SANGATI Don Bosco Magazine | Province of Panjim (INP)
Jan - Mar 2018 | Volume - 11 | Issue 01
BEING CHRISTIAN Salt and Yeast What Can the Laity Do?
Jesus The Great Collaborator
Building a Volunteer Culture in our Parish
Editorial Editor Joaquim Lobo, sdb Editorial Team Francis Xavier, sdb Jason Pinto, sdb Layout & Cover Design Joaquim Lobo, sdb Consultants Fr Felix Fernandes, sdb (Provincial) Fr Avil Rodrigues, sdb (Vice Provincial) Fr Jose Sequeira, sdb (Economer) Distribution Lazar Vaz Printed at James Arts Crafts, Sivakasi Published by Boskon Communications Don Bosco Provincial House Odxel, Goa University P.O. Goa 403206 Ph : 0832 2451449
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Christian (‘convent’) schools, colleges and universities in India are highly appreciated for their superior standards of discipline and education. People of every faith who dreams big for the future of their children will have on the top of their list the admission in a christian school. The environment created in the campus to bring out the best in their students is perfectly coordinated by the management with utmost care and precision. Students of christian educational institutions have excelled in numerous fields. Look at a student who completes his education and builds up a multi-crore company of his own. His passion for learning, creativity, organizing, managing, collaborating, solving, is propelled by a dream to achieve name, fame and huge gains. His christian education is the strength of his foundation. Besides providing the best education to the world, christians cultivate superior values of Love, Joy, Peace, Faith and Harmony. The strategies so far employed to germinate these values haven’t shown much results. Probably the protagonists of the best education who train the minds of those who build multi-crore companies have themselves not shown that same zeal when it comes to passing on the values of the treasure they have - Jesus - to others. One can only do so much, but by meticulous planning and collaborating with others - like teachers in the school - the production will increase hundred fold. ‘Lay Collaboration’ has been one of the major themes of the Church from Vatican II. Yet, the progress in this field is at a snail’s pace. A christian without light, salt and yeast is no more a christian. A ‘christian leader’ without these is only a ‘leader’. Inviting the ‘lay people’ to collaborate with the ‘leaders of faith’ will enrich the saltiness and the yeastiness of both. Joaquim Lobo, sdb This is a Salesian Panjim Province Bulletin, and is directed towards the Salesian works in the regions of Sindhudurg, Goa and Karnataka. For private circulation only.
COVER STORY Bro Aliester D’Souza SDB
BEING CHRISTIAN Salt and Yeast With great power comes great responsibility. When God chooses and calls individuals and groups he does not do so just to endow status and privileges but to assign them to accomplish specific tasks. The Lord who elected Israel to be his people, also required of them to act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with Him. What was true for Israel is also for us, who through our baptism are sharers in the divine nature and heirs to the Kingdom. In His unconditional grace we are called to be hearers of the Word, builders of the Kingdom and labourers in the vineyard. In baptism as we are made one in Christ, we also share in the same mission of Christ and so are endowed with the priestly, prophetic and kingly offices of Christ. To most of us it sounds dangerously difficult or utterly incomprehensible and we might think these to be the duties of priests or religious. And we are wrong. These offices or
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duties have nothing to do with priesthood or consecrated life: they are the foremost vocation of every baptised member. So? Let’s simplify. The duty of a priest is to offer sacrifice. We exercise this role when we fulfil our daily activities well, work diligently and bear our suffering patiently. We should be conscious that our daily duties done well help in building the world to perfection. The hardships in our family, the struggle at work and the pain of self-giving that we gladly undertake daily upon the altar of our bodies and brought to the altar of God at the Eucharist – the fruit of the earth and work of our hands – is the sacrifice each Christian is called to offer.
We imitate Christ in the fulfilment of our kingly role. We are servant-leaders and we serve the world with love and justice. We are the first to stoop and wash our neighbour’s feet, bind their wounds and walk the extra mile. We do not expect reward or laurels bestowed upon us for we are just doing our duty as Christians.
As kings we are to fight against the kingdom of sin and its manifestation in the world. I would like to elaborate a little more on our third role. All are called to be wise but Christians are called to be prophets. While wisdom may not pain the hearer, prophets often leave the audience disturbed. For prophets speak against corrupt institutions, challenge social injustice and uphold morals. They are not puppets or slaves of the powerful. They are not fortune-tellers. Changing the present, not divining the future, is their concern. Most of all, they are consumed by the truth – the Word of God. They cannot keep silent about it. They cannot be indifferent to a falling world. They are disturbed, they rise and they speak. But, being prophetic does not just mean speaking up against what is wrong, it also means living up to what is right. We are not always to proclaim the truth in words of eloquence from the rooftop. Sometimes we also have to allow our actions to speak. The Christian is to walk the talk and practice what he/she preaches. Our daily interaction with people – at home, at work, in the marketplace or even on social media – is called to be prophetic. We have to show the world that there is something more than simply existing, that there is a divine meaning to all work and there is a purpose to living the Beatitudes – even if it means to face affliction. And,
of course, we have to disturb the complacent, the hypocrite and the unjust for which we might be derided, abused and scorned. But, the prophet is not afraid for he/she places trust in the vindication of God. It is true that a Christian is just an ordinary man/woman – one among the crowd. Normally, we won’t be seen on television or read about in magazines. There is a surprising anonymity in our witness but also a shining witness in our anonymity. This silence is truly golden for it’s not devoid of noise but devoid of non-action. The anonymity and effect of a prophet could be compared to salt or yeast. A pinch of salt gives taste and a little of yeast raises the dough. Likewise, we need just a little of them (prophets) to root themselves in the heart of the world to wake up, to inspire and to provoke humanity. Speaking of India, are Christians little enough to make a difference?
Let us live out our Christian vocation joyfully not worrying about our minority nor about the modest and humble fruits we achieve in doing so. We should do our best and trust in the Lord for whom our little means much. Don’t you remember the five thousand I fed with five loaves, and the baskets of leftovers you picked up? (Mt 16:9) Aliester is a Salesian Brother of Mumbai province doing his particular formation in Philippines. Jan - Mar 2018
AN INVITATION Joel D’Souza SDB
You Go into My Vineyard too…
Prior to the Second Vatican Council, the Church leaders failed in giving importance to the laity. The Church and its teachings revolved around the clergy with the top down method “you (laity) do what I (Clergy) tell you”. It meant that the laity had to obey and not command any authority. The unwritten rule of being a lay person was to pray, pay and obey. But things took a different shape with Vatican II. The council dedicated an entire document on the laity; Apostolicam Actuositatem a decree on the Apostolate of the Laity with a sprinkling found in two other documents namely Lumen
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Gentium and Gaudiem et Spes These documents and many other encyclicals that followed brought out the vocation and the mission of the laity. St. Pope John Paul II in his encyclical Christifidelis Laici, likens the laity to the labourers in the vineyard as mentioned in the Gospel of St Matthew. “For the Kingdom of heaven is like a householder who went out early in the morning to hire labourers for his vineyard. After agreeing with the labourers for a denarius a day, he sent them into his
vineyard” (Mt 20:1-2). The gospel parable sets before our eyes the Lord’s vast vineyard and the multitude of persons, both women and men, who are called and sent forth by Him to labour in it. The vineyard is the whole world (cf. Mt 13:38), which is to be transformed according to the plan of God in view of the final coming of the Kingdom of God. By their very Baptism, the lay faithful share in the mission of Christ in the world. Lay people are personally called by the Lord, from whom they receive a mission on behalf of the Church and the world. According to the latest census of 2001, Christians number 24 million of the population in India. When compared to the population of India which according to this census is 1028 million, Christians make up 2.4% of the population which is a miniscule in contrast to other religions. But even though a minority, the lay people have the joy of working in the vineyard of the Lord. It is a usual sight to see farmers and labourers working in the fields and along the roads. They toil under the hot sun, drenched under the heavy showers and still continue their work, in severe cold they keep their bodies warm with their hard work, and yet they do not desert the field in spite of the many hardships and physical challenges. Our beloved country is beset with many challenges and difficulties. Social, political and economic problems pose a serious threat to the very fabric of our society. Discrimination due to one’s caste and creed is not a new phenomenon in our mother land. Gender inequality, religious intolerance and the widening disparity between the haves and have nots are some evils which are eroding our country.
It is in this context that God calls his disciples to toil and sweat to bring about God’s Kingdom here and now. The disciples are called not to get discouraged but to do whatever is possible and not to abandon the mission (vineyard). Standing up to the challenges in our country and society begins in our own homes. It means respecting our domestic workers at home, doing a critical reading of the happenings in our locality and state, having an unbiased attitude towards people of other faiths and cultures, not discriminating people on the basis of the place they come from, not using the tools of social communication like Whatsapp and Facebook to spread fake news and more importantly being God’s ambassadors of love and holiness. It is in this vineyard that lay people have to live their vocation of being ‘Disciples of Christ’. It was St Pope John Paul II who said “Only light can dispel darkness and it is love that can overcome all hatred”. Dear ‘Disciples of Christ’, let us undertake this pilgrim journey and labour in the vineyard of the Lord by being the ‘salt of the earth’ and ‘light to the world’ and thus accomplish the vocation and mission entrusted by God to each of us. Joel is a vocation animator and in-charge of the aspirants at Don Bosco, Panjim.
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COME, LET’S GO Valentine D’Souza
What can the Laity do?
To know what the Laity can do, I went to the Laity of our Parish, to ask them what they do. It was a revelation to me. A devout lady told me that laity are the people who listen to what the Parish priest tells them every Sunday and follow his teaching. A youth agreed with her and added that all who sit in the pews make up the Laity whilst another boy included all who stand outside the church and in the corridors. A small boy wanted to know if the altar boys were laity, to which a bright one replied that they were “the higher forms of laity like the Bishops.” So all Eucharistic ministers and their ilk may be included under this head! In their opinion laity makes up the faithful who attend church services and instruction and follow its teaching.
Who are the Laity really? The “The term ‘lay faithful’”- we read in the Dogmatic Constitution of the Church, (Lumen Gentium, Chapter 4 ) is understood to mean all the faithful except those in Holy Orders and those who belong to a religious state sanctioned by the Church. Through Baptism the lay faithful are made one body with Christ and are established among
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the People of God.
To get a clearer perspective, I looked at the Church teachings on the laity and I came across many documents on the Role of the Laity in the Church. Besides the Vatican II document Lumen Gentium quoted above, the Apostolicam Actuositatem, Christifideles Laici, the Catechism of the Catholic Church are some of the documents that expound on the subject. The document Christifideles Laici explains the “call” beautifully. I quote “And going out about the third hour he saw others standing idle in the marketplace; and to them he said, ‘You go into the vineyard too’” (Mt 20:3-4). From that distant day the call of the Lord Jesus “You go into my vineyard too” never fails to resound in the course of history.” It is addressed to every person who comes into this world. The call is for all the faithful, that they too work in the vineyard of the Lord using their time, their talent and their labor in Christian charity, in the temporal world to spread the gospel message of peace, love and
hope. So the Laity has an obligation according to his ability, to explain, defend, and properly apply Christian principles to the problems of the society he lives in, in accordance to the mind of the Church. The Laity live in the temporal world, and therefore is better positioned, to bring about a change for the better, in the temporal order. The Laity carry out many services in the Church, as catechists, instructing the catechumens in the faith, as Eucharistic ministers, as choir members and participants in liturgical services. As members of pious groups like Legion of Mary, the laity promote devotion and practices of piety like saying the rosary and daily prayer. Then we have groups like Vincent de Paul that do yeoman service to the poor and the marginalized by providing them daily rations, clothes and medical care. We also have the Charismatic movement, Young Christian Shepherds, Goa Service team etc. who enhance the participation of the Laity in the Church. Among the Religious organization, there are many secular groups like the Lay
Redemptorists, the Salesian Cooperators, the ADMA, etc, who engage in works of charity and evangelization. Among the Laity are also many professionals like doctors, lawyers, engineers, journalists, who because of their special gifts and authority can influence society to respond to the call of the gospel. This brings to my mind, as an example, Catholic Doctors like Late Dr. Ernest Borges and Dr. Luzito de Souza, who have contributed greatly to the social dimension of cancer and the need to treat cancer patients with dignity and compassion. But the larger body of people are the ones who silently go about spreading the gospel in their own inimitable way like the “woman of the house” who is among the pots and pans the whole morning, and after cleaning up, silently closes the kitchen door to go out to serve her neighbour look after an enfeebled aged person. And like her there are many others who respond to the call ”You go too” day after day, working in the vineyard of the Lord spreading his message of love and reaping a rich harvest.
Valentine is the president of the ADMA in the Salesian Province of Panjim. Jan - Mar 2018
VATICAN II John M Alfonso OCD
Role of Lay Faithful in the Church Overview of Christifideles Laici
The laity have a special and very real role in the spreading of the Gospel. The Church needs them to carry out with authority, creativity and power given them in Baptism. V a t i c a n Council II has called for a renewal in the life and role of the laity. The document of the Vatican Council II, Apostolicam Actuositatem deals precisely with the apostolate of the laity. But, among the faithful, there remains a fundamental lack of understanding of the lay vocation and their role in the Church’s mission. Some of the lay people are confused with their vocation. They think that the real vocation in the church is the ordained priesthood or religious. The church
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is not only for the ordained people and the religious, it is for all. In the year 1987, World Synod of B i s h o p s discussed this issue of the laity and clarified and h i g h l i g ht e d the specific role of the laity in the church through an Apostolic Exhortation - Christifideles Laici (Lay faithful of Christ), as a summation of the Synod given by Pope St. John Paul II. This article will define the term laity, vocation of the laity and the mission/role of the laity based on Christifideles Laici. Christifideles Laici: Magna Charta for the Lay Apostolate It is a kind of Magna Charta or the ‘Handbook’
for the lay apostolate. It is a summary of the teachings of Vatican Council II on the different aspect of the laity. It has also taken into consideration subsequent Magisterium and practice of the Church. It lay stress on the lay participation characterized by the first post-conciliar period. It gives new indications intended, “to stir and promote a deeper awareness among all the faithful and the responsibility they share. It makes a constant reference to the biblical image of the vineyard. The lay faithful, together with all the other members of the Church are branches engrafted to Christ the true vine and from him derive their life and fruitfulness. The ultimate goal of the Christifideles Laici is to encourage all of the faithful to take up the missionary command of Jesus Christ, “Go into the whole world and preach the Gospel to the whole creation.” (Mk. 16: 15) Lay faithful The Synod Fathers rightly pointed out that the lay faithful’s vocation must be defined in positive terms. The Vatican Council II had previously insisted on the unique character of their vocation: to seek the Kingdom of God by engaging in temporal affairs and ordering them according to the plan of God. The Constitution of the Church, Lumen Gentium understood the lay faithful as “all the faithful except those in Holy Orders and those who belong to a religious state approved by the Church. That is, the faithful who by Baptism are incorporated into Christ and integrated into the People of God, are made sharers in their particular way in the priestly, prophetic and kingly office of Christ and have their own part to play in the mission of the
whole Christian people in the Church and in the world.” The Vocation of the lay faithful Christifideles Laici, taking the mind of Vatican Council II (Lumen Gentium no 31) defines a lay faithful and the same definition is given above. The lay Christian is distinguished in a positive way as an active member of the people of God, participating in the mission of the Church and jointly responsible for the Church. Their main task is to make Christ visible in the world and to permeate the world with his Spirit and to order it according to his will. This Post Synodal Exhortation is very clear about the meaning and purpose of the lay Christian’s existence: “It is no exaggeration to say that the entire existence of the lay faithful has a purpose to lead a person to a knowledge of the radical newness of the Christian life that comes from Baptism, the sacrament of faith, so that this knowledge can help that person live the responsibilities which arise from that vocation received from God.” (CL10) Through their Baptism, the lay faithful participate in the threefold mission of Christ as Priest, Prophet and King. (CL14)
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The fundamental aspect of the lay faithful’s call to holiness is the vocation to “the perfection of Charity.” And this divine call, “made by the Father in Christ through the Holy Spirit” reveals their true dignity. (CL16) All members of the Church receive from God and share the same vocation to holiness, inseparable from their dignity as baptized, i.e. the call to fullness in Christian life and to perfection of charity in their particular state of life. (CL 17) It sees the laity’s duty to witness as ultimately linked to the prophetic office of Christ: “Their responsibility in particular, is to testify how the Christian faith constitutes the only fully valid response - consciously perceived and stated by all in varying degrees to the problems and hopes that life poses to every person and society.” (CL17) It also appeals the lay faithful to have a balance between faith and daily duties of life and give witness. The Misssion of the lay faithful The basic mission of the lay faithful is to proclaim and give witness to the Gospel. This exhortation highlights the need to bear fruits and considers communion with Jesus, which generates communion with others, as an essential prerequisite. (CL 32) Taking into consideration no. 10 of the
Apostolicam Actuositatem, this exhortation gives responsibility to the laity in a special way those who are away from the faith and the Church and indicates a systematic catechesis as the way to achieve this goal. The lay faithful participate in the primary task of the Church by announcing the Gospel, thus they come to build and shape the community of faith. Further, it gives the laity the following as fields of action: promoting the dignity of person; promoting the inviolable right to life; acknowledging religious freedom and family as the basic environment for social engagement; charity as inspiration and support for solidarity; the duty of all to engage in politics; the human person’s centrality in social and economic spheres; and evangelizing culture on both the general level as well as every individual culture. (CL37-44) Conclusion Christifideles Laici recalls that the vocation of every individual is ‘unique and unrepeatable,’ for the good of all. So the lay faithful participate in parish life by teaching catechism, conducting liturgical services and helping the church to grow through various associations of the church including the consultative body Parish Pastoral Council and the administrative body. What is require on the part of the lay faithful to accomplish the vocation and the mission given to them is to know their faith well. This exhortation gives an entire chapter on the formation of the laity. So the formation of the laity is the need of the hour. So that they may collaborate with the Parish Priests to carry out the mission of the Church as a whole. The writer is a member of the Karnataka-Goa Province of the Order of Discalced Carmelites based at the Carmelite Monastery, Margao.
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A CALL FROM GOD Vinay Silva
The Vocation and Mission of the Lay Faithful
Misconceptions of the word ‘vocation’ In the present era, our lack of understanding of this word has resulted in various negative consequences, one being that zeal and fervent love for service in God’s Kingdom has reduced among the Laity. People mistakenly tend to associate the word ‘vocation’ with only the religious life, that of priests and nuns. The Catholic Church however, clearly teaches us that the vocations are the life as layman in the world, either married or single, the ordained life and the consecrated life. All Catholics in each of these categories are called to follow Jesus closely and live out their vocation by serving God in their respective state with evangelistic zeal, desiring to be a labourer in the vineyard and bearing a Spirit filled witness to the gospel. This is a universal call. Jesus has personally chosen each of us for a divine purpose. You did not choose me, but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last. Jn 15:16
When we yield to the leading of the Holy Spirit and sincerely place our lives in God’s hands, we can experience the joy of being an instrument which God uses for His glory. The Universal Call to Mission
Missionary activity has one purpose – to serve man by
revealing to him the love of God made manifest in Jesus Christ. – Pope John Paul II (Mission of the Redeemer)
Both the married life and the single life provide opportunities for one to give glory to God. This is what God desires for the lay faithful. In the different states of life and in varied circumstances, each and every child of God is chosen for partaking in this work of reaching out God’s love to others. Through the working of the Holy Spirit, we are led into effective evangelisation. This cannot be replaced by good and charitable works, any type of service to the poor or working towards the welfare of society, though all these are very important. The proclamation of the gospel message is actually what allows one to truly encounter Jesus and leads to an authentic relationship with God. What comes to the foreground at this time is the eternal aspect of one’s salvation, sharing of our faith in Jesus and the wonderful results of His life, death and resurrection. Along with the proclamation, all the laity are also called to bear witness to the gospel by living out a holy and inspiring life of Christian virtue. Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven. Matt 5:16 No believer in Christ, no institution of the Church can
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avoid this supreme duty; to proclaim Christ to all people. – Pope John Paul II (Intro, Mission of the Redeemer)
As we respond in obedience to the Lord, He gives us the necessary graces to live out this missionary mandate. Through the Holy Spirit and along with our cooperation in sincere prayer and action, we can receive the strength and wisdom that is required for the task that God is asking of us. The Family and the Church The family is the building block of human society. As goes the family, so goes the community and the nation. The world at large is thus affected. The family is referred to being a ‘domestic church’. The spiritual growth of the worldwide Catholic Church is highly dependent on the role played by the laity in families. Give me holy Catholic families and I will give you a holy Catholic Church. – Pope John Paul II The Christian family is called to partake of the prayer and sacrifice of Christ and it has an evangelizing and missionary task. (No. 2205, Catechism of the Catholic Church)
It is amongst the children of the present day Catholic families that most of the future priests and nuns of the Catholic Church will come from. Their upbringing in childhood will affect their religious calling, either positively or negatively. Even for those children who later in life choose to get married, their faith formation as children will play a strong role in the sanctity and holiness of the married life and their role as parents. Pope Francis strongly
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exhorts families to be examples of holiness and prayer. In this way, the family has a beautiful place in God’s plan for humankind and for the evangelisation of the human race. The specialised role of the Laity in the Church Since they are members of the Church by virtue of their Baptism, all Christians share responsibility for missionary activity. – Pope John Paul II (No. 77, Mission of the Redeemer)
It is unrealistic and incorrect to assume that the religious are the only ones called to evangelisation. While they do have a specialised role in the Church which the laity cannot fulfil, the Laity themselves also have a specialised role which cannot be fulfilled by the religious. The roles are irreplaceable. The contribution of the Laity in the growth of the Church is indispensable. In their secular circumstances of family, social setting and work life, they reach out God’s saving message to souls who otherwise may never come to know the life changing gospel of Jesus. For example, in connection with the spiritual growth among children, we need to understand that faith formation begins at home. Children first need to experience God’s love and the importance of prayer in the daily lifestyle of the family. When this is laid as a foundation, then the Catechism classes and further faith formation outside the home can bear fruit and lead them to encounter the Lord tangibly. Hence, the parents play a role in the family which no outsider can replace.
Similarly, a lay person, whether single or married,
is called to bear witness to the Lord in situations where the religious may not be called to be a part of. These situations include the secular workplace of job or business, certain gettogethers of family and friends, events in the neighbourhood and various aspects of being a part of society. Even in connection with spiritual activities like a bible study, prayer meeting, Small Christian Communities, counselling and conducting of retreats and seminars, the Laity are called to offer their talents and contribute to the building up of the Kingdom of God. A few lines from the Vatican-2 Document “Lumen Gentium”, 1964 The Lay Apostolate is a participation in the salvific mission of the Church itself. Through their Baptism and Confirmation, all are commissioned to that apostolate by the Lord Himself. (No 33)
The Laity are called in a special way to make the Church present and operative in those places and circumstances where only through them can it become the salt of the earth. (No 33) Upon all the laity, therefore, rests the noble duty of working to extend the divine plan of salvation to all men of each epoch and in every land. (No 33) Even when preoccupied with temporal cares, the laity can and must perform a work of great value for the evangelisation of the world. (No 35) The laity must assist each other to live holier lives even in their daily occupations. In this way, the world may be permeated by the spirit of Christ and it may more effectively fulfil its purpose in justice, charity and peace. The laity have the principal role in the overall fulfilment of this duty. (No 36)
a symbol of the living God. All the laity as a community and each one according to his ability must nourish the world with spiritual fruits. (No. 38)
Answering the Call of Jesus
All Christians are called to radiate the Word of Truth that the Lord Jesus left us. – Pope Benedict ‘The Door of Faith’ We cannot keep the joy of the faith to ourselves. We must pass it on. – Pope Benedict You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvellous light. 1Pet 2:9
All these lines give us, the laity, a clear direction on what God desires to accomplish in and through us. Our Baptism imbibes us into the Catholic Church and provides us with sufficient graces which we can stir up and activate in our adulthood. During Easter service, when we renew our Baptismal vows as adults, there is a fresh anointing of the Spirit and we can become effective witnesses to Jesus. This is a part of the spiritual journey which cannot be avoided. With a fervent “yes” and with hearts enflamed with the love of God, let us respond to this calling. Prayer
Lord Jesus, I truly desire to be a witness to your love in this world today. Give me your Holy Spirit and lead me in your plan for my life. Teach me the way you want me to go and help me walk in obedience. I want to know you more, love you more and serve you more. Use me as an instrument so that your name is known and glorified. Amen.
Each individual layman must stand before the world as a witness to the resurrection and life of the Lord Jesus and 14 SANGATI
The writer is an architect from Bangalore, actively shares God’s Word through writing and in small groups. He is presently serving a 2 year commitment with Emmaus Catholic Volunteers. Jan - Mar 2018
FROM THE FIELD Sr Melissa Dâ€™Souza FMA
in the Life and Mission of the Church
In 1614, persecution in Japan had become an official policy. All missionaries and clergy were expelled, and all converts were to be killed. Any clergy that dared stay behind were executed. The Shogunate succeeded in completely decapitating the Catholic Church in Japan. Within a few years, every clergyman had been murdered or banished. The remaining Christians were forced underground. Those that were found out were tortured and executed. During the 1630s, Japan began to seal itself off completely from the outside world, severing all contact with foreign nations. Any foreigner who landed on Japanese soil was put to death. From this point on, lay Catholics in Japan were completely on their own, with no priests and no possibility of communication with Rome. Japan went dark. Anyone caught obstinately clinging to the Faith was given a death sentence. This went on for 250 years unabated. It would not be until Japan opened its doors to the world once again in the middle of the 19th century that the Church in Japan would step out of the shadows. Father Bernard ThaddĂŠe Petitjean was one of the first boots on the ground after Japan reopened its borders. Arriving in 1865, he was approached by a woman asking if he was a
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priest from the Pope in Rome. Startled that she knew what a priest was, much less the Pope, he pressed further. Once convinced of his identity, she introduced him to the underground Church, a spiritually halfstarved but tenacious community that had never seen a priest for two and a half centuries. Father Petitjean discovered that the hidden Catholics of Japan pulled off one of the greatest feats in salvation history. Enduring 250 years of a campaign of annihilation, with no clergy, the Japanese managed to pass down the Faith through a dozen generations in total isolation. The Roman rite of baptism, along with the liturgical calendar, was kept intact. When the ban on Catholicism was lifted in 1867, more than 30,000 Catholics emerged from hiding. Today there are half a million Catholics in Japan. This is the power of the laity When I think of the Laity, the image that comes to my mind is of Christ as the vine and WE as the branches. And without doubt, WE signifies each member of the Church, not just the consecrated but the laity too. Incorporated in Christ Jesus through Baptism, every Christian shares in the prophetic, kingly and priestly mission of Christ. Each of us form a part of
the community founded by God and therefore are termed as ‘The People of God’. This community founded by Christ Jesus under one spiritual head forms ‘the Mystical Body of Christ’. Every baptised individual is indeed a part of this ‘Mystical Body of Christ’ and hence is called to feel, think, talk and act as Christ himself would. And this is OUR mission in life - to propagate Him, and Him alone through the way we live our lives. I have questioned several of the laity who play different roles in the Church as to what according to them is the mission of the laity in the Church. I would like to share their views with you. My role as a Vincentian is to see Christ in the poor and downtrodden brethren. Jesus says that whatsoever we do for the least of our brethren, we do unto Him! It is not only giving them food for their bodies but also bringing them close to our Creator and helping them on their spiritual front as well. Above all, we show them love, affection and concern in their day to day lives. Last but not the least I also learn to mould myself as a good human being. Spreading the Good news of the Gospel of Christ and giving Christ to the poor is my main mission! As a lay collaborator I feel that I am able to participate in Jesus’ own mission of reaching out to the poor and down trodden. Francisca De Paul (Member of Vincent de Paul Association) My role as a Eucharist Minister involves self preparation. I do this by praying before the Blessed Sacrament and acknowledging my own unworthiness. In my own little way I strive to proclaim of the Word of God, assist in the collection of the love offering of people, distribute Holy Communion to the faithful and sick who are unable to participate in the Eucharist. I try to practice the values preached by Jesus in order to set a good example to others. I believe that this is a ‘Special Vocation’, given to me by Jesus Himself
and I need to stay focused on Him and serve the Church in whatever way I can. Joe De Almeida (Eucharistic Minister) As a member of the Parish Pastoral Council (PPC), I enjoy a unique opportunity to practice what I am called for as a part of the Mystical Body of Christ. Parish Council being a conduit between the Hierarchy of the Church and the Laity, I am able to find and suggest innovative ways/ideas to enrich the Kingdom of God around us and play a role in the implementation of its directions brought to the laity in general, through the Somudais (Small Christian Communities). Besides, this is a place where I have an ample chance to practice and perfect my way of being; may it be in my way of dealing with people that possess different levels of thinking and living or being kind and generous towards all in thought, words and deeds. Dilip Cotta (Parish Pastoral Council Member) I am a young Catechist and I have an important responsibility of preparing the children for the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. As a lay collaborator in the Church’s mission I feel I am blessed to have been given this opportunity to be a Catechist. Being also an engineering student at times I find it difficult to cope with both these responsibilities. Yet, I am glad that my role as a Catechist gives me a chance to come closer to the person of Christ and share in His mission of love towards the little ones entrusted to my care. Kevin Ribeiro (Engineering Student and Catechist) The Church is an assembly of all baptized Christians all around the world and I feel proud to be a part of it. It is each of the laity who form the Church. I feel that we are incomplete without the Church and the Church is incomplete without us. As a catechist I firmly believe that to give God to my students, I should know and experience Him first. I am trying my best to inculcate Christian values in myself, my family, my students and the people whom I interact
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with. Being a catechist, has helped me to deepen my personal knowledge about our faith and I am happy about this vocation. Luiza Luis (Professor in a college, Catechist) Legionaries are soldiers in Our Lady’s army. In union with the church a legionary works to draw souls to God, especially those that have fallen away. Keeping in mind that all of us are called to be saints, we persevere to become holy ourselves and by prayer and example try to draw other souls to God. Praying with the help of the Holy Spirit along with our Blessed Mother, visiting the sick and lonely, comforting them, listening to them and speaking about God’s love and mercy is the main function of a legionary. I firmly believe that as Jesus’ follower and as a part of His mystical body the Church I am called to proclaim Him. And as a legionary I get a wonderful opportunity to fulfill my role as a Catholic in an extraordinary way. Josephine D’Souza (Member in the Association of Legion of Mary) In the life and mission of the Church, the role of an altar server is to be a role model to others – to make them realize that we are God’s children and it is we who are supposed to carry forward God’s mission through our thoughts, words and deeds. As an altar server our attitude towards the Church is always positive. We encourage as many people as we can to come closer to God. We are ever ready to serve God at any point when we are called. At the altar our service is full of grace, prayer and joy, so that we may appear as Angels serving the living Chirst at the Eucharist. Sarah Cabral (Altar Server) I consider myself fortunate, as through this ministry I become Christ’s witness to other youngsters. According to me, the role of every youth is to grow in commitment and maturity and be willing to serve Christ in humility. We ought to help build a holier, missionary and vibrant Church by our youthful and enthusiastic presence. We consider our Church as an extension to the open arms of
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Christ on the Cross and work in unity to fulfil the Gospel mission of spreading and glorifying the Good News of God to our fellow brethren. Ninoshka Menezes(Member of the Youth Association) As a lay collaborator I feel that my first duty is to pray for the Church. By CHURCH, I mean each member (religious and laity). Secondly I feel that I must do all that is in my power to build the unity of the members of this great family – the Church. I personally give my contribution as a lay member in this way – I go to clean the Church along with my ward members on Saturdays, willingly proclaim God’s Word during Mass, participate in activities conducted by the Church and strive to be a builder of peace and unity both in my family and neighbourhood. I do this not as a burden, but lovingly and I feel a deep joy within me. I love serving the Lord in whatever way I can as He continues to bless me and my family. Crescencia Rodrigues (Mother, Housewife) A lay collaborator is one who is neither ordained nor a consecrated religious. I may not be called to preach, but I have to bear witness to Christ at home, in the office and in my day to day life. Besides, I have to make myself available to the Church, so that I can help complete the various responsibilities the priest cannot handle alone. With this collaboration the mission of Christ and the redemption of humankind continues through us. As an active Church Choir member I am called to lead the faithful in prayer by singing appropriate and common hymns during various Church services, thus helping them to pray. Isaac Viegas (Member of the Church Choir) Thus let us continue to serve the Church and be Christ’s extended hands and feet to the world. Each one has a role to play, let’s play it joyfully.
Sr Melissa is a Salesian nun belonging to the Mumbai province, working at Caranzalem, Goa.
COMMON PRIESTHOOD Jason Pinto SDB
THE PEOPLE OF GOD In The Church
Let me begin on a personal note. Once while visiting a friend of mine in Mumbai along with my parents, an old aunt of his who was rather church-allergic knowing that I am studying for my priesthood said, “…O today’s priests are a contradiction to the message of Christ, their life-style, their attitude, their very being is so unattractive…” To this my rather sober Mom retorted saying, “priests do not fall from heaven, they are born in families like yours and mine. If our family upbringing is good then surely you will have good priests…” How very true. Years of training in the seminary cannot take away the good that we have picked up from our own families. Home-training supersedes seminary-training. Clergy laity relationship topics occasionally crop up in the Church. But most of the time it is not deeply reflected upon. Perhaps because of the apprehensiveness of the clergy about the lay faithful or at times because of the overspiritualization of the clergy by the lay. From a typically hierarchical
and a pyramidal structure of the Church the Vatican II now defines the Church as collegial and collaborative in structure. The Pope along with all the bishops of the Church, the priests, religious and laity are defined as “People of God”. This concept of the “People of God” is something which needs to be highlighted and re-affirmed in order to understand the mutual existence of the laity and clergy in the Church. The origin of the concept “People of God” is found in the Old Testament, where God establishes a covenant with the people of Israel through Moses – “You shall be my people and I shall be your God” (Jer. 30: 22). Since this covenant was broken, God sent Jesus into this world and established an eternal covenant with all people. He made a new covenant with his people through the blood of Jesus and has called us to be “The New People of God” (1 Pt. 2: 9 –10). In this new covenant (1 Cor 11: 25) we all share in the common priesthood of Jesus Christ (Heb 5: 5).
Jesus ministry in this Jan - Mar 2018
world was threefold – he taught, sanctified and led and hence he is a prophet, priest and a king/ shepherd. By our baptism we too are incorporated into Christ and share this triple office (Rev 1: 6). Through this common priesthood every Christian is called to work in the world in God’s name and bring blessings and grace to it. At the same time in the Upper Room when Jesus commissioned the apostles and equipped them with a sacred authority to serve the faithful, he ordained priests to represent himself as a pastor to his people and as head of his body the Church. This is the origin of ministerial priesthood, which the clergy exercises in Jesus’ name. As the Church grew the clergy got more and more organized and got a specific role to play in the Church, the main being the offering of the Holy Sacrifice and administering Sacraments. How does the common priesthood, the lay faithful exercise its priesthood? First and foremost by participation in the Liturgy/ Mass. And then by rendering praise to God which is expressed in four ways – by our Christian Vocation, by our call to live in a community, by faith in God and by our responsibility in the Church.
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How does the ministerial priesthood exercise its priesthood? By serving the common priesthood, through the sacrament of Holy Orders in preaching, teaching, governing and more especially in the administering of sacraments. As representatives of Christ they have been given the sacred power to be of service to the faithful. Today the lay faithful as well as permanent married deacons can help in the mission of the Church by their ministry in schools, offices, politics and in organizations that promote life and equality. More specifically in hospitals, preaching ministry, Bible study, ecumenism, inter-religious dialogue, sports, dramas, sociocultural activities, etc. This can also be taken up by ordained priests, but not at the cost of their sacramental duties. In India, we need priests who can balance both – their contribution to the secular world/ national community as well as the Christian community. As people of God let us join our hands together and realize this divine-human responsibility in Christ’s own priesthood. The writer is a Salesian priest working at Don Bosco Mission, Honnihalli, Belagavi.
FAITH-LOVE-ACTION Neil Fernandes SDB
Church in the World “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son that we may have life, life in abundance.” Jn 3:16 The Church, right from early traditions, has as its goal to build this world into a better place. Christ established the Church to serve humanity and help everyone to live more fully in truth, justice, freedom and love. In light of the Gospel, the Church is to offer the Human race the saving resources given to it by Christ. The Church is to seek to provide meaningful answers to the questions people have about life. The answer to life’s problems rests in Jesus. Right at the beginning of His ministry, Christ mentioned the aim of his mission here on earth: “The spirit of the Lord is upon me and He has appointed me to give the good news to the poor, to set the prisoners free and to proclaim the year of the Lord.” Lk 4:12-13 Such is our mission as church even today. But, we need to carry out this mission in light of the signs of the times. Today, the church has found it necessary to involve the laity in all her activities. This was already foreseen by Christ when he chose his twelve disciples from different walks of life. Not one of them had any clerical background. This point is very evidently seen in the parable of the Good Samaritan, when it was a Samaritan, a lay person who helped the man in
need, and not the priest and Levite. This is not the type of Church, one that stays aloof from the people, which God wants. Bishop Franz Kamphaus puts it very nicely, “Do as God did: become a man (human)!” We, laity and clergy, as the Church, are called to get involved in the needs of the World, and not to treat the two as two different entities. During the Dark Ages (15th-16th century) the Church seemed to have forgotten its mission. She became a very corrupt body with a lot of immoral practices taking place. But, God sent his messengers in St. Francis of Assisi, St. Dominic Guzman, St. Ignatius of Loyola, St. John Bosco, Mother Teresa and so on. These individuals, as part of the Church, rekindled the faith and hope in people and reassured them that God and the Church have not forgotten them, and that they are the primary target of His Divine love. In accordance to the signs of his times, Pope Leo XIII published the first ever encyclical which tackled the social problems that people faced, Rerum Novarum, in 1891. Thus began the official and direct involvement of the Church in the problems of the world. The bigger breakthrough came about when Pope St. John XXIII convened the Second Vatican Council in order to open the windows of the Church to let some fresh air in. This brought the Church closer to the people.
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Another major document that came into being was Gaudium et Spes, “The Church in the Modern World.” This document spoke about the trials and tribulations that the people in the world faced and how we, the Church, need to be ready and equipped to help solve these problems. Two popes, who have led from the front and have shown the way that the Church needs to take in order to make this world a better place, are Pope St. John Paul II and Pope Francis. By their very persona they have managed to change the world and have been very influential in bringing about peaceful solutions to many social problems all over the world. The Church’s involvement in the world today can be described under three sub headings. (1) Faith, (2) Love, (3) Action. 1. Faith: The Church is faithful to the teachings of Christ i.e. To go… To Teach… To Baptize… To teach those baptized to grow. The people in the Church are filled with faith to carry the faith to those who haven’t received it. All that
the Church does, she does it in faith and puts everything in the hands of God. 2. Love: “This is my Commandment; love one another as I have loved you.” Jn 15:12 The Church loves those who she works for, just as God loves us, unconditionally. We are called to love, not for us to be loved in return, but to make God’s love abound and so that the people know that there is God who loves them. 3. Action: Love is always complimented with action. The actions of the Church are voluminous and can be characterized as actions of service. The Church, being the body of Christ, needs to be like Him, a Man of Service. Just as Jesus gave His life for us, we are called to serve and give our lives for Christ in the people we reach out to. We, the Church, are the hands and feet of Christ. We are also the world. When we build up ourselves, we are building up the Church. And when we build up the Church, we help build up ourselves. We need to lift up Christ to the dying world, preach Christ, live Christ, demonstrate Christ and share Christ. We cannot expect to act on the Word until we react to the Word. We can’t make Christ mean anything to others, until we make Him mean everything to us. We will have more conversions, when we have more convictions. Let each one of us be Ipse Christus (Christ himself) to the world so that we may, like Christ, be a light unto the darkened world. Neil is a Salesian studying at Divyadaan, a Salesian Philosophy Institute in Nashik.
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EMOTIONS & HATE Charlene Farrell
In The House of God This Sunday as I sat in my seat, looking around before mass like I sometimes do, I realised that the amount of place in the church kept increasing of late. The number of youngsters in the room seem to have diminished over the past few years. Some of my students have very confidently lied saying they went for an earlier mass whereas a few of the more truthful teens admitted to finding it difficult to wake up after an evening of Saturday night shenanigans. In days gone by, everyone was aware of their duties as a Christian and would fulfil the same with pride and reverence. Today, most things are treated with scepticism and thus, a lot of our days of obligation go unobserved. These issues are ritualistic. But the true problem lies in the fact that those who do find themselves on those pews each Sunday as
well, need to ask how much of what they hear actually makes it into their lives. Many a time, we see people watching others, checking out what they are wearing. Judging and smirking at all things around them. Those are behaviours that are right up there on the lists of characteristics not needed especially when you sit in worship in the house of Our Lord. When we call ourselves Christian, we are referring to something very profound. The Christian, in the home of God and outside in the world, needs to embody the Christian values we have been entrusted with. We have been gifted with the beautiful opportunity of bringing joy wherever we are. By the word of God that constantly guides and consistently reminds us, almost like a manual on how to live a life that is good and attract abundance through His word. With so much at
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our disposal, we still choose to be preoccupied with petty emotions and unjustified hate. The world as we see it, is in shambles. Atrocities against women, against religions and basically against humanity, where are we with our Christian values and teachings to make things right? One Sunday, not long ago, as I sat listening to a very riveting sermon, the priest said something that woke me from within. He said ‘it is a sin to hurt, but it is more of a sin to remain quiet’. That one line got me thinking, when we do see wrong, how many of us will calmly say something to bring change. Here, I do not mean starting a fight. I simply mean, bringing to the notice of the wrong doer that every mistake can be learnt from and that there are people out there who will help in the undoing. At get-togethers, we discuss all sorts of political issues, we grumble about the systems that are destroying our very existence. Do any of us ever do something to bring about the change? Well, very few would go out of their way for a battle that isn’t entirely their own. Another situation that highlights the lack of Christianity in our daily life is the fact that a number of us hold on to grudges and not let them go. The sheer number of us who aren’t talking to our brothers and sisters over silly issues like land and property is alarming. On
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a Sunday or on other mass days, we go to the altar and behave like we are clean, we believe that we are forgiven if we just come for mass on Sundays. But the scriptures says “Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, ‘Lord, if my brother keeps on sinning against me, how many times do I have to forgive him? Seven times?’ ‘No, not seven times,’ answered Jesus, ‘but seventy times seven…’” Mathew 18.21-22 Forgiveness is the corner stone of our religion. We need to embody that in everything we do. Jesus gave up his life for the forgiveness of our sins and it is from that act that we were redeemed. As we go through this season of lent, let us focus more on our inward Christianity rather than what we try to show the outside world. Let us pay attention to the fact that we need to live the Christian life rather than follow things ritualistically. Love, peace, patience, forgiveness, generosity and compassion should not be characteristics we strive to achieve. They are characteristics that should be part of who we are as Christians. We need to focus on being Christian not only in the church, but in every aspect of our lives and in every corner that we occupy. The writer is a Counsellor and a psychology teacher. She is also a TEDx speaker.
FORWARD LOOKING Monce C Abraham
The Golden Rule & Wisdom of Silence
I have been invited by Don Bosco Publication, to share my thoughts on the theme ‘how to bring about full potential of the society in doing good to one another’. I will share more on how we can build a culture of building a better environment and society by acting in a manner which benefits yourself, others and the society as a whole. The Golden Rule “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” This maxim, commonly known as The Golden Rule of Ethics, or the Rule of Reciprocity has been much attributed as an exclusive Christian teaching (Mat 7:12). One would be surprised to learn though that variations of the same can be found across most world religions, including, but not limited to, Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism, Sikhism, Jainism and Judaism.
One can always become a better version of self by learning the methods of offering plus evaluating constructive criticism (different from destructive criticism/ pulling others down/ making light of other’s efforts). How does one go about applying the Golden Rule? One can start applying more of the Golden Rule by approaching most instances by assuming positive intent. This means applying the belief that when faced with an instance where you can assume either good or bad intent from the individual/ entity you are interacting with, you start off assuming that they are working in your interest (or on the corollary, not trying to sabotage your interest).
Wisdom of Silence “If you have nothing nice to say to others, it’s best to say nothing instead” This is another rule that also adds much value in the long run. Much of our time in community can be ill spent talking about others instead of talking about ideas, and building others and the world at large, up. 24 SANGATI
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• Eg 1) You are stuck in traffic and your car is hit lightly by a bike from behind. You are more than a bit irked, and when you check back, you find a mother with 2 young kids in school uniforms trying to balance her bike. How do you react? Would you assume she did this with the intent to damage your vehicle? Or would you assume that she was simply in a hurry, and managed to not fully apply the brakes? Bear in mind that they have hit your bumper lightly, and how you react in the next 30 seconds will impact how you and they feel for at least the next 30 minutes. • Eg 2) You are in a meeting with a prospective partner for your business. You went in with a set of expectations and alignment in terms of partnership, but instead find that they are only willing to listen and share from a different perspective. How do you manage this? Do you stick to your guns, or try to meet them halfway, assuming and trying to understand the reason behind their rigid stance. Bear in mind that you have heard good things about the other party, that this is probably the first time you are meeting them professionally, and how you manage the next 30 minutes will impact if and whether there will be a win-win partnership, or not. Likewise: • Eg 1) Were you to hit a car from behind, do you right out go ahead, apologize and make amends? Or do you try to lie and cheat, to negotiate your way out, by blaming the other person? • Eg 2) In a business partnership, should the next person be a novice/ amateur and should there be no straight alignment in values or business opportunity, do you act dishonestly and try to gain extra money and mileage at their expense nonetheless? Or do you honestly
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communicate that you are probably not the right business partner for them at the moment, and request them to circle back whenever the right opportunity and time comes. Exceptions to the Golden Rule: There is no one way to do things, and should one be presented with evidence which shows ill intent/ dishonesty in dealings from the other entity, one is always free to act in accordance to one’s values. I personally look at values as a huge indicator for whether, or not, I should work with someone, and have walked away more times than I remember regardless of how much wealth or power the other entity wielded. If you see someone behaving unethically, speaking ill of others, treating others with disrespect, taking credit for something they clearly did not do, or dealing with others dishonestly, chances are when the time comes, they will do the same to you. Life is too short to waste time on any of those things, which can be simply avoided by looking forward. How does one go about applying the Wisdom of Silence? Should one choose to keep working towards one’s higher self, I have personally found this to be an effective tool. Resist the temptation to waste time talking ill about others, or talking ill to others. Also avoid, or limit time to a minimum with, people who do the same. • Eg 1) When in a group, one of your friends shares his/ her thoughts about their dreams and aspirations, and the group joins in on making fun of them (light-heartedly/ otherwise), how do you react? Do you join in with the peers? Or do you try to manage the energy in the
serve it’s stakeholders better, as also when one must speak up against injustice.
group and steer it towards helping your friend evaluate and plan the feasibility plus next steps to achieve the same (in group/ otherwise). Likewise: • Eg 1) When you are in a group you trust and feel comfortable sharing your ideas and dreams with - should you get shot down, or jeered at (happens more in the initial phases when you are just starting out - unless your dreams are really big, which would scare most others, including yourself... and which is Ok), how do you react? Do you take it personally and lash back right there? Or do you choose to exercise silence as a response for this group, focussing on other things you share with them; whilst you keep working on the feasibility and plan the next steps, connecting and working with people who share your wavelength? Exceptions to the Rule: There are times when one must not just consider, but should unequivocally speak up. This is applicable whenever one intends to apply constructive criticism, to help an entity
The more recent #NeverAgain, #NeverAgainMSD and #MarchForOurLives movement post the gun shootings in Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Parkland, Florida in the United States; and the India Against Corruption (IAC) movement closer home in India are commendable examples of when speaking up about the not-so-nice-things is of paramount importance, to move the society, nation and the world forward. As we near the end of this post, the following quote sums it up well. “Watch your thoughts, they become words; watch your words, they become actions; watch your actions, they become habits; watch your habits, they become character; watch your character, for it becomes your destiny” - Frank Outlaw May the Force be with you for all times to come; and may your Community, Nation and the World be better off because of your existence and the value-add made. Monce is the founder and Chairman at THEV Consulting. Link to original post: http://monceabraham.com/the-goldenrule-wisdom-of-silence/
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WINNING STRATEGY Anthony da Silva SJ
THE GREAT COLLABORATOR “Collaboration” is a word on fire these days. It features all over the media world of today. From social to business media, followers are summoned to collaborate in diverse ways and on a variety of projects. Catchy messages, like: ‘None of us is as smart as all of us’, stare down at us from billboards and giant posters. Many hearts, heads, and hands are better than a single one. Unfortunately, we tend to neglect this self-evident wisdom of collaboration and subscribe almost reflexively to failed practices of doing things alone. So, could Jesus serve as an example of collaboration in the way he taught and lived in this world? In fact, there are many instances of collaboration in the Gospels. Jesus repeatedly invites his friends and disciples to collaborate in his mission of proclamation and healing. One such memorable example is how Jesus fed five thousand men, women and children in a deserted place in collaboration with his disciples and the crowds around him. (See Gospel of Matthew ch. 14:13-21). What then is collaboration and how does it work? Collaboration is simply a coming together of two or more people, whose shared feelings, thoughts and actions drive them in their mission. Writers sometimes use symbols like Heart, Head and Hands to show us how
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collaboration works in practice. Each of these three pillars contributes richly to the culture of collaboration. Fortunately for us Christians, the miracle story of Jesus feeding five thousand people illustrates well, how the collaboration model of “heart” “head” and “hands” was practiced by Jesus. THE “HEART” The “Heart” symbolizes your feelings towards collaborators on a project, and the values you bring to the collaboration table. The key value here is to listen with the heart to fellowcollaborators. This means an openness to listen to different and differing opinions. Such empathic listening creates a climate of trust and respect among the collaborators. “Heartdriven” collaboration is non-judgmental and tolerant even of failure. When Jesus saw the immense crowd around him, The Gospel tell us that he felt compassion for them and cured their sick (v 14). He instantly reached out and felt for them, after listening to them with empathy. The people greatly appreciated Jesus’ concern for them. As a result, they lingered on the entire day, listening to his teachings, and he in turn listening to their cries for healing. As evening drew closer, the disciples became concerned about the food needs of the crowds.
They said to Jesus, “ This is a deserted place, and the hour is now late; send the crowds away so that they may go into the villages and buy food for themselves”(v 15). Jesus too felt concern for the crowds but told his disciples that they, the (disciples), should provide food and not send the crowds home, hungry. THE “HEAD” The “Head” refers to self-awareness during collaboration: one should be aware of one’s attitudes, beliefs, and principles in collaboration. All of this helps us think clearly and plan diligently in order to achieve the goals of a collaboration venture. The disciples struggle initially to fully understand Jesus’ plans. They are very little aware of what is going on within Jesus, or within themselves or within the crowds around them. They therefore say to Jesus, helplessly, “We have nothing here but five loaves and two fish” (v 17). However, the attitude of Jesus contrasted sharply with that of his disciples. Jesus was compassionate and eager to collaborate with the crowds in order to feed them, but the disciples remained uninvolved and distant and only highlighted the difficulties and problems. While the disciples remained unaware of the situation within or around them, Jesus’ thinking remained clear; since he was fully aware of his plan on how to collaborate, he started to share it with his disciples and the people. Hence he says to his disciples quite definitively, “bring them (loaves and fish) here to me” (v 18). Clear thinking leads to clear collaborative action.
THE “HANDS” “Hands” symbolize actions and behaviours during collaboration. One of the key ingredients for successful and fruitful actions is open communication. Sharing information through open communication creates opportunities for team members to implement the collaboration plans; furthermore, it encourages networking. Thus all in the team feel empowered to action. Jesus puts the crowd at ease and makes them comfortable, by his action of asking them to sit down on the grass (v 19). It is a sign of preparation for a meal; actually, an outright invitation to a meal. Jesus then takes the five loaves and two fish, looks up to heaven, blesses and breaks them. Through these religious, ritualistic actions, Jesus communicates to the disciples and the crowds that he is empowered by God to do such miraculous actions like feeding the multitudes. Finally, Jesus gave the loaves and fish to his disciples, who in turn distributed them to the crowds, in a sweeping gesture of collaboration between God, His Son Jesus, the disciples and the people. The fruits of this highly successful collaborative venture were there for all to see. For, “all ate and were filled; and they took up what was left over of the broken pieces, twelve baskets full” (v 20). Jesus effectively demonstrated that team work and collaboration can bring about astounding results for the kingdom of God.
Not to be forgotten, is also the Gospel lesson that: Collaboration begins with YOU! Unless you are open to collaboration others cannot collaborate with you. The writer is a Jesuit priest and works at Xavier Centre, Porvorim, Goa. Jan - Mar 2018
IT WORKS! Banzelao Teixeira SDB
EMPOWERING PEOPLE & COMMUNITIES The Missionary Strategy of José Vaz
Empowering People At the very outset of his missionary work in Sri Lanka, Vaz understood the significance of empowering lay people for the mission of the Church. He realized that by himself he would find it extremely difficult to revive the waning faith of the Catholic community of Sri Lanka. The Dutch Calvinists, who had taken control of the island, had driven out missionaries and forbidden the Catholics from practising their faith. In such a socio-political situation the Catholics had either abandoned the practise of their faith or were forced to join the Calvinist church. José Vaz had clandestinely entered Sri Lanka to revive the dwindling Catholic community. He knew well that single-handedly the revival would not take place, hence he employed the strategy of ‘Lay Collaboration’. He took into confidence some Catholics and involved them in the evangelizing mission and catechesis. Several years later, when the Oratorian priests had taken charge of the
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whole island, he instructed his fellow priests to employ a similar method of catechesis and evangelization throughout the mission territory. Every village, with Catholic families, was to have its own chapel which would be supervised by a muppu or an annavi. Fr. S. G. Perera, the biographer of José Vaz, explains the strategy of this great missionary. Vaz would invite the local people to erect a chapel in their village according to their means and tastes. Working together to build their own place of worship gave the people a strong sense of identity and greater commitment to their faith. Each chapel had its own muppu – lay president of the Catholic community – who supervised the assembly of the Catholics on Sundays and feast days, and made arrangements for the visit of the priest. In other places, the annavi, who as a sacristan-cumcatechist, guided the community which did not have a muppu. He acted as caretaker of the chapel, visited the sick in the absence of the priest, read the prayers in the church,
prayed at the bedside of the sick and at funerals, instructed the young and the ignorant, and assisted the priest during the visits. The muppu was chosen for his influence and respectability, the annavi for his zeal and piety. These local leaders shouldered the responsibility of keeping the community united in faith. Anticipating Vatican II About 300 hundred years before Vatican II, JosĂŠ Vaz introduced in the Sri Lankan church what Ad gentes would later emphasize regarding the involvement of lay people in the mission of the Church. The document clearly indicated that the success of the mission depends largely on the untiring and self-sacrificing work of the catechists. In another document of Vatican II, Lumen gentium, the Council Fathers clearly stated that the laity have the noble duty of working to extend the divine plan of salvation to all people. Therefore, it exhorted church authorities to give every opportunity to lay people so that, according to their abilities and the needs of the times, they may zealously participate in the saving work of the Church.
Encouraging Indigenous Vocations Another important initiative in the direction of empowering the local community was Vazâ€™s idea of organizing a native congregation of the Oratorians. During the 150 years of their presence in Sri Lanka, the Portuguese did not make any significant effort to encourage the Sinhalese or Tamil people to become Catholic priests. S. G. Perera claims that the Catholics of Sri Lanka (Ceylon) had been brought up to be inarticulate. The first missionaries never thought it necessary to seek the participation of the people or to raise any of them to the priesthood so as to labour in Ceylon. The foreign missionaries, despite their good will and holiness, often misunderstood the people and took little notice of their rich culture and tradition, and of their past and their future. As a result when the Dutch took control of the island, t h e r e were neither priests nor trained lay people to lead the catholic flock.
Vaz had understood the value of lay collaboration several centuries before it was promoted by church authorities. Perhaps the trying circumstances determined his novel strategy of lay involvement. However, we need to acknowledge the fact that he was open to the idea of empowering the laity, while several priests and religious struggle, even today, to involve the laity in the mission of the Church. 30 SANGATI
Instead, Vaz was an indigenous priest from South Asia. He eventually brought along with him priests of Asian origin, who were more attuned to the customs and spiritual traditions of Sri Lanka. Due to this foundational work, Catholicism truly became an indigenous religion with indigenous priests living and proclaiming the essential message of Jesus Christ. Thanks to the efforts of the Oratorians, and JosĂŠ Vaz in particular, the Catholic Church in Sri Lanka continued to evolve from being a proselytizing colonial religion to one served by indigenous Jan - Mar 2018
priests and nuns, and later even bishops. At a time when most religious congregations were very cautious of taking the indigenous people as members of their congregations, Vaz not only initiated the first indigenous congregation from Asia but also recommended John, his helper and companion in Sri Lanka, to the priesthood, notwithstanding the lowly origins and going against the established practise of the day. The Challenge Several religious congregations and dioceses, today, are earnestly promoting lay collaboration in the educative and evangelizing mission of the Church. This is truly commendable! However, this should not happen only when we face a
steady decline in our numbers or when we do not have competent members to ‘manage’ our institutions. Instead, the involvement of lay people in our mission should arise from a deep conviction that together (lay people and religious) we are called to bring about God’s kingdom. We, priests and religious in particular, need to trust lay people, empower them, and share with them our passion for the mission of Christ. And all this should happen during our formative years. Young people in our seminaries should be encouraged and given opportunities to interact with lay people, and to work with them as equals. This, I believe, is the only way forward for the Church. Banzelao is the principal of Divyadaan, a Salesian Philosophy Institute in Nashik.
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THE IN-THING Chris Valentino SDB
NS IO T A L E R Y G R E LAY-CL ANEW
Ours is a world of ‘sync’. We love to be ‘in sync’. None of us ever wishes to or wants to be ‘out of sync’. This of course, is the ‘in-word’ in our hyper-connected times. We are all ready, geared and able to sync with the cloud, sync our different gadgets, sync our apps, sync our calendar/notes/tasks, etc. Yet, in our busy lives trying to be ‘in sync’, we do not stop to ponder the deeper significance of being ‘in sync’. What does it really entail? Why would we really want to be ‘synced’ all the time? In all walks of life, as in music or in the mystery of the universe, there is a tremendously fascinating synchronization. It is conformity, an affiliation, cooperation, increased rapport and trust. Synchrony is part and parcel of
our daily living, without us even being aware or acknowledging it. Yet it is intentionally intended to be beneficial to our own selves and to maintain the connectivity with the larger ‘others’. The question then invariably arises, why haven’t we as a body of the faithful, as members of the Church not think of ourselves as a synchronised whole? What is this constant bickering, blaming, naming, shaming oftentimes to glaring effect within our Churches? In a world that is so aggressively propagating collaborative ventures, mergers, joining-hands to ensure the common benefit of all, why do we procrastinate to be and enhance our communion? Rethinking happened a long time ago; when that witty podgy St. John XXIII threw open the windows so that the light of the Spirit may permeate the darkness within! Much water has flowed down the bridge as of then! Numerous pronouncements have been made ever since, plenty of seminars, workshops, symposiums, think-tank committees have been set up across the globe, practically in every Diocese to study, ruminate and effect change in our ‘sync’ing methods! Regretfully, the
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implementation of the rethinking is still a process underway even after these 50 years. The basic thought as voiced by St. John Paul II in his Address to Participants of the Symposium on the Participation of the Laity in the Priestly Ministry in 1994, “The entire church in all her components lives in the mystery of a “missionary communion.’ This means an “organic’ communion analogous to that of a living, functioning body ... characterized by a diversity and a complementarity of vocations and states of life, of ministries, charisms and responsibilities” [Christifideles Laici (CL), 20]; it also means a “unity in mission” [cf. Apostolicam Actuositatem, 2; CL, 55], which actively involves all the baptized in the work of building up the mystical body of Christ and in courageously proclaiming the Gospel to the world,” has perhaps yet not been grasped by us both clergy and lay to the fullest. What this entails is that we are a body, united in and through Christ, as the Church through baptism, participating as per our own capacities sharing in the priestly, prophetic and kingly office of Christ, trying to the best of our ability to carry out the mission of the Church in the world as sacred ministers and lay people (Canons 204 par.1; 207 par.1; Lumen Gentium 31). Together as one, we are called to give testimony and witness to our life of communion, as pastors, as teachers, as ministers, as leaders,
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as followers all the time not losing sight of our ultimate aim, which is to foster among people peace and harmony based on justice (Canons 212 par.1; 275 par.2; 287 par.1) As the visible body of Christ, we are called to be ‘in sync’ among ourselves and with others constantly and consistently working without ceasing for the common good promoting a more just society through active participation in the economic, political, social and cultural life of the global society. Of course, there are and will be positives, negatives, ups, downs, twists, turns, pitfalls, discomforts, heartaches, frustrations, problems and myriad issues to be tackled, yet this is also an elevating, enlightening, enhancing, enabling, and enriching task, if we have the courage to make our choice to “endeavour to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace […because] there is one body, and one Spirit, even as you are called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” (Eph 4:3-6) If we as the Church, as a collective whole,
as people of God stop, ponder and analyse, we would definitely realise that we are a Church of mystery, communion, and shared mission. Mystery is the background for the gift of life, calling we receive to be part of the Church. The source of mystery is ‘the holy trinity’. Communion is the platform/forum where the gift that is received mysteriously is nurtured and shared, because “encouraged by the Spirit, the Church today deepens its awareness of being the People of God, where all have equal dignity received in Baptism [Vita Consacrata (VC) 72], all have a common vocation to holiness [CL 55, VC 31] and all share the responsibility for the mission of evangelization [Evangelii Nuntiandii 59], each one according to our vocation, our charism and our ministry becomes a sign for all the others [CL 55] . Ours is an instrumental spiritual and physical communion that espouses authentic life, love, truth, and goodness considering each other ‘as a part of me’, implying i nterdependence, mutuality whether rich or poor, sick or in good health coordinating efforts to recognise and accompany one another as subjects, as Karl Rahner said: a ‘Church of the grassroots’, a ‘listening Church’, a ‘declericalized Church’! Mission is the people, places, situations, circumstances where the gift is freely, willingly and generously transmitted to the others within the context of being salt of the earth and light of the world, making the Church actively present and operative in all activities or human endeavours through the testimony
of our life and the daily committed witness to our rootedness in Christ and the Good News which we all believe in. Bound up together in this mystery of communion, sharing, caring, giving, receiving, living, and above all else loving which is part of the divine salvific plan that God has for our straying/meandering humanity, in all aspects then, each of us, members of one body the Church are to discover, understand and fulfil our vocation/calling as children of God, united as brothers and sisters, in love taking to heart “that they may be one, as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me” (John 17:11, 21) and “by this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love one for another.” In this world of sync, synergy, networking, connectedness, it is perhaps appropriate that we look at the ABCDE model of being Church. Let us then, Appreciate Our Diversity: Though we are from all walks of life, with different backgrounds, perspectives, ideas and opinions, we need to be unified in our appreciation for our diversity using it to a good advantage to learn from each other; evaluate ourselves based on merit; avoid remarks that are negative or detrimental to persons; accept the differences and work toward a ‘issue-based’ solution, all the while remembering that reasonable people can and do differ with each other.
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Balance the Focus: We need a balanced focus as the local Church, recognising that we should measure up and be able to deliver in our own individual capacities and through collaborative ventures to provide the services required of us overcoming internal group dynamics and relationships. This could happen perhaps with regularly review and evaluation of our effectiveness; moments of celebrations for achievement of certain ascertained targets; praise individual efforts; design individual and collaborative performance goals emphasizing teamwork and balance; and assigning specific roles to individuals to facilitate and monitor the workings as a parish, diocese without partiality. Clarify and Communicate: Clarity of roles and familiarity with our specific responsibilities create efficiency and flexibility. Clarity would entail reviewing our roles frequently, relating our responsibility to the overall purpose of our mission; learning to create synergy and ways to connect with each other; erase miscommunication and hard feelings without undermining our activities. As better communication or bonding happens we can each take responsibility for our actions; understand all the angles; reinforce and recognize the need to stay bonded by clearing up misunderstandings quickly and accurately. Develop Trust: Trust is of crucial importance since if we are to work together, we are bound to be trustworthy persons which implies our being honest; eliminate conflicts of interests; avoid slander/gossip/rumour-mongering among ourselves; give each other the benefit of the doubt. Ensure a Common Purpose/Goal Environment: As we are well aware, as the pilgrim Church, a Church of accompaniment is what we all desire. However, hindrances
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do occur when there is confusion over the common purpose and goal. It is therefore our responsibility to create and ensure a common purpose and goal environment through reenvisaging our common mission; prioritize our activities/programmes/initiatives through mutual agreements; express complete and total commitment towards each other and toward being the Church-in-the-world. The key watchwords are collaboration, cooperation and communication. In unfortunate circumstances and situations, a tremendous vacuum has somehow managed to develop, created by widespread failures among members of the hierarchical clergy and through plenty of mistrust embedded within our mindsets thanks to an upsurge in other circumstantial instances. The curse of ‘doubt’ and suspicion must be in our minds and through faith be annihilated and refurbished with ‘trust’ and ‘trustworthiness’. A clergylay distance is however essential without too much familiarity or intimacy, drawing the necessary line between clerical responsibility and opinion/feelings, even while recognizing the noble and dignified collaboration among ourselves in truth. Perhaps the way forward, or re‘sync’ing involves a return to the basic principles of ‘ownership, trust, interaction, submission’ rooted in ‘spirituality’ nurtured with vision and sacrifice, appreciating our connectivity through prayer, and genuine fellowship, pondering “seek ye first the kingdom of God and righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Mt 6:33), never forgetting that we are people of God despite our human frailty and fallibility. Chris is a Salesian priest, passionate about Christ, Peace, Youth and Media.
CANONICAL PERSPECTIVES Fr Alex D’Mello
Priests-Lay Collaboration in the structures of the Church
Introduction: The decree on the apostolate of the laity Apostolicam Actuositatem (AA) of the Second Vatican Council states the mind of the church about the role of laity in the life of the church. The Council makes us aware that the laity have an indispensable role in the mission of the church. The Church can’t think without the lay apostolate. The modern conditions demand that the laity must and should be getting involved in the church. The scarcity of the priests and the hostile environment against the priests and the religious, the expertise of the laity in the field such as social communication, politics, finance, education demand that it is urgent and pressing need that the laity must realize their role in the mission of the church and the priests should welcome them in their ministry as it happened in the early Christian communities. (Cfr. Acts 11:19-21; 18:26; Rom. 16:1-16; Phil. 4:3) In the light of the Second Vatican Council, the Church began its revision of Code of Canon law 1917. The Latin code implemented what was said in the council. At the beginning of the revision, the consulters formulated 10 guiding principles for the revision of the Code of Canon law. One of the principles was to safeguard the rights of the persons. The consulters knew the council teaching on the laity. It said, “The
laity derive the right and duty to the apostolate from their union with Christ the head; incorporated into Christ’s Mystical Body through Baptism and strengthened by the power of the Holy Spirit through Confirmation, they are assigned to the apostolate by the Lord Himself.” (AA, no. 3). We have today the revised code of Canon law and several documents that guide us on the lay participation in the mission of the church. We can’t study them in detail but at least let us become aware of these structures. Positive Image of priests-laity collaboration in the definition of “Parish Priest”: The code explains the office of the parish priest in a very positive frame of mind in Canon 519 (CIC 1983). It states, “The parish priest is the proper pastor of the parish entrusted to him. He exercises pastoral care of the community entrusted to him under the authority of the diocesan Bishop, whose ministry of Christ he is called to share, so that for this community he may carry out the offices of teaching, sanctifying and ruling with the cooperation of other priests or deacons and with the assistance of lay members of Christ’s faithful, in accordance with the law”. The parish priests need to work in collaboration with the other priests, deacons and the laity. The parish
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priest canâ€™t work arbitrary, in isolation but he is asked to work in collaboration with others. The Code articulates the mind of the Second Vatican Council. If the Code (Can 519) states that the Parish Priest needs to collaborate with the others in particular the laity then what are the structures available for the laity to exercise their role in the mission of church. Let us briefly look at them. Parish Pastoral Council (Can. 536) The bishop can make the constitution of parish pastoral council (PPC) obligatory after consulting the council of priests. It is one of t he best expression of communion, participation and co-responsibility between the priests and the laity. It is a representative body of the faithful working in close collaboration with the parish priest. The parish priest is the president. He is not an autocratic leader but the one who animates and facilitates the activities. PPCâ€™s role is to help the parish priest identify the pastoral needs in the parish. It helps him to plan pastoral programs. It evaluates the pastoral programs. The composition of the council is adapted to the local settings. The members of the council must know that they have serious responsibilities in helping the parish priest so that he may take the right decision for their parish community. It should not become a place where we show our grievance and fight with the parish priest. Parish Finance Council (Can. 537) Parish Finance Council is an obligatory body that helps the parish priests in the administration of the goods of the parish. It functions according to the norms laid by the universal law as well as the diocesan bishop. It is comprised of the members who are experts in the field of civil law, finance, etc. They need
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to be honest and devoted to the church and its mission. The council assists the parish priest. In the recent past, the rules and regulation in the field of finance have drastically changed. The priests need help to follow them, those who have knowledge in the finances must voluntarily reach out to the parish priests in helping them to make the decision in administering the goods of the church. It is the parish priest who is administer of the parish finance and representative of the parish in the legal matters. The Diocesan Synod (Can. 463) The 1917 code of Canon law (Can. 358) restricted the membership of the diocesan synod to the clerics. The 1983 Code of Canon law made is mandatory that there should be lay participation in the diocesan synod. The diocesan bishop is responsible to have wider participation and representation of the faithful from different sectors of the diocese. He may choose them from the diocesan pastoral council and in the manner that is decided by the organizing committee. The faithful must participate whole heartedly in this activity without any reservation. They need to participate in the synod with prudence and integrity. The Diocesan Finance Council (Can. 492-494) The Diocesan Finance Council is also an obligatory organ. It assists the diocesan bishop in his administration of the diocese. Every diocese should have it. They is no alternative to this organ. The lay people who are experts in the field of finance, civil law can make a great contribution.
Their expertise help the diocesan bishop in effective functioning and administration of the temporal goods of the diocese. The council has greater power because the diocesan bishop cannot take any decision on his own. He has to take counsel on certain matters or he needs the consent. It is mandatory to follow the directives mentioned in the canon law otherwise the acts are invalid or illicit. This council continues to function even when the Episcopal see is vacant or impeded. The Diocesan Pastoral Council (Can. 511-514) The diocesan Pastoral Council is a gift of the second Vatican Council. It was founded on the basis of communion, participation and collaboration in the mission of the church. This council is formed at the diocesan level. It is composed and functions by the particular law which is enacted by the diocesan bishop. It helps the diocesan bishop on the regular basis. The diocesan synod rarely takes place with the initiatives of the bishop but the diocesan pastoral council is a regular feature. The bishop can make use of this structure to know and study the matters that concern his diocese. The lay people can make big contribution though this council by helping the bishop with their experience. The Regional and National Council (Can. 443 Â§4) In the recent past, the regional and national level consultation with the laity is gaining momentum. At every regional level in our country, the consultation is taking place under the directives of the Holy See. We had consultation on the topics of family, youth etc at the Western Region. The lay people who are involved in these apostolates share their experience and concerns with the bishops
who take proper decision for their faithful at the diocesan or regional level. The lay people should not limit themselves to the parish and the diocese but must cooperate Episcopal Conferences at the regional, national and international level. This kind of participation fosters communion and unity in the church. Conclusion: There is general grievance among the lay faithful that the above mentioned structures in the church administration are only in consultative in nature. It does not have power to make the decision in the mission of the church. We say that the Church is not democratic. Our country is democratic but how many of us know that everybody does not make the decision but our representatives who are elected at the state and national level take the decision for us. The clerics who are representatives of Christâ€™s faithful take decisions for us. Their principle aim is salus animarum which means salvation of our souls. We need to realise that it is our responsibility to participate in these participatory structures of the church to help our priests, bishops to make proper decisions for us. Therefore, let us promote participatory structures and communion within the church. Let this structure help to build dialogue between the clergy and the laity. The 1983 Code has enhanced the role of laity with the innovation of some of these structures. We should not renounce these structures or passively participate in this councils but need to have proper understanding and openness in walking along with the priests and bishops with the help of these participatory structures of the church. This is the future of the Church.
Fr Alex is the director of the Family Commission & the Judicial Vicar in the diocese of Sindhudurg. Jan - Mar 2018
A SACRAMENT Valentine (Vally) & Anna Coelho
The role of the Matrimonied
in the Church
When we got married we thought that the Sacrament of Matrimony was similar to all the other Sacraments we had received like Baptism, Con f ir mat ion, Holy Eucharist and Confession. It was when we experienced a Marriage Encounter weekend 4 years after our marriage, that we realised that we became a Sacrament and we have to be a Sacrament every day of our lives. One of the characteristics of Sacraments is that all Sacraments are visible: outward signs of a deep interior grace. The Sacrament of Matrimony is public not private. They are meant for the Church community. So we have to ask ourselves: how visible is our Sacrament of Matrimony? Where is the place of the Matrimonied couple in the Church after the marriage ceremony? They live together and have children? All couples do that. They go to mass on Sundays and are active in the parish?
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Even â€œSinglesâ€? do the same. The sad fact is that couples are treated in the Church as married, not Mat r imonied, once the ceremony is over. There is no place for us in the church as matrimonied couples: no position of authority or honour because for this state of life. Just think what would happen if a Priest were to be ordained and then not given any chance to exercise the powers and responsibilities of ordination? Not only would it be unfair and demeaning to the Priest but even more damaging to the whole Church. All of us are called to full membership in the Church by virtue of our Baptism and Confirmation. Matrimony redirects and focuses that call. It is not that we are better than the rest. Rather we, Matrimonied couples have a special function. Even though we, as couples are present in the Church in large numbers,
we don’t see ourselves as a Church resource. Individually we may be called to be resourse persons, but in our love relationship and as a couple, very few of us are called to be a resource couple for any program or course. The Church largely still is a single’s oriented Church. Leadership is selected on the basis of being a priest, religious, a full time employee of the institutional Church or because of professional qualifications. Are people in positions of authority and influence ever chosen to be Leaders in the Church because of the quality of their love? No, because the quality of love is not seen as value for leadership. Yet we say that the core message of Jesus is love. The orientation in the Church today is toward personal growth and development. However when the charism of the Matrimonied is fully employed, we will become much more relationship oriented. We need that desperately. Furthermore, we will become much more child and future oriented. We are so crucified by the immediate and the now. The whole Church deserves to believe in the sacramental power
of Matrimonied couples. Once this happens it will be a whole different Church. In place of individuals representatives in Church bodies like the SSVP, Legion of Mary, etc. we will have Matrimonied couples as representatives. And each Small Christian Community representative to the Parish Pastoral Council can be a Matrimonied couple to best represent the families in that Community. Conclusion Matrimonied couples should share about the reality of their Sacramental power with their friends, those living their Sacrament to the fullest, in devotion to one another and the Catholic Faithful. We have the call. We have received it by being made a Sacrament. We owe it to our Church. The whole Church will benefit from the gift of Matrimonied love. We are a vital part of the mission of the Church through the Power of our Sacrament. The writers are a Certified Naatural Family Planning Teaching couple and co-directors of Couple to Couple League India Chapter.
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FAMILY MATTERS Ian Pinto SDB
What the Church Expects from Parents The genesis of the family lies in the coming together of a man and woman in love, committed to each other and to their duties to one another. It is almost unthinkable to talk of a family without parents. They are the source of the family and the channel which keeps it flowing and active. The parents are responsible for one another as well as for the children, who are the fruit of their union. The Church invites parents to become aware of the seriousness of their roles and responsibilities and to take them up courageously, wholeheartedly and steadfastly, notwithstanding the inevitable difficulties, trials and sufferings that will come their way. I would like to point out just three things the Church expects from parents. In my opinion these three are among the most important characteristics of the vocation of parenthood and therefore worthy of mention and explication.
and for this reason the Church urges parents to prepare themselves for the important task of sharing their life of faith with their children: â€œThe Lord is entrusting to them the growth of a child of God, a brother or sister of Christ, a temple of the Holy Spirit, a member of the Churchâ€? (FC #39). Gianna Molla (1922-1962) was an Italian pediatrician who was brought up in a deeply religious family. Her medical career was guided by the teachings of the Church and she resolved to follow her conscience while coming to the aid of others who required assistance. She dedicated her time and energies to charitable work among the elderly besides taking active part in the Catholic Action movement as well as the Saint Vincent de Paul association.
1) The Church desires that parents be HOLY. One of the greatest gifts that parents can give to children after life is faith. Only someone who has something can give it to someone else. For parents to share the faith with children they must possess it themselves
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In 1961, during the second month of her fourth pregnancy, she developed a fibroma on her uterus. The doctors gave her three choices following an examination: an abortion, a complete hysterectomy, or the removal of the fibroma alone. The Church teaches that life is sacred and therefore anything that threatens life like abortion must be avoided. Keeping this in mind, Molla opted to remove the fibroma alone since she wanted to preserve her child’s life; she told the doctors that her child’s life was more important than her own. Her baby was delivered via a caesarean section but unfortunately, she died a week later due to septic peritonitis. The Church recognized the holiness and heroic sacrifice of Gianna and declared her a saint in 2004. Like Gianna there are many other men and women, fathers and mothers who live lives of solid faith and virtue. The Church wishes that all her children would live lives like these – lives of holiness, spent in the service and love of God and neighbour. 2) The Church desires that parents be LOVING. It is quite difficult to imagine parents who are unloving but nevertheless parents, and in fact all Christians, are called to live lives of
intense and unconditional love. A big number of today’s family issues boil down to a lack of love. A family that is united by love is less likely to fall prey to evil. A young man applied for a managerial position in a big company. His resume looked impressive and he was asked to meet the director for an interview. The director was impressed by the lads excellent CV and asked him who had paid for his education. The man replied that his parents had done so. The manager inquired about their profession. The young man slightly blushed as he disclosed that they were daily wage labourers. The director requested the youth to show his hands. The youth showed a pair of hands that were smooth and perfect. “Have you ever helped your parents in their work?” the director asked. “Never”, came the reply, “my parents always wanted me to study and read more books.” The director asked the youth to go home and clean his parents hands and then come back the next day. The young man was slightly confused but went back home and asked his parents to let him clean their hands. They hesitantly showed their hands to their son and as he cleaned them tears rolled down his cheeks. It was the first time he noticed the wrinkles and bruises on his parents hands. Then he realized that these hands that worked hard every day enabled him to study and progress in life. The next day the director noticed tears in the young man’s eyes when he inquired about the assignment. The young man replied, “I now know what
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appreciation is. Without my parents, I would not be who I am today.” The director proudly announced, “This is what I am looking for in a manager. You are hired.” This touching story resonates a strong message. Love is not selfish and does not look for its own gain. Love, if it is true, is ready to sacrifice everything for the good of the other. Parents are generally motivated by this intense love for their children and willingness to sacrifice for the sake of their future. Johann von Goethe summarized the responsibility of parents towards their children beautifully in his quote, “There are two things children should get from their parents: roots and wings” and both of these are results of love. 3) Finally, the church expects parents to become EDUCATORS of their children.
children, to raise them in the profound human values which are the backbone of a healthy society. This educational mission, essential as it is, nowadays encounters a variety of difficulties. Parents spend less time with their children and schools are often more influential than families in shaping the thinking and values of the young. Our children need sure guidance in the process of growing in responsibility for themselves and others. Christian communities are called to support the educational mission of families. They do this above all by living in fidelity to God’s word, cultivating faith, love and patience. Jesus himself was raised in a family; when he tells us that all who hear the word of God and obey are his brothers and sisters, he reminds us that for all their failings, our families can count on his inspiration and grace in the difficult but rewarding vocation of educating their children.” Ian is a Salesian of Panjim Province pursuing a degree in Masters of Philosophy.
Pope Francis succinctly spoke on this issue during a general audience: “Today we consider the vocation of families to educate their
‘I am a Salesian Lay Brother’ When I was a boy and schooling, I got very attached to Bro Anthony Remedios, Bro Zachary and Bro George Viegas. I saw them working in their offices diligently, doing their jobs among the boys faithfully. I wanted to be like them.
themselves to learning excel in any field they take. Bro Frederick D’Souza is a Salesian Brother of the Province of Panjim. He is multi talented in technical field. He excels in Motor Mechanics, Electricals, Carpentry, Fitters and Machine work. He has been the asset to the provinces of India, especially to Mumbai and Panjim.
I asked to be sent to Basin Bridge, Chennai where I got training to be a Brother. There while undergoing my training I was able to help many boys in their trade. I love discipline and hard work. I have seen boys who commit
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FUTURE OF THE CHURCH Fr Nelson Machado
Role of Youth in Catholic Church Whenever I had an opportunity to address youth and lay leaders, I have always told them, “You are the pillars of the Catholic Church. If you crumble the Church may also collapse.” The laity has power, initiative and ability to transform the entire situation in the Parish in particular and Diocese in general.
a boy and a girl came on the stage and told the youths gathered at the mass to raise their crosses and promise the Holy Father that they will remain loyal to the church and support the Priests and the Bishops. The Holy Father was moved by their assurance and thanked them.
St John Paul II who hailed from Poland, was proud of the Youth from his country. As Head of the Catholic Church in Poland, he was always supportive of the youth. He was aware that only the youth of Poland will be able to face the challenges of polish Catholic Church during the communist regime.
The Youth have power to transform the Church with their energy and enthusiasm. There are youth groups into the Parishes who worked for boys and girls who have gone away from the Church. Some of them are working hard to bring back those youth who have been drug addicts and misguided by bad company.
After becoming the Pope, during his first visit to Poland, the youth mass was arranged at the main stadium at capital city. Nearly 5 lakh youths were present, each one holding crucifix at the time of mass. During his homily, the Pope reminded the youth to take up the leadership of the Church in the absence of some of the Priests who were in jail. The Pope asked them to fight against the communist regime to bring back the religious freedom. The Holy Father said, “I look at the youth of Poland with deep faith and trust.”
It is time for the church to support youth in every Parish and motivate them to take up the responsibility towards the welfare of the Church and the people of God. They should keep in mind that they are called to be the light of the world.
After the communion, the two youth leaders,
It is time for the Bishops to involve more and more youth in the Diocese to build strong and vibrant Parishes. The writer is from Poona Diocese, in education for 46 years and well versed in matters of Land and Properties. Presently assisting Milagris Cathedral, Sawantwadi.
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HIDDEN TREASURE Joanne Dâ€™Souza
YOUTH, the STRENGTH of the PARISH The youth of a parish is its hidden wealth and has so much potential for greatness. The years between childhood and adulthood are an age of finding oneself and discovering who you are as a person. It is among them that there is a future priest, nun, Bishop and maybe even a Pope. The importance of nurturing the youth to discover the Christian morality is immense. Without this sense of direction the true vocation of the person would be lost be it as a clergyman or lay people. Pope John Paul II credits his vocation to a young tailor who inspired by the sermon of a Salesian priest decided to live a saintly life and during the difficult Nazi invasion of Poland was required to teach Catechism to the youngsters of the parish. Jan Leopold Tyranowski was an accountant by profession but a stomach ailment worsened by stress compelled him to
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join his fatherâ€™s tailoring shop. He had a deep faith and inspired by the sermon by a Salesian priest in 1935 he suddenly knew that to be a saint was his vocation and he was called to a deeper conversion. He took a vow of chastity and followed a strict regime of prayer and work. The Nazi invasion of Poland in 1939 would change his life in more way than one. Eleven of the Salesians in the parish were to die in concentration camps; only a couple of elderly priests were left to take charge. In the days when priests were plentiful, parish work was solely a clerical responsibility, but now one third of all priests in Krakow had been deported. Towards the Salesians, whose special charism is work with youth, the Nazis were especially ruthless. Jan Tyranowski was asked to form a Living Rosary group among the youth of the parish.
Jan was initially terrified, protesting that he was no speaker and wouldn’t know how to communicate with young people. Do not be afraid, the Lord will help you, he was told. The Living Rosary group met in the parish church to pray the rosary together. In addition, small cells of 15 young men would be formed, under a leader who reported back to Tyranowski; one of these leaders was Karol Wojtyla. Each member had to pray one specified decade of the rosary daily – so each cell would cover the entire rosary every day. As well as this, Tyranowski began to meet with members individually in his apartment for direction; he was concerned about the spiritual well-being of everyone in the group entrusted to him, giving generously of his time. Using his wisdom and powers of discernment, Tyranowski was able to lead many young people into a deeper relationship with Christ. He recommended books, different ones to different people, in accordance with their temperament and level of spiritual attainment. It is interesting how sometimes God works through his enemies, using them unwittingly to do his will. By depriving the St Stanislaus Kostka parish of most of its priests, the Nazis gave it Jan Tyranowski, who discovered that he had a talent for nurturing souls. His apostolate numbered a few hundred at most, and had Karol Wojtyla not been among its members, no one outside Krakow would ever have heard of Tyranowski or his work. Yet his influence was profound. From among the
members of his Living Rosary group came 11 vocations, including a future pope. The Holy Father would never forget the influence Tyranowski had on him; he had a small picture of him in his bedroom in the Apostolic Palace and credited him with bringing his vocation to fruition at a time when he wanted to be an actor. The youth of today are in pursuit of happiness by any means possible. They want meaning. But the happiness given by the world is confined to superficial sources such as shopping, entertainment, social media and these undermine the very endeavour. Entertainment can’t provide lasting satisfaction, pleasure is fleeting and relations only surface deep get messy quickly. In the end the happiness in the world is little more than momentary escape from the realities of the world and the youth have become jaded, restless and insecure. It is important that like Jan Tyranowski we need to guide the youth from our parishes to aspire for greatness within the church. Investing in today’s youth is necessary in growing the body of Christ. Teaching young people in the church to grow in their relationship with the Lord prepares them to serve Christ in all they do. As a result, this nurtures the congregation and allows the church to flourish.
Joanne is a Physiotheraphist and an ADMA member. Jan - Mar 2018
BUILD A SYSTEM Nandini Cardoso
Building a Volunteer Culture
in our Parish
It can be difficult, at times, to recruit volunteers at church. How might we create a volunteer culture in our churches? “If you want to build a volunteer culture in your church, you’ll have to pull a Henry,” were the famous words of Henry Ford. Henry Ford was the inventor of the first automobile assembly line. He wanted to produce more cars and ensure great quality, but in order to do that, he knew he needed a system. Henry hoped and dreamed that his system would change the automobile industry and culture and it did just that. So what on earth does pulling a Henry have to do with church and building a volunteer culture? Are Cars and people the same? Nope, I’m not saying that. How they relate is that the ability to build a system that produces more and has better quality will ultimately change a culture. There are a few things that church leaders need to be aware of when approaching the challenge of creating a culture of volunteerism and service. Barriers: Barriers to volunteering might not
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be obvious to you as a church leader because you’re already there doing the jobs that you’re asking your congregation to be a part of. Pay attention to the way that potential volunteers might feel when faced with the challenge of figuring out where to serve in your local church. Fear: One of the greatest barriers to people stepping up to volunteer is fear. They are afraid that if they sign up to volunteer and don’t like what they signed up for, then they will be stuck doing a volunteer role that they dread. They are concerned that there will be no graceful way out of the volunteer role. We can probably all understand that fear. Somewhere along the way, most of us have signed up for something that ended up not being all we hoped it would be. Then we feel guilty as we try to think of a graceful way out of the situation. How then do our priests and leaders build a system to create a volunteer culture in their church? Most priests and leaders want to produce more volunteers and have a high quality when it comes to volunteering. But rarely do they find leaders that are actually doing it. Most are
consumed by the other areas of the church or preparing for the next sermon because, as you know, Sunday is always coming. And yet, if those leaders are asked if they wanted to reach more people for Jesus Christ and grow their ministries, it wouldn’t take them but a second to say yes! The reality is that in order to do that, it will take volunteers. Do you dream of having your children’s ministry reach more kids for Jesus Christ? It will take volunteers. Want to start a ministry to serve your community? It will take volunteers. Bottom line, if you want your church to grow in any way, it will take volunteers. Take a look at Romans chapter 12; it’s very clear. The church is described as a body with many parts doing different things, each one important. It’s the Biblical way to do church. Why then do we struggle so badly with volunteers? After all, even statistics show that people want to volunteer. People are looking for friends, they want to make a difference and honestly, some want to bolster a resume. Whatever the reason, people do want to volunteer, so why does the church often wrestle with retaining volunteers and growing their volunteer base? Because they aren’t pulling a Henry. There is no system in place for recruiting volunteers, building teams of volunteers, training volunteers, empowering volunteers or even appreciating volunteers. And yet at the end of the day it is exactly what needs to be done to grow a healthy church. How then do pastors and leaders build a system to create a volunteer culture in their church? Step 1: Affirm the volunteers you have. Say
thank you. Write a note. Send a text. Throw a party. Acknowledge what they do and show your appreciation for their many hours of serving. And plan to do it again and again
Step 2: Train your volunteers. Every volunteer, whether their role is stacking chairs or leading a junior high group, should be trained. Some roles may only take a five minute training while others may take a day. Regardless of the time involved, EVERYONE should be trained. When a volunteer is set up to succeed at their role, they stick. So train them and plan to do it again and again. Step 3: Ask your raving fan volunteers to help you find more volunteers. Volunteers who love what they do naturally ooze passion for their area. If you want to attract more volunteers, that’s exactly who you need inviting others to join. Ask your current volunteers to help recruit and plan to do it again and again. Create a system. Pull a Henry and start building a volunteer culture in your church and watch your church grow. Experience: Volunteering in your church should be a positive experience. People are ultimately looking for three things when they volunteer:
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1. To Make a Significant Contribution People want to know that they are needed and that what they are doing is making a difference in the lives of others. We need to remind volunteers often that, “We couldn’t do it without them!” We need to be intentional in sharing stories about how their service is making the church and the community a better place. Even the most simple acts of kindness and service, like passing out bulletins at the door, makes a difference. 2. To Find a Circle of Friends People who are exploring volunteering are also often looking to find a circle of friends. Sometimes it is more important to the volunteer “who” they volunteer with than “what” task or service they actually do. As you promote volunteer opportunities, make sure that you point out the opportunity that new volunteers will have to build relationships and make friends.
3. To have Fun People want to do something they enjoy with people they like being around. Prospective volunteers need to understand that volunteering is not just about sacrifice and work or doing things just because someone has to do them. Serving can actually be fun. As you promote volunteer opportunities, show pictures and talk about how much fun the volunteer teams have serving together. Even in the most task-driven serving experiences, volunteers can and should experience joy. Volunteering isn’t just about what you can get out of your volunteers. Cast a vision for what volunteering can provide them. Provide your congregations with a chance to learn something new, add variety to their lives by doing something different, feel needed, and gain leadership skills. As a church staff member, make sure that you are constantly analyzing what it looks like for a member to decide to volunteer, and focus on making that process as simple and easy for them as possible. Brainstorm with your church staff on ways you can implement programs and ways that help cultivate a culture of service. How does your parish cultivate a culture of service? Nandini is a school counsellor. She loves working with young and strives to make a difference in their lives.
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LIFE MANTRA Lawrance Vincent SDB
PARTICIPATION and COLLABORATION Every day is a busy day, coupled with a lot of activities and accomplished with the support of numerous people from dawn to dusk. In these fast-paced hours, you must have definitely confronted a handful of stand-alone characters with their distinguished personalities. And they do leave a lasting impression on you for the days to come.
As a result, you find yourself burdened and you can’t stand the pace. Progressively your monotonous efforts might earn the required results but still there was a lack of collaboration. Your first hand experience with these distinct characters will definitely be a bitter pill to swallow and hence in the future you will avoid them like the plague.
Among the many others, you must have certainly bumped into a person who suffers from ‘let me do it alone’ syndrome. Pale-faced, bags under the eyes, strewn hair, sluggish movements and heavy footsteps, that’s exactly him. Initially you feel pity for his state but with experience and knowledge you change your opinion. When it comes to the activity, he always jumps the gun and does all the work under his own steam. On your interference he gives you a hurting smile and confidently says ‘all is well’ but undoubtedly your naked eyes won’t believe it, for it is far from reality. Even if he had brought successful results to the activity, it was simply a monotonous achievement which lacked participation.
All said and done, the success and beauty in undertaking and executing an activity rests in giving emphasis to participation and collaboration. Don Bosco, the saint of the young, believed in this principle and implemented it throughout his lifetime. And so the lay people without any hesitation, joined hands with him in forming the oratory kids into good people and honest citizens. Don Bosco’s adventurous apostolate primarily flourished because of the participation and collaboration of lay people. He always made them feel at home and in turn they felt responsible and gave themselves completely for the young. In the end ‘his mission’ became ‘their mission.’ Mamma Margaret, his very-own mother was one of his first lay collaborators. She gladly obliged to work for the oratory children and looked after them as her own. This only proves that Don Bosco believed in participation and collaboration which attracted the lay people towards him and they eventually became his
Moreover you must have also chanced upon a person diagnosed with ‘let them do it’ syndrome. Bald-faced, sleepy eyes, tidy hair, over-relaxed movements and light footsteps that’s typically him. He happily delegates all the work to you and relaxes on an arm-chair.
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SALESIAN SPIRIT Paul D’Souza SDB
Don Bosco and the Laity
Over two decades ago in 1996, Special General Chapter (GC 24) was held and the key topic was ‘Salesians of Don Bosco and Laity’. The happy event of the 150th anniversary of Don Bosco’s arrival at Valdocco (12th April, 1846), celebrated during the General Chapter, made the Salesians more attentive to their origins. Don Bosco reveals his heart, so very similar to that of the Good Shepherd: his zeal for education, his boldness in the apostolate, the sufferings and trials he faced, the uncertainty of the future, his complete surrender to the Providence, his joy at unexpected help and surprises. At Valdocco, the Holy Spirit helps Don Bosco to develop around him: a world of communion in spirit and mission. There he is, surrounded by a huge crowd of youngsters, in the middle of a meadow which he must leave without any idea of where to go or what to do. And then suddenly arrives a certain Pancrazio Soave, with a suggestion from one Mr. Giuseppe Pinardi: there is a place where he can gather the boys together, a modest shed which can become a chapel and around it a strip of land for a playground. On the following Sunday two women (benefactors) will come forward with the first donations to help him. Later Mamma Margaret, his mother, will arrive and there will be others as well.
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Valdocco experience is the story of a love which is contagious and spreads, drawing many people into a huge Family, a huge Movement! This was definitely the vision of Don Bosco. When he began his work for the young in the city of Turin, he wanted as many people as possible from all walks of life to collaborate with him in the work of the Oratory. They taught catechism, conducted evening classes, provided for their material needs, and found employment for them in the city. These collaborators were secular priests, lay people in comfortable circumstances, benefactors or donors, poor people, mothers of families (who joined with Mamma Margaret, helping with such things as laundry, cleaning and mending clothes), adults and young people – all under Don Bosco’s guiding hand.
Right from his boyhood Don Bosco had a way of involving others. As a boy along with his companions he formed the ‘Society of Joy’ at Chieri. As a young priest he established a group of collaborators at the Oratory of St. Francis de Sales. Later he founded the Pious Union of Cooperators. He also established the Past Pupils association. He developed a style of simple and delicate cordiality to women and realized that their presence was essential for the life of the Oratory. There was Mamma Margaret and later the mother of Don Rua and of Michael Magone. Other women of Turin also collaborated with him. Later the prospects of working for poor girls led him to establish the daughters of Mary Help of Christians under Mary Mazzarello. In this way Don Bosco gave rise to what we today call the “Salesian Movement”, which is not an organization but an affective attachment to the person and message of Don Bosco and a sharing in whatever way possible in his objective of education and evangelization of the young. The Salesian Movement comprises of individual persons and groups, belonging to all walks of life, and even those not of the Catholic faith. They share a c o m m o n spi r it ua l it y (modeled on that of St. Francis de Sales), a well-defined mission (the salvation
of the young), the preventive system, and a typical style called ‘Family Spirit’. Among those belonging to the Salesian Movement today are volunteers, Friends of Don Bosco (i.e. sympathizers, admirers, benefactors, collaborators, advisers, etc.) and all those associated with our works (teachers, parents of pupils, office staff, youth animators, etc). Young people too who wish to live a deeper spiritual life drawing inspiration from Don Bosco (what we call “Salesian Youth Spirituality”) form part of it in what is known as the Salesian Youth Movement. There are over 30 groups associated with the Salesian family and about 20 awaiting approval. What binds all these groups together is a specific vocation to live Don Bosco’s charism, a sharing in the mission to the young and the working classes, and the living of the Salesian spirit (Family spirit, the Preventive System). I believe Don Bosco was far ahead of his times when it came to the apostolate of the laity. If Don Bosco were alive in the world today, he would be thrilled and overjoyed over the pronouncements of the Second Vatican Council on the apostolate of the laity. He wanted whoever was willing to join hands and work together with him for the salvation of the young. The Salesians today find
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themselves in the company of many lay people, men and women of our time, who feel the same kind of call and ask to be able to work with the heart and manner of the Father and Teacher of youth. So, the question is why is it that when it comes to working with lay people and launching them as apostles in society with the heart and mind of Don Bosco, the Salesians today, in several parts of the world seem uninterested or shy away in lay collaboration even after GC 24’s mandate (over two decades ago)? Some of the reasons discussed in our communities or at province level or Don Bosco Youth Animation South Asia level are that during our formation years we have little exposure to the topic of the laity and real contact with them. The GC24 asked that “the stages of initial formation should have contents and experiences of reciprocal and complementary formation, for the common growth”. Salesians are probably not so enthusiastic or passionate when it comes to knowing and involving ourselves with the laity and the Salesian Family. Probably, we fear they may be more expert than us and we seem to lack training and qualification? During the GC24 which dealt with the topic of ‘Salesians and lay people’, an important proposal was made about the joint formation of Salesians and lay people. This process, I believe is still wanting in many provinces. Salesians should involve lay people in the Educative Pastoral Community (EPC) in planning, execution and also in evaluation. If lay people are to be involved in the Salesian
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mission in a responsible manner, there might be need for a change of outlook or mentality on the part of those who hold positions of authority or leadership. Salesians need also to learn how to deal appropriately and respectfully with the lay people. Fr. Chrys Saldanha, sdb, during the launching of his book “Challenges in Salesian life today” in Mumbai, made a serious point: ‘’We priests and religious are only one percent of the whole Catholic Church. Lay people are 99 per cent. If only some of them could be launched as missionaries in the world, what a difference it would make to the mission of the church.’’ ‘’Pope Francis,’’ he added, ‘’keeps insisting that in the Church one of our problems is clericalism, it means that we play down the identity and mission of lay people. What is played up is the priestly role and not the lay role, so I thought that I’d write about this as I do feel it’s a problem, as we have to wake up to the identity and mission of the lay people in the world.’’ The way forward to live the spirit and mission of Don Bosco is that Salesians and laity grow together, form ourselves together. And the first step is that we Salesians and lay people, come to know each other by sharing with each other, appreciating what we have in common and our differences as well. Our work together must offer us the best opportunities (like EPC) to form ourselves together, for there is no better way than to learn from life. Ultimately, the goal is to attain holiness, like the holiness lived by the First Salesian community at Valdocco, a holiness that was built up, shared and reciprocally communicated. The writer is an educationist. Presently the rector of Don Bosco College of Engineering, Fatorda, Goa.
SALESIAN FAMILY Vivian Andrews SDB
The Salesian Cooperators a brainchild of Don Bosco
I recently gave a good morning talk to some of our technical students on the campus here in Rome during the course of which I shared with them the story of my vocation and how following Jesus as a Salesian religious has brought me meaning and happiness. Presuming religious life to be the only way to a good and holy life, one of the students asked me rather bluntly, “So, according to you does everyone have to become a priest?” It did take some time and energy to make him and the others understand that the Christian call to holiness is not an invitation given to a few but to all the baptized in Christ. Too often we think of sanctity as the
prerogative proper to priests and religious. The canonization of countless religious and priests has made one get the rather warped idea that sanctity and Christian perfection is possible only to one who follows the priestly or religious vocation. Pope St. John Paul II in his post-synodal apostolic exhortation Christifedeles Laici in the year 1988, gives us an important insight with regard to the role of the laity in the church drawing from the Gospel of Matthew, “And about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing; and he said to them, ‘Why do you stand here idle all day?’. They said to him, ‘Because no one has hired us’. He said to them, ‘You go into the vineyard too’“ (Mt 20:6-7). The saintly pontiff continues further, “From
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that distant day the call of the Lord Jesus “You go into my vineyard too” never fails to resound in the course of history: it is addressed to every person who comes into this world.” The spiritual life and Christian perfection was always the overwhelming concern and preoccupation of Don Bosco. However, taking cue from St. Francis de Sales, he was of the realistic opinion that one does not necessarily need to be bound by religious vows to be holy, to be a saint. Rather, sanctity also consists in doing the will of God where one finds oneself i.e. living the Gospel in one’s daily life. His vision in founding the institute of the Salesian Cooperators is built precisely on this premise. Far ahead of his times, he proposed to lay people a project of life geared towards sanctity. In such, he wanted the Salesian movement to be a vast movement of people working in myriad ways for the salvation of the young. Don Bosco, we know, lived during anti-clerical times which made it very difficult and even dangerous for a priest to move about getting things done. Seeing the good intent of Don Bosco and his work on behalf of the needy, many lay people came forward to help out and others began asking him as to what they could do in order lend a hand in the undertaking. Among these were counts and countesses, priests, factory owners, politicians and humble labourers. Besides needing the help of lay people with developmental works, he was also concerned about their spiritual welfare at large and felt that they too deserved a certain direction in life and a share in the apostolate in ways and means suitable to their age and situation in order to better exercise the spiritual and corporal works of mercy. He thought it well therefore to gather these good and well-
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meaning souls and give them a common regulation to live by, by the practice of which they would give glory to God, spiritual benefit to their own souls and that of their neighbour. He called this the Pious Christian Union and only later coined the term Salesian Cooperators. He writes in an issue of the Salesian Bulletin, “Our cooperators following the purpose of the Salesian congregation, will work according to their strengths to collect children who are unsafe and abandoned in the streets and squares; to send them to catechism, to look after them on holidays and place them in the hands of an honest master and to direct them, to advise them, to help them to make of them good Christians and honest citizens.” We observe here the rudimentary ideas of Don Bosco regarding the cooperators. Gradually we see his ideas about the institute evolve and mature thus opening its vistas to anyone who would like to help out in whatever way possible. Who then according to the mind of Don Bosco would qualify as a Salesian Cooperator? Sifting through his many writings, we can say that he/ she could be a Catholic with good intent and wanting to be part of the Salesian mission, who was ready to live by a promise without the binding nature of vows. He/she could also be a benefactor or a collaborator. In an article titled L’Unione Cristiana (The Christian Union) written in 1874, Don Bosco gives the four-fold identity of a Salesian Cooperator 1. One who is preoccupied with the salvation of souls 2. One who cares for youngsters in danger 3. A Salesian without vows 4. A Good Christian in the world.
With regard to the apostolate of a Salesian cooperator he offered the following scope to those who were able to participate in the active ministry. 1. To practice charity towards youngsters in danger 2. To promote novenas, spiritual exercises, catechism etc. 3. To look out for, promote and guide vocations 4. To promote good books and pamphlets
We observe in the above four points, a wholesome ministry which included social charity, faith formation and catechetics, vocation ministry and social communications. With regard to religious practices for the Cooperators, he stressed on 1. Modesty in dress, simplicity of lifestyle 2. The exact fulfilment of the duties of oneâ€™s state of life 3. Frequent confession and communion
Although Don Bosco took help from them, he was always concerned about their formation, their due instruction, spiritual welfare and general well-being. Even when sick he always made it a point to write to them and offered personally many Masses for his dear
collaborators and asked his Salesians to do the same. With regard to their formation he used as his platform the Salesian Bulletin wherein he never failed to give them good advice and words of encouragement. He also instructed the rectors and superiors to keep in touch with and take care of their formation. The Salesian congregation is indeed blessed to have the Salesian cooperators as part of the Salesian family. It was the brain child of Don Bosco who acted according to the inspiration of God and the signs of the times. Whether or not the purpose of the institute is being fulfilled today is something we need to reflect on. Has the identity, role and scope of the cooperators in the Salesian mission been properly understood? Do they receive enough accompaniment and guidance? Are they challenged enough to live the Salesian charism? Has their God given vocation been fully recognised? These and other pertinent questions will lead us to a better understanding of the identity and role of the Salesian cooperators in our times being true to the charismatic identity of the founder. The writer is a young Salesian studying theology at Opera Salesiana Teresa Gerini, Rome.
PARTICIPATION and COLLABORATION (contd from pg 50) strength and support in keeping his work for the young alive and active. From Don Boscoâ€™s life, you will convincingly agree that his participation and collaboration with the lay people created a communitarian feeling which held them together through
thick and thin and brought all their activities to its fruition. Therefore for a successful and efficient end result in all your endeavours, believe in participation and collaboration. And let this be your mantra for life. The writer is a Salesian from Mumbai province, presently pursuing Masters in Philosophy at Divyadaan, Nashik.
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MEN IN SHIRT SLEEVES Ian Figueiredo SDB
THE SALESIAN BROTHER A CONSECRATED LAY SALESIAN “Well, for God’s sake I will try to explain this way of life to you in a way that I have come to understand it”, says Peter. And he began thus!
A young man, a graduate in engineering, let’s call him Peter, approac hes his parents one evening to inform them that he has discovered a future that will truly give him great joy. “Mom and dad”, he begins, “for some time now I have been feeling a desire to give my life entirely to God! I want to become a salesian brother!” “What!” is the stunned initial response of his parents. “To decide to become a salesian priest would have been OK with us”, says his father after a long period of silence, “but a salesian brother! We do not know what that is and...to be a brother all your life! People will think that you were unable to study for the priesthood…a failed priest…and so remained a brother! Please re-consider Peter! For God’s sake do!”
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Don Bosco began his work at the Oratory in Turin, Italy in 1841. The boys who came to the Oratory on Sundays were workers. Don Bosco drew up contracts between them and their employers, to ensure that they were treated fairly and that they had sufficient time for rest and to fulfil their religious duties. He also realized that conditions in the factories and workshops were not good for the physical, moral and spiritual needs of the young workers. For this reason, he opened various workshops in the Valdocco Oratory itself, where the young people could learn tailoring, shoemaking, bookbinding, carpentry and printing. Initially, he himself taught some of these trades. As the number of boys increased, he took on lay
assistants who were called “coadjutors”. When Don Bosco founded the Salesian Society on 18th December 1859 with 17 members, there were no brothers among them. Soon however, on 14th May 1862, we find two brothers amongst the first professed members of the new Society. For Don Bosco, these lay members were equal in status to the priest members. Don Bosco wanted a single consecrated vocation open to members who opted for the lay state or for priesthood, all sharing the same consecration, community life and mission. Briefly we might indicate that the Salesian Brother is: 1. A LAY MAN: Just as a baptized lay person in the Church acts as a leaven in society: deeply involving himself and fully participating in the affairs of the earth, the world and the human community, and works from within to free the temporal order from the influence of sin, imbuing it with the values of the Gospel, so also a salesian lay brother makes his contribution to the Christian transformation of society. His role is to witness to the primacy of God in his life, showing more through the quality of his life than through his words what the Gospel is all about. In this way, he gives rise in society to a culture based on Gospel values of honesty, justice, solidarity, love, respect for persons and a decent human life for all. For this reason we say that like the Christian layman, the Salesian lay brother too has a unique secular character, which is “his specific characteristic, a noteworthy and essential value of his identity” (GC21, 178).
That which differentiates him from a Christian layman however is the fact that the Salesian lay brother is a Consecrated person. 2. A CONSECRATED LAY MAN: As he progresses in life a young person realizes that he is attracted by the person of Christ and by the experience of God’s love in his own life. Sometimes either during a retreat or having spoken to a spiritual guide or after having lived and worked as a volunteer in a salesian setting, the young man begins to feel called to give his life over to following Christ more closely, centering his life on God the Father and devoting himself entirely to the service of his Kingdom in the footsteps of Don Bosco. As a sign of this decision, he becomes a member of the Salesian Society when he pronounces the three vows to be poor, chaste and obedient and agrees to live together and work with the members of his community, bringing the experience of God’s love through his service to young people. Of course, many lay persons work with as much commitment and generosity as the salesian lay brother does with young people. That which makes a brother’s vocation relevant is when through his consecrated life he becomes a witness to the supreme value, God and consequently, a pointer to people of how much God loves each one and how each one ought to love God in return. People used to say of Venerable brother Simon Srugi that “to see Simon and to remember the Lord were one and the same thing” and that “his presence was like the shadow of God’s presence”. A further specification of the salesian lay brother is that he is “Salesian”.
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3. A SALESIAN CONSECRATED LAY MAN: To be a salesian means that the consecrated brother shares in the interests that were dear to the heart of Don Bosco, viz., he is imbued with a deep desire to be a Good Shepherd among the young, especially of those who are poor, and works tirelessly to educate and evangelize them, in keeping with Don Bosco’s Preventive System. He educates them: Modern society is founded on work and “the world of work” has become of great importance in many countries. For this reason, activities in the area of work are among the most important apostolic activities of the Salesian brother. Because he is close to the young and to the realities of the workers’ world, his bond with young people and the world of work is a key aspect of his identity. As an educator the Salesian brother is able to face the huge challenge involved in preparing young people for life in the world of work today, not only in terms of training them for their trade but especially by giving them a sound preparation for the social, ethical, spiritual and Christian challenges they will meet in life. He evangelizes them: While the salesian lay brother is involved in the secular field of work, he also has a concern to imbue the educative environment and the young persons with Gospel values. In evangelization what matters most is the witness of a person’s life. It is the same with the salesian brother whose consecrated presence in the secularized world makes his contribution all the more relevant in the present time. We may add that he is called to be an example in the Church of how to evangelize in the field of secular activities. This does not mean that the salesian brother
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cannot be involved in catechetical, missionary, pedagogical, cultural, and administrative activities when he feels gifted by God to engage in these. In brief, through his life of consecration as well as through his educational and evangelizing activity, the Salesian lay brother prepares young people to take their place with dignity in the Church and in society, and to contribute from within to the Christian transformation of society. Don Bosco used to say: “honest citizens and good Christians.” Unfortunately, the salesian lay brother’s vocation is not understood as a valid vocation in the Church, i.e. as a call from God, to a young man, to give himself to God forever, to be an educator and an evangelizer of the young in the Don Bosco way! It has not been understood and appreciated as it should, sometimes by the brothers themselves, by priests and by lay people in general. That explains why perhaps, there are so few brothers in the Salesian Congregation today. Peter’s efforts to explain the salesian lay brother’s vocation to his parents brought peace to the family and relief to their souls. He is now in a salesian community of formation, happy to have been chosen by God and to have received the consent of his parents. He is growing in humanity and as a salesian, finding great joy and fulfilment in contributing to the integral development of the young entrusted to his care. Ian is an ex-provincial of the Salesian Province of Panjim, presently a staff member of the Opera Salesiana Teresa Gerini, Rome.
GOD CALLS Bro Abraham M Antony SDB
The Vocation to
THE SALESIAN BROTHERHOOD It is a Christian conviction that God calls human beings to diverse ways of life; and it is a Catholic conviction that there are different states in life, as God constitutes people through diverse vocations. One of these states is the consecrated life. Religious Brotherhood is a way of life to which God calls certain men. It is a sublime vocation because it is God’s will for these people. Unfortunately, in many parts of the world – particularly in India – there is a poor understanding of this vocation. While there are a number of congregations whose members are exclusively Brothers, there are other congregations that have both priests and Brothers within their fold. The Salesian Congregation has, through its founder St. John Bosco, received from God a peculiar charismatic blend of apostolate of both priest Salesians and Brother Salesians. Let me dwell on a few characteristics of the vocation of the Brother within the Salesian fold. 1. Brothers are integral to the charismatic identity of the Salesian Congregation. Don Bosco was a diocesan priest whom God chose to initiate a vast movement in favour of poor and abandoned youth: the Salesian family. In this family, the Salesians of Don Bosco – comprising both clerical and lay religious – have a key ‘animating role’ to play. The founding of this Congregation is best seen not as one fixed moment in time, but as a process that involved several specific moments and subsequent nuanced deepening of initial understandings. The charisma that Don Bosco received was greater than
his own initial understanding of it, for it stemmed from the ever-creative Holy Spirit. It was a special gift for the building up of the Church and its subtle dimensions would be discerned only gradually. Inspired by the Spirit, Don Bosco came to believe in the need for both clerics and lay members in his congregation – all bound by the evangelical counsels of obedience, poverty, and chastity. As his vision of the Brother gradually unfolded, he made it amply clear that Brothers (Lay Salesians) were an integral part of his religious society. As full-fledged Salesians, they were to play their essential role as consecrated laypersons within his society, which he was constrained by canonical requirements to subsume under the category of a ‘clerical congregation’. He was convinced that his Brothers belonged to the very charismatic identity and ethos of the society God expected him to found. If this insight is right, it is no exaggeration in claiming that there is no God-intended Salesian Congregation without the active presence of Brothers. 2. What the Brother is precedes what he does. Don Bosco envisaged for the Salesian Brother a vast array of activities that pertained to his lay dimension (laicity, seen as a positive reality). He could undertake any apostolate that did not require the sacrament of ordination, provided they were in keeping with the charismatic ethos of the Salesian Society and the needs of the Salesian Province to which he belonged. In fact, the Brother is often deeply involved in the world of work. But in all this, what gives the right tenor to his contribution is not
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merely what he does, but what he is: a person totally consecrated to God. What he does is an overflow or the exuberance of his being.
us to simplicity and humility. They urge us to seek first the Father’s Kingdom or sovereign rule (Mt 6:33) and his will (Mt 6:10; Jn 4:34; 6:38).
3. Salesian Brothers seek to actualize Christ’s call to agapeic brotherhood. As in the case of the earliest apostolic group, Brothers are aware that their vocation is primarily to be with Jesus and subsequently to be sent out in mission (cf. Mk 3:14). In this mission, they bear in mind their role to body forth the great value of brotherhood in Christ. Jesus has emphatically told his disciples: “You are all brothers” (Mt 23:8b). Brothers are particularly committed to the vision of the Lord concerning Christian brotherhood and sisterhood. In their simple ways, they come across to people as true brothers in Christ.
Religious Brothers in general answer a call to live their Christian brotherhood in simplicity and ordinariness. We have several examples of such a life in the history of religious life. The Salesian Brother takes seriously the Lord’s servanthood and simplicity (Mk 10:45; Mt 20:28; Phil 2:7). He strives to become an exemplary man of the Beatitudes (cf. Mt 5:3-12; Lk 6:20-23). He gradually learns to walk humbly and blamelessly with God (cf. Gen 17:1; Mic 6:8).
An important document from the Congregation for Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life (CICLSAL) is entitled The Identity and Mission of the Religious Brother in the Church (4 October, 2015). It emphasizes the role of Religious Brothers in building true fraternal communion. To be a Salesian Brother today is to maximize all one’s Christian potentials so as to excel in Christlike, agapeic brotherliness. It is a challenging vocation to live one’s consecrated life in such a way as to reflect the face of Christ, our Brother. 4. The Brother’s life is marked simplicity and ordinariness. We live in a world that is wont to measure people by their importance in society, their titles and entitlements, and the limelight they enjoy. Indeed, there are many Churchmen who are limelighthungry. We know what the Zebedee brothers James and John longed for: “Grant that in your glory we may sit one at your right and the other at your left” (Mk 10:37; cf. Mt 20:21). They were ambitious for places/roles of honour! The Lord’s answer came in the form of a categorical summons to crossbearing, cruciformity, and Christlike servanthood (Mk 10:38-45; Mt 20:22-28). Note the words, “it shall not be among you” (Mt 20:26)! The Gospels invite
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In the Catholic tradition, we believe that the Church is not only a communion of the People of God, but also hierarchical (cf. Lumen Gentium, nn. 18-29). But it is important to remember Christ’s caution that we are all his brothers and sisters (cf. Mt 23:8). Church history bears ample witness to a number of aberrations and failures among the hierarchy. When we set a high score by the Church’s hierarchical structure and slip into a purely hierarchical thinking, it is good to heed Hans Urs von Balthasar’s words: “Christ’s primary intention was not to form a hierarchy, but to win men to that personal following of himself that leads to the reconciliation of the world with God by a renunciatory, even a crucified, love: with him, they are to be ‘the light of the world’” (The Christian State of Life, 12). The Salesian Brother takes discipleship seriously. He is always and everywhere a disciple of the Lord Jesus, i.e., he is always a learner (Gk., mathētēs; manthanō = learn). His supreme model is Christ, who said: “Learn from me!” (Mt 11:29). In his simplicity and ordinariness, the Brother can in some way tame certain anti-Gospel tendencies within his congregation, in particular the hunger for importance and the thirst for the limelight. All the formation that a Brother receives leads to this docibilitas (docility or readiness to learn), making him truly docibilis (teachable, learning easily; cf. CICLSAL, New Wine in New Wineskins, n. 35). All
through life, he learns to listen and learn like a disciple (cf. Isa 50:4). He develops for himself “a culture of permanent formation” (New Wine in New Wineskins, n. 16). With such a frame of mind, he becomes very much Marian in his discipleship, pondering the Lord’s marvellous ways in his life (cf. Lk 2:19, 51). Even as he disciples others, he remains a disciple. 5. The Brother’s ambition in life is holiness. Our primordial call is to holiness: “Be holy, for I, the Lord your God, am holy” (Lev 19:2; cf. 11:45). Sanctification is the will of God for us (cf. 1 Thess 4:3). This is or should be the ambition of every Salesian Brother. The Brother’s way to holiness consists in living his religious consecration with utmost fidelity, particularly by means of the sanctification of the ordinary. His life is set apart – altarlike – for God and his service. He lives his life in the joy and freedom of the Beatitudes (cf. New Wine in New Wineskins, n. 10). The Brother firmly believes in the truth of the following statement: “The first duty of consecrated life is to make visible the marvels wrought by God in the frail humanity of those who are called. ... not so much in words as by the eloquent language of a transfigured life, capable of amazing the world” (John Paul II, Vita Consecrata, n. 20). He takes to heart this Pauline injunction: “I urge you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God, your spiritual worship. Do not conform yourself to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect” (Rom 12:12). He aims at a transformed, Christ-filled existence. 6. We need to make genuine efforts to promote the vocation of the Brother. For many Catholics, the normal choice for a young man who contemplates a life dedicated to God is the priesthood, either as a diocesan or as a religious. To opt for the Brotherhood is often considered undesirable or even demeaning. They sometimes have the deplorable habit of comparing vocations
and think that the priesthood is ‘better’. But this is a far cry from the biblical portrayals of how God calls people. The very word ‘vocation’ presupposes God’s primary initiative and so we ought not to compare vocations. We must rather rejoice that God calls men to this form of life and that some Brothers have excelled in holiness (e.g., Artemide Zatti, István Sándor, Simaàn Srugi). There is a great need today to encourage and promote the vocation to the Brotherhood in the Salesian society and other congregations. On 12 September 1988, speaking to the Catholics of Zimbabwe, John Paul II invited people “to promote vocations to the brotherhood without any fear that this will divert vocations from the priesthood, for it is the Lord who calls where and when he wishes”. The harvest is plentiful enough and there are plenteous tasks for Brothers to perform in the Church. Conclusion There is certainly much more to say about Brotherhood, but I have limited myself to a few points. What is important for us is to visualize and contemplate this mode of living the Christian life as a specific call of God, a precious vocation. This will help us to encourage and nurture the vocation of those who feel called to such a form of life. We ought not to forget that the Church of God is intended to be rich in charismata, gifts destined for the building up of God’s people. It is the duty of those in authority as well as the faithful in general to encourage and promote the vocation to the Brotherhood. For more on Brotherhood, I invite you to read the following: The Salesian Brother: History, Vocational Apostolate and Formation (Rome: Editrice SDB, 1989); A. M. Antony, The Vocation of the Religious Brother (Shillong: DB Publications and VIP, 2016); I. Coelho, “Renewed Attention to the Salesian Brother”, in Acts of the General Council, n. 424 (January-July 2017) 65-75. Abraham is a Salesian Brother who is specialized in Biblical Exegesis. He teaches theology, writes and reviews scholarly books. Presently, he is the Chief Librarian of Otto Hopfenmuller Library, Shillong.
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A LETTER FROM ARGENTINA Fr Jorge Mario Bergoglio ( Pope Francis)
"About my experience with Bro Zatti" Buenos Aires, 18 May 1986 To Rev. Fr. Cayetano Bruno, SDB Buenos Aires Dear Fr Bruno: Pax Christi!! In your letter of 24 February you asked me to try to put something in writing about my experience with Bro. Zatti (with whom I had developed a great friendship) in reference to the lack of Coadjutor Brothers. I apologise for being so long in responding, but lately it has really been very difficult to find a quiet moment to remember everything and put it in writing. But it is never too late... 1. We did have a certain lack of Brothers. I am speaking of 1976 as my point of reference because it was then that I came to know of Bro. Zatti. That year our youngest Brother was 35, an infirmarian and four years later would die of a cerebral tumour. The second youngest was 46, and the third, 50. After that they were all elderly (many continuing to work splendidly even today, at 80 or more years of age). This “demographic picture” of our Brothers in the Argentine Province was making many think that we were dealing with an irreversible situation, and that there would be no further vocations. Indeed some were questioning the relevance today of the Brother vocation in the Society (of Jesus), because – given the facts – they seemed destined to extinction. From a number of quarters there were efforts to draw up a “new profile” of the Brother to see whether – by doing this – we could find a greater number of young men who would follow this ideal.
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2. On the other hand, the Father General, Fr Pedro Arrupe, SJ, insisted much on the need of the Brother vocation for the whole Society as a body. He said that the Society would not be the same Society without the Brothers. Fr Arrupe’s efforts in this area were enormous. It was not just a crisis in some provinces but in the whole Society (in reference to the Brother vocation). 3. In 1976, I think it was September, during a visit I carried out with the confreres in northern Argentina, I stayed in Salta archdiocese for a couple of days. There, between one conversation and another, Archbishop Pérez spoke to me of Bro. Zatti’s life. He also gave me a book to read on his life. His very full life as a Brother struck me. And from then on I felt I should ask the Lord, through the intercession of this wonderful Brother, to send us vocations. I made novenas and I asked the novices to do the same. 4. I need to be clear about two things: firstly that these dates are not exact. By speaking of September 1976 I am really pointing to a longish time frame, around about 6 months. I would need to go to documents from the Province Curia to get an exact date. But for this account a general indication of the time frame is enough. The second thing is that at Salta I also often felt an inner urge to recommend a growth of vocations to the Lord and his Mother (in general, that is, not specifically of the Brothers; and I implored Bro. Zatti’s intercession for this). I also made a promise that the novices would go on pilgrimage on the Feast day of the Lord and the Virgin of the Miracle [ed: special Feast day at
the Shrine at Salta] if we got to 35 novices (which happened in September 1979). 5. Let me come back to the prayer for Brother vocations. In July 1977, the first young brother arrived (he is now 32 years old). On 29 October, that year, the second came (now 33 years old). Then it went as follows: • the third entered in 1978, now 33 years old; • the fourth entered in 1978, now 26 years old • the fifth entered in 1979, now 42 years old; • the sixth entered in 1980, now 24 years old; • the seventh entered in en 1981, now 39 years old; • the eighth entered in 1981, now 27 years old; • the ninth entered in 1981, now 23 years old; • the tenth entered in 1981, now 27 years old; • [the eleventh is missing in the original version] • the twelfth entered in 1982 now 25 years old; • the thirteenth entered in 1983 now 25 years old; • the fourteenth entered in 1983 now 25 years old; • the fifteenth entered in 1983 now 22 years old; • the sixteenth entered in 1985 now 25 years old; • the seventeenth and eighteenth entered this year and are currently in the novitiate. That is, since we began to call on Bro Zatti, 18 young Brothers have entered and stayed, as well as a further 5 who left in the novitiate or juniorate. In total: 23 vocations. 6. The novices, students and young Brothers made a novena in honour of Bro. Zatti on several occasions asking for Brother vocations. I myself did so too. I am convinced of his intercession in this case, given that this was such a rare number in the Society. As a gesture of thanksgiving, in the second and third edition of the Devotional booklet to the Sacred Heart we inserted the Novena asking for Bro. Zatti’s canonisation. 7. An interesting fact is the quality of those who entered and persevered. They are young men who wanted to be Brothers just like Saint Ignatius had wanted, without “gilding the pill”. The Brother
vocation is very important for us, and Fr. Arrupe said that without them the Society would not be the Society; they have a special charism nurtured through prayer and work. They do the whole Society good. And they are demanding. Father Swinnen, who was the Master of novices when these Brother vocations were arriving (he then became the Provincial and is now Novice Master again) knew how to infuse them, right from the outset with the true Brother vocation. And the same happened with the one who took over as Novice Master when he became Provincial (Father López Rosas). Young people become disillusioned if they see half-measures or soft touches being applied to their vocation. They want it all (even if they protest at the time, but in their heart of hearts they are looking for authenticity, not imitations). In general this has been my relationship with Bro. Zatti regarding vocations to the Brotherhood in the Society. I repeat that I am convinced of his intercession, because I know what we asked for, invoking him as an advocate in this business. That’s enough for today. I remain yours, in our Lord and His Blessed Mother, Jorge Mario Bergoglio, S.J. P.S 8. Re-reading your letter I see that I should add to no. 7, speaking of the quality of the young Brothers. They are prayerful, cheerful, hard-working, healthy. They are true men and are aware of the vocation they have been called to. They feel a special responsibility of prayer for the young students preparing for priesthood. We never see any “inferiority complex” because they are not priests, nor does it even occur to them to ask to be Deacons... They know what their vocation is and that’s the way they want it. This is healthy. It does good. This letter first appeared in Agenzia Info Salesiana (ANS) on 13 November 2013.
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Your feedback is precious for us. (The Editor) Write to the Editor at email@example.com
Letters to the Editor... October - December 2017 | Vol 10 Issue - 04
Great issue of Sangati! Good media presentation and worthwhile articles. - Noel Maddhichetty, Delhi
I like the cover and also the internal get-up. â€Ś Hope your readership enjoys the entire collection of articles as they have good messages for this season. - Anthony da Silva, Goa
I have just had a cursory glance at it: I find it simply amazing!!! There is a wide-range of readable and contextual articles. Plenty of serious stuff which could easily cater to all from 16-60 years. The layout and presentation are excellent! A wide variety of writers: besides laymen and women you have managed to get even Jesuits and Franciscans to write! Some achievement indeed! Congrats and sincere appreciation to you and all in your team! - Fr Cedric Prakash SJ, Beirut Lebanon
The bulletin is of great help for my pastoral ministry.
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- Fr Candido Fernandes, Goa
BENAULIM FATORDA LOUTULIM KAKATI ODXEL DABOLIM OROS KUDAL PARRA PALIEM PANJIM SIRSI
Procyon is an inter-class cultural two day fiesta, wherein students of 16 different classes s h o w c a s e their talents in various cultural activities on a common platform, held on March 16, 2018 at Don Bosco College of Engineering, Fatorda. The Director, Fr Kinley D’Cruz in his address urged the gathering to encourage, respect, acknowledge and cheer all the participants and not merely the winners. The Chief Guest, Mr. Rajendra Talak emphasized on the need of pursuing ones talents along with studies for which one needs to manage time effectively. He also highlighted on the need of making a contribution to the society and to the country. With the release of colourful balloons PROCYON 2018 was declared open. An excellent performance was given by the Guest of Honour, Mr. Andre D’Souza. The activities that followed were Rhythm of Tradition, Battle of Bands, Step Up, Flag Painting, Master Chef, Nukkad Natak, Snapper, Paint my nails, Musical Videos, The Voice, Natkule, Rock the Ramp, Face Painting, Wealth out of Waste, Rang De and Movie Making. The TE Computers emerged winners and the SE Computers were Runners Up.
The province Catechetical Day 2018 was held on February 10, 2018 at Don Bosco Sulcorna. Six Salesian schools of the Panjim province participated in this event. ‘A home is made up of hearts’ was the topic on which songs, skits, dances, and everything else was presented. There were games, input session, discussion and sharing on how each could help their families to enhance their spiritual health. Mrs. Tereza Baretto, a Salesian Cooperator shared about her family and how marriage is a vocation from God. Fr Austin Fernandes celebrated the Eucharist and Fr Felix Fernandes, Provincial gave a short message.Fr Edison Fernandes and Cleric Benson Po also contributed.
Salesian Parents’ Day
On March 4, 2018 the parents of the Salesians were invited to come together, share and celebrate each others presence at Don Bosco, Panjim. There was a huge response. 80 parents were treated with lively action songs in which they participated and enjoyed. Our famed Salesian magician Br. Anthony Rocha caught the attention of all the young and the old with his magic tricks. Fr. Felix Fernandes, Provincial celebrated the Eucharist. He thanked the parents for the gift of their sons to the congregation and assured them that Christ himself will take their place in their families. The young Salesian priests kept everyone entertained through the modified version of housie and the sing song session. 66 SANGATI
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PINGULI QUEPEM SHIRVA KELMBET SULCORNA SUTGATTI TRASI TUEM CORTALIM GHATAPRABHA TIVIM
Oratory Day at Pinguli
Youth Day at Parra
The Bosco Udyogshala, Pinguli, organized an oratory day for the children on February 25, 2018 with the theme “run, jump, play but do not sin”. Words of welcome and a short message by the Rector, Fr. Simao Fernandes was followed by a prayer service. Sr. Vandana brought awareness of the rights and duties of children. She focussed on respecting each other and in a special way the girl child. The next part of the programme was the fete games. Children took part in them wholeheartedly. Every oratory presented an item for the cultural program.
Salesian Cooperators, ADMA and the Don Bosco Alumni welcomed Fr Albert Johnson, the new National Delegate for the Salesian Family at Panjim on February 4, 2018. The welcome song and presentation of the Mando brought in the flavour of the spirit of Goa in the program. All the units presented their reports of activities and programs in their areas. Fr Albert invited the Salesian Family to be ‘Active Lay Catholic Politicians’ in the world. Provincial Fr Felix Fernandes, Province Delegates Fr Savio Gomes and Fr Anthony Alemao were present.
Youth Day at Panjim
Youngsters from Goa, Maharashtra and Karnataka gathered in large numbers with the Salesians to celebrate the Province Youth Day at Panjim on February 18, 2018. It was an action-packed day beginning with a well animated Eucharist celebrated by Fr. Provincial along with 23 concelebrants. The theme “Youth for Life” was further advocated with a well-planned presentation delivered by a team of qualified resource people consisting of Mr. Peter Borges, founder and CEO of Human Touch empowering youth voices, Mrs. Nirmala Rebello, well known educationist and ex-principal of Sharda Mandir, Fr. Savio D’Souza, director of the Archdiocese of Goa for Youth and Fr. Joel D’Souza, the vocation promoter of the Salesian Panjim province. A variety of youth relevant topics were discussed including Substance Abuse, Transgender Issues, Need for Educated Youth and issues relating to leading an Authentic Catholic Life (What is the Church doing for the youngsters? What role the youth must play towards the Church?) Fr Edison Fernandes did a great job in moderating the panel effectively fielding a variety of questions bombarded by the youth. The youngsters were engrossed in the event while also deepening their faith and knowledge on the day’s topics. The YouKon members (the core committee) were responsible for all the logistics and their efforts led to a successful day for all.
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SOUTH ASIA NEWS
DBIT’S Campus Colosseum
The thirst for innovation, the drive for perfection, the will to work hard and yet have fun is something most students of Don Bosco Institute of Technology (DBIT), Kurla are known for. Colosseum 2018 inaugurated on February 27 is a perfect example of hard work and sacrifice that DBITians are willing to invest to make their technical festival a success. Colosseum 2018 was a success due to the variety of content offered to the participants. HyperLoop, Block Chains, Automation in Finance and Manufacturing 4.0 were some of the sessions during which participants interacted with well-known entrepreneurs and company representatives. Workshops were conducted on Hacking, Django, Deep Learning and Robotics to give participants a chance to learn hands-on from experts in the industry. High on Films was the highlight of Colosseum 2018. Directors of critically acclaimed films like ‘Newton’ and ‘Lipstick under my Burkha’, addressed youth about the making of the movies, the story behind the scenes and their purpose in making films on bold social themes.
NGO, students team up to create environmental awareness
Lifetime Achievement Award
Pascual Chavez Award 2017 conferred to Bosco Seva Kendra
Bosco Seva Kendra (BSK) Hyderabad was conferred the Pascual Chavez Award for Innovative Salesian Ministry in South Asia Region by the Salesian Provincial Conference of South Asia for comprehensive awareness and sensitization campaign on Gender Equity in the regions of Telengana and Andra Pradesh and South Odisha, India. BSK’s interventions as GEMS (Gender Equity Movement Soldiers) is proactive in sensitizing a target of four thousand young people every year on gender equality. The majority of the participants of this programme personally experienced a change of mindset and they have turned into being protagonist of social transformation.
(Dr) Father Stephen Mavely SDB, Vice Chancellor of the Assam Don Bosco University (ADBU) received the Lifetime Achievement Award conferred by the Confederation of Indian University on February 12, 2018 for his contribution in various fields of planning & administration.
Fr Stanely Kozhichira elected President of SIGNIS India
Sonada -- In a first time effort, a local NGO and Salesian college Gorabari, teamed up to experiment on an eight-day socio-ecological outreach programme for students, 19 to 26 February 2018. They cleaned up some 150 meters of the source of 8th Mile mountain river which supplies water for Kurseong town.
Father Stanely Kozhichira is elected President of SIGNIS India on 23rd February, 2018 for the period from 2018-2022. The Former President of SIGNIS Mr Sunil Lucas handed over the baton to him in the presence of all the members attending the SIGNIS India General Assembly at DBI Giwahati. Fr Stanley is into media for 22 years and belongs to the Archdiocese of Delhi.
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Malawi – Don Bosco Youth Center for sports and technical education
Don Bosco Youth Center in Lilongwe, Malawi, has become a symbol of youth empowerment through sporting activities as well as vocational and technical education. The center conducts motivational evening talks for spiritual and moral growth, according to an article in the Nyasa Times. The article also notes that the Don Bosco Youth Center also provides leadership training for youth with the aim of equipping them with skills in leading and motivating other youth toward positive behavior and social change in their respective communities.
WORLD NEWS Centenary of the birth of Blessed Alberto Marvelli, past pupil of the oratory Alberto Marvelli was born on 21 March 1918 in Ferrara, Italy 100 years ago. A student of the Salesian Oratory in Rimini, following the example of Domenico Savio, he matured his faith with a decisive choice: “My program is summed up in one word: saint.” In just 28 years he achieved a life of “full measure”: spending all in his love of God and neighbor. When his life was tragically interrupted on 5 October 1946, many believed they had lost him forever and that his commitment, support, and example would be lost. Instead: saints have a “posthumous” life. Today, more than ever, Alberto is alive and active: the good he has worked upon the earth has expanded in time and space. His exemplary holiness has become a model for laity committed in works across the globe, in search of Christian identity and of coherence with faith. St. John Paul II indicated on the day of his beatification on 5 September 2004: “It is up to you lay persons to bear witness to faith through the virtues specific to you: fidelity and tenderness in the family, competence in work, tenacity in serving the common good, solidarity in social relations, creativity in undertaking works useful for evangelization and human promotion. It is up to you to show - in close communion with the Pastors - that the Gospel is current, contemporary, and that faith does not take the believer away from history, but immerses them more profoundly in history.”
Young scientists at the service of the common good
Not only good Christians and honest citizens, but also protagonists of innovation and social responsibility. The children who grow up in Salesian schools often distinguish themselves by being able to devise scientific and technological projects that help to build more inclusive and supportive societies. Two new testimonies have just arrived recently from the students of the “Don Bosco” Salesian Institute in Verona, winners of the 2018 edition of the “First® Lego® League Italia”, and from students who took part in the 31st edition of the “Premio Nacional Don Bosco” in Spain.
Jan - Mar 2018
Fr Giuseppe “José” Berno at 107, the oldest Salesian in the Congregation On February 24, he celebrated 107 years of life, 89 years as a missionary in Venezuela, and 80 as a priest.
Pope encourages young people to ask tough questions at pre-synod launch
WORLD NEWS The crucifix is for prayer, not decoration
Addressing 20,000 people at Angelus in St Peter’s Square on March 18, Pope Francis said that the crucifix is not just something decorative to hang on the wall or wear, it is an important sign of our beliefs – and should be truly looked at and prayed before as the source of our salvation.
Pope Francis opened this week’s pre-synod meeting telling youth to hold nothing back and to have the courage to ask the “raw” and direct questions about life, love, and vocation. In the March 19 opening session for the event, Francis told youth to let their questions come “without anesthetizing” them.
Priesthood isn’t an assignment – it’s a mission, Pope tells seminarians
On February 16, Pope Francis met with the community of the Pontifical Maronite College, explaining how their seminary formation isn’t about them or even for them, but for the people they will eventually serve in their parishes and dioceses.
Memorial of Mary, Mother of the Church added to liturgical calendar
The Vatican announced Pope Francis’ decision that the Church celebrate the Blessed Virgin Mary in her role as “Mother of the Church” every year on the Monday after Pentecost, as a way to foster Marian piety and the maternal sense of the Church.
Pope Francis ‘signs up’ for World Youth Day in Panama After the Angelus on February 11, with the help of a tablet and two young people, Pope Francis signed up for World Youth Day 2019 in Panama, announcing that registration for the international event has opened. “We have to prepare ourselves. I invite all the young people of the world to live with faith and enthusiasm this event of grace and fraternity, both [those] going to Panama and [those] participating in their communities.”
Paul VI and Oscar Romero will be canonized
The Vatican announced on March 7 that Pope Francis has recognized a second miracle allowing five people on the path to sainthood to be canonized, the most prominent being Bl. Pope Paul VI and Bl. Oscar Romero. Though no date has yet been announced, both Paul VI and Oscar Romero are expected to be canonized together during the Synod of Bishops in October.
Jan - Mar 2018
INTERVIEW Joaquim Lobo SDB
Bro Frank Braganza SDB is a jovial person. He takes up any kind of technical job given to him. He loves his ‘Lay Brother vocation’ and the work he does. At 78, he exudes the same enthusiasm and joy as he did during his younger days. He is passionate about Football especially the spanish style of playing. 1. How did you reach Don Bosco Panjim? We were three brothers, and my mother always enquired who of us would become a priest. I was schooling at Sacred Heart High School, Parra. Because of my ‘bad company’ I could not study and I was failing. My mother kept quiet when I informed her about my friends. But later, she asked me to go to the Don Bosco High School and boarding at Panjim. I agreed. There I met Fr. Cajetan Lobo. He took me to Fr. Joseph Carreno, the Rector, who without hesitation told me to get ready and join after two days. 2. Who inspired you to become a Priest? I saw many Lay Brothers at Panjim, teaching in the school and technical school. They were caring, hard working. The spirit among them was jovial. I felt attracted towards this style of living. For the 9 years I was in the boarding, I learnt a lot about Don Bosco from the ‘Good Night’ talks. I loved to go to Mass everyday.
came to Kurla, Mumbai. There I spent 25 years teaching the technical boys, with a break of 3 years to Fatorda, Goa. One of our boys Mr Amar is presently the principal of techincal school. 5. I know that you are a lover of football. Yes I am. I started Don Bosco Oratory at Kurla from where many boys have played for various clubs, some even represented India. Steven Dias is one of them. Our Oratory was qualified for Division I. More than 100 boys had joined the oratory. We prayed, there were tuition classes and coaching. 6. What did you enjoy most during all these years? I enjoyed the life in the Salesian community and relationship with boys of the institute and the people around. When we stick to the rules and regulations, life becomes joyful.
3. Where did you go for your formation? Fr Carenno sent me to Spain in a house where only brothers studied. I picked up technical skills. I did my aspirantate, novitiate and first profession there. 4. Where were you posted after you returned? I was sent to Madras, but the province was divided and I
Jan - Mar 2018
7. Today the number of brother vocations are less. Even priestly vocations. We have smaller families today. Secondly, Lay Brother vocations are not highlighted enough especially during Priestly Ordinations and the first Mass of the newly ordained priest. We are made to sit with the people -which is fine- not even after the priests. For Don Bosco Salesians meant Priest and Lay Brothers.