News Letter – May, 2012
Month of Mary
News from the Diocese
The Priests and religious of the Diocese gathered at St. Joseph’s Cathedral for recollection and confession, on the 29th March, at 3.00 p.m. The recollection was preached by Rev. Fr. Oscar Beck, the Director of Pratiksha, Regional Propaedeutic Seminary, Sundernagar.
The solemn procession for the Chrism Mass began at 5.30 p.m. More than 120 priests, a large number of religious and laity took part in the Solemn Eucharist. Soon after the Holy Mass, the Jubilarians (Frs. K.C. Anthony (50 years of Priesthood), John Mundu (25 years of Priesthood)) were felicitated.
Fr. Leo John D’Souza, the Diocesan Youth Director arranged a team of Jesus Youth, to preach a retreat for the youth of Jamshedpur Diocese. Good number of youth came for the three-day retreat, which was conducted at St. Mary’s Church, Bistupur, from 1st -3rd April, 2012, and experienced the love of God in their life. In this way the youth prepared themselves very well for the Easter.
ST. JOSEPH’S COMMUNITY COLLEGE
On 10th April, 2012, St. Joseph’s Community College welcomed the 4th batch of Community College Students. The formal inauguration of the 4th batch was on 17th April, 2012. The new students were welcomed to the college in the traditional way, as they came along with their parents, by the senior students. The function began with the lighting of the lamp and senior students handing over a lit candle to the new comers with the prayers and wishes that they too may receive knowledge abundantly from God thorough St. Joseph’s Community College. The word of God then read. After which Rev. Fr. Michael Raj, the Director of Community College gave the welcome speech. He also used the time to explain to the parents/guardians about the goal of the community college and its activities. Rev. Fr. Michael T. Raj, Who was the Chief Guest of the occasion spoke to the students and exhorted them to make the best out the opportunity which they have got. The formal inauguration ceremony came to an end with the College Anthem.
The senior students have completed their project work and are preparing themselves for the final examination (IGNOU) which will be held at the first week of June. Basic English and intermediate English courses are going on as usual. We are happy to inform you that the next batch for Basic English Course will begin on 1st May, 2012. The timing of this new batch is from 7.30 am to9.30 am. (Sr. Miriam, PDDM)
Most Rev. Felix Toppo, SJ attended two meetings at SDC, Ranchi on 12th April, 2012. The first meeting was a meeting of Bishops and Major Superiors, which extended from 10 am to 1 pm. The main agenda was the republication of Tarang Bharati, which has been stopped due to certain constraints. Seeing the importance of a news paper all agreed that it should be republished.
In the afternoon from 2.30 to 4.15, there was a meeting of the members of the Governing Board of “Social Initiatives or Growth and Networking (SIGN)”. Most of the Bishops and the Directors of Diocesan Social Service Societies were present for the meeting. Fr. Halan Bodra was present from Jamshedpur. One of the important points of the agenda was to approve the “SIGN H.R. POLICY”. Rev. Fr. R. Christudas was congratulated for preparing the policy. It will be published shortly in a book form.
The Month of April has been a Month of blessing for D.S.W.C, especially for the Nirmala Campus. The liturgy of the Holy Week was meaningfully celebrated at the campus. The Way of the Cross and the Resurrection enacted, added a special fervour to the Liturgy. Many faithful were in tears when Jesus met His mother at the Way of the Cross...and those in slumber were awakened by the thundering sound and glittering lights of the resurrection seen.
The Joy of the resurrection was not limited to the spiritual sphere. On April 13th the resurrected Jesus really became the 'light of the world' as Most Rev. Felix Toppo, SJ, inaugurated the new eye unit at Nirmala Hospital. Bishop himself, expressing his happiness, became the first beneficiary to have his eye checked. It is a fully fledged, modernized eye unit in the city. As our Diocese celebrates the Jubilee, Fr. Vipin Pani presented the eye unit to the needy to mark our march towards the fullness of Life. (Fr. Jilson T.L.)
Rev. Fr. Edward Saldanha celebrated his Silver Jubilee of Sacerdotal Ordination at Kumardhubi on 14th April, 2012. Most Rev. Charles Soreng, SJ, Bishop of Hazaribagh, Most Rev. Felix Toppo, SJ, along with about 30 other Priests offered the thanksgiving Eucharist on the occasion. A large crowed of Christians and non Christians were present on this auspicious occasion. After the Holy Mass the students staged a short facilitation programme, which was graceful and colourful. The parishioners of Holy Family Church, Kumardhubi, along with the Parish Priest Rev. Fr. Paulus Bodra had taken great care in managing the event and did take care of the expenses too. We congratulate and thank them for their hard work and generosity. Once again Hearty Congratulations Dear Fr. Edward!
As part of the celebration of golden Jubilee of the Diocese, Most Rev. Felix Toppo, SJ, made his pastoral visit to St. Mary’s Church, Digwadih, on 15th April, 2012 and spend half a day with the parishioners. The day began with the Holy Eucharist. During the Holy Mass 34 children received the Sacrament of Confirmation. The Mahila Sangh of the parish welcomed the celebrants with the traditional dance. The lively and melodious singing made the liturgy a memorable one.
On 15th April, 2012, Most Rev. Felix Toppo, SJ, visisted Tundi and blessed the newly built Marian Grotto which has been erected to mark the Golden Jubilee of the Diocese. The ceremony began at 4 pm. the blessing was followed by a Solemn Eucharistic celebration in front of the grotto. All the students and a large number of faithful from the villages attended the blessing and the Holy Mass.
On 19th April, 2012, the clergy and religious of the town gathered to celebrate the joy of the Patron’s Feast of Sisters of St. Joseph of Tarbes, which was on 19th March, and to bid farewell to Sr. Christie. On the occasion, on behalf of the Diocese, Rev. Fr. C.R. Prabhu thanked Sr. Christie for the selfless service which she rendered to St. Mary’s School in particular and to the Church in Jamshedpur at large and wished her God’s choicest blessings for her future ministry. On behalf of the Jamshedpur CRI, Rev. Fr. Mike T. Raj too took the opportunity to thank Sr. Christie and wished her all that is good. In reply Sr. Christie thanked everyone and said that last nine years of stay in Jamshedpur was joyful one and she is contented with what she did, and thus she is happy to move to the next place. We wish Sr. Christie cordial best wishes and God’s abundant blessings!
On 23rd April, 2012, St Mark’s Church, Toklo, celebrated the Silver Jubilee of the existence of this mission. Fr. James Surin, the Parish Priest, invited Most Rev. Felix Toppo, SJ, to make his Jubilee Pastoral visit and to join the parishioners to thank God for the abundant blessings which they have received from Him during the past 25 years. All remembered Mons. John Bodra, who started the mission 25 years ago and worked untiringly for the development of the mission. There were many priests and religious for the celebration including most of the earlier Priest in charges/Parish Priests. The villagers too came in large numbers. The celebration ended with a common meal.
The graduation ceremony of the 21st batch of nursing students of the Jeevan Jyothi School of Nursing was held on 26th March, 2012. The theme chosen on this occasion was “Step by Step We March Towards the Goal”.
Most Rev. Felix Toppo, SJ was the Chief Guest of the Function. Mr. O. V. Ajay, G.M. Central planning, Tata Motors, was the Guest of Honour. Many doctors and staff from Tata Motors Hospital and the parents/guardians and well-wishers too were present for the programme. The programme began with a graceful prayer dance which was staged by the students of the institution. After lighting of the lamp, the report of the institution was read out. The students of the 21st batch then took the pledge and received the diploma certificates from the Bishop. The Chief Guest and the Guest of honour addressed the gathering and exhorted them to work with love and compassion. Mr. O.V. Ajay also distributed the award to the meritorious students. Dr. V.P. Singh awarded the best outgoing student on the occasion.
The students of the institution then staged various cultural events and the programme came to it's conclusion with words of appreciation and refreshments.
A new hostel for boys has been inaugurated in the existing building at Banki, on 15th April 2012. This was followed by a Holy Eucharistic celebration. Fr. Lord Winner, cmf, the Kolkata Dependent Delegation Secretary, was present for the function, representing the Provincial and the Delegate Council. He acknowledged the work of the past missionaries of the place and thanked them and also invited the local leaders to support the present missionaries. Many local leaders and donors were present for the function. Some of them are: Mr. Chontro, Banki Panchayat President, Mr. Osok Tudu, Village leader, Mr. Nonthalal Munda, Ward member, Mr. Xavier Sunti, Vincent De Paul president, Moubhander Parish, Mrs. Kanti Indwar etc… Fr. Deosahay Minj, cmf, Superior and Parish Priest, proposed the vote of thanks. Villagers from Sahari and Banki missions too were present for the inauguration, Holy Eucharist, felicitation programme and for the meal.
We express our heartfelt condolences to Rev. Fr. George Mannarakkam, who lost his elder brother Mr. Joseph (69) and to his family members.Fr. George was lucky enough to meet and to be with his brother in his last moments, as he was at home for holidays. We pray that the good Lord grand strength to all who experience the pain and lose. May Mr. Joseph Rest in Peace!
Towards the Fullness of Life
(By- Rev. Fr. Raju Felix Crasta)
Isa Upanishad speaks of a mantra of fullness in this way, “Om Purnamadah, Purnamidam, Purnat Purnamudachyate, Purnasya Purnamadaya, Purnam evavashishyate” which can be translated as, “That is perfect, this is perfect. When perfection is taken from the perfect, perfect alone remains.” Perfection, finiteness, completeness or totality is the key to be an authentic person.
Fullness can be stated as, “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Mt 5:48). What Matthew is intending in saying ‘perfect’ is, to be pure in mind and heart, to be loving and forgiving, to be generous and open minded. Thus the Biblical perfection can be spoken in terms of,
a. To be Holy: Be holy because I, the LORD your God, am holy (Lev 19:2)
b. To be blameless / faultless: Be holy because I, the LORD your God, am holy (Dt. 18:13)
c. To be pure: Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God (2 Cor 7:1)
d. To be the children of God: Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children (Eph: 5:1)
Where to fill?
To fill in a container, the container should be either empty or half-filled. One cannot fill in the container which is already full. We are all imperfect, marching towards the fullness. The fullness is achieved only when we are in heaven.
To be perfect and complete in life, first and foremost, one need to realize the imperfection in oneself. Then only the rest of the things will follow. There are three areas one need to concentrate– physical, mental or intellectual and spiritual fullness or perfection.
Fullness in the Personal life or Self-perfection
It is often said, one cannot evangelize to the empty stomachs. The physical needs are to be catered at the very outset in order to reach the fullness. It is the common experience of most of the people, that when a person is hungry, sick or homeless finds difficult to pray. The only satisfaction a spiritual person achieves here is, by offering the suffering for a good cause and thus making it emancipatory. This is not possible for an ordinary person. In today’s commercial globalized society, as the sicknesses, troubles and health related hazards are increasing; one ought to keep one’s health, good with the available ordinary means to one’s disposal. However, one is not bound to use extraordinary means if they are out of one’s reach.
This is very much applicable for the mental health as well. Mental health does not just mean the psychological well-being, rather, the intellectual abilities and formation as well. Most of the tension in today’s world is due to ‘pressure’. Parents pressurize their children to excel in the way they want and never see the interest and talent of the child born with. Companies and work places put pressure on the workers to produce more, however, without creating enough work-atmosphere. Even this pressure is being carried to the family life. Some decades ago, the education regarded to be the sole chattels of elite class and further even among them more so of men. Women were looked down upon. As the reservation policies gearing up, education standards increasing, liberation movements catching up the momentum, one cannot sit idly at the hearth warming up oneself. As it is commonly said, “either you are in or out, but non in-between,”one need to deeply involved in education if one likes to march ahead in the changing scenario of the world.
The spiritual realm stands out from the previous two realms. In fact, this is the power-house to be ‘Complete’ and ‘Full’ in life. Spirituality does not merely mean that one should sit in the prayer room, read scripture and meditate. More than this, what is being read, meditated must be practiced. The final step is called the ‘meditative contemplation’ or ‘nidhidhyasana’ in Indian Spirituality. The spirituality one has must be seen in one’s way of life, dealing with the other. The person becomes more polite, humble, generous, forgiving, accommodating, social, etc. Such a person, in the biblical terminology is termed as, “Perfect as Heavenly Father is Perfect,” in other words, ‘blameless, pure, holy and faultless.’
Fullness in the family or Family Perfection
Family is the basic unit of the Body of Christ. Just as the body of Christ is holy, faultless, sinless, pure and Perfect, so too must be the family. A Family consists of Father, mother, and children; in other words, creators and the created. Each one should assist one another to make the family complete. Without a husband, the wife is incomplete and without a wife, the husband is incomplete. Both become one family along with their offspring.
All the aspect spoken above in the personal life is applicable to each one in the family and together they co-operate Christ to build a domestic Church. It is said, ‘no one is perfect.’ Knowing one’s shortcoming and weakness in the family is not the beginning of downfall, rather it is the genesis of formation an ideal family. If one’s spirituality is good enough, would be helpful in assisting the member of a family in helping to overcome the weakness. In the process of helping to overcome the weakness, at times the family undergoes a great deal of turmoil. But one should realize, that only after a chaotic atmosphere, a paradise like situation can emerge.
Certain practices help to construct a happy family. Regular community prayers, regular meals, recreation and jovial atmosphere, sharing of one encounter of reality in life, at times common picnics and outings help the family to move towards the fullness.
Fullness in the Society or Social Perfection
Society cannot exist without families. The basic unit of a society is therefore, the family. Good of the society lies in the good of the families. The society is maintained and preserved not because of the hundreds of thousands of evil people, but because of few good people. Knowing this, Abraham, the father of faith, argues with the prophet, “Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked? What if there are fifty righteous people in the city? Will you really sweep it away and not spare the place for the sake of the fifty righteous people in it(Sodom and Gomorrah)?”The argument ends untill Abraham reaches “ten righteous people.” At each time the prophet of God answers, “… for their sake, I will spare”(cf. Gen 18: 16-33).
There are extra-ordinary people who tried to be one of those who tried to spare the society.People like Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr, Helder Camera are such people of the last century. In our own tribal society, missionaries like Fr. Constance Levance, J.B. Hoffmann, John Deeny and our own tribal leaders – BirsaMunda, SidhoKanho, are noteworthy here.
Only those can spare the society who are spiritually, mentally and intellectually ‘perfect’ and ‘full’. Only when one has something, can give out something. Out of one’s fullness, only fullness can emanate. If the person is selfish, he cannot but give only selfishness. If a family is generous, the generosity can be seen in their dealing with their neighbors and the people in need.
Is the perfection possible?
This is a common question most of us ask, “Is perfection possible?” At the outset, it seems to be impossible. People think that nobody can become perfect. This is a similar question as whether the holiness is possible. There is nothing impossible when the grace of God is at work.
Living a perfect life is a hard task, but not impossible. Nobody can be perfect, we can become perfect. It is an onward journey, a pilgrimage. Perfection is achieved when we are in the presence of God, when we reach the ‘beatific vision’. Till then ours is a journey.
What does it mean when Mt. 5:48 is tells us, “Be perfect as the heavenly Father is perfect?”Jesus wants us to be sinless, blameless, pure and holy. Blameless would mean, like a good vehicle without any complaint. Imperfection in life is a part of human being and this cannot be neglected. However, one can reduce the imperfection and march towards the perfection. God is perfect and without sin and therefore, He expects us to be so.
There are several people in the bible who marched towards the perfection and fullness. It is not that they were perfect from their very birth. When Isaiah was called by God, he said, ‘My lips are dirty,” Samuel said, “I am still a child,” Moses was a murderer, King David was an adulterer, murderer, St. Paul was a persecutor of Christians. Yet they are the perfect examples for us to follow. What is beautiful in them is, they learnt to become perfect by observing the commandments of God. If God can make them perfect, why can’t us? We read in Genesis 6:9, 22 “Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God. Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he.”
In our pilgrimage towards the fullness of life, there are ups and downs. Some of them are gift to us. They are to test our steadfastness as God did with Job, “the Lord said to Satan, have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that fears God, and does away with evil?" The Word of God says that Job has not committed sin” (Job 1:8). The beauty in this test is, “in all this Job sinned not” ( Job1:22).
Mary is a perfect example for the fullness in life. From the day of her conception till her assumption she lived for the people and after her assumption, she continuously intercedes for her children. This is the reason; she is called to be the ‘Mother of God’ and ‘Mother of Humanity.’ She kept everything in her heart - all the prophesies about Jesus, all that happed to Jesus in her time and even the way of Calvary. She silently, walked the path which Jesus. She bravely led the fearsome apostles and the newly baptized Christians towards the fullness of life.
Let us thank the Father for the gift of Jesus who revealed us that the fullness is possible, that the holiness is possible and that the perfection is possible. Jesus himself was that fullness, that perfection who became man and showed us how to be so. Father sends his Spirit that we may be filled with his grace to be perfect. Mary is our mentor who intercedes for usin this venture.