THE NATIVITY OF JOHN THE BAPTIST
Every year according to our Liturgical Calendar, on June 24, we celebrate the Feast of the Nativity of John the Baptist, the son of Zechariah and Elizabeth. St. Luke writes about Zechariah and Elizabeth saying, “In the days of King Herod of Judea there lived a priest called Zechariah who belonged to the Abijah section of the priesthood, and he had a wife, Elizabeth by name, who was descendant of Aaron. Both were upright in the sight of God and impeccably carried out all the commandments and observances of the Lord. But they were childless: Elizabeth was barren and they were both advanced in years” (Lk.1:5-7). They lived in a village known as Hebron in the mountainous area of Judea. They were well to do, with a pretty house surrounded by an orchard with a kitchen garden, olive grove and other fruit trees. They were respected because of their uprightness and loved because of their fraternal charity to everyone.
St. Luke tells us that when Zechariah was in the Lord’s sanctuary and was burning the incense, the angel Gabriel appeared to him and announced saying, “Your wife Elizabeth is to bear you a son and you shall name him John... he will be great in the sight of the Lord...even from the mother’s womb he will be filled with the Holy Spirit....he will go before the Lord preparing a people fit for him” (Lk.1:13-17). Zechariah did not believe in the message of the angel and was punished to be speechless till the child was born.
When Mary greeted Elizabeth with an embrace, Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and with a deep salutation exclaimed, “You are blessed amongst women! Blessed is the Fruit of Your womb! How did I deserve that the Mother of my Lord should come to me, Your servant? There, at the sound of Your voice, the child leaped out of joy in my womb and when I embraced You, the Spirit of the Lord whispered deepest truths to my heart. You have brought holiness to my son whom I feel leaping with joy, like a happy little kid, in my womb, because he feels free from the burden of guilt, and is called to be the predecessor, sanctified before Redemption by the Holy One Who is growing within You!” Hearing Elizabeth’s inspired words, Mary raised her face and hands to heaven and exclaims, “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord” and continues the canticle as it has been handed down to us. Elizabeth, a holy and humble woman deserved to understand the mystery that was enclosed within Mary. The Spirit spoke to her through the child’s bouncing in her womb. The Baptist pronounced his first speech, as the Announcer of the Word, through the joy in his mother’s womb.
After Elizabeth gave birth to a boy child, Zacharias, remembering the name given by the angel, wrote on a tablet: “His name is John”, his tongue became free and filled with the Holy Spirit he began to exclaim: “I did not believe the angel, but now I believe and the Light is now in me. The Light is amongst us, but you do not see it. It is its destiny not to be seen, because the souls of men are encumbered and idle, but my son will see it, and will speak of It, and turn to It the hearts of the just in Israel. Oh! Blessed are those who believe in It and will always believe in the Word of the Lord. And blessed be You, O Eternal Lord, God of Israel, because you have visited and redeemed Your people, and You have raised up for us a powerful Saviour in the house of Your servant David”. And he continues the Benedictus given in St. Luke’s Gospel.
John the Baptist was the last and greatest of prophets. As the forerunner of the Saviour, he prepared the Jews for the advent of Christ. When Christ had come, St. John bore witness to him and encouraged his own followers to follow him. In fact, St. John is more than a prophet. He is the one of whom the scripture says, “Look, I am going to send my messenger before you; he will prepare your way before you” (Mi 3:1). In him, the Holy Spirit concludes his speaking through the prophets. He proclaims the cycle of prophets begun by Elijah. He proclaims the imminence of the consolation of Israel; he is the ‘voice’ of the Consoler who is coming. As the Spirit of truth will also do, John ‘came to bear witness of the light’. In John’s sight, the Spirit thus brings to completion the careful search of the prophets and fulfils the longing of the angels: Lamb of God.
+Felix Toppo, S.J.
Bishop of Jamshedpur
THE WORLD COMMUNICATION DAY
The World Communication Day was celebrated on the Feast of the Ascension of Our Lord- Sunday, May 17, 2015. The theme of this year’s World Communication Day was ‘Communicating the Family: A Privileged Place of Encounter with the Gift of Love’. (A summary of Pope’s Message is given below.)
In the family, we learn to embrace and support one another, to discern the meaning of facial expressions and moments of silence, to laugh and cry together with people who did not choose one other yet are so important to each other. More than anywhere else, the family is where we daily experience our own limits and those of others, the problems great and small entailed in living peacefully with others. A perfect family does not exist. We should not be fearful of imperfections, weakness or even conflict, but rather learn how to deal with them constructively. The family, where we keep loving one another despite our limits and sins, thus becomes a school of forgiveness.
When it comes to the challenges of communication, families who have children with one or more disabilities have much to teach us. A motor, sensory or mental limitation can be a reason for closing in on ourselves, but it can also become, thanks to the love of parents, siblings, and friends, an incentive to openness, sharing and ready communication with all. It can also help schools, parishes and associations to become more welcoming and inclusive of everyone.
In situations apparently dominated by hatred and violence, where families are separated by stone walls or the no less impenetrable walls of prejudice and resentment, where there seem to be good reasons for saying ‘enough is enough’, it is only by blessing rather than cursing, by visiting rather than repelling, and by accepting rather than fighting, that we can break the spiral of evil, show that goodness is always possible, and educate our children to fellowship.
Today the modern media, which are an essential part of life for young people in particular, can be both a help and a hindrance to communication in and between families. The media can be a hindrance if they become a way to avoid listening to others, to evade physical contact, to fill up every moment of silence and rest, so that we forget that ‘silence is an integral element of communication; in its absence, words rich in content cannot exist’. The media can help communication when they enable people to share their stories, to stay in contact with distant friends, to thank others or to seek their forgiveness, and to open the door to new encounters.
The great challenge facing us today is to learn once again how to talk to one another, not simply how to generate and consume information. The family is a community which provides help, which celebrates life and is fruitful. Once we realize this, we will once more be able to see how the family continues to be a rich human resource, as opposed to a problem or an institution in crisis. At times the media can tend to present the family as a kind of abstract model which has to be accepted or rejected, defended or attacked, rather than as a living reality.
This year’s message calls on the faithful to see families as “a resource rather than as a problem for society” and invites families to be examples of Christ’s love, kindness and fellowship.
ST. JOSEPH’S CATHEDRAL, GOLMURI
May 1st was indeed a remarkable day for the parishioners of St Joseph’s Cathedral, Golmuri. The Parish Day was celebrated with lots of joy, pomp and glory. The festivity began with the solemn Eucharistic celebration presided by Ret. Rev. Bishop Felix Toppo, S. J. The cultural progaramme presented by the parishioners at the Welfare Hall was appreciated by all. In Bishop’s message, the story about the miraculous spiral staircase, attributed to have been built by St. Joseph, inspired everyone present. On this event, many who have been the back-bone of every development and various activities of the parish were remembered and honoured. Frs. David Vincent, V.G., Camil, Michael Deogam, Edwin and Jilson graced the occasion. Congratulations to Frs. Camil and Michael for the successful Parish Day Celebrations.
Many members of the Bishop’s House Community were struck down by viral fever. The first one to be down and to be admitted in the hospital was Fr. Jilson, as he returned from holidays. The next one in queue was Fr. Johny Vithayathil. Though affected by fever, Fr. Edwin succeeded in evading hospitalization. Thanks to Fr. Linus for the timely care and Sisters of Mercy Hospital for their healing hands.
THE HOUSE FEAST OF MERCY CONVENT
The House Feast of Mercy Convent was celebrated on 4th of May 2015. Bishop Felix Toppo, SJ., all the neighboring priests and friends joined the SCJM sisters in thanking the Lord in the solemn Eucharistic celebration for all the blessings that the Lord has been showering upon them in their life and ministry. Srs. Asha, Saroj, Stella and Roshni renewed their vows of their consecrated life in the Congregation of Jesus, Mary and Joseph and submitted their vows to Sr. Teresa, SCJM., the superior of the community, who represented the provincial. A sumptuous meal was served for everyone present.
CONFIRMATION AND PASTORAL VISITATION: KIRIBURU
May 10, 2015 will be inscribed in golden letters in the annals of history of St Joseph’s Church, Kiriburu. It was indeed a joyous day for the whole of Jamshedpur diocese as 167 members of Kiruburu Parish were administered the sacrament of Confirmation, of whom 50 were adults. The candidates of confirmation were from 6 units, namely, Kiriburu, Holonguli, Chotanagra, Gua, Kudlibad and Karampada. They were prepared separately in their own units for the reception of Confirmation and on the last three days all of them were brought together in the Church and were given special instructions and classes.
There was an aroma of joy and festivity everywhere. The culmination of joy was at the Eucharistic celebration; the very well-responses and the celestial choir added colours to the celebration. Congratulations to Frs Sureesh and Ranjeet for making this event remarkable in the history of St Joseph’s Church, Kiriburu.
ORDINATION OF DEACON MARIA CHARLES
St. Charles Parish in ‘the Pearl City’ known as Tuticorin beamed with joy as it received its first priest pearl, Fr. Maria Charles who got ordained for the diocese of Jamshedpur on 7th May, 2015 at the Sacred Heart Cathedral campus along with seven other deacons of Palayamkottai diocese by the Most Rev. Jude Paulraj DD, the bishop of Palayamkottai. Over five thousand faithful and two hundred priests witnessed this event. There were people representing various seminaries and parishes where the deacons were formed – Chennai, Pune, Ranchi and elsewhere. Fr. Roque Cardoza, Fr. Selvaraj, Deacon Jeyaraj, Br. Jino Jonis represented the diocese of Jamsehdpur. The presiding bishop in a private conversation spoke highly of the diocese of Jamshedpur. The diocese gratefully acknowledged the diocese of Jamshedpur for accepting Fr. Maria Charles from their diocese as a missionary. On the following morning, i.e., 8th May, 2015 Fr. Maria Charles along with Frs. Roque, Selva, Dn. Jeyaraj and other priests offered the thanksgiving Eucharist at St. Charles Church, his home parish. A sumptuous breakfast was served soon after the mass. The mother, brother, relatives and friends of Fr. Maria Charles were thrilled to have their loved one at the altar of God, breaking the bread and wine. Congratulations and all the best for your future priestly ministry, dear Fr. Maria Charles! (Fr. Raju f Crasta)
SILVER JUBILEE OF FR. VALERIUS LAKARA, SDB
It is a blessing to be a priest, but what is more gracious is, when you become a blessing for others; Quarter century in the service of Lord’s Vineyard! Hearty congrats Fr. Valerius for completing this great milestone, touching thousands of souls.
With grateful hearts to God, with a lot of appreciation and love towards Fr. Valerius Lakara, the Christian Community at Jhargo celebrated the Silver Ordination Jubilee of Fr. Valerius. On this auspicious occasion, four children were administered the First Holy Communion. Bishop Felix Toppo, the main celebrant at the Eucharistic celebration, congratulated and thanked Fr Valerius for his dedication and selfless service and exhorted the communicants about the invaluable gift of Holy Eucharist. Fr. Edward Dang, the assistant parish priest, gave a small biography of Fr Valerius and anchored the whole programme. The active participation and remarkable choir of the people reinstated that how successful Fr. Valerius is in his ministry. A small cultural programme followed the Eucharistic celebration. In his response, Fr. Valerius requested the prayers of the people for everyone at the service of the Lord. Frs. Vijay Bhatt, the former parish priest, Thobias Kujur, Dileep Marandi and Jilson represented the diocese along with Fr. Edward, the Asst. PP, joined Fr. Valerius in thanking God for the blessed 25 years of his service. A sumptuous meal was served for everyone present.
LENDING A HAND OF RELIEF TO THE PEOPLE IN NEED
The City Youth on Sunday, 24th May, carried out a unique drive; selling cold-drinks after the Mass in all the city parishes and Mass centers in view of raising funds for the Nepal earthquake victims. Over 50 youth from different parishes took part in the drive.
Congratulation to all the youth for their commendable effort as well as for bringing some relief to the parishioners on a day when the temperature went beyond 44º. Sincere thanks to the parish priests and sisters for their support and encouragement. (Fr. Dileep Marandi)
LANGUAGE COURSE AND SUMMER CAMP OF THE BROTHERS
May 1- 26, 2015 marked a remarkable event for the brothers of Jamshedpur diocese. It was a golden opportunity for the brothers, studying at various seminaries, to come together and to spend a part of their holidays in learning Ho language and culture at St. Theresa’s Church, Jhinkkpani, under the guidance of Frs. Halan Bodra and Bipin Barla from May 1-18th. The life experiences shared by Mr. Dhanusingh Purty, Mr. Paulus Bodra and Sr. Magdali, OUS inspired the brothers and gave an impetus to work at the vineyard of the Lord. After these mind storming sessions the brothers were sent to villages, two by two, to spend time with the people, putting into practice what they have learned and helping the people to spend the month of May more devotedly reciting rosaries and guiding them in their spiritual life.
A summer camp followed the language course. St. Mary’s Junior Block witnessed the zeal and vigour of our brothers as they were instilled the rudiments of music and computers. Few sisters and lay people shared their expectations and experiences with the brothers while the priests reminiscenced their life as seminarians and gave guidelines for their formation. On the final day, there was a friendly basket-ball match between the brothers and fathers in which the seniors bet the youngsters. A cultural bonanza presented by the brothers entertained everyone present. (Fr. Linus Kindo)
FR. JILSON @ THE BISHOP’S HOUSE
With the new appointment, Fr. Jilson T L has already taken over the offices of P.A., Secretary, Chancellor, and at the marriage tribunal of the diocese from 11th May 2015. He has just completed his licentiate in Canon Law from St. Peter’s Pontifical Institute, Bangalore. Congratulations to Fr. Jilson and all the best wishes in his new undertakings.
Contact No:08521608509; email id : firstname.lastname@example.org
BISHOP’S PROGRAMME, JUNE 2015
Most Rev. Felix Toppo, S.J. has left for U.S.A. He will be out of the Diocese from 18th May – 20th June, 2015. In his absence Rev. Fr. David Vincent, the Vicar General, will take care of the ordinary office of the Diocese.
BIRTHDAY BABIES - JUNE
Fr. Halan Bodra
Fr. Michael Jojo
Fr. Roque Cardoza