Saturday, April 30, 2016

The Catholic Diocese of Jamshedpur

Vol. 46 No. 5          Private Circulation Only              May– 2016

Dear brothers and sisters,

Pope Francis’s ground breaking new document “Amoris Laetitia” (“The Joy of Love”) asks the Church to meet people where they are, to consider the complexities of people’s lives and to respect people’s consciences when it comes to moral decisions. The apostolic exhortation is mainly a document that reflects on family life and encourages families. But it is also the Pope’s reminder that the Church should avoid simply judging people and imposing rules on them without considering their struggles.  

Using insights from the Synod of Bishops on the Family and from bishops’ conferences from around the world, Pope Francis affirms Church teaching on family life and marriage, but strongly emphasizes the role of personal conscience and pastoral discernment. He urges the Church to appreciate the context of people’s lives when helping them make good decisions.  The goal is to help families—in fact, everyone—experience God’s love and know that they are welcome members of the Church. All this may require what the Pope calls “new pastoral methods” (199).

Here are ten things to know about the pope’s ground breaking new document. 

1. The Church needs to understand families and individuals in all their complexity. The Church needs to meet people where they are. So pastors are to “avoid judgements which do not take into account the complexity of various situations” (296). People should not be “pigeonholed or fit into overly rigid classifications leaving no room for personal and pastoral discernment” (298). In other words, one size does not fit all. People are encouraged to live by the Gospel, but should also be welcomed into a Church that appreciates their particular struggles and treats them with mercy. “Thinking that everything is black and white” is to be avoided (305). And the Church cannot apply moral laws as if they were “stones to throw at people’s lives” (305). Overall, he calls for an approach of understanding, compassion and accompaniment.

2. The role of conscience is paramount in moral decision making. “Individual conscience needs to be better incorporated into the Church’s practice in certain situations which do not objectively embody our understanding of marriage” (303). That is, the traditional belief that individual conscience is the final arbiter of the moral life has been forgotten here. The Church has been “called to form consciences, not to replace them” (37). Yes, it is true, the Pope says, that a conscience needs to be formed by Church teaching. But conscience does more than to judge what does or does not agree with Church teaching. Conscience can also recognize with “a certain moral security” what God is asking (303). Pastors, therefore, need to help people not simply follow rules, but to practice “discernment,” a word that implies prayerful decision making (304).

3. Divorced and remarried Catholics need to be more fully integrated into the church. How? By looking at the specifics of their situation, by remembering “mitigating factors,” by counselling them in the “internal forum,” (that is, in private conversations between the priest and person or couple), and by respecting that the final decision about the degree of participation in the church is left to a person’s conscience (305, 300). (The reception of Communion is not spelled out here, but that is a traditional aspect of “participation” in church life.) Divorced and remarried couples should be made to feel part of the church. “They are not excommunicated and should not be treated as such, since they remain part” of the church (243). 

4. All members of the family need to be encouraged to live good Christian lives. Much of “Amoris Laetitia” consists of reflections on the Gospels and church teaching on love, the family and children. But it also includes a great deal of practical advice from the pope, sometimes gleaned from exhortations and homilies regarding the family. Pope Francis reminds married couples that a good marriage is a “dynamic process” and that each side has to put up with imperfections. “Love does not have to be perfect for us to value it” (122, 113). The pope, speaking as a pastor, encourages not only married couples, but also engaged couples, expectant mothers, adoptive parents, widows, as well as aunts, uncles and grandparents. He is especially attentive that no one feels unimportant or excluded from God’s love.

5. We should no longer talk about people “living in sin.” In a sentence that reflects a new approach, the Pope says clearly, “It can no longer simply be said that all those living in any ‘irregular situation’ are living in a state of mortal sin” (301). Other people in “irregular situations,” or non-traditional families, like single mothers, need to be offered “understanding, comfort and acceptance” (49). When it comes to these people, indeed everyone, the Church need to stop applying moral laws, as if they were, in the pope’s vivid phrase, “stones to throw at a person’s life” (305).  

6. What might work in one place may not work in another. The Pope is not only speaking in terms of individuals, but geographically as well. “Each country or region…can seek solutions better suited to its culture and sensitive to its traditions and local needs” (3). What makes sense pastorally in one country may even seem out of place in another. For this reason and others, as the Pope says at the beginning of the document that for this reason, not every question can be settled by the magisterium, that is, the Church’s teaching office (3). 

7. Traditional teachings on marriage are affirmed, but the church should not burden people with unrealistic expectations. Marriage is between one man and one woman and is indissoluble; and same-sex marriage is not considered marriage. The Church continues to hold out an invitation to healthy marriages. At the same time, the Church has often foisted upon people an “artificial theological ideal of marriage” removed from people’s everyday lives (36). At times these ideals have been a “tremendous burden” (122). To that end, seminarians and priests need to be better trained to understand the complexities of people’s married lives. “Ordained ministers often lack the training needed to deal with the complex problems currently facing families” (202).  

8. Children must be educated in sex and sexuality. In a culture that often commodifies and cheapens sexual expression, children need to understand sex within the “broader framework of an education for love and mutual self-giving” (280). Sadly, the body is often seen as simply “an object to be used” (153). Sex always has to be understood as being open to the gift of new life.

9. Gay men and women should be respected. While same-sex marriage is not permitted, the Pope says that he wants to reaffirm “before all else” that the homosexual person needs to be “respected in his or her dignity and treated with consideration, and ‘every sign of unjust discrimination’ is to be carefully avoided, particularly any form of aggression or violence.” Families with LGBT members need “respectful pastoral guidance” from the church and its pastors so that gays and lesbians can fully carry out God’s will in their lives (250). 

10. All are welcome. The Church must help families of every sort, and people in every state of life, know that, even in their imperfections, they are loved by God and can help others experience that love. Likewise, pastors must work to make people feel welcome in the Church. “Amoris Laetitia” offers the vision of a pastoral and merciful church that encourages people to experience the “joy of love.” The family is an absolutely essential part of the church, because after all, the church is a “family of families” (80).

                                                                                                                +Felix Toppo, S.J.
                                                                                                                                     Bishop of Jamshedpur

Month of May- dedicated to Our Blessed Mother
The month of May is dedicated to Mother Mary. This is one of the occasions where the faithful show their loving reverence to the Queen of Heaven and Earth in the Church or in their families. In this month, faithful very devotedly offer their love and devotion to Our Blessed Mother. The faithful receive innumerable blessings through the intercession of Mother Mary.

God the Father gave Mary as a loving mother and the Queen of Heaven and Earth to the world. So as a mother and queen she can intercede on our behalf to her Son and fulfill all our needs and desires. She is a mediator whose intercessions are never refused by her Son. Therefore, let us humbly come to venerate her.

I invite all the priests, religious and the faithful to partake in the veneration of Mary in the Month of May with love and devotion. Let’s pray that God’s kingdom, love and peace may reign in every family. (+Felix Toppo, S.J)

Around the Goble

Pope Francis exhorts the Christians to be Merciful

Pope Francis exhorted all the Christians to become messengers of Gospel through their acts of Mercy. In St. Peter’s Basilica at Rome, on the occasion of Divine Mercy Sunday, Pope Francis in his homily said: “We all are called to become living Gospels and messengers of His mercy. It can only be carried out through our way of life; corporal and spiritual acts of mercy. Acts of Mercy is the signature of Christianity. It is through the least and ordinary acts of mercy we experience and at the same time impart unfathomable love and mercy of God.

Gospel is the book of God’s Mercy, which we should always read, because it contains the works of mercy done by Jesus. It is through Jesus the disciples experienced the love of God the Father.

In His infinite Mercy all our human frailties and shortcomings are healed. To be an apostle of God’s Mercy is to be men and women who comfort the comfortless and aid the needy, even when we believe, they don’t deserve.

 A growing trend in India shows tribal people embracing either Christianity or Islam over Hinduism, said the latest government statistics. However some see divisive political fodder in the data. Government figures released in mid-April said the number of Christian tribal people has increased from 6.3 million in 2001 to 10.03 million in 2011, recording a 63 percent growth.

The number of tribal people who profess Islam has grown 51 percent from 1.2 million to 1.8 million during the period when the national census was last conducted. While the number of tribal people following the Hindu faith is much larger, their percentage growth has been comparatively less at 39 percent. The 60 million Hindu tribal people in 2001 grew to 84 million in 2011.

In contrast, total tribal population growth was only 23 percent from 84 million to 104 million for the period. The number of tribal people who do not belong to any religion or follow animism decreased from 16.4 million to 7.8 million, indicating increased religious conversions.

"There is nothing wrong" if the data is interpreted to show tribal people have been converting to Christianity, said Father Ranjit Tigga, head of the department of tribal studies at New Delhi's Indian Social Institute. He said the Indian constitution gives all citizens the freedom to profess and propagate a religion of their choice. Bishop Vincent Barwa of Simdega said that if the data is to be believed, then it is positive.

"It will give us a morale boost to work hard for evangelization and also it gives us the satisfaction that we are heading in the right direction," said Bishop Barwa who is the convener of the national bishops' office for tribal affairs. (UCAN News)

 Vocation camp at St. Joseph’s Bhilai Pahari

Jointly organized vocation camp for the boys by the Diocese and Province of Jamshedpur Jesuits was held in St. Joseph’s Hospital Campus, Bhilai Pahari from 30th March – 3rd April, 2016. 69 boys from the parishes of different dioceses came to participate in the vocation camp with a desire to become a priest. During these 3 days the boys were helped by the animators and various personnel of the Province as well as the diocese to understand the choice of life. Finally, they opted either for the diocese or Province. Thanks to Frs. Linus Kindo, Niranjan Minj, S.J, Dileep Marandi and others organized the camp. And a special thanks to all the priests, religious and laity who encouraged the boys to participate in the vocation camp.

Easter Peace Rally – 2016

This year the Christians of Jamshedpur organized the Easter Peace Rally on 28th March, 2016 at Loyola School ground, Bistupur. People from various denominations from the Steel City participated in this Rally in great numbers. This Rally started with the opening prayer by Rev. Fr. David Vincent, the Vicar General, Catholic Diocese of Jamshedpur. The Chief Guest of the Rally was the Auxiliary Bishop of the Arch Diocese of Ranchi, Bishop Theodore Mascarenhas, SFX. Fr. David Vincent, Fr. C. R. Prabhu, Fr. Camille Hembrom, Fr. Sebastian, Rev. Shishir Kerketta, Rev. Manoj Kumar Charan, Pastor Jennifer Raja Mohan and Rev. Madhu Naik inaugurated the programme by lighting the lamp. Before the Rally, Saban Barla, President, Christians of Jamshedpur gave the welcome address. Then the Chief Guest, Bishop Theodore few the balloons with the Easter Message and Fr. Sebastian flagged off the Rally. The Rally started from the Loyola Ground, through the main Road, circled the Gopal Maidan and returned to Loyola Ground where it turned into a prayer assembly. After returning to Loyola Ground, Miss. Alka Tigga, St. Anthony’s Church, Mango and Miss. Pushpa Topno, St. Joseph’s Cathedral, Golmuri, read related verus from the Holy Bible. In between the programme, pastor Rakesh Kandulna and his choir team performed beautifual hymns and filled the atmosphere with devotion. Rev. Manoj Kumar Charan, Beldih Baptist Church and Pastor Jennifer Raja, GEMS Church proclaimed the Risen Christ through versus from the Holy Bible and gave Easter Messages.

The General Secretary of the Catholic Bishops Conference of India, Auxiliary Bishop of Arch Diocese of Ranchi and the Chief Guest of the Easter Peace Rally, Bishop Theodore said in his address that the real anti-nationals are those who play politics in the name of religion and caste. Our country India will only progress when our countrymen, whichever religion or caste they belong to, get their legitimate rights. He said that today there are incidents of violence in many parts of India, in the name of religion and caste. It is a big challenge and worry for the country and the leaders should find appropriate solution to this. He further said that Christianity is the religion of love, peace and forgiveness. Hence, wherever, there would be the incidents of violence in the country, we shall oppose them. We believe in forgiving any mistakes/ shortcomings and to march forward with love and peace. He blessed everyone present in the rally. Rev. Shishir Kerketta blessed the offerings received during the Rally. Fr. Camille Hembrom offered the closing prayer.

We record with gratitude the active participation and contribution of Saban Barla, Rajan Rao, Peter Bonnerjee, Harry Francis, R. F. Thomas, Raunak Das, Pastor Vinay Kahchap, Rev. Madhu Naik, Pastor Rakesh Kandulna, Mrs. Maryanne Ekka, Miss. Pushpa Topno, Mrs. Francisca Francis, Fr. Xavier Ekka and his teach of Altar Servers, Fr. Sebastian, Fr. Leo D’Souza, Gossner Lakra Domnic Raj and his team, Patras Tirkey, Hemant Kumar Roy, Alexandar Miz, Pastor Suresh Dhanna Kumar, ICYM Youth, Ronal Rakesh etc., for the success of the Rally. Mrs. Arupudam Mary was the Master of the Ceremony. Thus, with the grace of Our dear Lord, Easter Peace Rally completes its 11 years (Mr. Peter Bonnerjee)

Sacred Ordination of Dn. Birender Tete to Priesthood at Jamtoli, Simdega

Dn. Birender Tete was ordained a priest by His Lordship Felix Toppo, S.J., on 12th April, 2016. The newly blessed and inaugurated Don Bosco Church at Jamtoli, Simdega was decorated by the parishioners for the ordination ceremony as it was the first ordination in the Church after its blessing. The Ordinati, Dn. Birender, accompanied by his mother and elder brother along with the Bishop, were led by the tune of beating of drums by the youth of the parish from the presbytery to the Church Entrance. There, the dancing girls to the traditional adivassi tunes, led the concelebrants along with the bishop to the altar. The parish priest welcomed the ordaining Prelate, priests and people. He gave a very inspiring introduction on the meaning of priesthood and the duties of a priest. The priest commentator explained so beautifully to the people the meaning and significance of every aspect of ordination ceremony.

After the ordination, a short swaagath was jointly arranged by the Catholic Sabha, Mahila Sangh and Yuva Sangh of the Parish. The entire ordination ceremony was made very solemn and meaningful by the melodious singing of the choir. The entire crowd sang every hymn with gusto, which made the entire ordination ceremony alive and meaningful. (Fr. Edwin)

One-Day Orientation Programme at Charbandiah

One-day Orientation programme was organized on the 2nd April, 2016 at St. Joseph’s School, Charbandiah for the teachers of St. Joseph’s School, Charbandiah, St. Mary’s School Omra and St. Paul’s School, Goilkera.

The teachers of above said schools were fortunate to have Dr. Fr. Ignatius Topno, SJ, Principal of Loyola College of Education, Jamshedpur, as their instructor. His interesting, impressing and inspiring talks enhanced and boosted their spirits and enthusiasm. They were also reminded of their commitment, dedication and responsibilities to the institutions and to their profession. They were advised as teachers and educators that they need to be active and creative. More emphasis was given on the new and updated methods of teaching and learning. The best use of technology and knowledge will always create an ‘Awe’ feeling in the students; it is the responsibility of the teachers to instil that spirit that would create a thirst for knowledge and thus, learning will become a life itself. 

The audio-visual presentation that was shown by Dr. Fr. Ignatius was also very educative. We hope that the outcome of the programme will be enriching and fruitful for everyone who partook in it and in turn they will ignite the fire of knowledge in the students.  

Sincere thanks to Dr. Fr. Ignatius Topno for having spared his time, leaving aside his busy schedule, and making the event a life-changing experience in the institutions. We sincerely thank and appreciate the hard work and the commitment Fr. Alex Dodari, the Principal of St. Joseph’s Charbandiah for organizing and facilitating the programme. (Mr. Isidore Surin)

Sacred Ordination of Dn. Alfred Bernard Balmuchu to Priesthood at Jhinkpani

20th April, 2016 will be considered as a historical day for St. Theresa’s Parish, Jhinkpani. On this auspicious day the first Priestly Ordination in Jhinkpatni took place at St. Theresa’s Church, Jhinkpani. This parish was founded in 1st October, 1978. During the last 38 years this parish has developed in many fields but the ordination of Dn. Alfred Bernard Barlmuchu gave a new vigour and enthusiasm to the people at Jhinkpani to walk close to the Lord.
The Ordination ceremony began at 8.30 am. The women by their beautiful entrance dance led the ordinati, the bishop Felix Toppo, S.J and the other priests to the altar. The offertory and the other dances were performed by the students and youth of St. Theresa’s Parish. Though it was a very hot day, the Ordination ceremony went on with lots of devotion and fervour. The choir group by their melodious songs made the ordination ceremony more meaningful and alive. For the faithful, the ordination ceremony was a wonderful experience.

The wonderful cultural programme that followed the ordination to felicitate the newly ordained was performed by the students of St. Theresa’s School. Then all proceeded for the sumptuous lunch.
Congratulations to the Fr. Bipin Barla, the Parish Priest, and the sisters of CMC, Jhinkpani for their tireless efforts to make this day a memorable day in the annals of history of St. Theresa’s Parish, Jhinkpani.

Sad Demise

Cicilia Xalxo (72), beloved mother of Dn. George Ekka, passed away in the Lord on April 4, 2016 at her house in Ambatoli, Rajawal. We express our sincere condolence to Dn. George Ekka and the grieving family and extend our prayers. May her soul Rest In Peace!

Alwin C.V.
Fr. Robert Toppo
Fr. Prince Dibash
Fr. Halan Bodra
Fr. Baldeo Hembrom
Fr. Georage Ekka
Fr. Michael Jojo
Fr. Roque Cardoza

MAY 2016
Feast of St. Joseph the Worker, Mass in Cathedral
Taking Over by SSH New Provincial : Mass
06.15 am
Mercy Convent House Blessing

Leave for Madurai

05.30 pm
Deacon Jayraj, Priestly Ordination

Return to JSR

04.30 pm
DSWC Governing Board Meeting
Jubilee of Fr. Elvius Dungdung
09.00 am
Meeting on Romi Missa Granth, SDC
06.30 am
Priestly Ordination of Deacon George Ekka
Final Profession of M.C. Sisters
Siadih. Handing over. Farewell

The XIV national meeting of the Conference of the Diocesan Priests of India (CDPI) was held from April 5 to 8, 2016 at Old Goa. Bishop Udumala Bala, the Bishop of Warangal and the Patron of CDPI, has requested the CDPI delegates at the meeting to publish the conference statement in their own diocesan newsletter. The conference statement is as follows: 


April 5–8, 2016
St. Joseph Vaz Spiritual Renewal Centre, Old Goa
We, the 235 members of Conference of the Diocesan Priests of India (CDPI), under the patronage of the CCBI, gathered from 62 dioceses of our beloved country at St. Joseph Vaz Spiritual Renewal Centre, Old Goa from April 5 to 8, 2016, year of the extra-ordinary Jubilee of Mercy, awed by the spirit of evangelization that blossomed in this very sacred place of both St. Francis Xavier and St. Joseph Vaz, have studied, reflected and prayed together under the guidance of our patron His Excellency Most. Rev. Udumala Bala together with 11 other bishops, on the theme: Priest as Minister of God Mirrored in the Person of Pope Francis. As the fruit of the deliberations at the four day-conference, we find Pope Francis an exemplary model to us pastors.
His Holiness Pope Francis is a special gift chosen and given by the Holy Spirit to the Church to lead her courageously yet with love and mercy in this difficult time of her history. Pope Francis has shown to the Church the servant model of his leadership. This is humble, joyful and merciful service. His earnest desire to have a Church of the poor for the poor originates from the depth of his being that is drenched in the spirit of his Master Jesus. Pope Francis has also emerged as a pastor par-excellence after the heart of the Good Shepherd Jesus. His communication springs forth from his heart where he meets our Lord Jesus every day when he spends long and intense hours in prayer. This brings about a special quality of his profound communication: genuineness, which is noted and appreciated even by the people of other faiths. In the short span of three years of his pontificate, Pope Francis has emerged as a powerful icon of mercy to a world that is torn apart by indifference, individualism, inhuman poverty and imbalanced development that serves only the rich and powerful.

Every Christian is one who is empowered by Christ whom one meets in the celebration of the sacraments and is guided by the light of faith. It is the light of faith that can lead a Christian to be a witness of the Joy of the Risen Lord. Christian is one who rejoices always and in every situation. “Rejoice in the Lord always. I say it again: rejoice” (Phil 4:4). Priests are called to radiate the joy of the Gospel in their lives and ministry. The Pope exhorts the priests to be genuine shepherds, who have the smell of the sheep for effective and fruitful ministry. The pedagogy of homily includes interpretation of people’s lives in the light of the Word. Effective homily can only be given by those priests who know their sheep. Like St. Francis of Assisi, his patron, Pope Francis treats nature as God’s creation and his own brothers and sisters. The Pope envisages an integral approach to ecology in the service of the Kingdom of God seeking to establish peace, justice, equality and thus promoting the common good of our universe. In her mission, the Church sees Pope Francis as a ray of hope for families, religious minorities, refugees, homeless people and the least.

Hence we, the diocesan priests, resolve to:
1.      Be another Christ in order to give Christ to others.
2.      Be in close communion with the Lord through regular personal prayer.
3.      Be contemplatives of the Word before we proclaim.
4.      Be nourished by the sacrament to nourish others.
5.      Be joyful ministers of the Gospel.
6.      Be the “Human Face of the Divine Mercy” by being merciful to all whom we meet.
7.      Be friends to the poor, the homeless, the refugees, strangers, and the least.
8.      Be defenders of the human dignity and rights of the Dalits and Tribals.
9.      Be instruments of peace and unity making constant efforts to avoid divisions based on caste, class, language and region.

10.  Be an understanding and compassionate pastor to the families by making regular pastoral visits and accompanying them in their struggles.

11.  Be agents and facilitators of unity and fraternity among the clergy and the people.

12.  Be care-takers and promoters of “our common home” especially by forming green teams at the parish and school level.

13.  Be witnesses to the simplicity of the Gospel by adopting a simple life style.

14.   Be faith formators, constantly accompanying the faithful by instructing them in faith through catechesis at the parish as well as school levels.

Prepared by Rev. Fr. Derek Fernandez, Rev. Fr. John Crasta and Rev. Fr. John Ponnore