DIVINE LOVE AND MYSTERY OF SUFFERING
My Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ Jesus,
As we enter into the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ, I would like to reflect on Divine Love and the Mystery of Suffering. The Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ is beyond the comprehension of human intelligence. Our Lord suffered physically, spiritually and mentally. We ask many questions to ourselves and others, “Why did Our Lord suffer? Was it necessary for him to suffer to save us? Often seeing the human beings, specially young and innocent suffer, we ask, “Why is he/she suffering? For whose sin is he/she suffering?”
Passion of Our Lord: Concerning the sufferings of Jesus the Messiah, the Scriptures have given answers and though we don’t fully understand we accept them as the right answers. Prophet Isaiah says, “Yet ours were the sufferings he was bearing, ours the sorrows he was carrying, while we thought of him as someone being punished and struck with affliction by God; whereas he was being wounded for our rebellions, crushed because of our guilt; the punishment reconciling fell on him, and we have been healed by his bruises” (Is.53:4-5). “By his knowledge, the upright one, my servant will justify many by taking their guilt on himself (Is.53:11 b) and “he was bearing the sin of many and interceding for the rebellion” (Is 53:12 b). The sufferings of Our Lord, reveals the mystery of God’s immense Love he has for us, his creatures.
The Earth an Altar for Praising God: The sufferings of human beings are very much connected to Divine Love. God is Alpha and Omega. Everything on earth and heaven is created by God. Everything comes from God, is for God and everything returns to God. Every creature, animate or inanimate, is expected to give praise to God. In fact the earth was to be an expansive altar to render everlasting praise to its Creator. The earth ought to sing praises to God who created it, but, sadly speaking, the earth is full of sin. Therefore, it must be the altar of endless expiation and sacrifice, on which the victims are consumed.
Human beings Responsibility to Praise God: The countless stars continuously sing the praises of God with their voices that are light and motion in the infinite spaces of firmament for thousands and thousands of years. The earth also sings praises to God spontaneously with its winds, water, the voices of animals and birds, rivers and mountains, trees and plants. But this is not sufficient, because on earth there is man, the perfect creation, superior to all living beings, gifted with spirit like the angels of heaven. He is destined to know, to love and to possess God, intelligently and voluntarily in order to repay God for granting him life on earth and Heaven after death.
Expiation of Sins Needed: God is self-sufficient. Yet God-Love wanted to have love. He created in order to receive love. What can God get from his creation? Only love! This intelligent and free love, gifted only to the human beings on earth is the glory of God. This is the love which becomes the offering of love on the altar of the earth. If the earth omits the praises and entreaties of love, it will cease existing, because once love is extinguished, the expiation also would cease. Consequently, the earth would become a hell and the wrath of God would destroy it. Therefore, the human beings must love God freely and intelligently in order to exist. But the truth is this that the fallen and redeemed human being is sinful, offends God and needs to expiate for his sins. For expiation he needs to sacrifice victims, which are pure, spotless and faultless. These are the only victims agreeable to the Lord.
Sufferings are Gifts of God: The Earth has two-fold sacrifice to make: one of praise and the other of expiation. This is because mankind, living all over the earth, has sinned in Adam and Eve. Consequently, the relationship of human beings with God was ruptured. Mankind is continuously sinning and is adding to the sin of Adam and Eve, its countless sins and drifting away from God. Mankind, created in the likeness and image of God with intelligence and freedom, is endowed with divine grace, is becoming more and more sinful. Stars and planets, animals and birds, trees and plants, air and water, all obey God and praise him as best as they can. Men do not obey and do not give sufficient praise to God. That is why the victim-souls are needed so that they may love and praise God and expiate for the sins on behalf of everybody. These are the innocent children, who, though unaware, pay for the bitter punishment of sorrow for those who can do nothing but sin. They are the saints who willingly sacrifice themselves for everybody.
Perpetual Sacrifice of Jesus Our Lord: In the Old Testament times we see that the people, in order to praise God and to expiate their sins, offered sacrifices of bullocks, rams, lambs, doves, etc. But this was not sufficient. In the New Testament, the Son of God, Jesus Christ sacrificed himself as the Great Victim for giving highest praise to God and for expiation of the sins of mankind. Love consumed Himself for the Love of God and made it a perpetual Sacrifice. Only this Sacrifice of Love pleases God. It is a great mystery that God had to become incarnate to appease divine Justice for the great Sin of Adam and Eve and many sins of human beings. It shows that only the sacrifice of love and spirit can appease the Lord. Jesus through his life and sacrifice revealed the Love of God. After the sacrifice of Jesus, man has to understand the love and replace himself as a victim of love and expiation, on the model of the Lamb of God, his Master and Redeemer. He should not consider sorrow as a punishment, but as a gift of perfect love. Sorrow is not a punishment, when one knows how to accept it and use it rightly. Sorrow is like priesthood open to everyone and confers great power on the heart of God. Sorrow is a great merit. Sorrow can appease the Justice, because God can use for a good purpose also what Hatred created to give sorrow. Our Lord Jesus Christ did not choose any other means to cancel Sin, because there was and is no greater means than sacrificing himself.
May the lord bless all of us during the Holy Season of Lent and Easter!
+Felix Toppo, S.J.
Bishop of Jamshedpur
13TH National Conference of Diocesan Priests of India (CDPI)
Nagpur, 24-27th February 2015
We, the Members of the Conference of Diocesan Priests of India, after pondering over the discussions and deliberations that emerged from the Vatican’s Extra-ordinary Synod on the theme “The Family”, assembled at Nagpur on 24 -27 February, 2015 for our 13th National Council in which 65 of our member - priests participated and reflected on “The Effective Ministry to the Families in the light of the synod”.
While we immensely rejoice over many of our Christian families which strive to live their Christian faith more fully, we also realize that poverty, migration, caste-system, domestic violence, heightened materialism and consumerism, new age movements, rise of new philosophies and dangerously changing cultural and thinking patterns on socio-moral and religious issues in India, have subjected the institution of marriage and the family to tectonic shifts leading to a widespread erosion and disregard for traditionally held Church teaching on conjugal love and the Christian family.
The culture of violence and sexually immoral activity is blatantly being promoted in the media in the garb of ‘tv shows’, ‘video games’, movies, cyberspace and advertisements.
Threats to the sanctity of marriage are getting increasingly noticeable in the rise of pro same-sex marriage campaigns and civic bodies and NGO’s espousing the cause for LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexuals, Transgenders) and even questioning the validity of Church teaching on such groups of people.
The declining sense of sin and need for repentance is the fall-out of such changing ideologies and trends in society at large. In this present scenario the priests are called-upon to protect the Faith and the Family from this tsunami of moral degeneration.
This conference reiterates firmly that the Church unbendingly insists on the doctrine on marriage on the basis of reason and in the light of Divine Revelations has a prophetic voice in the current mentality shaped by relativism, hedonism and materialism.
Despite the dismal situation, the CDPI considers it absolutely necessary to be kind and compassionate in communicating the church teaching through empathetic dialogue instead of insensitively turning the faithful away. Our priestly ministry calls us to render greater and meticulous care towards estranged couples and families that have their spiritual life at stake.
With the help of the laity and adequately trained professionals, priests must engage in actively preparing partners, both before and after marriage. Accompanying the couples after marriage at various stages of their lives, through various programs must serve to strengthen the bonding. The exemplary married couples can be encouraged to serve as out-reach teams to help those preparing for marriage and to assist as counselors where couples and family relationships are in the doldrums. Priests, together with spiritually and morally mature couples have the obligation to reach out to children and elderly in gearing them up to guard themselves from the harsh and erosive forces in society that threaten their growth into mature and fully human persons.
Priests not only need to update themselves with the changing trends in society, but need to be well informed about the encyclicals and church teachings on Marriage and the family and incorporate them effectively in their preaching and programs for couples and the family.
We, priests, have the responsibility to preach more fervently, with conviction, but with kindness and compassion of the love, mercy and forgiveness of God to keep couples and families together and reach out to those who have gone astray. When couples and families are spiritually strong, the world becomes a better place to live in. We priests can effect that change through our ministry.
Given this day 27th February, 2015 at Pallotti Animation Centre, Nagpur, India.
Fr. I. Raymond Joseph
Executive Secretary for CCBI
Commission for Clergy
Banglore - 560084
WOMAN: YOUR ARE TENDER, NOT WEAK
On 8th March, 2018 the women of Jamshedpur diocese joined together at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, Telco to celebrate the International women’s day. More than 259 women from different parts of the diocese came together to reflect on how important they are in building up the nation. The program began at 10:00 am with lighting the lamp. Rev. Fr. Camille Hembrom was the Chief Guest of the gathering. Dr. Kavita Pasar was the main speaker of the day who highlighted the indispensable place of women in every sphere of life in the society. In her speech she advised the women to be aware of the various evils and stand firm against it. There was also some slide show on girl child trafficking of the country and particularly in Jharkhand.
OUR LADY OF NATIVITY CHURCH, SINI
The high school Catholic students of Sini gathered for a day program to reflect on their career building as well as to prepare for the Easter. The program began at 8:00 am with lighting the ceremonial lamp. Fr. Linus Kindo facilitated the students in their program. Fr. Sijumon MSFS too came and encouraged the students. The participants had rich and good experience in the program. In the evening they received the sacrament of reconciliation. The program ended with the Holy Eucharist. Thanks to Sr. Jessy Francis and the community for organizing the Catholic students! May God bless you all!
CATHOLIC CHARITIES /SAMEKIT JAN VIKAS KENDRA / VIKAS BHARATI
International Women’s Day.
Over 600 Self-Help groups of women, federated into 12 Cooperatives came together on 10th March to celebrate women’s power. These women put up various stalls in the Campus of Catholic Charities, exhibiting all sorts of rural wealth, what they -produce through their Income Generating programmes. Ms Ranjana, the Director DRDA, East Singhbhum was the Chief Guest; Bishop Felix Toppo SJ along with Commandant of CRPF/RAF, Sundernagar, the BDO of Jamshedpur and several other VIP were the Guests of Honour. Nearly 1000 women participated in this event. Ms Dilit Castleton and Dr. Nilima Bara also addressed the gatherings. The programme was crowned with various Tribal Community Dances. The SHG s also organized a small lottery to help them cover some of the expenses. Congrats to the women of Jamshedpur.
Diocesan Strategic Health Planning
CCJ/SJVK organized a very special session on planning Health in this diocese. Sr. Rosita SRA, director of Chabi-jan with her team was the resource persons. Nearly 25 Sisters involved in promotion of Health participated in this One Day Strategic Planning. Due to various reasons, most of the rural based health centres are not functioning well and nurse –sisters are struggling to keep the Health Centres going. It is hoped that new, innovative methods in the field of rural health are adopted and health becomes an important mission in the diocese. Thanks to Sr. Rosita and Chabi-jan for infusing new spirit among our health personnel.
ADOLESCENT HEALTH AND CHILD RIGHTS
UNICEF, JHARKHAND is entering into East Singhbhum with a program promoting adolescent health among young boys and girls and awakening people against child /early marriage, sex-abuse and child-abuse. They have invited SJVK and some 5 NGOs to join them in this movement. There was already a preliminary meeting on 19th afternoon. SJVK has agreed to challenge and work in a couple of blocks of East Singhbhum. SJVK is becoming more involved in East Singhbhum.
Dka-Austria has been supporting Catholic Charities in the field of Women’s Empowerment and NGO-Networking. Recently, their Indian-Team (Gerry Rosario (Bihar-Sheriff) and Edlina Kerketta from Dibrugarh) spent 4 days in CCJ/SJVK visiting different villages where the programs are being implemented. They interacted with of our Partners and Women’s Co-operative officials. This team was in high praise for CCJ/SJVK for the wonderful work that is being done in villages strengthening women and other CBOs and small NGOs.
The program was concluded with a solemn Holy Mass presided over by Fr. Leo D’Souza. At the end of the Mass all present in the program shared the fellowship meal.
GROUND BREAKING CEREMONY FOR RETREAT CENTRE AT SUNDERNAGAR
On 19th March, Feast Day St Joseph, Bishop Felix Toppo S.J. blessed the foundation stone and led the ground breaking ceremony of residential block and prayer hall of Divya Jyoti Renewal Centre, Sundernagar. Rev Fr David Vincent, Vicar General; Rev Fr John Ottaplackal Parish Priest, Parsudih; Rev Fr Oscar Beck, Director Pratiksha; Rev Fr Alwin Jose Asst. Director Catholic Charities; Bro. Joyson DDS, representative from Cheshire Home, Holy Cross and St Ann’s, the village Mukhya and nearly 50 people mostly from Parsudih attended the ceremony. Presence of five Vincentian Priests from different centres added more joy to the occasion. With the completion of the building we hope to start regular retreats in the centre. (Sebastian Kallath VC)
LENTEN RETREATS BY DIDYA JYOTHI, JSR AND POPULAR MISSION CENTRE, BARELY
Rajaparam Mission Station: From 13-15 March, we conducted the Lenten Retreat at the Rajaparam, a village station of Chakradharpur parish. Every day the number of people kept on increasing and on the last day more than 400 people attended the retreat. Rev Fr. Prabhul Kumar Kerketta VC from Popular Mission Retreat Centre, Bareilly, UP was the main preacher. Some of the preaching was in Ho and we gratefully remember the service of Mr. Densor Hembrom for his preaching in Ho. Full time presence of Fr. Richard Miranda and his Holy Eucharist in Ho was very inspiring.
St. Robert’s Church, Parsudih: It was a gracious occasion for the faithful of St. Robert’s Church, Parsudih to participate in annual renewal retreat and prepare themselves spiritual to celebrate the great feast of Easter. The retreat began on 18th March, 2015 and continued till 22nd of March. According to their convenient people devotedly took part strengthened their faith in the risen Christ.
St. Joseph’s Cathedral and Mercy Chapel: “God has a plan for you, a place for you and the time for you” was the motivational statement of the retreat preachers for the faithful of Golmuri parishioners. In both the places a God experience retreat was preached simultaneously from 26-29 March, 2015. Prior to the retreat the preachers visited all the Catholic families of the parish and got acquainted with the family members. Special prayers were offered for the students, youth and family. The opportunities for counseling and for the celebration of the sacrament of reconciliation was given to all the faithful. A large number of the people percolated and profited from this beautiful retreat.
Jisu Marsal Church, Chandil: The same team led the renewal retread at Jisu Marsal Church, Chandil from 30th of March to 1st of April. It was definitely an great opportunity for the faithful of Chandil Parish to participate this retreat. From far away villages people came took part and received the blessiong for their families and community. Thanks to the retreat preachers and Parish Priest for giving such a rare opportunity.
St. Barabara Church, Mosaboni: In preparation of Easter the parishioners of St. Barbara Church Mosaboni also organized a renewal retreat from 20-22 March, 2015. Fr. Oscar Beck was the preacher who helped the faithful to reflect and meditate their life during these three days. All the faithful of the parish participated in this retreat and prayed for their special intentions. Jadugora Mission Station too had the same nature of renewal program from 27-28 March. It is a small community but very actively took part throughout the prayer service.
The Call to the priesthood… Can you hear it?
The Diocese of Jamshedpur and Society of Jesus, Jamshedpur province has programs such as vocation seminar and meetings for prospective candidates for priesthood from 12-17 April, 2015 at Pratiksha (Seminary), Jamshedpur. 10th & +2 pass boys please contact to the Vocation Offices for more information at following address:
The Vocation Promoter
Phone No.: 09572752429
The Vocation Promoter (S.J.)
Inigo Niwas, Candidate House
St. Xavier’s High School
P.B. No. 10, Chaibasa P.O.
Phone No.: 9798736320/09546721569
Leo John D’Souza
Fr. Robert Toppo