Periodicals

Growing trends of drug addiction among youth

Growing trends of drug addiction among youth

                                     -Leo Cornelio SVD, Archbishop of Bhopal    

 

Drug addiction has become a grave concern in different sections of the society, particularly among the youth. There is alarming number of people in the world becoming addicted to drug. One of the main factors of concern is that this disease has spread out in schools and colleges.  All the drugs invariably affect both mind and body.

We hear of different drugs available in the market from Heroine to Cocaine. In India, there are also varieties of local made intoxicants available easily in the vicinity of the people. Once a person comes under the influence of these materials, he becomes addicted to it. Consequently he is surrounded by insecurity, fears and anxiety. By applying harmful drugs on his body, he loses command over his mind, body and conscience. That is why people who are addicted to these harmful drugs are feeling like lifeless, if they do not get drug regularly.

The questions arise -why people prone to these harmful drugs? The main factors are: Modern challenges, Mobile, Internet, mental stress, competitions, family stress, social ediction, lack of monitoring etc. Today this evil has taken ghastly shape in the society.

Most countries in the world have stern laws against the drug abuse and on its illegal business. In many countries, there is capital punishment for this offence. Like western countries, India is also affected by this evil. Recently an Indian controversial movie was released, based on illicit drug trafficking in Punjab. This social disease is targeting mostly the young generation and that is a matter of concern. If young generation is becoming forlorn under the clutches of fuddle than how can they lead future productive lives?

The reason for drug abuse and addiction is that, in many societies there is acceptance of such drugs in their customs and traditions. In India there are many forms of local drugs named ‘Ganjha’ ‘Afeem’ etc.. are taking by large number of people in the name of  traditional culture. So, some Culture and tradition in the society, directly promotes such intakes. 

Another reason for drug abuse is that those people who consume such illegal substance because they think themselves inept, incapable or incapacious.  By consuming those items, they think their depression is coming to an end, and they gradually sink in their own frustrations. Also they think, they became stronger in society.  The desire of self gratification and pleasure is the key factor to adopt such things. This self gratification remains for some times, but his whole life falls into the darkness. It not only affects his social and psychological structure, but his family too.

So, once the people falls into this black heaven, it is hard to come out. I too visited many rehabilitation and counselling centres and saw a pathetic condition of many young people. Here main area of focus should be on love and harmony in the family.

This is, really a matter of concern for the whole structure of society, as potation become increasing day by day. This is the need of the hour to defend the today’s generation for better tomorrow. This is the moral responsibility for all to come forward against any evil things. Govt. and society must take more steps to curb the illegal trading of the harmful drugs. Not only India, but almost all the countries are in its grip.

Some of our health institutions are providing counselling, as well as health facilities to drug addicts on different scales. We have also organised different awareness program in the city for school and college students, as they are more vulnerable to any lure. So, this is the responsibility of the society as a whole, to become sensitive, especially, towards the young generation, who need to be away from any type of intoxicating material.

MY CATHEDRAL

My Cathedral

St. Francis of Assisi Cathedral stands tall elegantly dressed in Chrystal white as if a bride adorned with her Jewels in the midst of a dense population of Jehangirabad, Bhopal. The history of this Archaeological magnificent edifice dates back to the end of the 19th century as inscribed on the marble affixed at the entrance of the Church. Recently the Cathedral has under gone drastic changes in its look and colour.

 

Though the lay out remain unchanged, it has been renovated and repaired and is given a face lift. The sparkling dome like roof is the handiwork of the Archaeological department done with utmost care for days together. The work went swiftly with its premises fully fixed with blocks giving it a fine appearance today. The front of the

Cathedral is lit up with its Patron Saint standing atop, below adorns the Holy Family and the great Apostles Peter and Paul on either side.

 

Well, all these would not have been possible if not for the ardent believer in Christ Mrs. Agnes Francis of the Parish who persuaded the Archaeological department time and again to get the renovation and repair work of the roof of this monument be done. Her persuasion gave way to sanctioning of Rs.12 Lakhs and 60 Thousand only towards this work which was successfully completed by the workers of the same department. Hats off to Mrs. Agnes Francis, who channelized this fund for the Cathedral. I am sure great Blessings await her. There is a time for everything and unless the Lord builds, in vain do the builders toil.

 

It is indeed the untiring zeal and effort of Rev. Fr. Michael Sebastian, the Parish Priest who was instrumental in giving a new look to the Church. Along with the roof repairs, his zeal and enthusiasm knew no bounds until he gave a face lift to the Church. In collaboration with the Archbishop of Bhopal Rev. Dr. Leo Cornelio and

the Parishioners, Fr. Michael managed to raise the required funds to give a clean and posh appearance both outside and inside the church with clean walls and pillars and electrification. So too is the case of the Presbytery. Hearty Congratulations to Our Parish Priest Rev. Fr. Michael Sebastian and the Parishioners.

 

How lovely is Your Dwelling Place O Lord”.

 

Sr.Maurice CSJ

Jehangirabad, Bhopal

SCCs EVANGELIZE FAMILIES

SCCs EVANGELIZE FAMILIES

(Excerpts from the annual conference of the National Council For The Small Christian Communities)

Recently the National Council For The Small Christian Communities in India (NCSCCs)CBCI held its annual conference from 17’th Feb to 20’th Feb 2016.A lot of emphasis was laid on the problems and challenges being faced by our families today in keeping up with Christian values and following the teachings of the church vis-à-vis changing concepts of this modern world.

The topics presented were :

1.GODS PLAN FOR MARRIAGE AND FAMILY

2. RELATIONSHIP AND RESPONSIBILITIES IN FAMILIES

3. FAMILY SPIRITUALITY

4. UPBRINGING CHILDREN IN THE CHRISTIAN FAITH

5. PROBLEMS IN MARRIAGE AND FAMILY

6. SCCs EVANGELIZE FAMILIES

Transfers & Appointments

Transfer and Appointments:

Here below is a list of transfers and appointments of the Year 2016-17

 

Fr. Raboni Ashir                   Archbishop’s House, Office Secretary and House In-charge

Fr. John Benito                    Ashta, Parish Priest; and Manager, St. Theresa’s H.S. School

Fr. Vincent Suares              Babai, Stn In-Charge; and Manager St. John’s H. School

Fr. Leo Babu                         Bankhedi, Stn In-charge; and Principal, St. Mary’s H.S. School

Fr. Joseph P.P.                     Berkhera, P.P. St. Joseph’s; and Manager St. Xavier’s H.S. School

 Fr. Ajit Lakra HGN               Barkhera, Asst Parish Priest

Fr. George Stephen             Budgery, Stn In-charge; and Rector, St. Theresa’s Seminary

Fr.Clement R.HGN              Budgery, Vice Rector and Dean of Studies at St. Theresa’s Seminary

Fr. Jomi Panitas                   Fatehpur, Stn In-charge; and Manager Kripa Sagar School & Hostel

Fr. Stanlin Jerry                    Habibganj, Asst at BSSS, Animator ‘Nanhe Prerith’ Sangh

Fr. Davidson V.M.                Harda, Parish Priest; and Manager, St. Mary’s H. S. School

Fr. Thomas Philip                Harda, Principal, St. Mary’s H. S. School

Fr. Lancy Fernandes           Hoshangabad, Parish Priest; and Stn. In-charge Timerni 

Fr. Shijo John                      Hoshangangabad, Asst P. Priest; and Stn In Charge Seoni-Malwa

Fr. Isaac Ekka                       Khirkiya, Stn In-charge; and Manager St. Jude’s H. S. School

Fr. Maria Francis                  Khirkiya, Principal, St. Jude’s H. S. School

Fr. Shellmon Antony           Kolar,Director, Divine Retreat Center

Fr. Alex. Jesudasan            Kolar, Asst Director Divine Retreat Center, ICYM Youth Office of M.P

Fr. Iswhards Minj                 Nadan, Stn. In-Charge

Fr. Abraham V.P.                 Pachmarhi, Parish Priest

Fr. Irudayaraj K                     Pachmarhi, Suvarta Kendra

Fr. Ronald Vaughan           Pipariya, Teaching and Head of a Dept. at St. Joseph’s H.S.School

Fr.  Edward Francis             Sohagpur, Asst. St. Patrick’s Church and School  

Fr. John Thomas                 Studies in the Philippines (Continue in Fatehpur until he is relieved!)

Fr. S. Soosai SVD                Shampur, Stn In-Charge

 

Dn/Fr. Denis Tigga              Pastoral Mission, Jabalpur

Dn/Fr. Paramanand Xalxo  Pastoral Mission, Khandwa

Dn/Fr. Julius Kullu              Pastoral Mission, Khandwa

 

PRIESTLY LIFE....

PRIESTLY LIFE

A LOOK INTO SELF, SPIRITUALITY AND MINISTRY

I would like to share a few thoughts on priestly life – Topic is too vast, hence I shall look at a few aspects of SELF,  SPIRITUALITY AND MINISTRY – in relation to Eucharistic celebration and preaching.

UNDERSTANDING AND ACCEPTING ONESELF:

Most of us run after something or other thing and the people who live with us or are close to us or deal with us, often discover who we are, what we are running after  or look  for in life. We may think that we have worn a secretive veil or a mask over us and tend to think others cannot know who or what we are  or our motives and intentions;  People sense to some extent our inner being,  label us or  judge us may be because it is said, “one cannot not communicate”!! To some extent, we do communicate our inner reality, even when we do not want to communicate it. And most of the time there may be truth in what others say. Of Course, unless we communicate openly, others may not know exactly the inner reality  but they can shoot somewhere close by the target.

What others say matters but it is  more important that I discover what I am deep in the core of my being, what I want and long for and this discovery or awareness will help me to deal with it meaningfully and effectively. Something that I want may be very useful  for self and others; something may need purification and other things may need to be shifted like wheat and the chaff – so some discernment is certainly needed to sort out things and discernment is the work of Spirit  within us.

Something that some of us may experience -  is the desire or longing for higher positions/better positions which one may think brings greater recognition and acceptance–and think that their happiness/contentment/success in life,  rests on such recognition;  therefore there could be an inner urge for the assistant to look for the post of the Parish priest or director of some institute –one may look for well established institutes   - ordinary member in the religious community  may look for becoming a rector/provincial,     -there is always an inner urge in some of us or most of us to be great, big, higher, greater than others.  Such ambitious desire was there in the Apostles too–Mk 9:33-37 “for on the way they had argued with one another who was the greatest..”

Some may think MONEY-POWER brings such recognition or feel powerful within…

Some may think controlling others, suppressing or make others slave for you, brings a great feeling  - higher or more powerful than others…

Such desires/ambitions/tendencies for recognition, positions, for controlling others  -  could be handled through  reflection, prayer or self-emptying spirituality. When we fail to deal with it appropriately, it may result in working towards gaining a position, creating a support group to push us ahead,  project oneself as the person who can save the situation, involve in criticizing persons or system,  such moves can put some obstacles on one’s own or others’ progress!!

But usually, System, situations, persons do not change as we want or manipulate;   neither do we change as others desire or suggest – so it is very important to recognize the inner tensions/struggles/unfulfilled ambitions/ bitterness  etc. We need to deal with it appropriately so that we can be freed from the evil as Fr. R.J.Raja SJ in his article DISCIPLESHIP, in the new leader (March 16-31, 2014) writes:

“A disciple, ‘sanyasi’ is one who endeavours to realize the Brahma in himself/herself through the path of renunciation. He/she is inwardly liberated from the six enemies, namely desire, anger, greed, delusion, jealousy and pride;  he/she is also outwardly liberated and attains exterior alignment and attunement to God by freeing himself/herself from things and person.  Thus the disciple reaches the stage of total surrender of the ego which is the most difficult thing we have to do and surrender of the ego is the only way to life (Bede Griffiths)”

Surrender of the ego – self emptying spirituality and filling our emptying with God is the way to be a successful person and priest.  St. Paul gives us a clue to genuine happiness, contentment or joy-filled-missionary-life when he says in Philippines,  “for I have learned to be content with whatever I have. I know what it is to have little and I know what it is to have plenty…” (Phil 4:11-12) of course St. Paul refers to the gifts Philippians had offered to him.   But we know that for St. Paul material gifts/wealth did not matter but people’s growth in faith in Jesus Christ mattered, he was not worried about earthly positions or his own importance so he delegated responsibility, appointed or ordained local elders/leaders for the community,   he believed in collaborative ministry and team work  and hence he moved on –he trusted others to carry on the mission and we know for Paul above all,  belonging to Christ and experiencing the power of his Resurrection  (Phil 3:10  ) and being identified with him  (Gal 2:20)  brought the greatest happiness, contentment and joy.

So  it is not who we are in the eyes of the world but what we are in Christ Jesus as priests matters and  brings happiness/contentment or joy in our life. All other positions and recognitions and degrees are secondary but  are useful and may help one for greater and effective ministry. But true peace, joy and inner harmony comes in our belonging to Christ.

Now and then we come across persons who handle their human desire well, meaningfully and in a balanced way and  say no to positions   or reluctantly accept elections or nominations   in humility as  God’s will. Some bishop candidates have refused to accept the honour initially but have given in after repeated requests. Henry Neuwen, great teacher, professor, spiritual guide volunteered to live with mentally handicapped persons; he did not look for promotion but for an opportunity for compassionate service. God-filled persons will do this.

We are grateful to God that we are men  with  mighty energy, talents, creativity,  power, strong emotions, desires, ambitions, great plans for ourselves, some have money-power too,  but we shall not forget that we have the gift of the  Spirit, the outpouring of the Spirit,  the anointing of the Spirit  to balance all this and put on genuine humility and practice self-emptying in our life and die to our inordinate ego issues for the sake of the Mission entrusted to us.

As religious we are committed to our Congregation and Charism and as diocesan priests – incardinated into the diocese, inserted into the local church with a spousal relationship, with a life-long commitment the mission must be upper most in every one’s mind – that is the call to priesthood: to build up the body of Christ and to Proclaim his kingdom.

In the long process of growth as a human person and priest we need to realize that the greatest gift  in our life is our call to priesthood  - most precious and sacred gift  -  our priesthood, specially ministerial priesthood – we could desire nothing more than this. No one forced it on us  – we accepted it willingly and earnestly. Hope in our struggles, like Jeremiah,  we will not say to the Lord, “you seduced me”!!!

When we realize the great value of our priesthood and live this God given gift to a great extent we shall find a unique balance, contentment and happiness or rather deep  joy in the Spirit, throughout our life.

Who am I then as a priest?

Vat. II has a DECREE ON THE MINISTRY AND LIFE OF PRIESTS  (PRESBYTERORUM ORDINIS, issued on Dec 7th  1965  no.2   and no 12 – a summary:

·         we as priests are configured with Christ

·         we are consecrated to God in a new way in the ordination

·         we are the living instruments of Christ

·         we assume the person of Christ

·         we act in the person of Christ

·         We are obliged even in the midst of human weakness to seek perfection

We are so bound with Christ that we are made one with him and therefore, what St. Paul says, “it is not I but Christ who lives in me”      -  we all will be able to say, it is not I but Christ who lives in me, acts in me, reaches out to others in me……

Therefore, we need to examine ourselves, and  see whether  as priests  we are fully, consciously living our Call to assume the person of Christ, to act in his person and allow ourselves to be formed into the living image of Christ. We need to reflect whether we are allowing ourselves to be configured with Christ and  to be identified with him as “second Christ”  or whether we wear a mask  of a holy-man  and remove it whenever we want to deviate from right path! It is within our choice to be like Christ  as the book of Sirach says  “If you choose, you can keep the commandments, and to act faithfully is a matter of your own choice” (Sir 15:15).

When we are not in Christ and not truly acting in the name of Christ, the mass, the celebration of the other sacraments, the preaching  and many other  pastoral activities may turn out to be mere  duties  or rituals to be fulfilled as there is no other choice.

We are aware that we need some preparation to celebrate the sacraments.  We cannot jump from the bed to the Altar. Without decent personal preparation we cannot get involved and celebrate the sacred mysteries at the Altar -  of course we can act ritually!!

We are also aware that  our behaviour often may not  represent Christ and his compassion. When we ACT RITUALLY ONLY, we may hurt the faithful. f.e. completing Easter house blessing while the dead body was kept in the house and people were mourning.

Now by sharing in the common priesthood, we are called to be holy and by sharing in the ministerial priesthood, a greater obligation and responsibility is placed on us to strive steadily and intensely to be holy and truly act in the person of Christ.

The Document  PASTORES DABO VOBIS (I give you Shepherds)   issued by Pope John Paul II after the Synod of Bishops in 1990

Emphasizes  on the pastoral charity of Christ as the essential core of the spirituality of the ministerial priest.

No.23 says, The internal principle, the force which animates and guides the spiritual  life of the priests inasmuch as he is configured to Christ the head and shepherd, is pastoral charity,  as a participation in Jesus Christ’s own pastoral charity, a gift freely bestowed by the Holy Spirit and likewise a task and a call which demand a free and committed response on the part of the priest.

The essential content of the this pastoral charity is the gift of self,  the total gift of self to the church,  following the example of Christ.

Pastoral charity is the virtue by which we imitate Christ in his self-giving, which manifests Christ’s love for his flock. Pastoral charity determines our way of thinking and acting, our way of relating to people. It makes special demand on us……the priest who welcomes the call to ministry,  is in a position to make this a loving choice, as a result of which  the church and souls become his first interest and with this  concrete spirituality he becomes capable of loving the universal church and that part of it entrusted to him with the deep love of a husband for his wife.’

In other words our spirituality is not just chapel centered or prayer – centered but it is the way we live – the way we relate to our superiors - to other priests –to people, parishioners, and   the way we relate and minister to people  as priests matters. Our every aspect of being and doing is related to spirituality.

Fr. John Ponnore in his book  THE SPIRITUALITY OF THE DIOCESAN PRIEST  writes

“The spirituality of the diocesan priest is, then, characterized by his active sharing through his attitudes, life and ministry in the ecclesial , evangelical, pastoral and spiritual concerns of the particular church. It is such profound sharing in the life of the particular church in its concrete socio-historical context that renders the existence of the diocesan priest meaningful and nurtures growth in spiritual life..” p.240

PDV   no.24   says  “an intimate bond exists between the priest’s spiritual life and the exercise of his ministry…..”

It is noteworthy that Canon 276 # 2 gives priority to the pastoral ministry  among the means for the sanctification of the diocesan priest.

276.2 reads, “in order that they can pursue this perfection:

276.2.1   “they are in the first place faithfully and untiringly to fulfill the obligations of their  pastoral ministry”

For the religious priest and brothers –the way to holiness is his place of ministry. Some one had shared that he had gone to see an SDB priest who was found not in the chapel or in his study but  with the youngsters in the games field and he seem to have said, “this is my chapel –this is where I meet the Lord”

Former SVD Superior General, Fr. Antonio Pernia, in an article in Verbum many years back wrote:  “ I think a genuinely missionary spirituality is one which is nourished by one’s mission work itself. It is a spirituality where spiritual nourishment is  taken in the mission field itself…there where we spend most of our time and energy”

It is in the mission, in the parish or school or social work centre -  I am the Clay and the Lord is the potter,;  it is there the Lord is shaping me,   transforming me and  making me to be re-born into a new being; it is there he is pruning me to bear more fruit, helping me  through his  Spirit to pass over from self to others – as KPT brothers said “surrender me to we” and it is in this very living, ministering, and being ministered, I grow in my  spirituality –of course besides ministry there are many other prescribed means for spiritual growth for  priests, daily mental prayer, Rosary, celibate living, obedience, simplicity of life (poverty)  and specially PRAYER OF THE CHURCH. (can 276. 2.2-5 then speak of the normal means of growing in holiness: Eucharist, word of God, liturgy of the hours, retreats, mental prayer, sacrament of penance etc.)

Celebration of the Eucharist:

Garrigou-Lagrange OP speaks of different ways of celebrating Mass:

(1)   Sacrilegious Mass – a priest in heinous mortal sin

(2) Mass which is said hurriedly

(3)Mass which is outwardly correct but lacks the spirit of faith –mere ecclesiastical officer –devoid of any spirit of worship.

(4)Mass which is faithfully and worthily celebrated is a Mass offered in the spirit of faith

(5) Mass of the saints –many of the faithful who witnessed St. Francis de Sales celebrating Mass held him in the highest veneration.

One of the greatest means for holiness is the Eucharist – Eucharist is the greatest prayer.  Fr. Joseph Mele in his book  THE SACRED CONVERSATION, writes, “the most fundamental teaching the Church holds about the Mass is this:

The Mass is not a thing of our own making. It is God’s gift to us. It is where believers gather to worship God. But, even more fundamentally, it is Christ’s prayer for his Bride, his Body. Those prayers are prayed in persona Christi by the priest, but the words he prays are God’s,  given to the Church through the workings of the Holy Spirit. As such, liturgy is never ours to do with as we will. It is God’s and we have a sacred obligation to do within it only what he wills.”

So we are obliged to celebrate Mass properly and worthily –it is prayer of Christ – we prayer in persona Christi – we are privileged to  celebrate it.

In the Eucharist, earth and heaven meet as Fr. Joseph Mele writes, “In the liturgy, we look forward to eternity, to a time when we will worship God with the saints and angels, face to face. But the Mass is a participation in, as well as an anticipation of, the heavenly liturgy. When the faithful gather to worship, the veil between heaven and earth is, so to speak, drawn back. The heavens are opened, and the eternal enters into the temporal.” (p.55)

Further the importance  of entering into the liturgy of the  Eucharist is emphasized in CCC 1364 (it refers to LG no.3)  “When the Church celebrates the Eucharist, she commemorates Christ’s Passover, and it made present. The Sacrifice Christ offered once for all on the Cross remains ever present (cf. Heb 7:25-27). ‘as often as the sacrifice of the Cross by which Christ our Pasch has been sacrificed, is celebrated on the altar, the work of our redemption is carried out”.

This is what happens to the priest and the community gathered at the Mass OUR WORK OF REDEMPTION IS CARRIED OUT – a great grace is poured on us for transformation, union with Christ and communion among ourselves –Christ self-gift now can continue in our self-gift to others. The Mass does not end at the altar – its celebration continues in my giving of myself to the others in service.

My priesthood is a gift and a task and I need to give my whole self to the Church and to the ministry.

 

Husband and wife have deep, covenantal bond between them. After joining the marriage encounter  I understood their covenantal bond better and it  gave me the deep sense of my relationship with the church. It increased my dedication and commitment to the people.   It is not only Bishops who have to be faithful to the spousal relationship to the church – all of us priests have to be faithful to the church and the diocesan priests have   to be faithful to the Local Church for life time.

 

In this context of self-gift,  the Eucharistic celebration could not just be a ritual but an event in which priest gets involved in deeper communion with Christ and deeply united in Christ’s Sacrifice and willing to be spent for others.

 

Vidyajyoti, Vol. 73, Feb 2009 Fr. Thomas Punnapadam SDB in his article  A LETTER FROM THE ALTAR,   says,  “I am graced with the most precious privilege a human could be bestowed on – the grace to re-enact one of the greatest events of human history, the institution of the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. …I realize that I am not simply privileged to say the very words Jesus said, but challenged to say them as he did and feel what he felt on the eve of his sacred passion…how I wish I could be more authentically another Christ by internalizing the attitudes and feelings of Jesus!”

 

He Further says in preparation for the Mass and praying for those who come to attend the Mass, “ long before we  become physically present to each other in the church, you are all most intimately present to me in my prayer and thoughts as I prepare for the Eucharist.”

 

He has certainly experienced the power of the Eucharist in his life and the power of communion with the people through the Eucharist. I have thought of praying for people before giving a retreat but not thought of praying for people before celebrating a Mass.   Fr. Thomas P. SDB is sharing a great experience.

 

 

question for reflection:

Do I truly celebrate Eucharist worthily and meaningfully?

Am I affected by Christ’s continual self-gift at the Altar and  do I find energy and strength  to live the spousal-bond with the local Church entrusted to my care?

 

Concerning HOMILY

 

Proclamation of the Word or homily could be the most neglected ministry for some priests.

The Church gives attention to the proclamation of the Word of God.  The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy (Sacrosanctum Concilium), speaks of the two parts that make up the Mass: Liturgy of the Word and Eucharistic Liturgy. They are so closely connected that they become a single act of worship. (SC no.56).

Liturgy and preaching are closely related. Preaching proclaims the same mystery of salvation which the liturgy realizes. The Liturgy cannot exist without preaching because it cannot be without the faith which comes from preaching (Rom 10:17).”  the homily encourages the faithful to live the Eucharist in day to day life.

Can. 762 says “the people of God are first united through the word of the living God,  and are fully entitled to seek this word from their priests. For this reason  the sacred ministers are to consider the office of preaching as of great importance, since proclaiming the Gospel of God to all is among their principal duties.

For us therefore, preaching is not a choice but an obligation laid on us at Diaconate ordination >   to proclaim  Christ’s message to others;

In preparation for preaching, we are encouraged

·         To take sufficient time, much before Sunday homily, for  Lectio Divina  - reading – meditation – praying over the Word of God

·         Study of the Scripture text by reading exegetical commentaries to know what  message the Spirit intended when it was written and message for today

·         Most authors  of homiletic say, it is God who speaks  through the preacher – one author said, “It is not I but Christ who speaks in me”

·         Some authors encourage scribbling of a sermon – one said, “waste basket should be the best friend of a preacher” – write – re-write and give a definite shape to the homily

·         One of the protestant author says, for every minute one spends in the pulpit one needs to spend one hour in preparation.

·         Pope Francis, in Evangelii Gaudium, encourages sufficient preparation, prayer, study before one deliver’s the homily

·         One needs to preach God’s message, one needs to preach what people need to hear and there will be many in church who believe Church has an answer for their struggle and questions

  • Vidyajyoti, Vol. 73, Feb 2009 Fr. Thomas Punnapadam SDB in his article  A LETTER FROM THE ALTAR  writes about his way of preparing for the homily:  “so over the years I have learned to spend less time preparing my discourse and  far more time praying over what I want to say and praying for the listeners no less than for the speaker. My prayer is not that I may perform well or impress you for the moment, but that I may remove all conscious and unconscious obstacles in me to the Spirit of the Father speaking through me.” P.109
  • Garrigou-Lagrange OP says something more on this issue: “Therefore the preacher of the faith should follow in the footsteps of Christ as closely as possible, so that he  may be able, with the aid of divine grace, to enlighten,  attract and move effectively the souls of men. He must ask for this help at all times – before he preaches, while he preaches and after his preaching. If he continues to pray, his preaching will become a channel of living water flowing down from its divine Source. “

 

Therefore there is no excuse for a poor homily or excuse for uninspiring, routine talk without applying the Word of  God to the daily lives of people. Fr. Joseph Mele in his book THE SACRED CONVERSATION  says  one of the reasons why people leave the Church in USA is uninspiring homilies for a long  period of time.

Therefore, as we understand the importance of celebrating the Eucharist in a worthy manner and in a holy way – so also preaching of the Word of God is equally important. So let us be committed to READING, REFLECTING, PRAYING AND INTERPRETING THE WORD OF GOD FOR PEOPLE – AND BECOME POWERFUL INSTRUMENTS IN GOD’S HAND FOR CONTINUED REDEMPTION > TRANSFORMATION AND CHANGE IN THE LOCAL CHURCH.

Let us today, thank and praise the Lord for the gift of our priesthood and for the Call to  work in this Diocese – let us renew our priestly commitment; let us re-promise our obedience –rather the obligation to show reverence and obedience to the Supreme Pontiff and to the Local Ordinary – the Archbishop (Can 273) and being renewed in the Spirit, let us give our best to build up the Body of Christ, the Church. And remind ourselves that our Ordination brought into our life grace with its “ power for unlimited good”  (G-Lagrange)  Let me now conclude with the words of St. Paul to Timothy  1>Tim 4:14-16

 

“do not neglect  the gift that is in you

which was given to you

through prophecy with the laying on of hands

by the council of elders.

Put these things into practice, devote yourself to them,

So that all may see your progress.

Pay close attention to yourself

And to your teaching, continue in these things

For in doing this you will save both yourself and your hearers.”

 

 

 

Capuchin Presence in Nehru Nagar

Capuchin Presence in Nehru Nagar

 

The Capuchin Fathers arrived in Bhopal on 6th October 1987 and stayed at Seva Sadan. Fr. Bertrand D’Cunha and Br. Silverius Moras were the first one to arrive. Fr. Canute D’Costa joined them on 20.11.1987. One of the senior fathers who worked in Bhopal and who was closely associated with the Capuchins recalled saying that fr. Bertrand and companions had a beautiful dream and a plan for Seva Sadan, but it was short lived. Archbishop Eugene told the fathers in his letter dated 25th November 1988 that St. Theresa’s Seminary will be shifted from Ashta to Seva Sadan premises and appointed fr. Samuel Kavil as the Parish Priest in place of Fr. Bertrand D’Cunha. The fathers then were asked to vacate the place immediately and till they find a new place they were made to stay in the Seva Sadan garage where partition of curtains was made.

 

In the meeting held at Catholic Church Itarsi on 20th December 1988 it was decided to move out to Nehru Nagar and to have two small LIC quarters on rent to continue our apostolate. The Archbishop Eugene in his letter dated 22nd December 1988 gave his sanction and blessings for taking up residence in the Kotra-Sultanabad Sector in the city of Bhopal sometimes in the month of January 1989. He also gave his permission and blessing in the same letter to continue their efforts for the establishment of a school in that area and accordingly they moved to Nehru Nagar area and rented a house D-478 in Nehru Nagar, on 8.1.1989 in which they remained till 8.5.1990.

 

Archbishop Eugene in his letter dated 14th January 1989 gave the permission to reserve the Blessed Sacrament in the house and gave his sanction to use the house as a Mass Centre. In their letter dated 18th February 1989 Frs. Samuel Kavil, Joseph Thannipilly and Mathew V.C. suggested on the proposal of Fr. Bertrand to divide the parish from M.A.C.T. Road via Matha Mandir junction and Main Road No. 2, that Sanjay Complex and its extension could be attached to Seva Sadan Parish as it was very close to Seva Sadan.

 

Archbishop in his letter dated 28th March 1989 suggested these areas as coming under Nehru Nagar Parish.  They are: Nehru Nagar, Kotra Sultanabad, M.A.C.T., Geetanjali Complex, Aradhana Nagar, P&T Colony, Income Tax Colony, Police Quarters, Badhbadha, Government Quarters and Saraswatin Nagar in lieu of Sanjay Complex. Kamla Nagar and A.G. Colony.  Archbishop also reiterated and said the main purpose for wanting the Capuchin in Bhopal was for a school purpose. The Pro-Chancellor Fr. Francis Scaria in his letter dated 20th August 1990 communicated the fathers that the Archbishop is pleased to name the parish as St. John Mary Vianney Parish.

 

From the beginning of our journey to Nehru Nagar, the SVD fathers from the KPRP assisted us in building up of the faith of our people.  The Capuchin Order acknowledges the services and support rendered by SVD fathers and brothers and thanks the Lord for their contribution in building up of this parish. Dear fathers we are grateful to you. Till today the brothers and fathers continue to come to this parish and extend their helping hand in building of the faith of this parish community.

 

Then the fathers moved to D-490 Jr. MIG., on 8.5.1990 and remained there till 1.8.1991. Next they moved to D-518 on 1.8.1991 and remained there till 28.11.1991. From here they moved to C-107 MIG on 28.11.1991 and remained there till 13.6.1996. Mean time Fr. Tarcy Mathias came to Bhopal from Itarsi on 15.6.1992 and rendered his service as Personal Secretary to Archbishop Rt. Rev. Dr. Eugene D’Souza MSFS till 31.10.1994. As the place was not sufficient they rented another house in D-601 Jr. MIG to accommodate Fr. Tarcy Mathias where they moved on 31.10.1994 and remained there till 15.6.1996. Then they moved to C-108 MIG from 15.6.1996 to 7.9.1997 and also to C.96 from 13.6.1996 to 29.12.1996

 

Fr. Maxim Pinto came on 1.6.1994 and stayed till 9.8.1995. Br. Isaac Baptist came on 9.12.1995 as a Deacon and remained till 27.4.1996. They he came back as the Parish Priest on 15.6.1996 and moved out on 27.11.1996. Fr. Paul Pinto came on 20.10.1996 as Parish Priest and was transferred to Itarsi on 20.2.1999. Fr. Isaac Baptist Rodrigues again came to D-47 as Parish Priest on 16.2.1999 and then transferred to Itarsi on 5.6.2004. Fr. Alvito Cardoza arrived at St. John Mary Vianney Church, Nehru Nagar. Meantime Archbishop Pascal Topno S.J., in his letter dated 18th March 1999 asked Fr. Vincent G. Furtado the then Provincial Minister to permit Fr. Alvita to teach at times in the minor seminary and to be the assistant director of youth in the Archdiocese of Bhopal.

 

Br. Sebastian D came as a Regent on 26.6.1999 and returned on 5.5.2001. Br. Salvador came as a regent on 29.6.2000 and returned on 30.4.2001. Br. Maxim D’Souza came as a Deacon on 29.12.2002 and was ordained priest on 2.5.2003. After his ordination he came back to the parish as an assisting priest on 29.5.2003 and moved to Japan on 1.7.2004 to work in the Japan Missions.

 

After the 2004 Provincial Chapter, the Maharashtra Vice Province was asked to take care of the Bhopal Mission. Fr. Luis Pen came as a Parish Priest on 5.6.2004 and remained till 20.8.2008. He had to go back because of Cancer and he passed away on 7.10.2004 in Mumbai. Br. Wilson Rumao came on 13.11.2004 as Parish Priest and was transferred on 10.5.2005. Fr. Evarist Ferrira arrived on 1.6.2005 as parish priest and was transferred on 30.5.2007. Fr. Philip Gonsalves came as a member of Vianney Sadan on 13.9.2005 and was transferred on 30.5.2006. Fr. Kenneth D’Souza came as Parish Priest on 1.6.2007 and was transferred on 29.6.2008.

 

Fr. Marian Miranda came as a Parish Priest along with Br. Darick Romathen D’Souza the regent on 22.8.2008. Br. Ivan Gregory Dias came as a regent on 29.6.2009 and returned on 4.5.2010. Br. Preetham Mendonca came as a regent on 19.6.2010 and returned on 6.5.2011. Fr. Santosh Menezes came as a member to Vianney Sadan on 28.2.2011 and moved out of the Bhopal Missions on 26.12.2011. Br. Wilson Vijay Sequeira came as a regent on 16.6.2011 and returned on 5.5.2012. Br. Joy Mathias came as a Deacon on 16.12.2011 and returned on 2.4.2012. After his ordination he came as a member on 19.6.2012 and was transferred to Itarsi on 27.5.2013. Fr. Isaac Baptist once again came as member on 30.6.2013 and was transferred to Nagaland and he moved to Nagaland Mission on 2.1.2014.

 

And on 2nd March 2014 we celebrated the Silver Jubilee of the Parish and gave thanks to God for all the blessings that He showered upon us.

                                                                                                     Fr. Marian Miranda OFM Cap

THE TRIPLE FILTER TEST

THE TRIPLE FILTER TEST

 In the ancient Greece, Socrates the great philosopher was reputed to hold in high esteem. He suggests triple filter system for a renewed and happy life.

 

One day an acquaintance met the Great Philosopher and said, “Do you know what I just heard about your friend?” “Hold a minute”, Socrates replied.  “Before you talk to me about my friend, it might be good idea to take a moment and filter what you are going to say.  That’s why I call it the triple filter test.  The first filter is Truth.  Have you made absolutely sure that what you are about to tell me is true?”

“Well, no”, the man said, “Actually I just heard about it and …..”  “All right”, said Socrates. “So you don’t really know if it is true or not”. “Now let’s try the second filter, the filter of goodness. Is what you are about to tell me about my friend, something good?”

 

“Um, no, on the contrary…….”  “So”, Socrates continued, “You want to tell me some thing bad about my friend, but you are not certain it’s true.  You may still pass the test though, because there’s one filter left – the filter of usefulness.  Is what you want to tell me about my friend going to be useful to me?”. “ No, not  really”.  “Well”, concluded Socrates, “If what you want to tell me neither true, nor good, nor even useful, why tell it to me at all?”

 

St. Paul the greatest philosopher speaks of the triple filter in his letter to Ephesians chapter 4: verses 25 and 29. Let us go deep into the teachings of Jesus, St .Paul and Socrates to find the similes in them.

Well, the first filter Socrates put forward is from the letter of St.Paul saying, “No more lying, then! Everyone must tell the truth to his fellow believer because we are all members together in the body of Christ (Eph.4: 25) Jesus said, “I am the truth”. When we speak truth we become one with Christ and are credible witnesses of Christ. Prophet Zachariah says, “Speak the truth to one another, do not devise evil in your hearts against one another, these things I hate, says the Lord” (Zech.8:16).  In the first Filter Socrates put forward his acquaintance this question, “Have you made absolutely sure that what you are about to tell me is true?” It is good to pause for a while and ask ourselves before we talk about anything or about any one. Every one who speaks truth comes from God, because God himself is truth. Let us pledge today to be the children of God, thus become children of truth.

 

Let us move on to the 2nd filter.

 

According to Socrates the second filter is the filter of goodness. Socrates asked the man, “Is what you are about to tell me about my friend something good?” St. Paul speaks parallel to this saying, “what you say would do good to those who hear you.” (Eph.4: 25) According to St. Paul and Socrates we are to talk only those things, which would impart grace to enemies and do good to them. At this juncture Jesus says, “Love your enemies, and do good and you will then have a great reward and you will be sons and daughters of the most High God” (Luke 6:35). By the virtue of speaking and doing good we become the children of the most High God. Let us live our lives to the full and be the children of the Most High God

 

Let us observe the third and the last filter – the filter of usefulness.  Socrates questioned the man, “Is what you want to tell me about my friend going to be useful to me?” He did not want us to get involved in useless and idle talk which leads to destruction and broken relationship. Let’s glance at St. Paul’s exhortation on the third filter as he speaks; “Do not use harmful words in talking but only helpful words, the kind that build up and provide what is useful and needed”.(Eph.4:29). Let us listen to Jesus’ comment on this filter, “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you”. (Luke 6:27 – 28).

 

A sincere introspection would enable us to pause for a while before we speak of someone or something.   With St. Paul we admit our failure to do the good we desire, but do the evil we dislike. Let us pledge today to speak the truth that we may become God’s own, to speak and do good in order to become sons and daughters of the most High, and speak what is useful for the other so that we inherit a blessing for us.

Let us modify our lives – our thinking speaking and doing on the moral and basis of these three fold filters.

 

 SR. MERCY POTTOKARAN OSB

ASHIRBHAWAN

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FAITH SAVES,HEALS AND FORGIVES !

 

Faith is the first and most important virtue among the three theological virtues. Generally the word faith does not stand alone, it is attached someone or something - either to God, to others or to self – faith in God, in man and in self. The success of our life on earth depends on our faith in God, in the other and in self. The literal meaning of the word faith is unquestioning confidence or belief in divine truth without proof.

     Faith is inherited from the parents though it is a gift from God received at our Baptism. One needs to live his faith day by day and get rooted in faith.

              We know that our Father Abraham believed God, and because of his faith God accepted him as righteous. Those who believe are the descendents of Abraham. The one who is righteous will live by faith and so God would justify even the gentiles by their faith. In Christ Jesus we are all children of God through faith.(Gal.3:6….)

In the Gospel a gentile woman’s daughter was healed because of her faith in Jesus as she said, “Sir, even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.” Jesus rewarded her faith saying, “Woman great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish”. Mt. 15:28.  As he healed two blind men Jesus asked, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” Then he said “According to your faith let it be done to you”. Mt. 9.29

    

In order to teach practical lessons on faith to the apostles, Jesus allowed a fig tree to be withered to its roots.  It shows that the lessons on faith are so important for Jesus.  Jesus demands faith as unquestioning confidence, in order to move the mountain. Further Jesus said, “Whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it and it will be yours”.

    

Prayer is a personal experience with God in faith. Prayer experience further deepens our faith; and faith in turn brings us to deepen prayer experience. Prayer based on deep faith change one’s life for the better. Prayer and faith go hand in hand and draw us closer to God. Sometimes God takes us to the deep waters not to drawn, but to cleanse us. For those who put their faith in God, it would turn to be a cleansing effect.

     From the days of juniorate whenever I went for home holidays I used to go with my sister for charismatic retreat. In every retreat I heard the priest announcing about the gift of forgiveness by which many were blessed. I used to think what might be the meaning of ‘gift of forgiveness’, until I came across in my personal life, persons and incidents of hatred and unforgiveness. One day as I was pouring out my hurt feelings to a sister she challenged me to prove my credibility. It took few days to convince myself, but then I decided to prove myself. I knelt before the Blessed Sacrament, stretched out my hands and with tears prayed for the gift of forgiveness. As a result I was cooled down within a week, I was relaxed within a month and within a year I mastered the art of forgiveness. There was a time I didn’t want to think of those persons whom I had failed to forgive, but things changed when my prayer was prompted by faith.

              This experience brought me ever closer to God, faith in God and faith in prayer.  Things took a U turn when I put my faith in the power of the Blessed Sacrament – the God of my life. As a result God gifted me not only forgives but peace healing serenity, fearlessness, prosperity blessings and happy life.

             

Faith heals, faith saves and faith forgives. For those who expressed extra ordinary faith Jesus rewarded them saying, “Your faith has saved you , your faith has made your well and your sins are forgiven”. It is true that every miracle takes place in prayer or retreat is because of the faith of the believer. Faith has the quality of magic; it is faith-magic that takes place in the life of a believer.  Faith is like an ocean it has no boundaries, it is abstract in nature and infinite; and by faith we are saved, we are healed and we are forgiven.

              As we are about to say goodbye to the year of faith let us profess our unquestioning confidence or belief in the divine truth with the most important symbol of the faith the ‘Apostle’s Creed’- I believe in God the Father Almighty creator of heaven and earth”.

 

 

SR. MERCY POTTOKARAN OSB

ASHIR  BHAVAN

 

My Faith Experience


I was going through the Cir, 4 <43> Dt. June 29 2013, When I came to ‘Transfers and Appointments’ I was looking out for my name but at the end was the name of Fr. Alexander Jesudasan- Incharge Navdeep Communications and Bhopal Link. After two days as I was entering the dining hall, I saw Fr Alexander sipping a cup of Tea in Archbishop’s house. I congratulated him, but immediately he responded “Fr Lulu, You are the senior most Priests among our Archdiocesan Priests. Since it is the year of Faith and Golden Jubilee year of you and our archdiocese.. Can you write an article on the theme: My Faith Experience.”  

This assurance was very encouraging to me. Someone else was very much aware of my Senior Citizenship was none other than our dear Archbishop Most Rev Dr Leo Cornelio SVD, right from the time he was installed as Archbishop of Bhopal and started staying in the Old Archbishop’s House, he would introduce me to the new comers with my name and immediately add that I am the most senior among our Archdiocesan priests.

Now I come to MY- FAITH EXPERIENCE, for the almost 32 years I worked for the Archdiocese.

I was travelling by KK Express from Bangalore to come Bhopal for the first time. I knew where I was going, but I had never stayed in Bhopal. The train was little late. Then Procurator enquired and was told that the train was late. He came to the station late. The train had already left. I was waiting for him outside in the fourth platform. I felt like Abraham, the father of Faith in the book of Genesis. God asked Abraham to offer his only son. Abraham left early in the morning not known exactly where he was going. His faith/trust in God was firm.

After waiting at the Station I hired a taxi to the Archbishop’s House. Neither I nor the taxi driver would know where to go. My faith in God my father was great. I knew that He would take to the right place, to the Archbishop’s house. After one night at the Archbishop’s House I was transported by Jeep to Itarsi. I was asked to take the Passenger train to Sohagpur. Sitting in the train alone I did not know where was Sohagpur. Again I had trust in God that I would reach the right destination.

From Sohagpur I was appointed the Parish priest of the Cathedral, with minimum knowledge of Hindi. After one year I was asked to be the Procurator. I knew nothing about account. At the same time I was appointed the DDSW (Diocesan Director of Social Works). I had no knowledge of social works. Appointing me to all these posts, Archbishop Eugene assured me that I would manage. I did manage, how? Others must say and not I .

I have always been obedient to my Superiors, I believe (have faith/trust) that the Superiors are in the place of God. We have not seen, although be believe in God. And God has blessed me for this my belief.

Pope Francis in his homily on XI Sunday; on Evangelium vilae said: I would like to offer you three simple points of meditation for our FAITH: first the BIBLE reveals to us the living God, the God who is life and source of life; second Jesus Christ bestows life and the Holy Spirit mountains us in life, and third, following God’s way leads to life, whereas following idols leads to death.

FR. LULU MENZES

 

 

 

The Disciple Who loves & the Disciple Who is loved!

The Disciple who loves and the Disciple who is loved!

 

In a true disciple of Christ, the disciple whom Jesus loves and the disciple who loves Jesus meet.  The Johannine Gospel presents John as the disciple whom Jesus loves.  John 13:23 tells us that the disciple whom Jesus loved was reclining near Jesus.  He had the liberty to talk to Jesus and clarify doubts even on behalf of other disciples (cf. Jn 13:23-26).  On the other hand Peter seems to be the disciple who loves Jesus.  In Peter we see the human struggle of a disciple who tries to love Jesus.  His spirit is willing but the body is weak (cf. Mt 26:41).  He is not able to stand up to his pledge to love Jesus at the last supper (cf. Jn 13:36-38).  Peter’s denial brings us to confront this fact.

The way of the cross was a test for the disciples of Jesus.  One by one, they deserted Jesus.  It is significant that in Jn 18:15 we read, “Simon Peter with another disciple followed Jesus”.  A careful reader of the Gospel of St. John will know that “another disciple” is St. John who will appear at the foot of the Cross.  We are told that this disciple who was with Peter “was known to the High Priest, they let him enter the courtyard of the High Priest along with Jesus”(Jn 18:15).  “But Peter had to stay outside the door”(Jn 18:16).  The other disciple then “spoke to the maidservant at the gate and brought Peter in”(Jn 18:16).  It is at this point probably that Peter too leaves Jesus after the triple denial leaving John alone to follow Jesus to the foot of the cross (cf. Jn 18:16-27).  One notices that Judas was the first to desert Jesus and the only one who made it to the foot of the cross was John.  He too did not make it by his power and ability but was drawn by Jesus’ love, for he was the disciple Jesus loved.

The contrast between the divine love that is perfect and the human love that is imperfect becomes so vivid here.  The divine love is perfect with all the qualities mentioned in 1 Cor 13.  Peter shows the limited height the human love can touch.  The Risen Lord gives Peter an opportunity to affirm his imperfect love and crowns it in his final encounter with him at the lake of Tiberias (cf. Jn 21).

In every disciple of Christ we meet the disciple Jesus loves and the disciple who loves Jesus.  It is a great experience to love Jesus like Peter; but it is an even greater an experience to feel loved by Jesus like John.

The good news for us is that after the Pentecost we are now enabled to love with perfect divine love.  Jesus has bestowed on us the Holy Spirit, the love-power or the love-current with which the Father and the Son love each other.  St. Paul so meaningfully tells us in 2 Cor 6:6, “People can notice in our upright life, knowledge, patience and kindness, action of the Holy Spirit, sincere love, words of truth and power of God”.  Can it be a coincident that the new commandment of Jesus to love one another “as I have loved you” is sandwiched between the prediction of Judas’ betrayal and that of Peter’s denial?  The import of the words “as I have you loved you” should make us tremble.

All this is proved in the Acts of the Apostles.  The same two disciples are on their way, now enabled to love Jesus in a divine way through the gift of the Holy Spirit, to proclaim Christ with boldness and fervour.  Peter is now so full of Jesus that he says to the man crippled from birth, “I have neither silver nor gold, but what I have I give you:  In the name of Jesus of Nazareth, the Messiah, walk” (Act 3:6).  When they are charged not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus, Peter and John answered the members of the Council, “Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God’s eyes for us to obey you rather than God.  We cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard”(Act 4:19-20).  May the Feast of Pentecost enable us to embrace everyone and everything with divine love!

 

Fr. Francis Scaria