January 2022 | Volume -64 Issue-01 | ` 15
THIS NEW YEAR
BECOME A BLESSING With Love, Gratitude and Kindness 1
January 2022 | Volume -64 Issue-01 | ` 15 Editor Fr. Amirtharaj Arockiyam SDB
Associate Editor Jeyarani News Editors Fr. Dominic Matthews SDB Fr. P. T. Joseph SDB
Designer M Creative Office Assistant Josephine Nathan Circulation Arokia Selvi
Editorial Board Fr. K. M. Jose Sdb - Chairman, BOSCOM Fr. Don Bosco Lourdusamy Sdb Fr. Nallayan Pancras Sdb Fr. Ernest Rosario SDB Fr. Raj Kumar Fernando SDB Sathish Kumar Thiyagarajan Advisory Board Fr. Biju Michael Pulianmackal SDB - President, SPCSA Fr. K. M. Jose - President, Salesian Publishing Society Fr. Edwin Vasanth SDB - Financial Advisor Fr. Felix Fernandes SDB Fr. Januarius Sangma SDB Fr. Paul Olphindro Lyngkot SDB Fr Jose Kuruvachira SDB Fr. Savio Silveira SDB Fr. Agilan Sarprasadam SDB Fr. Joseph Pauria SDB Fr. Davis Maniparamben SDB Fr Jose Koyickal SDB Fr. Roshan Miranda SDB Fr. Santiago Thomas SDB Editorial Office The Salesian Bulletin, Rinaldi Juniorate - SIGA 2nd Floor No. 49, Taylors Road, Kilpauk, Chennai - 600 010. Phone No: 9444 799942.
Salesian Strenna 2022 “Do everything through love, nothing through constraint”
''Every Smile Is A Caress''
A Few Words with the Vicar General
Don Bosco Global Youth Film Festival
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We Are More Than Our Body
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THE NEW YEAR, A PORTAL TO A NEW LIFE OF HOLINESS
n the first place, I would like to sincerely thank Fr. David Maria Selvam for the excellent way in which he has brought out this magazine, Salesian Bulletin, making its pages very colourful and appealing, yet also profound and relevant for all the members of Salesian family in India. He has shouldered this responsibility so well for the last five years. Secondly I would like to share with you some points to ponder as we are entering this new year 2022. The start of a new year is an ideal time to firmly resolve once again to begin a selfless life; to make a deeper commitment instead to live by the grace of God day after day during the weeks and months ahead. Thirdly, for Salesians like me who have had the privilege of learning the most of the Systematic Theology from Fr. Dominic Veliath, though his demise happened by the end of last November, the beginning of this year 2022 seems to be a sort of a strange but logical prolongation of a time of mourning. Therefore, seeking also to pay homage to him, who was a good teacher, well endowed with a mature theological vision that was consciously and consistently inter-religious, inter-cultural and very subtly liberationist in essence, it seems rather apt that the varied expressions of the Golden Rule of life gets further promoted through our reflections and sharings. One could even claim, in Theology or Philosophy it is the Golden Rule that ultimately matters! It serves as a kind of touch stone! It's this ‘golden precept’ that is at the center of the cosmotheandric principle that Fr. Dominic learnt from Raimon Panikkar and courageously, humbly adhered to all his life. In addition, as a good Asian theologian he sought to quietly embody in his day-to-day personal life and his class room teaching practices the dialogical spirit of the FABC documents that have clearly redefined the meaning of evangelization itself as a tree-fold dialogue. Here are the various ways the above mentioned the single Golden Rule finds concrete expression in the varied religio-cultural contexts. It is part and parcel of the God-given pluralistic nature of reality that around the globe the single Golden Rule gets formulated using somewhat different words by the followers of different faiths.
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Christianity: Do for others what you want them to do for you (Matthew 7:12). Judaism: What is hateful to you, do not do your fellow beings. That is the entire Law; all the rest is commentary (Talmud, Shabbat, 31a). Hindu tradition: This is the sum of duty: Do not unto others which would cause you pain if done to you (Mahabharata, 5, 1517). Buddhism: Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful (Udana-varga, 5, 18). Confucianism: Surely it is the maxim of loving kindness: Do not unto others that you would not have them do unto you (Anelects, 15, 23). Taoism: Regard your neighbour's gain as your own gain and your neighbour's loss as your own loss (Tai Shang Kan Ying Pien). Zorastrianism: That mind alone is holy which refrains from doing unto others whatsoever is not good for oneself (Dadistan-i-dinik, 94, 5). Islam: No one of you is a believer until he desires for his brother that which he desires for himself (Sunnah).
Finally a prayer, again in memory of Fr. Dominic: Loving Father, Son and the Holy Spirit, as there ought to be love in the world, let
it start with me; as there has to be abiding harmony in the world, let it start with me; as there is to be peace in the world, let it start from within me. Let my heart and soul be overflowing with your triune love, joy and peace. Amen. Fr. Amirtharaj Arockiyam SDB., Editor. January 2022
INH NEW PROVINCIAL -DESIGNATE T
he Salesians of the Province of St Joseph, Hyderabad, is gifted with a New Provincial in Father Thomas Santiagu, a person of the intuitive mind and a cheerful heart, a son of Don Bosco known for his love for the young and the poor. The Rector Major, Rev. Father Angel Fernandez, with the consent of his council, has nominated Father Santiagu as the 6th Provincial on December 13, 2021, for a period of six years from 2022 to 2028. He succeeds Father Thathireddy Vijaya Bhaskar, who ably served the Province for six years. Father Santiagu joined the Hyderabad Province as a Novice in 1994 and made his first profession on May 24, 1995. Father Santiagu was born on August 23, 1976, in Kottaiyur of Sivagangai District in Tamil Nadu. His family belonged to the St. Francis Xavier Parish, Broadway, Chennai. After completing Higher Secondary Schooling in the Salesian School of St. Gabriel, Broadway, he joined the pre-novitiate at Pallithammam (then belonging to Chennai Province and now to Trichy Province). As a novice, he joined the Hyderabad Province and completed his post-novitiate formation at Yercaud. He did his practical training for one year in the Philosophate January 2022
Fr. Thomas Santiagu at Karunapuram and two years in the Novitiate at Manoharabad. He has a Master Degree in Social Work (MSW) from Sacred Heart College, Tirupattur. He made his perpetual profession on January 31, 2004. After completing his Theological formation at Sacred Heart Theological College, Shillong, he was ordained on December 27, 2005. He was very much involved in the pastoral and social ministry of the Province during the first five years of his priesthood. In 2011, he was appointed as the Director of Bosco Seva Kendra, the development office of the Province. He became a member of the Provincial council in 2011. He has served as the Rector of Don Bosco, Ongole, for three years from 2015-2018. He was appointed as the Vice Provincial in 2018 to date. He has also served the Province as the delegate for Youth Ministry and Formation.
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SALESIAN STRENNA 2022 FR. ANGEL FERNANDEZ ARTIME, SDB Rector Major
he text below was written in July 2021, and sets out the theme of the work for the Salesians in 2022. Dear Brothers, Sisters and Friends, just six months ago we gave the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians – as has been our tradition since Don Bosco's time – and the whole Salesian Family, the Strenna for the new year. Six months later, therefore, I have been asked to anticipate what could be the guiding theme for the new year 2022, as the different rhythms of the hemispheres where the Salesian presences are located demand. I do so gladly in the hope that it may be of some help. Quite clearly, in 2022, the year in which we will celebrate the fourth centenary of the anniversary of his death, the theme can only be that of the Spirituality of Saint Francis of Sales, the wellspring of Don Bosco's Salesian spirit which our father and founder drank from and contemplated at all times, especially when it came to defining his style of education and evangelisation – to put it in the kind of language we use – of the fledgling Salesian Congregation: "We will call ourselves Salesians".
“Do everything through love, nothing through constraint” 6
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We know that Don Bosco was deeply impressed by the extraordinary figure of this Saint. He was an authentic inspiration to him, especially because he was a true pastor, a master of charity, a tireless worker for the salvation of souls... As a young seminarian, John Bosco took the following resolution before his priestly ordination: "May the charity and gentleness of St Francis de Sales guide me at all times." And in the Memoirs of the Oratory Don Bosco said: "[The Oratory] began calling itself by the name of St. Francis de Sales […] because we had put our own ministry, which called for great calm and meekness, under the protection of this saint in the hope that he might obtain for us from God the grace of being able to imitate him in his extraordinary kindness and in winning souls." January 2022
Of course, this year's Strenna will also be a wonderful opportunity to recognise and find oneself in the spirituality of St. Francis de Sales and to appreciate even more the magnificent characteristics of Don Bosco's Salesian spirit., as also the precious values of Salesian youth spirituality. We will undoubtedly see ourselves reflected in them and feel called today to be "more Salesian" in our Salesian Family, that is to say, more filled with the spirit of St. Francis de Sales, a spirit that permeates our Salesianity as the family of Don Bosco. Belonging completely to God, living to the full [our] presence in the world This is probably the most "evolutionary" proposal of St. Francis de Sales. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI expressed it with his usual profundity and beauty when he said that the great invitation that St. Francis de Sales addresses to Christians is "to belong completely to God, living to the full [our] presence in the world and the tasks proper to [our] state". "My intention is to teach those who are living in towns, in the conjugal state, at court […]" (Preface to the Introduction to the Devout Life). The Document by which Pope Pius IX, more than two centuries later, proclaimed him a doctor of the Church would insist on this broadening of the call to perfection, to holiness. It says: "[True piety] shone its light everywhere and gained entrance to the thrones of kings, the tents of generals, the courts of judges, custom houses, workshops and even the huts of herdsmen... […]" (Brief Dives in misericordia, 16 November 1877). Thus came into being the appeal to lay people and the care for the consecration of temporal things and for the sanctification of daily life on which the Second Vatican Council and the spirituality of our time were to insist. The ideal of a reconciled humanity was expressed in the harmony between prayer and action in the world, between the
Being completely of God: Christan Vocation To belong completely to God, living to the full our presence in the world and the tasks proper to our state Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI
Reason for choosing St. Francis de Sales The Salesian ministry demands meekness and great calm needs the protection and intercession of this saint needs the grace of God to imitate the extraordinary meekness of the saint and win souls. search for perfection and the secular condition, with the help of God's grace that permeates the human being and, without destroying him, purifies him, raising him to divine heights." We certainly find the source of this spirituality in so many of our Lord's gestures and words in the Gospel and in the simplicity of Don Bosco's proposal to his boys, in the language and ecclesial context of the 19th century. So how can we not be attentive so that it may also be a source of inspiration and a pastoral and spiritual proposal for our day? The Centrality of the Heart During his formation in Paris, what triggered Francis'
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conversion was an in-depth reading of the Song of Songs under the guidance of a Benedictine priest. For him it was a light that coloured his whole perception of both God and human life, both his individual journey and his relationships with any other person. The symbol he chose for the Visitation also shows how the heart is the most telling sign of his human and spiritual heritage: a heart pierced by two arrows: love of God and love of neighbour, which would also be matched by the two treatises that condense all his thinking and teaching. The first – Treatise on the Love of God – is the fruit of his patient work in the formation of the first group of Visitandines: these are the conferences edited and re-edited in book form. It was also the basis of the formation of Marie Margaret Alacoque who, 51 years after the death of Francis, received the revelations which opened the way to devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus in the Church. Only the index remains of the other treatise, the one on love of neighbour, due to Francis' premature death on 28 December 1622, at the age of 55. The humanism of Francis, his desire and ability to enter into dialogue with everyone, the great value he placed on friendship, was so important for personal accompaniment in the way Don Bosco would interpret it... everything is built on the solid foundations of the heart, just as Francis lived it. Between Providence and loving-kindness Two reflections of his way of feeling God's heart and opening his heart to his brothers and sisters, intimately related to one another, are his sense of Providence and his way of approaching and interacting with each person, in other words his proverbial gentleness or loving-kindness. Trust in Providence has roots that come from his formation in Paris and Padua: his "holy indifference":
Trust in providence has roots in his holy idifference: I trust God's heart unreservedly and this disposes me to embrace whatever the sequence of events and circumstances presents me with day by day. I have ``nothing to ask and nothing to refuse.`` 8
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Gentleness of heart when dealing with one's neighbour, even when that neighbour is unfriendly or anything but pleasant as a character. I trust God's heart unreservedly, and this disposes me to embrace whatever the sequence of events and circumstances presents me with day by day. I have "nothing to ask and nothing to refuse" with respect to what I know is in God's hands in every situation. Paul was thinking similarly when he wrote to the Romans: "We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn within a large family" (Rom 8:28-29). Gentleness of heart when dealing with one's neighbour, even when that neighbour is unfriendly or anything but pleasant as a character, is a reflection of the same trust before it is a simple trait, this time trust in the human heart, always open to God's action and always destined for the fullness of life. Gentleness and loving-kindness are missionary approaches, aimed at facilitating as much as possible in every circumstance and situation this encounter between grace and freedom in the hearts of those before me. It is not, then, just a question of good manners. If we think of the way in which Don Bosco reinterpreted this loving-kindness in his educational system, we understand how profound are the motivations on which it is nourished, just as it was for St Francis de Sales. Practical training in the mission in the Chablais, and Don Bosco's Da mihi animas The tough experience of evangelisation in the Chablais between 1593 (his address as Provost) and 1596 (Christmas Masses at Thonon) is where the mission set the concrete tone for his whole life. It was extremely difficult ("here everyone has insults on their lips and stones in their hands") but it was a crisis that brought growth and transformed the missionary in the first place, even before it did so for his beneficiaries. It is also very interesting to read those years as a Eucharistic pedagogy. The visible Eucharist, celebrated January 2022
with a large crowd, carried in procession... after years of emptiness (Christmas 1596...), became the point of arrival after going through a long desert, where he was the one who lived from the Eucharist and became its presence in a hidden way among the people who were previously hostile and whom he approached and made friends with, one by one. Bearing in mind that our Salesian presences are for the most part among non-Catholics, this Eucharistic spirituality becomes prophetic: from within the missionary it reaches out with great patience and perseverance to those to whom it is sent, without renouncing explicit proclamation but knowing how to wait for God's long time, and not waiting for the faithful to fill the church but mixing with the flock wherever and however it may be... And with the Eucharist, and on the same wavelength, is the centrality of the cross and confidence in Mary. All this speaks to us of the educative and evangelising passion of Don Bosco who, in the presence of the Lord in the Eucharist and the strong presence of Mary in the life of the Oratory, in the midst of his boys, found the daily strength to realise the Da mihi animas, cetera tolle. But how do we communicate? Francis de Sales is the patron saint of journalists. His charism as a communicator is worth grasping, where there is a splendid agreement between love and interest in reflection, culture, humanism in its most beautiful expressions on the one hand, to be promoted, encouraged, harmonised by creating and fostering dialogue between those who are more capable and richer in these fields and, on the other, Francis de Sales as the master of communication for everyone, a great disseminator given the means and circumstances in which he lived. It is enough to think of the enormous number of letters in which a significant part of his apostolate as bishop and saint was condensed. January 2022
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The humanism of Francis, his desire and ability to enter into dialogue with everyone, the great value he placed on friendship, was so important for personal accompaniment in the manner of Don Bosco In this too we have a disciple in Don Bosco who follows his master's zeal, with the new means at his disposal (the popular "mass" press): 318 published works of Don Bosco in 40 years... on average about one every two months. And at the same time it is a message for us of the utmost relevance and a real challenge in today's world where communication is at the centre of reality. Francis de Sales in Don Bosco's way of accompanying young people: charisms flourish and bear fruit in each other There is a true "communion of saints" within the educational and spiritual art of Don Bosco, which did not come from nothing, but was nourished by deep roots, the work of the Spirit in the history of the Church that preceded him. It is neither an addition nor a repetition: it is rather a new flourishing and bearing of fruit that feeds on the work of the Spirit that vivified the Church with Francis of Assisi and Ignatius, with Dominic and Teresa of Avila. A fine proposal for the Church today, and certainly for the Salesian Family of Don Bosco, is rightly that of 10
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growing in the art of accompanying the journey of faith, especially of so many boys, girls and young men of the world who do not know God, and who at the same time hunger and thirst for him often without knowing it. It is very "Salesian" to feel and truly believe that each person needs "a friend of the soul" in whom to find advice, help, guidance and friendship. I would like to conclude these succinct outlines, around which the Strenna for 2022 for the whole Salesian Family of Don Bosco around the world will be able to develop, with the invitation that Pope Benedict XVI addresses to us at the end of his General Audience, asking us, in a "spirit of freedom", to follow the exemplary witness of St. Francis de Sales, a true example of the Christian humanism that makes us feel that only in God do we find the satisfaction of the desire and nostalgia we feel for Him: "Dear brothers and sisters, in an age such as ours that seeks freedom, even with violence and unrest, the timeliness of this great teacher of spirituality and peace who gave his followers the "spirit of freedom", the true spirit, St. Francis de Sales is an exemplary witness of Christian humanism; with his familiar style, with words which at times have a poetic touch, he reminds us that human beings have planted in their innermost depths the longing for God and that in him alone can they find true joy and the most complete fulfilment."
A POEM A MONTH BRIAN PATTEN
A BLADE OF GRASS
You ask for a poem. I offer you a blade of grass. You say it is not good enough. You ask for a poem. I say this blade of grass will do. It has dressed itself in frost, It is more immediate Than any image of my making. You say it is not a poem, It is a blade of grass and grass Is not quite good enough. I offer you a blade of grass. You are indignant. You say it is too easy to offer grass. It is absurd. Anyone can offer a blade of grass. You ask for a poem. And so I write you a tragedy about How a blade of grass Becomes more and more difficult to offer, And about how as you grow older A blade of grass Becomes more difficult to accept.
POINTS TO PONDER!
According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary the ‘GRASS-BLADE’ is: “ one of the elongated linear leaves of a typical grass.” Also for the recipient in this poem, “A Blade of Grass” is nothing but a merely mundane leaf of a common-place grass. It is from such an underlying closed mind-set that ones unyielding refusal could arise. Patten writes: "You say it is too easy to offer grass.It is absurd."
When seen from a spiritual perspective, everything in the cosmos, including a blade of grass, is perceived in its Divine splendour. What a surprise!
However, ultimately, the poem refutes that image. By offering the blade of grass as actual poetry, Patten reminds the reader that, at times, the symbols evoked by art can be rather simple, easy and yet be very deep and profound in significance, instead of being something quotidian.
No wonder, Fr. Bede Griffiths was heard frequently appreciating the Asian way of addressing God by saying, “Although you are one, you are indeed spread throughout the sky and the planets and all space between.” Griffiths would also invariably further exclaim: Is this reality also what the biblical writer is singing about whenever he declares, “the Spirit of the Lord fills the whole universe?”
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R E C T O R
M A J O R ’ S
M E S S A G E
''EVERY SMILE IS A CARESS'' R
eceive my affectionate greeting, friends and readers. Today I would like to share with you the message found in the title, whose author, I must admit, I am not. It was Pope Francis who chose “the smile” as the guiding theme of his Christmas greetings last year to the employees in Vatican City and their families. He chose this theme precisely in a time when a smile is too often missing because humane and respectful behaviour is often missing. Very often, I reflect a bit on those realities that surprise me. Today, let me speak to you of this one: though as human beings we are aware that affability treating others with respect, displaying signs of delicate attention and respect, and sharing expressions of brotherhood, solidarity, and Love in all circles of our lives are things that make our hearts swell and give fullness to our lives. Yet, as groups of peoples, regions, and nations, we struggle to create communion among peoples by joining forces in those things that help make us more human. This reality is not restricted to the great issues of “macropolitics” or “macroeconomics,” which often focus on self-serving interests that are often in conflict with each other. No, it also occurs frequently within families, among siblings, among relatives. We all know that this is the case. While we do not ignore the presence of this reality in our midst, we know that Christmas, the Birth of Our 12
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Fr. Angel Fernandez Artime, SDB Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, reminds us that Salvation has been given to us and that He has given us this gift so that we continue to build a world where God, with His Love for us, may be ever more present. Of course, sometimes it is obvious that this is difficult for us to do because we have full freedom to make and to undo, to build and to tear down, to add and to subtract. For this reason, while we are able to make the path to a better Humanity, sometimes we seem to take many steps backwards. Therefore, I invite you this Christmas (albeit still in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic or at least of its threatening presence, even if it is now greatly under control and we have the ability to navigate in the midst of it) not to give up allowing ourselves to be surprised by that smile of God that translates into so many simple things. One beautiful human example is our behavior when in the presence of a baby: we smile automatically so as to elicit his/her smile. In turn, when that smile brightens and spreads over his/her face, it brings out great joy in us for it is a sign of simplicity in all its beauty and innocence. "Jesus is the Smile of God," says Pope Francis, “because He came to give us the Love of the Father.” Mary and Joseph received His Message for they recognized in His smiles God’s mercy to them and to all those who were waiting for the Messiah. January 2022
And we, too, now during this Christmas season, can feel the presence of Jesus, the Incarnate Son of God, smiling upon us and upon the poor of the earth, upon all those who hope for salvation, who hope for a more fraternal world—one in which war and violence cease and where every man and every woman can live with the dignity that is theirs as a son or a daughter of God. A carpet at Valdocco Now I wish to share with you something that I myself witnessed a few weeks ago and touched my heart, filling it with a serene peace. You will understand immediately why. I was in Valdocco at three in the afternoon, passing through the courtyard when something or, better, someone attracted my attention. I focused my attention and saw that a young person was standing in the small portico under Don Bosco's rooms. He was praying. I saw that it was a Muslim who had laid his carpet on the ground, directed towards Mecca, and was kneeling and standing up, offering up his prayers according to his religion. He was communicating not with “His God,” but with the One God, in the way and manner that his religion expresses it. He was very focused on his prayer, and he cared little who passed or not, and surely he did not realize that I was contemplating him for I did so without disturbing him and with great respect. I had just left the Pinardi chapel—through the grace of God’s Providence— where the Blessed Sacrament, the Lord Jesus present in the Eucharist, is exposed throughout the day. I thought it was beautiful that Valdocco and the portico where Don Bosco had stood so many times with His boys and
where they had prayed was the same portico that now received and gave a home to the prayer of that young Muslim. God's smile is a smile shining on all His sons and daughters of our world. We are all the fruit of His Love and His Creation. Like this portico in Valdocco, the Salesian houses of all the Congregations of our Salesian Family throughout the world welcome tens of thousands of boys, girls, and young people every day. There, in these houses, they prepare themselves for life, grow in humanity and in faith, certainly living and expressing their families’, tribes’, or ethnicities’ religion, but always as sons and daughters of the One and Only God. It is for this reason, my dear friends, that I am sending you my Christmas greetings, laden with all the humanity and faith of which I am capable. I continue to invite you and so many others to continue to be people who believe that the world needs our small contribution towards building a humanity that is ever more in conformity with God's vision of us. I wish you a Holy Christmas, with Pope Francis’ own greeting: “Take this wish to your loved ones at home, especially the sick and elderly: may they feel the caress of your smile. Every smile is a caress. To smile is to caress; to caress with the heart and to caress with the soul. And let's remain united in prayer." May God bless you and may you have a holy and beautiful Christmas.
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PARENTING FR. RAJKUMAR FERNANDO SDB for being too heavy or too thin. TV and movie stars showcase unrealistic body types that most girls can't copy without hurting themselves. Ads tell girls that, with the right beauty products, they can look picture-perfect. And female characters in family films and TV soaps, on prime-time TV, and on kids' shows are nearly twice as likely to have uncharacteristically small waists as compared to their male counterparts.
We Are More Than Our Body
mages of what the media believes as ideal are flashed everywhere on TV, in movies, online, in magazines, in ads, and in video games. Your kids believe that these projected images are real and that is the scale that they need to reach. You need to educate them that the weights, colour and body types of people they see on the screens total up to five to eight percent of the population in the country. When our kids try to look like these images they get into depression, eating disorders, multiple complex and low self-esteem. In the peer climate it is hard for a youngster not to compare how they look with others and the ideal images they see in the screen. When they don’t like what they see in the mirror of themselves they look for ways to “fix” it with cosmetics and toning. Diets, makeup, styling and clothes are sold to make people look more like the images they see in the media. Advertisement for these products are systematically designed to make them feel insecure. This is just a way to sell more products. Understanding how the media works is an important step in not letting these images control how one feel about themselves. Our media and culture are obsessed with women's looks. Magazines have features to do with regular Body Watch criticizing female celebrities 14
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With the advent of social media, older girls are no longer passive consumers of these messages; they are creating and sharing images of their own. Online culture is full of judgments. Girls often imitate celebrities by posing provocatively in selfies. They see their photos ranked for attractiveness on apps and in online beauty pageants on Instagram. They are told they can "improve" their images with editing apps that whiten their face or put a sparkle in their eyes. Why body image matters for girls? The pressure to live up to such narrow beauty standards and always be "camera-ready" can affect both physical and mental health. Online communities dedicated to promoting unhealthy behavior, such as "thinspo" ("thin-spiration") and "pro-ana" (proanorexia) sites, urge followers to starve themselves. When girls compare themselves to their favourite stars, they usually feel that they don't measure up. January 2022
Lowered self-confidence and self-esteem can lead to depression, poor school performance, and risky choices. No more a girls' issue! The pursuit of a perfect body is no longer only a "girl" thing. From padded superhero costumes that give 5-year-olds six-pack abs to action movie stars with exaggerated physiques, representations of men in the media have become increasingly muscular and unrealistic. Boys are falling prey to the images of ideal bodies splashed across magazine covers; in video games, movies, and music videos; and now on social media. Unlike their female counterparts, however, most boys aren't out to get skinny. They want to bulk up. Big muscles are typically associated with good health. But what drives a young man to achieve that look can be far from healthy. Researchers have found a significant relationship between men's exposure to muscular-ideal media and negative self-image. With the advent of social media, online forums and blogs make it easy to seek and share information about diet and fitness. And some boys are going to extreme efforts to get a muscular, chiseled physique. Finally, frequent exposure to sexual material can impact men's self-consciousness about their own appearance, as well as lead them to view women as sex objects. Why body image matters for boys? Although research on boys lags behind that on girls, it's clear that negative self-image can affect boys' physical and mental health. Boys are encouraged at an early age to think that being a man and being physically strong go hand in hand. As they grow older, the pressure to "man up" can sometimes lead to crash diets, over-exercising, smoking, or even taking dangerous supplements.
Exposure to highly sexualized material can impact men's self-esteem and relationships. And in a culture that discourages boys from talking about their feelings, it can be that much harder for parents to detect a son's body dissatisfaction. What Parents can do? Make health a habit. If you take care of yourself, you'll help your kids appreciate all that bodies can do. By fostering a healthy lifestyle, you're helping your kids resist extreme dieting messages. Look for alternative media. Avoid TV, movies, and magazines that promote stereotypes and outdated gender roles. Seek out unconventional role models and talk about people from media and real life who have different body types and say why you find them beautiful. Expose the myths. Point out to them that pictures have been altered to make models look flawless -- and impossibly thin. Keep your kids active. Get them involved in sports, fitness, and other physical pursuits so they discover what healthy bodies can do. Keep an eye on your kid's social networks. Online, boys can feed their obsession in isolation. Bodybuilding and fitness forums can promote risky training and unattainable body ideals that boys may pursue without checking with a doctor or coach. Also, boys can expose themselves to constant criticism by posting photos of themselves. Talk about "real" girls. Highly sexualized media can distort boys' understanding of girls, relationships, and what the opposite sex looks like. Talk about how porn represents an extreme constructed perspective that is not realistic. We have our body but we are more than our body; We are a person. Every child of this era should be taught this basic lesson of life.
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INTERVIEW -VICAR GENERAL FR. NALLAYAN PANCRAS SDB
A FEW WORDS with the Vicar General 16
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he 28th General Chapter of the Salesian Congregation has elected as Vicar of the Rector Major, for the sexennium 2020-2026, Fr. Stefano Martoglio, until now the Councillor for the Mediterranean region. Don Stefano Martoglio was born on November 30, 1965 in Turin. He entered in the Novitiate "Monteoliveto" in 1984, in Pinerolo; took his first vows in the Basilica of Mary Help of Christians in Turin on September 8, 1985. His perpetual profession was on September 27, 1992 in Castelnuovo Don Bosco and was ordained a priest in Turin on June 11, 1994. He served the Salesian community as a Councillor of the Pinerolo work and of the San Domenico Savio work - Valdocco, before becoming, in 2004, the Director of the Mother House of the Congregation, also in Valdocco. In 2008 he was appointed Superior of the Special Circumscription of Piedmont and Valle d'Aosta. He participated in General Chapter 25 and was part of the Pre-Chapter Commission for General Chapter 27. The latter elected him as the first Regional Councilor for the Mediterranean region, today Vicar of the Rector Major. Don Stefano Martoglio is with years of pastoral experience and an able leader who does not shirk responsibility. What was your GC28 experience? The experience of the General Chapter is always an eye-opening and heart-opening experience for the Church and the Congregation. This was no different. This time, more than the previous chapters in which I participated, I was struck by how attuned the chapter members were to the basic vision and problems that the congregation, as is normal, is going through. It struck me very much because many of the chapter members did not know one another beforehand; many were at their first chapter experience. Yet there was a great harmony of vision and a deep and widespread understanding of the path that we as a congregation must take. I believe this is a very clear expression of the work of the Holy Spirit. In the past six years, what has been the fundamental thrust of your work? During the past six years I was fortunate enough to be able to accompany the new Mediterranean Region,
Fr. Stefano Martoglio which was born in GC27. It was precisely in accompanying a new region, the offspring of two previous regions, that I had a wonderful experience. It is a wonderful region. It includes the Salesian presence in northern Africa situated in an Islamic context. It faces the changes that come along with the precious and bleeding presence of the Middle East; includes also the entire strip of southern Europe, from Portugal to Romania. This region is a magnificent reality, rich in history and tradition, enriched by the great innovations in lay co-responsibility. By "remaining" in these difficult contexts, our Salesian Family continues to be rich and alive in the Mediterranean Region. In six years, how do you dream of the Congregation and the Salesian Family? Our dream, which is also a task, is that the Congregation will continue to be alive and prophetic. Our charism has an immense freshness and vitality, with an impressive relevance. To be prophetic is to know how to release as a Congregation and as Salesian Family this vitality, for us and for the mission of the Church. May the Salesian Family, which is flourishing well, become more and more a movement of "believers", at the school of God in the footsteps of the Salesian charism; a movement of believers both lay and consecrated members, in the life and mission of the Church. The Salesian Bulletin
Blessed Laura Vicuña
QUOTES AND THOUGHTS Love Jesus and Mary and you will be happy at the moment of death.
My God, give me a life of love, of mortification, of sacrifice.
Mary is my mother. What consoles me most is the thought that I am a Child of Mary. It is Mary who gives me strength and joy in these moments. She is my mother.
We must offer sacrifices to God for the salvation of souls. Be devout to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament and to Mary Help of Christians. Be constant in virtue. We will be reunited in heaven. 18
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Be loving and kind to your neighbor. Do not despise the poor. Do not treat anyone with coldness and you will be respected by all. If Jesus wants it that way, then I do too. Yes, I suffer gladly. My one desire is to please Jesus and Mary.
it is right that you should pray a lot for me, so that the Lord will give me patience and happiness in my pain and suffering, and His holy grace to others. Virgin of Carmel, take me to Heaven.
I hope to go soon to see Jesus and Mary. I would like to go to confession so as to prepare myself better for the big step.
It seems to me that God Himself keeps the memory of His presence alive in me. Wherever I am, at school, in recreation, everywhere, the thought of God is with me, to help and console me.
You must know how to suffer and to forgive each others' failings, and love each other as good friends.
What good fortune it would have been, for me to die in your house, O Mother.
We must live only for Jesus. I will consider myself a little fool for Jesus.
If we remembered often that God sees us, how many failures we would avoid. There would be no need for Assistants! We would do Since I cannot work and I am near the end,
I cannot keep back my tears when I think of how Jesus humbled himself for love of us.
O longed-for Heaven, when will you come? O Jesus, since I cannot be accepted among those who consecrate themselves to you in the Institute of the FMA (Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, Salesian Sisters), I offer myself completely to your love. I want to be all yours, even if I have to remain in the world.
From sticks planted in obedience roses bloom. Remember, Merceditas, just as a dry stick can bloom, so can God speak through the voice of Superiors. Let us make an effort every day, Jesus suffered so much for us on the Cross. O Mary, we confide to your Immaculate Heart our consolations and our griefs, our fears and our hopes. Be our peace in the storms, our shield in battle, and our refuge in time of need. The Salesian Bulletin
SHORT STORY AMBAI
Stark Tamil feminist writer Ambai, whose writings challenge the stereotyping of women, has won this year’s Sahitya Akademi award. She has been awarded for her short story collection Sivappu Kazhutthudan Oru Patchaiparavai. Ambai is the fourth woman writer from Tamil Nadu to get the award. 20
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t was about half past six when the pig came to talk to me. There might have been fifteen to twenty piglets in its down-hanging, sagging stomach. It had been rolling about in the gutter. Its back shone charcoal-black from the gutter waters. Underneath, its stomach hung in flesh-coloured lumps “Look here, I need to talk,” it said. “Why have you chosen me?” I asked. “Don’t expect me to say all manner of things to the effect that I chose you because of your intelligent, brilliant eyes. As a matter of fact, I don’t see any such light shining around here. See, I am a pig. Give me an January 2022
opportunity to talk. I am frustrated by the slow passage of time.” Now I am not one who is taken in by flattery, but all the same these words seemed excessively egotistic. But before I could retort hotly, “Look, I don’t have the time,” the pig had sat down and lowered its stomach carefully, hanging piglets to one side. “All right, talk,” I said. “I am doing just that,” said the pig, as it laid down its large head. “Nothing that I can hear.” “I talk silently,” it said. Now if it’s one thing that I hate more than arrogant pigs, it’s philosophical ones. I turned my head away with indifference. “Just joking. People tend to think that words come out of the mouths of animals, dripping with wisdom. They let us run free in fables and moral tales. They expect us to come out with epigrams like, ‘The grapes are sour.’ As for me, I am a pig who is bored, tired, and weary from rolling about in rubbish heaps. I have no experience of anything to do with wisdom.” “Well then, what is it you want to talk about?” “About the gate to your apartment block.” Ours was a block of apartments on two levels, with six apartments in all. Next to it, enclosed on both sides with barbed wire, stood an empty plot of land. Empty in mere name, that is. Actually, it was a free lavatory for the hut dwellers. And it was also a shelter and dwelling place for pigs. Beneath our windows, in the afternoons, you could sometimes hear a shriek that went driiyo, driiyo. At once the pigs would start running. Sometimes, as you entered the lane near the top of the street, you could hear a blood-curdling yell, ei, ei. If you stopped, people would push you onwards, saying, “Keep going. They are slaughtering the pigs.” “Why? Why are they doing that?” “Why do you think? To eat them, of course. Keep going.”
There was a small square hole in our gate, just large enough to let a dog through. Several times, the pigs who had been chased would run through this hole and escape. There was talk of closing the hole. “I like this escape hole very much indeed. I find I crawl through it most delightfully. When I am surrounded by barbed wire on all sides, it’s a most convenient hole to crawl through. When I am running for my life, it’s like heaven’s gates opening in front of me. It strikes me that what every pig needs is a door it can crawl through.” I remembered the pet pig in Wodehouse’s novels. The Earl’s fat, rose-pink pig. The pig that won prizes in many competitions. I spoke about it. I also told it about pigs in America which were fattened in their sties and then slaughtered painlessly. It agreed that it was a considerable privilege if one could die without pain. It didn’t show that much interest in the question of colour. What did it matter to a pig doomed to die whether it was pink or black, it said. It wasn’t even concerned about dying in order to be eaten by others. When I asked about this, it refused to speak, saying it wasn’t in a position to raise objections. After that it was silent for some time.
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Accusation. I first thought about death when I was twelve years old. Feet floating in air, I was reaching out to catch a ball. On that instant, just as I tossed my head back to look at that ball, on that very instant, the thought struck me like a painful shaft of lightning. I shall die. I ran in and buried my face against my knees and knew fear. My hands and feet, my face, my whole body seemed alien to me. As if they were hung on to me. I crawled deep within, seeking myself, myself, myself. Fear took hold of me. I searched in the ear hole and within the eye and between the teeth and in the pit under my arm. Where was I? I was sweating with fear. After that, I allowed myself certain privileges. I did not wish to die in certain ways. I did not want to die in an accident. I did not wish to die in a sudden disaster, my body shattered and destroyed. A death of protracted pain? “What do you think about death?” I asked. “It’s a huge rod,” it answered. “A rod that is long and cylindrical, made of either iron or wood. If iron, one is stabbed to death from the seat through to the mouth. If wood, one is clubbed to death.” “How can you be so calm about it?” “Nothing is gained by getting excited. Perhaps we should fight for the right to choose the manner of our death: by clubbing, stabbing, or electrocution. Unfortunately we pigs are not united.” “Why do you refuse to talk about a natural death?” “What’s natural about death? It is always enforced.” “O no, no. To mingle gently with nature, just as the leaf withers away from the tree…” “Do me a favour. Please don’t bring poetry into this. As it is, my life is as terrible as possible. I just couldn’t bear poetry on top of it all.” “What’s poetical about what I said?” “You are separating blood from death. You speak of a death without bloodshed, a death like the beautiful withering away of leaves. But death is inseparable from blood. Whether you are actually spilling it externally, or whether it drains away within. You are trying to make death beautiful.” 22
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I didn’t want that either. After reading about the second world war, I did not want to die like the Jews in gas chambers. I did not want a death by nuclear explosion, as in Hiroshima. After Vietnam, I refused for myself a death by chemical weapons such as napalm. After I had learnt about other countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, I rejected in turn deaths by famine, floods, earthquakes; death in prison, death by hanging, death by gunfire. What was left was a beautiful death. A poetic death, merging into space. Without pain. Or wounds. Or blood. I understood the pig’s anger. The pig rose. It went away, shaking its body from which the piglets hung. Some days later, at break of dawn, wild shrieks could be heard. Four men were chasing the pig with their sticks. It ran in haste towards the hole in the gate. But it had forgotten that its body had grown even bigger than before. It got stuck in the passageway. Before I could get there, its blood poured out in great gushes. The piglets fell out, one by one, like dolls. When I approached, the pig recognized me. It opened its bloodshot eyes and said, “Please don’t expect me to speak some rare truth about death. There is only one thing to say. We die.” The long rods drew nearer. January 2022
FR. DAVID MARIA SELVAM SDB
Adieu Fr. Dominic! Fr. Dominic Veliath SDB passed away on 27
November 2021. He was an important theologian in Salesian India. His Very rich and lengthy career came to end with his passing away but he will continue to be remembered for the wisdom, truthfulness and goodness he manifested. He served most of his priestly ministry teaching theology and facilitating formation of students of theology, at Kristu Jyoti College, Bengaluru.
Characteristics of Fr. Dominic Creative Fidelity as a Theologian As a professor of theology, he knew the various trends and evolution of Theology. He was able to understand different schools of thought and take a stand of his own. He was a living example of “creative fidelity”, a much needed trait in every Asian Christian Theologian. He will know the position of the Church and help every student understand and apply it in their living context. January 2022
Loving Kindness Handling the Students of Theology is an art and is also a challenging job. He always treated brothers with love and compassion. In his presence, brothers will always feel respected and understood. Whenever the seminarians go over board, be over critical, or mischievous, Fr. Dominic would come up with his oft repeated refrain ‘Please Brothers’ and they eagerly followed the directives. Everyone who lived with him experienced the truth articulated in the statement of St. Francis de Sales “Nothing is so strong as gentleness, nothing so gentle as real strength”, His Credentials Fr. Dominic’s contribution in the discipline of philosophy and theology is noteworthy. As an intellectual, he was so confident and self-assured that he never felt the needless compulsion to wear his spiritual and intellectual courage on his sleeve. His intellectual depth The Salesian Bulletin
and significance will be better appreciated in the Salesian world only when he is placed among the giants in the lineage of Indian Christian theology like Abhishiktananda, Bede Griffiths, and Raimon Panikkar. Here are some of the milestoned. Appointed by His Holiness the late Pope John Paul II as a member of the International Theological Commission, Rome for five years (2004-2008) and reappointed by Pope Benedict XVI for another five years (2009-2014) Appointed by the Catholic Bishops Conference of India as the Indian Theologian Representative to the Office of Theological Concerns of the Federation of Asian Bishops Conferences (FABC). Executive Secretary of the Doctrinal Commission of the Catholic Bishops Conference of India. Member of the Indian Theological Association for many years and had served as its President for a term. What People have to say? Fr Dominic Veliath will be affectionately remembered for his warm, humble, and affectionate persona, intellectual contribution, and deeps piritual experience bordering on life-transformative non-dualism. Here are excerpts from people who have lived and experienced him: Fr. Ivo Coehlho SDB, General Councillor for Formation “When I was in the aspirantate at Lonavla, we used to see some young Salesians who used to drop in every now and then from Pune -they were students at Jnana Deepa Vidyapeeth with residence in Papal Seminary 24
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and among them was Dominic Veliath. As aspiring Salesians, we were of course interested in everything and everyone, and so already at that time we had heard about Dominic and Joe Mannath and Joaquim D’Souza as people who had done their doctorates in philosophy even before beginning theological studies. I think I met Dominic again only much later, when I went for specific formation to Kristu Jyoti College. Dominic at the time had just done another doctorate, this time in theology and on Raimon Panikkar, and we were naturally privileged to receive an introduction to the great theologian from Dominic. For me, Dominic embodied the “goodness” and humanity that Don Bosco wanted us to learn from St Francis de Sales. What Fr Egidio Sola about him is very true: “There are many who are intelligent, but Dominic is intelligent and good.” He was at the same time a profound thinker. I have a feeling that his thoughts took him in directions that were decidedly unconventional, and that must have been the cause of not a little inner tension and discomfort, given the kind of good and peace-loving person that he was. Generations of students and young Salesians owe a debt of gratitude to him for the confidence he placed in them, the encouragement he gave, the fatherly interventions, and of course, the theology he taught them. Thank you, Dominic, for the gift of your life to us” Fr. Jose Kuttianimattathil SDB January 2022
“Fr. Dominic was a magnificent blend of a brilliant mind, a compassionate heart, a humble demeanor and a gentle presence. In the Beatitudes we have, so to say, a portrait of Christ. Fr. Dominic’s life reflected the beatitudes, making him Christ-like. One day, a brother, deeply hurt by some remarks of a companion did not come for supper. Having noticed his absence Fr. Dominic went to his room around 10 O’clock in the night. He knocked on the door. There was no answer. He knocked again. Still no answer. Then in a gentle, but firm and audible voice Fr. Dominic said, “Brother, I know that you are inside. And I am not moving from here till you come out.” Against such gentle persuasion the brother could hold out no longer. He opened the door to be offered something to eat by Fr. Dominic. “Blessed are the merciful” (Mt 5:7). Fr. Dominic was indeed a living embodiment of the Beatitudes. Fr. Joe Mannath SDB “Two things stand out in the memory of anyone who lived with Dominic or studied under him: exceptional intellectual brilliance, and a warm, compassionate, open heart that characterized him even more deeply than his intelligence. In fact, one of his colleagues in KJC told me recently: “Dominic is the most compassionate person I have ever come across.” I fully agree with all the encomiums showered on this good, God-centered man. Knowing him very well for years, I can say that I have never seen him do or say anything to harm another human being. He cared sincerely. He had no walls in his heart dividing people according to place of origin, mother tongue, religion, caste or tribe. On his silver jubilee day of ordination, he said, “I was inspired by Fr George White and some others to become a Salesian priest. What I wanted to do as a priest was to imitate my father’s kindness.” His father was a well-known doctor, dean or director of a medical college in Chennai, and then in Mangalore. Apart from the patients he treated in the hospital, he would treat poor patients and some leprosy patients quietly at home, without others coming to know of it, giving them money as well. In fact, at his funeral, there were two processions—one from the parish, another from the medical college. The leprosy patients he had treated wanted to come in a third procession, and had to be persuaded quietly not to form a separate procession. His kindness had touched their heart. I am giving these details, since I am convinced that our main formation January 2022
Fr. Dominic's doctoral thesis house is not the institutions carrying that tag, but our family.” Fr. Thomas Anchukandam SDB During the more than 20 years that I have been associated with Fr. Dominic Veliath, that special characteristic of his which impressed me the most, was his not being fanatical about any issue. He was always flexible and could easily enter into a dialogue with anyone which must be considered the more evident indication of his having realised in himself, and that to a high degree, an effective Christ-based synthesis of the intellectual, the emotional and the spiritual. This rare quality of his made him a special presence both in the campus of Kristu Jyoti College, the Salesian studentate of theology, Bengaluru, and in the national and international theological and philosophical circles with which he had a decades-long association. Understandably, his personal insights on all relevant issues, honed as they were by his cultural and intellectual preparation, were much valued as he had the ability to intervene effectively and to present succinctly his views even on issues of a contentious nature and to do it in a markedly serene, equanimous and dignified manner. For, to Fr. Dominic, it was never: Either this or that… But both this and the other. Further, he could associate himself with and be friendly to anyone, whatever his/her cultural, religious and linguistic background or nationality. He also had that rare ability to nurture individuals, each in his own individuality, and mould them into a community.
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PSYCHO SPIRITUAL WELLBEING SATISHKUMAR THIYAGARAJAN
Everyday, in everyway,
I am getting better and better
He argued that many of us suffer from poor self-image for whatever reasons. This becomes unconsciously reinforced because your willpower, or drive to achieve, is overcome by your imagination. By imagination, he meant one’s habitual self-perceptions. Having realized this, he harnessed the power of thoughts and imagination to instill confidence and positive self-image. He helped people to use it, through his method: self-suggestion or autosuggestion. He believed that any individual, with nearly any problem, could self-induce positive results.
his is one of the popular quotations very difficult to miss it in one’s life time. At one point, this was a key mantra practiced and repeated like any other religious chant by thousands of people, in Europe and US. There are millions of testimonies that vouch for the positive impact of this quote. Infact, it was never a quote. French pharmacist and psychologist Émile Coué (1857-1926) first presented this quote as a technique for personal wellbeing in his most important work Self Mastery through Autosuggestion. Emile Coue: Life and Background Coue attended pharmacy school, and later setup his own pharmacy in his hometown in 1883. Unlike today, back in the late 19th century, a pharmacist was more like a general physician who prescribed medicines to the sick. As both a first-contact prescribing pharmacist and a dispensing chemist, Coue constantly interacted with people who were sick involving consultations, diagnosis, prescription, appraisal of treatment efficacy and deciding next treatment. In his work with the sick, he observed that there was a better result when medication was accompanied by encouragement and positive thoughts. Coue’s Method: How to Apply it in Our Lives Coue essentially proposed a form of waking hypnosis that involved repeating confidence-building mantras in a relaxed or semiconscious state 15-20 times either before going to sleep or as soon as we wake up in the beginning.
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In pursuit of an overarching method, Coué devised his self-affirming mantra: “everyday, in every way, I am getting better and better”. He recommended that we repeat this 20 times every single night, eyes closed, spoken monotonous in a whisper, as one relaxed before drifting off to sleep. More than any time in history, Coue insights and experiences are now being weted by research in placebo effect and positive psychology. Does it work? Try it yourself. Here is an excerpt from Émile Coué’s Self-Mastery through Conscious Autosuggestion (1922) “Every morning before getting up and every evening as soon as you are in bed, shut your eyes, and repeat twenty times in succession, moving your lips (this is indispensible) and counting mechanically on a long string with twenty knots, the following phrase: “Day by day, in every way, I am getting better and better.” Do not think of anything particular, as the words “in every way” apply to everything. Make this autosuggestion with confidence, with faith, with the certainty of obtaining what you want. The greater the conviction, the greater and the more rapid will be the results obtained. Further, every time in the course of the day or night that you feel any distress physical or mental, immediately affirm to yourself that you will not consciously contribute to it, and that you are going to make it disappear; then isolate yourself as much as possible, shut your eyes, and passing your hand over your forehead, if it is something mental, or over the part which is painful, if it is something physical, repeat extremely quickly, moving your lips, the words: “It is going, it is going”, etc., etc., as long as it may be necessary. With a little practice the physical or mental distress will have vanished in 20 to 25 seconds. Begin again whenever it is necessary. Avoid carefully any effort in practising autosuggestion.”
Do you always feel distracted? Try the invisible gorilla experiment!
id you know about “the invisible gorilla experiment”? This psychological experiment designed and demonstrated by Christopher Chabris and Daniel Simons in 1999 won Ig Nobel Prize for Psychology in 2004. They published a book later under the same title in 2010 which expanded on the experiment to caution us about our unwavering certainty on our brain functions like memory, attention, seeing and knowledge. The original experiment is available on YouTube under the same title. The experiment is a short video in which six people - three in white shirts and three in black shirts - pass basketballs around. The psychologists ask volunteers to count the number of passes made by the people in white shirts. In the middle of the video a gorilla strolls into the middle of the action, faces the camera and thumps its chest and leaves, spending nine seconds on screen. But, only 50% of people ‘who watched the video and counted the passes missed the gorilla’ as though the gorilla was invisible. When checked they denied it to the point that the psychologist had to rewind the video to prove that they missed the gorilla. Try the two versions of the experiment available on their website for yourself. What is your experience? Are you part of the 50% who missed things? Jackpot! While we feel we could’ve seen everything, we didn’t. Because we were focused on the task. So, physiologically we are wired to ‘focus’. Focusing is our natural ability. When we pay close attention to one thing, we fail to notice other things. But, that is not our everyday experience. We struggle to focus. We procrastinate. It has become rare and one of the most coveted skills in the world. Psychologists argue that simply it is the differentiating factor between high achievers and low performers. It is quite an obvious fact that the majority are unable to perform complex tasks. Even if we choose to pursue, we give up. We stay content doing simple tasks/shallow work believing that we are not capable of deep work or focus. But the invisible gorilla experiment proves otherwise. Overcoming distractions in the world of digital diversions and hypercommunication (WhatsApp, Insta, FB, & Emails) and cultivating focus, though not easy, is not impossible. Here are January 2022
a few simple tips that can help improve “focus” in our settings: Plan a daily schedule with a long period (minimum 90-120 mts) devoted to deep work/ complex task. Strictly, begin and end the work/study at the same time everyday. Create an internal and external climate that helps you devote yourself to deep work. We can’t do deep work with mobile notifications on. And you can’t focus on a task, sleep deprived, on a hungry stomach, or after a full meal. Make the most of the unproductive time by engaging in productive meditation. When you are going for a walk or commuting instead of getting distracted or skimming through the social media latch onto a complex task/problem and break it down. When we ask ourselves what is holding us back in life, most of us will point to our inability to focus, stay away from distraction, and get the work done. But science says otherwise. We are wired to focus. It is our natural ability. We can train ourselves into it. The Salesian Bulletin
DBGYFF EVENT FR. EARNEST ROSARIO SDB
Don Bosco Global Youth Film Festival
he film” has always been a modern marvel, a magic wand that transports the audience into a different world. The magic and power of lights and shadows is beyond comparison. It has the power to transfix and transform especially the adolescents and the youth. Since its invention in the late 1800s, it has not lost its charm. It has in fact given birth to a whole new of world imagination, and creativity. The words ‘Don Bosco’ and ‘Youth’, are almost synonymous, and Don Bosco is acclaimed as the Patron of Youth. Educating and Empowering young people to be responsible citizens and good human beings have been his sole aim and the nucleus of his mission. He used all creative means to attract the youth around him. Therefore, he left no stone unturned. He became a storyteller, a magician, a juggler, a musician, a writer, a teacher, a sportsman, etc. He was a visionary who saw far ahead into the future. Today the Salesians, who are the followers of Don Bosco are spread in around 135 countries across the globe continuing the mission of the great Saint of the Young. The worldwide Don Bosco network has been organizing film festivals in various countries for the past twenty years on a variety of
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themes to diverse audiences, aimed at encouraging, educating and empowering them towards justice, peace, solidarity and noble living. DBGYFF (Don Bosco Global Youth Film Festival) is the first of its kind, a world-class festival platform offered for young filmmakers to express their talents and contribute to the common good. At the launching event Fr. Ángel Fernández Artime, the Rector Major of the Salesian Order said the following in a video addressed to potential participants. “You, young people, are the architects of the future, signs of hope. And we have great hope in all of you. With you, we want to dream and build a better tomorrow. With your creativity, you can truly help to change the world. I invite you, come and participate in this festival of short films. This is your festival, come and let us move the world with hope.” Conceived in December 2020, at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the first annual Don Bosco Global Film Festival received 1,686 short film submissions on the theme “Moved by Hope.” At the continental level Asia topped the list with 589 entries while India as a country stood first with 287 entries. This festival was open to the age group between 15 - 30. This two-day festival took place in multiple January 2022
locations with forums and meet-ups, featuring new and established voices. The best films, chosen by an international jury, were streamed Nov. 18-19, 2021, both online and at physical gatherings in 135 different countries. Don Bosco stands out as a unique group that celebrates and rewards young people. This has always been the prime concern of Don Bosco and is obviously seen in the numerous initiatives and activities carried out in their favour. The total prize money for all prizes in all categories amounts to a remarkable 100,000 Euro. Due to its great success and massive participation so far, the DBGYFF aims to become an annual event, as a film festival of global relevance and a major media event, attracting more and more participants and viewers in as many venues as possible.
DBGYFFI AWARD WINNERS Live-Action, 1 Minute 1. Epiphany, Gabriel Cerqueira, Brazil 2. Special Glasses, Jose Borregales, Venezuela 3. El Sol, Maria Nazareth Castillo Alfaro, Costa Rica
Live-Action, 10 Minutes 1. Delirious, Jasmina Huynh, Austria 2. Hope and her two daughters, Chloe Potamiti, Japan 3. Self Therapy, Mohammed Zalbak, Belgium
Animation 1 Minute 1. Corazon Azul, Daniel Flamenco, El Salvador
The concluding ceremony for the Festival was held in Turin, Italy on 19th November 2021 with the announcement of winners in the presence of the Superior general of the Salesian Congregation, the Rector Major, Fr Ángel Fernández Artime. The following is the list of award winners of DBGYFF 2021.
2. High Tide, Paula Astorga Benito, Spain
This project was a collaborative effort of hundreds of people across the globe. It was a great team work from the Salesians who encouraged the thousands of young filmmakers around the world, to the members of the jury, to the staff who maintained the web platform, and to the translators who handled the dissemination of the material in five languages. The succes of this mega effort is chiefly due to the blessings and encouragement of the Superior General of the Salesian Congregation, Fr Ángel Fernández Artime, under the care of the General Councillor for Social Communication, Fr Gildasio Mendes, and supported by the Foundation DON BOSCO NEL MONDO, headed by its President, Fr Alberto Rodríguez, was coordinated primarily by the President of the Festival, Fr Harris Pakkam, with first-hand collaboration from Fr Ricardo Campoli, Head of Promotion of the DBGYFF and Fr Maria Lawrence, Technical Head of the DBGYFF.
2. The Fisherman, Francois Balanant, France
3. The Magik Change, Monami Roy, India
Animation 5 Minutes 1. The Night of Men, Raquel Arias, Spain
3. A little more blue, Sugandha Bansal, India
Music Video 5 Minutes 1. Thenupfu Ruli, Albert Seluokuolie Rutsa, India 2. Take it easy, Thamizh Vannan, India 3. Nel Cuore del mondo, Simone Baldi, Italia
Category Awards 1. Narrative Choice - The Priceless Art, Mohamed Asif Hameed, India
5. Original Score – Amma, Rakibul Hasan Reza, Bangladesh 6. Editing - Frame of Mind, Birinchi Kumar Gogoi, India
YOUNG BESTS 1. Young Story Writer - Un Tipo de Magia, Hernán Galardi, Argentina 2. Young Song Writer – Kanavugal Kaanbom, Anto Joe, India 3. Young Male Actor – The Ticket, Andre Tidori, Aleppo, Syria 4. Young Female Actor – The Bearers of Hope, Teresa Maria Dos Santos Da Cruzhernandez, East Timor 5. Young Director Live Action – Texting with your nose, Adam Zheng, U.S.A 6. Young Director Animation – Greedy Shadow, Ji Hae Yoon, South Korea
CONTINENTAL BESTS 1. America North and Central – Los Chicuras, Alejandro Saavedra, Mexico 2. America South Cone – Flying Machine, Juliano Rocha, Gama, Brazil 3. Europe – The Light of Hope, Szymon Gil, Tarnowskie Gory, Poland 4. Africa – Moved by Hope, Gilbert Olanya, Uganda 5. Asia – Education is our Hope, Daniel Jaojian Gangmei, India 6. Oceania, Bart, Angelo Dominic Aguila, Philippines
2. Screen Play – Grains of Sand, Liviu Rotaru, Republic of Moldova
JURY CHOICE AWARDS
3. Cinematography – Behind the gate, Roksolana Khanas, Ukraine
2. Animation, Vice-versa, Kristina Kesler, Ryazan, Russia
4. Sound Design – Moved by Hope, Charity Chariet Pinaloya, Republic of Uganda
1. Live Action – Gama, Bagu Bagu, Republic of India
3. Music Video - Listen, Zinho Fernandes, India
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FAIRY TALE OSCAR WILDE
THE SELFISH GIANT & CHRISTOPHANY
nce there was a beautiful garden, in which the children used to play every day on their way home from school. The Children didn’t think that the beautiful garden belonged to anyone in particular. But one day a huge giant strode in and boomed. ‘what are you all doing here? This is MY garden. Get lost!’ Seven years ago, the giant had gone to visit his friend, the Cornish ogre. Now he was back and he wanted his garden all to himself. Of course, the children ran away at once. But the giant wasn’t satisfied. Straightaway, he put up a high fence all the way around his garden with a notice board outside which read; TRESPASSERS WILL BE PROSECUTED. He really was a very selfish giant.
Retold from the original tale
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Now, the poor children had nowhere to play. But the giant didn’t give any thought to that. He was too busy wondering why the blossom had fallen from the trees, why the flowers had withered, and why all the birds seemed to have flown away. ‘Surely it is meant to be the springtime’, the giant thought as he looked out of the window and saw huge flakes of snow beginning to tumble from the sky. Frost painted the trees silver. A blanket of ice chilled the ground and hardened the plants into stiff, lifeless spikes. Day after day, the north wind roared around the giant’s garden, zooming around his roof and howling down his chimney pots. And the hail came to visit too, battering on the giant’s windows until the giant bellowed with annoyance and clapped his hands over his ears against the noisy rattling. Then, one Saturday, the giant woke up to hear a sound he had almost forgotten – it was a bird, chirruping and cheeping in his garden. A beautiful perfume tickled the giant’s nose… It was the scent of flowers! ‘Spring has come at last’ the giant beamed, and he pulled on his clothes and ran outside into his garden. The giant couldn’t believe what he saw. The snow had melted, the frost and ice were
gone, the sky was blue and the breeze was gentle and warm. And there were children everywhere. They had crept back into his garden through a hole that had worn away in the fence. Now children were sitting in trees heavy with ripe fruit and playing among flowerbeds filled with nodding blossoms. Some were running over emerald green grass scattered with daisies and buttercups. And the sound of their happy laughter filled the air. Only in one corner of the garden was it still winter. A little boy was standing in a patch of snow, looking up at the bare branches of a chestnut tree and crying because he couldn’t reach it. The giant’s heart ached as he watched. ‘Now I know what makes my garden beautiful,’ the giant murmured. ‘It is the children. How selfish I have been!” The giant strode through the garden towards the sobbing little boy. The giant scooped his up gently and set him among the icy January 2022
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the children all day. Only one thing spoiled the giant’s newly –found happiness. He looked all over his garden for the luminous little boy whom he had helped onto the tree, but he was nowhere to be found. The giant loved the little boy the best, because he had kissed him, and he longed more than anything to see his little friend again.
boughs of the chestnut tree. At once, board green leaves appeared all over the branches and down below, the snow vanished and it was spring. The little boy’s mysterious face brightened into a huge luminous smile and he reached his arms up around the giant’s neck and hugged him. ‘It is our garden now, little children,’ laughed the giant, and the children skipped about delightedly. The giant took his axe and knocked down the fence. He had more fun than he ever had in his life playing with 32
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Many years passed by and the children came every day to play in the beautiful garden. The giant became old and creaky and eventually he could no longer run about and let the children climb over him as he had done. The giant now sat in a special armchair so he could watch the children enjoying themselves. ‘My garden is, just like the entire cosmos and the countless stars, so very beautiful,’ he would say, ‘but the children on this earth are the most beautiful beings of all’. Sometimes the giant’s huge grey head would nod forwards and he would begin to snore, and the children would creep away quietly so they didn’t disturb him. And one afternoon, the giant woke from one such little doze to see an astonishing sight. In the farthest corner of his garden was a golden tree he had never seen before. The giant’s heart leaped January 2022
Christophany In Christian tradition, the Five Holy Wounds, also known as the Five Sacred Wounds or the Five Precious Wounds, are the five piercing wounds Jesus Christ suffered during the crucifixion. The wounds have been the focus of particular devotions, especially in the late Middle Ages, and have often been reflected in church music and art.
for joy, for standing underneath it was the luminous little boy he had once happened to meet. The giant heaved himself up from his armchair and shuffled across the grass as fast as his old legs would take him. But when he drew near the little boy, his face grew black as thunder. There were wounds on that little boy’s precious chest, also on both his palms and on his feet, “Who has dared to hurt you?” boomed the giant. “Tell me, and I will go after them with my big axe! “These are precious wounds, the five sacred marks of love”, the little boy smiled. Then he came forward to take the giant’s hand. “Long ago on that day, you let me play in your garden and today, you shall come with me to the garden of mine, which is in Paradise,” the little boy said. And when the children came running to play that afternoon, they found the giant lying dead under the beautiful tree, covered with a blanket of snowy white blossoms. (Courtesy: Terry O’Brien, 50 Greatest Short Stories for Children, Rupa Publications India). January 2022
VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis seems to be fixated on the wounds of Christ. And he has suggested that other Catholics might want to be as well. He has offered meditations on Jesus’ pierced hands, feet and side throughout his pontificate, but since January, his references in impromptu speeches and homilies have been so frequent that it seems to be a major focus of his own prayer life. In his homily at morning Mass March 20, he shared the advice of a spiritual director: “Look. Look at the wounds. Enter in to the wounds. By those wounds we were healed. Do you feel bitter, feel sad, feel life just isn’t going the right way and you’re also ill? Look there. In silence.”
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NEW YEAR MESSAGE FR. JOE ANDREW SDB
he New Year is an opportunity to hope and to start again. We hope for a better future for the peoples of the world, for our brothers and sisters in India and Pakistan, for the people in Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, in Israel/Palestine, the people of Sudan, Ethiopia and of North Korea. We also hope for a better future for our family members, our friends, for our parish community and the places we work. And above all it is a new beginning for me. I should look at every birthday, every New Year as a gift God gives. God gives me 365 days to love, to do good, to learn, to enjoy, to teach, to give and to pray. It is a brand new gift we get every year. We begin with hope and joy. The whole world celebrates the birth of a New Year though we were put to the test by the Corona Virus, by floods and other natural calamities. A small virus brought the whole
world to its knees because we failed to respect and love mother earth. Each of us would have personally suffered the loss of a dear one or a job or something or someone we loved. And yet every New Year is a moment of celebration. A time to hope and dream! The New Year reminds us too that the way ahead is full of uncertainties. This is the reason why we begin the year with prayer and blessing. It is important that we become a blessing for others – to each and every person we meet, starting with our family members, our friends, our colleagues, our church members, and our neighbours. It is a beautiful concept – you are blessed by God and you become God’s blessing to all, his voice of peace to all, show God’s love and care to all the people you will meet in your life. In short become a blessing (and not a curse). God’s heart is seen through your heart. Mother Mary was a blessing wherever she
THIS NEW YEAR BECOME A BLESSING! 34
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Truck.’ He said: “Many people are like garbage trucks. They run around full of garbage, full of frustration, full of anger, and full of disappointment. As their garbage piles up, they need a place to dump it. And if you let them, they’ll dump it on you.” “So when someone wants to dump on you, don’t take it personally. Just smile, wave, wish them well and move on. Believe me. You’ll be happier.” How often do we allow garbage trucks run right over us? And how often do I take their garbage and spread it to other people at work, at home or on the street? It was then that he decided, “I don’t want the garbage and I’m not going to spread it anymore.”
went. She went to her cousin Elizabeth and brought her great joy. She went to the wedding feast of Cana and she brought joy when there was sadness. One good resolution for this year could be to become a source of blessing to all. There is a beautiful incident that gives us a new perspective for this New Year – to become a blessing. Two of them were having a quiet drive in a taxi from the Grand Central Station. The passenger and the taxi driver were chatting and relaxing in the taxi. They were moving quite fast in the right lane when all of a sudden a big lorry jumped out of a parking space right in front of them. The expert taxi driver slammed on his breaks, the car skidded, the tires squealed and at the last moment the car stopped just one inch from the other lorry’s back-end. The driver of the lorry, the guy who almost caused a big accident, whipped his head around and he started swearing at the taxi driver who was on the right. He was using a lot of bad words. The most graceful thing happened the next moment. The taxi driver just smiled and waved at the guy and just said: “Have a nice day my friend!” And he was so friendly. The passenger seated behind could not believe what he was seeing and hearing. One guy makes a mistake and yells at the other who was innocent and smart, and all that the victim does is to smile and say nice words. So he said: “Why did you just do that!? This guy could have killed us!” And this is when the taxi driver told him what we can now call, ‘The Law of the Garbage January 2022
The first important thing to do to become a blessing is to fill ourselves with the blessing of God. We give out what we are filled with. If we are filled with joy, we radiate joy. If we are filled with peace we spread peace. If we are filled with love, we give love. If we are filled with God, we give God. The first step to become a blessing is to fill ourselves with God and his graces. This begins with self-emptying and purification. The more we empty ourselves, the more God fills us with his grace. The first magic word is God. Secondly, be a grateful person. The second magic word to become a blessing is gratitude. The more grateful we are the happier we shall be. Let us be grateful to God and to all those around us. If you want to be happy stop complaining and stop playing the blame game. As St. Paul says: “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). A grateful life is a happy life! Third, be a kind and loving person. Fill yourselves with the love of Christ. Let us fill ourselves with goodness and kindness. The joy within me will make me kinder and gentler and this will spread to others and I will be and become a blessing to others. Let us learn to give without expecting anything in return. The more I give the more I will be blessed. Let our prayer be: “Lord help me to make those around me live a happy and blessed life. Let me be a blessing for the people I will meet in my life!” May this Year 2022 be a year of opportunities, hope, transformation, hard work, achievements and deep peace! May we be a blessing to all! The Salesian Bulletin
POPE'S NEW YEAR MESSAGE - 2022
‘To hurt a woman is to insult god’ "Mary now finds herself in the dark stable of Bethlehem. Yet that is where she gives God to the world. Others, before the scandal of the manger, might feel deeply troubled. She does not..."
''...look at the world not to exploit it but so that it can have life. Women who, seeing with the heart, can combine dreams and aspirations with concrete reality, without drifting into abstraction and sterile pragmatism.''
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''And since mothers bestow life, and women 'keep' the world, let us all make greater efforts to promote mothers and to protect women. How much violence is directed against women! Enough! To hurt a woman is to insult God, who from a woman took on our humanity- not through an angel, not directly, but through a woman "