATURDAY – DAY OF THE EUCHARIST
5.00 p.m. Candle Light Procession & Holy Mass
: Mary and Joseph - a model for families (Mt 1:18-25)
: Mary - the mother of the suffering church (Jn 19:26-27; Acts 1:14)
Main Celebrant : Rev. Fr. JOSEPH LEO SDB (Rector - DBAI, Chennai) Animation : Catechism Children & St. Alphonsa’s Zone
Main Celebrant : Most. Rev. Dr. ANTONY PAPPUSAMY D.D. Archbishop of Madurai Animation : Priests, Sisters & Parishioners of the Archdiocese
06-02-2017 MONDAY – 4th DAY OF NOVENA 6.00 p.m. Rosary & Holy Mass
12-02-2017 SUNDAY – ANNUAL FEAST
5.00 p.m. Grand Car Procession, Blessing of Sick & Holy Mass
: Mary - Shelter for the homeless
Theme : My Soul magnifies the Lord (Lk 1:47) Main Celebrant : Most. Rev. Dr. THOMAS PAULSAMY D.D. Bishop of Dindigul Animation : Priests, Sisters & Parishioners of the Archdiocese
(Lk 2:7; Lk 1:52-53)
Main Celebrant : Rev. Fr. JAYARAJ JOSEPH SDB (Rector - DBYAC, Ennore) Animation : St. Christoper’s Zone
07-02-2017 TUESDAY – 5th DAY OF NOVENA 6.00 p.m. Rosary & Holy Mass Theme
: Mary and Joseph - Hope for refugees (Mt 2:13-22)
Main Celebrant : Rev. Fr. GREGORY SDB (Rector - Don Bosco Wisdom Town, Redhills) Animation : St. Jude’s Zone
PLEASE NOTE: 1. The Novena will include a two day retreat by Madha TV 2. Environment Day (Cleaning Perambur and Planting of trees) 3. Voice of Angels (musical programme) & Charity Day
13-02-2017 MONDAY - LOWERING OF THE FLAG 6.30 p.m. combined Holy Mass Main Celebrant : Rev.Fr. JOE ANDREW SDB, Rector & Parish Priest & Asst.Parish Priests (Lourdes Shrine - Perambur) Animation
: Parish Council Members
ASST. PARISH PRIESTS
Rev. Fr. JOE ANDREW SDB
Lourdes Shrine - Perambur
Rector & Parish Priest
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