News Letter – March, 2012
Another View of What Lent Means
By definition, the season of Lent is the time of preparation for Holy Week, leading up to Easter. For many, it is a time to give up something like candy or smoking. It may be a time for more frequent Mass attendance for others. The following is a brief reflection leading up to what may be a better view of Lent for some.
Lent owes much of its spirit to the forty days Jesus spent in the desert preparing for his ministry. We say he was tempted there, but a more accurate translation may be "tested." The Jewish view of the desert was an abode of demons, especially that part of the desert where winds would howl around tall, rough stone. It must have been terrifying at night: dark, looming shapes, unearthly wailing of wind, and nothing else. In this place, Jesus was offered the opportunity to be the wrong kind of messiah. He rejected each possibility.
When the Hebrews were led from Egypt to the Promised Land, they refused to go in because they did not trust God's promise. God led them into the desert for forty years, until they learned the trust they lacked. During this time, all the ones that had refused to cross the Jordan died. In this way, God's people were purified.
In Noah's day, forty days of flooding washed away the evil that had infected the world. This was not a permanent solution, just as Lent is not, unless we make it so.
In the Church, we often speak of entering Seasons as though they were countries or Ages of Man. For the Easter Season, we "wipe our feet," in a sense, before entering. But even this does not fully describe the spirit of Lent.
When Jesus entered the desert, he left behind all the expectations of others, all the hopes, all the illusions. It was just Jesus and the Father, in the Holy Spirit. But in solitude, demons come. No role is more dangerous than the reformer. There were at least three wrong ways to be the Messiah, and Jesus rejected them all. The defeat of Satan during this testing hinted at the final defeat of evil through the Cross and Resurrection.
We are people of illusions. We think we understand God, we think we know ourselves and those around us. We plan our lives and are shocked when these plans fall through. We impose our wills on God or even say we know His plans. Jesus did not have such illusions, but we have illusions about Jesus. In the desert, Jesus had no illusions of his own to face and destroy: he was tested for our sake, so we would know who he was not. He did not come to bribe us with earthly bread, or astonish us with feats of invulnerability. He did not seek world domination or command an army. He simply did the will of the Father.
In Lent, we abstain from meat on Fridays, Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. Many people perform acts of penance or mortification, such as giving up sweets, TV and the like. What is the connection to the desert?
The desert experience is about deprivation. Most of the world experiences it involuntarily. For many people, however, deprivation is a great evil, and to be avoided at all costs. In deprivation, we discover that we are not all-powerful. We are slaves to our bellies, to the opinions of others, to pleasure. We cannot bear pain, so we take a pill. We cannot bear growing old, so we dye our hair. Like Darth Vader in Star Wars, we replace our humanity with technology until there is little of our selves left. Doing without can strip away some of the illusions and give us a glimpse of truth.
During Lent, we have the opportunity to hear voices that are usually lost in the din of pleasure and meaningless talk. We can enter into a private desert even in the midst of the world and face our own demons. We can tear down false idols only to be heartbroken at finding others behind them. If we are brave, we can run through this desert trying to find the real God amid the gods.
Thomas Merton writes about a kind of "dread." It is the nagging sense that we have missed something important or that we have somehow been untrue to ourselves. It may feel like a crisis of faith, as though we doubted God. In reality, we doubt the false images of God that we ourselves have created. We doubt the bold pronouncements we make about our independence or open-mindedness. This "dread" is heightened by the fact that the God beyond our imaginings is so close to us, although we know Him not. Thoughts cross our minds about this, but we push them away. Perhaps as you read this you are thinking, "I'm not that clueless. I have faith. I know God personally." Think again.
During Lent, we use abstinence from meat and acts of penance as metaphors. In a very small way, they model the rejection of illusions about what we need, who we are, and who God is. In this life, we try to make some progress in discarding our "disordered attachments." At death, we will no longer have a choice. We cannot enter Heaven burdened with a thousand foolish attachments. As our bodies lie rotting, there will be no more illusions about the worth of attractiveness. As others claim our possessions, they will finally have their proper value to us. When we stand in judgment before God, we will have no illusions about our sanctity or goodness. All will be laid bare, and there will be no more hypocrisy, lies, or illusions. It is far better to begin discarding our foolish attachments in this life, and Lent is a good time to begin this work. The best time to start, however, is always now.
To end this reflection with Hope, we must remember that through all of this, God is with us. He may not offer comfort now, but He promises no trial beyond our ability to succeed. He offers us no truth we cannot accept if we become as children. When Jesus had finally driven off the devil, angels came to wait on him. When, through Jesus, we have rejected illusion and self-deception, we can be sure of continued graces from God. These are not the rewards of virtue but those gifts which are available only to real people. (http://whitestonejournal.com/lent1.html)
News From the Diocese
To give a fitting farewell and wish the students of Class 10, a prosperous and bright future, Gyandeep School, organized a Graduation Day Ceremony on 3rd February, 2012. Rev. Fr. C.R. Prabhu, Vicar General of the Diocese, was the Chief Gust of the function. Students expressed their sentiments through speeches and songs. In his address, Fr. C.R. Prabhu, exhorted the students to work hard and conquer the world.
Anther medical camp was conducted at Dhowatand on 5th February, 2012, as part of the Health Awareness Programme. The villagers came in large numbers and benefited from the camp. Fr. Vijay Bhat along with Bro. Baldeo and hostel children are on a mission of making the campus greener. For this they are planting various plants and vegetables in the campus. We are also happy to let you know that the renovation of the kitchen is on progress. Fresh admissions to the School and Hostel also are on progress. We hope that this year we may get a good number of students.
FEAST OF OUR LADY OF LOURDES
The Dominican Fathers at Birsanagar, along with the neighbouring Catholics and Christians, celebrated the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes on the 11th February. The faithful had preparatory Novena in honour of to Our Lady of Lourdes and confessions. During the novena different fathers from the city offered the Holy Mass and preached. Rev. Fr. C.R. Prabhu, Vicar General of the Diocese, was the main celebrant at the concelebrated Solemn Festal Mass. The festal celebrations ended with a common meal which was arranged with the help of the neighbours.
CRI Annual Convention
The annual general body meeting of CRI was held on the 11th and 12th of February 2012.The theme was “Are we Relevant or Redundant?” On the dynamics of the day’s work, Fr. Mike pointed out that, today the church faces three crises; 1.Crediblity Crises, 2. Crises of Relevance, 3. Culture Crises. He further said that the Church today needs reformation and not the revolution. And the reformation needs to begin from top and then to proceed to bottom. Fr. C.R. Prabhu, Vicar General, who was the chief guest, in his address spoke about the Relevance of Religious Life in the present times.
As the term of present office holders come its end the participants gathered together to elect the new office bearers. The newly elected office bearers are Fr. Hilary Lobo SJ (President), Sr. Sharel, AC (Secretary), Sr. Elsy Cherian, SCJM (Treasurer) Fr. James Kalapura SJ, and Sr. Florence SJC were elected as the council members. We wish all the cordial best wishes to the newly elected office holders and thank Fr. Michael T.Raj, SJ, Sr.Sudha, SJT, and Sr. Valsa, AC for the competent and generous service which they rendered during their term of office. The next years annual general body meeting is scheduled in the second week of February 2013.The convention was concluded with the Holy Eucharist followed by lunch, served by Catholic charities. (Sr. Sudha SJT)
On 12th February, 2012, Most Rev. Felix Topo, SJ, made his Golden Jubilee Pastoral Visit to St. Anthony’s Parish, Mango. Under the guidance of the Parish Priest, the parishioners took great care in preparing the liturgy and making the day a memorable one. On that day 21 children received the Sacrament of Confirmation.
DIVYA BHARTI – CHAIBASA
On the occasion of the Golden Jubilee of the Diocese of Jamshedpur, Divya Bharti, Chibasa, organized a Catechists’ Convention on 13th and 14th February, 2012. 57 catechists participated in this convention. On 14th Most Rev. Felix Toppo, SJ too joined for the celebration and honoured the catechists and thanked them for their selfless service for the growth of the Church in this Diocese. He also presented them with one copy of Compendium each. We also take this opportunity to congratulate and thank Fr. George Anthony and his team for organizing this convention.
A, one day seminar on Parish Administration was conducted on 15th February, 2012, at Vikas Bharati, Sundernagar. Rev. Fr. Mohandas, Vicar General of Culcutta Archdiocese and Fr. Dominic Gomez led the sessions. Those participated in the seminar raised various pastoral problems and doubts for clarifications, so that they could have better pastoral administration in their respective parishes. There was also session on BCC/SCC.
ST. JOSEPH’S SCHOOL, GOLMURI
On 16th February, 2012, a special Holy Eucharist was celebrated for the Krus Vir’s of the School. During this Holy Eucharist some of the new students took oath and became members of this pious union. Sr. Silvina Xalxo had taken great care in preparing the students for the same. Rev. Fr. Camille Hembrom reminded the students about the need of following and growing up in the Christian Values and about the need of honest, sincere and hardworking citizens for the nation.
ST. JOSEPH’S CATHEDRAL
In order to make the participation more lively and active, Fr. Camille Hembrom has distributed the responsibility of conducting Choir, Sunday Readings, Offertory etc… to various arias of the Parish in different Sundays. In this way all the areas of the Parish will get the chance once in a month. The Parish Priests has also formed various teams to systematically organise and conduct Liturgy and Sunday Catechism.
On 19th February, 2012, Deanery level meeting of the representatives of various parishes was held at St. Joseph’s Welfare Centre. This was to boost up the activities, so that the Deanery could attain the targets that are set on the occasion of the Golden Jubilee of the Diocese. While addressing the gathering Rev. Fr. C.R. Prabhu, spoke about the humble beginning of the Diocese in 1962, and thanked God for His continues presence and guidance. Mr. Daryl Pereira urged all to work whole heartedly to reach the target of five crore Rupees for the Scholarship Fund.
On 21st February there was a solemn Mass to thank God for the gift of Rev. Fr. Camille Hembrom, the Parish Priest of the Cathedral, as he celebrated his Birthday. After the Holy Mass those present for the Mass thanked him for his selfless service to the parish community. A fellowship meal too was arranged in the evening to share the joy.
St. Joseph’s welfare Centre is organizing a crash course on Networking and Visual Basic Networking. All the Priests and Nuns are encouraged to participate in this course. Course fee (per course) is Rs. 3000/- (Bro. Jacob DDS)
The budding scientists and artists of Nirmala school, Govindpur, presented many creative ideas in an exhibition on February 25. The exhibition was attractive, thought provoking and marvellous. The exhibition was inaugurated by Rt. Rev. Felix Toppo, SJ, Bishop of Jamshedpur. Mrs. Rita Dennis, Mrs. Betty (Canada) and Mr. Rowland Orr (US) were also present to witness and appreciate the budding scientists of tomorrow. Bishop appreciated the students for their remarkable and fearless explanation of the projects. There were still models, working models, and projects. These provided a feast to our eyes. Students from St. John Mary Vianney School, Dhowatand, Doctors and staff Nirmala Hospital and the people in and around of Govindpur came in good numbers and appreciated the exhibition. Bishop Felix later visited the BRTC and expressed his happiness in witnessing ‘enabling the disabled’ to earn and live proudly. 28 nursing students, in four groups, from the Central Hospital, Dhanbad have come to Nirmala Hospital to participate a course on Leprosy as part of their nursing training. (Fr. Jilson T.L.)
Sini: Fr. Vincent Minj has taken over from Fr. Shijumon the charge of St. Xavier's Primary School as Headmaster. Fr. Barnabas, the Parish Priest is heading to Nagpur to attend the Province Innovative Ministry Forum Meeting.
ASMI Sisters: Sr. Jessy, the Superior is just back from Kerala after a short vacation and has now left for Province Retreat in Bhopal. The Sisters are these days busy watering their vegetable field. The newly dug deep bore-well came as a relief for them.
Seraikela: An Annual Picnic was organized by the parishioners of Seraikella sub-centre on 12th Feb. The senior students of the school had gone on an education tour, first of its kind in the history of the School; to Kolkota from 22nd to 25th January, 2012. a Seminar of Fransalian Education Forum of Nagpur Province was held in the School campus on 20th Feb. It was attended by Rev. Fr. Geroge Parampukattil, the General Councillor of MSFS , Rev. Fr. Jacob Karamakuzhy, Provincial and many Principals and Managers of Fransalian Schools of Nagpur Province. Since the name and fame of the St. Francis De Sales School has increased there is a great rush for the admissions. However due to the lack of sufficient class rooms and other infrastructures we find it difficult to accommodate all the applicants.
DSFS Sisters: During the last month Srs. Litty and Anu were away on Province Retreat in Kerala. Sr. Marykutty, the Superior, has managed to purchase a piece of land near the school for the Congregation. The Registration and the Mutation of the land is completed. Once the boundary work is over plans will be made for construction of convent and boarding. Rev. Sr. Phina Kuruvilla, the Provincial Superior was on a canonical visitation to the community from 7th to 9th February, 2012. Sr. Regina will be going for a Seminar to Bangalore next month and will be taking up her new assignment. (Fr. Shijumon, MSFS)
ST. JOSEPH’S COMMUNITY COLLEGE, MANGO
On 28th February, 2012, a team consists of the Regional Director and Assistant Regional Director from IGNOU had come to inspect the Community College, and has give green signal to add more vocational training courses. They have also given a very good report to the Delhi head office.
At present the admission to various trades like Health Assistant, Office Management, Computer Application are on progress and the classes for the new batch of students will start in the month of April. Students who successfully complete these courses will get the certificates from IGNOU, Delhi.
After the successful completion of internship, the students of Office Management Course are back in the college. We are waiting for the rest of the students who are yet to complete the internship.
UPDATES FROM THE PROVINCE:
0n 25th February, 2012, 7 of our Jamshedpur Theologians ordained as Deacons by Archbishop Concessao, Archbishop of Delhi. A warm round of applause for all 7 – take a bow on this great day, dear Deacons., Ranjit Bilung, Michael Fernandes, Niranjan Minj, Biranchi Soreng, Ignatius Dungdung, Tony John and, last but by no means the least, Alwyn Rodrigues!
Fr. Pancras has been discharged from the Burn Care Unit in the second half and is occupying Room No. 19 in Tome Jesuit Residence. The left calf from where the skin was removed for skin grafting hurts him a lot but it is only a question of time when that too will go.
Fr. Carl Dincher is doing well according to Dr. Woodward – wheeled in to the Infirmary Chapel for Mass each morning – anxious to get back to Jamshedpur to the city and people he loves so passionately. He will be occupying Room No, 14 in Tome Jesuit Residence on the ground floor as he arrives on 29th or 30th February.
Frs. Guidera and Emile Coelho are leaving for Calcutta by road on the morning of Wednesday 29 February. They will fly out for the US from Calcutta on 2 March and return to India by 24 March. (Fr. Eric Cassel)
Mrs. Hilda Kujur, a very renowned member of the Church and the society, breathed her last at 11:55 am on 25th February, 2012. Many people fondly remember her for the kindness and courage in times of great struggles in life. Her funeral was on Sunday, 26th February, at St. Joseph’s Cathedral – an exception has been made in her case by Bishop Felix, even though it is the season of Lent. May she Rest in Peace!
We express our heartfelt condolences to Fr. Nelson Ashok D’Silva, who lost his mother in a hit and run accident in Mumbai (his dad too had procured injuries) and to his family members. May the good Lord grand strength to all who experience the pain and lose. May Mrs. D’Silva Rest in Peace!
Please Note that on 29th March, 2012 there is no clergy meeting as announced earlier by the circular of Chrism Mass. Instead of Clergy Meeting, we will have “Pastoral Clergy Meeting”. All Priests, Diocesan and Religious, involved in the Pastoral Ministry in the Diocese are expected to attend this meeting.
+Felix Toppo, SJ
Bishop of Jamshedpur