Saturday, March 31, 2018

The Dignity of Priesthood

 Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ Jesus,

God in His infinite Wisdom, beyond the comprehension of man, made man - a priest, His representative, alter christus, on earth. Senses cannot grasp this marvel; it is in faith that we understand the true meaning of alter christus. Hence, the answer to the question, ‘Who is Jesus?’ is the understanding of the person of Jesus in our personal experiences: He is the Son of God, He is the eternal High Priest, the Eternal Truth, the anointed of God, the sovereign Ruler of the world and King of Kings.

In his public life, He not only gave sight to the blind but also cured his spiritual blindness; while curing the deaf, he also gave him the words of eternal life. He made the cripple walk that they may walk towards the righteousness of God. He cleansed the lepers that they may experience the purity of heart. For Jesus, the conversion of a sinner is much grater than raising a dead to life. He sowed the seeds of brotherly love and compassion to the poor and the rich alike. He summarized the whole Torah and gave them the commandment of love.  

Jesus assumed the Kingship after his resurrection from the dead. His kingship is His Cross. He is the ultimate Judge; He will judge us after our demise. And on the Last Judgement Day the whole human race will face the justice of the Lord. On that day, there will be no room for contrition or forgiveness of sins. Jesus, the judge will separate the sheep from the goats, the good from the bad. The good ones will behold the glory of the Lord and enter into His Kingdom and the bad ones will inherit the eternal hell that has been prepared for them.

Jesus, through his suffering, crucifixion, death and resurrection gained for us the eternal salvation. However, humans as frail we are fall into temptation and commit sins. Hence, there is a continual requirement for contrition and forgiveness of sins. Jesus instituted the Holy Priesthood that He may continue his works of divine mercy and forgive the sins of the humans. It is the divine mandate of the priests to dispense the forgiveness of God through the sacrament of Reconciliation.   

The greatest work that has been entrusted to a priest is celebration of the Holy Eucharist. Eucharist, in which the Offeror and the offering becomes one is the ultimate expression of Divine Love. In the Eucharist, the bread and wine is transubstantiated into the Body and Blood of Christ through the hands of a priest. The Eucharist in itself is a miracle unfathomable to the human senses. Every priest is to celebrate this great mystery with unblemished and a contrite heart. He needs to be fortified with the faith in the Trinity, instilled with the gifts of faith, hope and charity and guided by the Spirit. He is to understand the divine mystery of God becoming man – to the extent of being a creature, to be with us till the end of the world, in the form of the Eucharist. Humility and sincerity are the pillars on which a priest can raise himself to the altar of the Lord.   

It is not easy to be a priest. A priest is in the world, with all the troubles and difficulties surrounding it; war, homicide, hatredness and malice. He cannot keep himself away from all the issues of the world. Instead, it is his duty to intercede for the people to the Lord on their behalf. At the same time, it is true, that there exists troubles in the Church because of our human frailties and spiritual immaturity. Sometimes the worldly malic and sins creep into the lives of priests and hinter them to carry out his divine mandate; this can lead the people of God astray. Hence, it is the duty of every faithful to pray for Priests. They are the dispensers of God’s grace amongst us. We must pray that every priest, being aware of his frailties, trust in the Lord who called him, and lead a life rooted in the Gospel values preached by Christ. Every priest must reinvent himself, and love God and love the people that has been entrusted to him. The Gospels are his light that eradicate the darkness of life and illumines the path to eternal life. We must pray that every priest remembers his call and reinstate the friendship with Jesus in every day of his life. Let us remember the letter to the Hebrews, 5:1-3, “Every high priest is selected from among the people and is appointed to represent the people in matters related to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. He is able to deal gently with those who are ignorant and are going astray, since he himself is subject to weakness. This is why he has to offer sacrifices for his own sins, as well as for the sins of the people”.

Your Friend in Christ,
+Felix Toppo, S.J

Gharwapasi of Father Camille Bulcke

A different kind of ‘gharwapasi’ (homecoming) was witnessed in Jharkhand in the month of March, which had support from all sections and was opposed by none. The remains of renowned Hindi and Sanskrit scholar, Father Camille Bulcke was finally brought from Delhi’s Nicholson cemetery and reburied on the premises of Ranchi’s St. Xavier’s College located on Camille Bulcke Path, named after him. He came to India from Belgium in 1935 to spread the teachings of Christ and not only found a spiritual inspiration in Goswami Tulsidas but became one of the best exponents of Ramkatha (the story of Ram).

In a state where religious conversion has always been a highly sensitive and contentious issue and anti-conversion laws have been introduced by the government; where conflict simmers between Christian and Sarna Adivasis, between Hindus and Muslims, between Christians and Hindus and between Christians and Muslims, people of all religions attended the ceremonial reburial of Father Bulcke’s remains to mark his final resting place in his karmbhoomi, Jharkhand, 35 years after his death.

The reburial of his skeletal remains was announced as part of the Adivasi tradition of hadgadi, where the remains of the ancestors are carried as a blessing and reburied, as tribes move from one village to another. Baba Bulcke’s ‘gharwapasi’ has restored a great sense of pride to various communities but will his teachings and scholarly works also inspire a new thinking among the youth in Jharkhand and beyond.  It is befitting that the plaque installed along with his mortal remains and a beautifully sculpted bust, is engraved with the following doha from Tulsi’s Ramcharitmanas.

Parhit saris dharam nahin bhai
Par peera sam nahin adhmai.
There is no better dharma (religious duty) than benevolence; nothing more sinful than malevolence towards others.

Notification on the Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church

Following the inscription of the Obligatory Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church into the Roman Calendar, which must already be celebrated by everyone this year on the Monday after Pentecost, it seemed opportune to offer the following directions.

The rubric found in the Roman Missal after the formularies for the Mass of Pentecost, Where the Monday or Tuesday after Pentecost are days on which the faithful are obliged or accustomed to attend Mass, the Mass of Pentecost Sunday may be repeated, or a Mass of the Holy Spirit, may be said” (Missale Romanum, p. 448), is still valid because it does not derogate precedence between liturgical days whose celebration are solely regulated by the Table of Liturgical Days (cf. Universal Norms on the Liturgical Year and the Calendar, n. 59).  Likewise, precedence is regulated by the norms on Votive Masses:Votive Masses are in principle forbidden on the days on which there occurs an Obligatory Memorial, on a weekday of Advent up to and including 16 December, on a weekday of Christmas Time from 2 January, or on a weekday of Easter Time after the Octave of Easter.  However, for pastoral reasons, as determined by the rector of the church or the Priest Celebrant himself, an appropriately corresponding Votive Mass may be used in a celebration of Mass with the people(Missale Romanum, p.1156; cf. General Instruction of the Roman Missal, n. 376).

Nevertheless, all else being equal, the Obligatory Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church is to be preferred.  The texts of the Memorial were attached to the Decree along with indications for the readings, which are to be held as proper because they illuminate the mystery of Spiritual Motherhood.  In a future edition of the Ordo lectionum Missæ the rubric at n. 572 bis will expressly indicate that the readings are proper and, even though it is a Memorial, are to be adopted in place of the readings of the day, (cf. Lectionary, General Introduction, n. 83)

In the case where this Memorial coincides with another Memorial the principles of the Universal Norms on the Liturgical Year and Calendar are to be followed (cf. Table of Liturgical Days, n. 60).  Given that the Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church is linked to Pentecost, as the Memorial of the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary is similarly linked to the celebration of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, then, in the case where it coincides with another Memorial of a Saint or Blessed, and following the liturgical tradition of pre-eminence amongst persons, the Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary is to prevail.

From the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, 24 March, 2018

Chrism Mass - 2018

Diocese of Jamshedpur left no stones unturned to make Chrism Mass – 2018 a memorable one. The Chrism Mass was held on 22nd March, 2018 at St. Joseph’s Cathedral, Golmuri. The day began with a Pastoral Clergy Meeting, chaired by Rev. Bishop Felix Toppo, S.J. He explained in detail about the current socio-political situation in Jharkhand and their influences in our ministry.

Fr. I. P. Sartho, the resource person, helped the priests to analyze the challenges that priest face today and the expectations of the people of God. The talk was very interactive in nature and informative. In the afternoon, Fr. I. P. Sartho led everyone present to a prayerful recollection.  The clergy and the religious made the best use of the recollection, benediction and reconciliation in the afternoon.

The Holy Eucharist with the blessing of the Holy Oils was celebrated at 5.30 pm. In the Holy Eucharist, Bishop felicitated and prayed for the Jubilarians who are celebrating the Silver Jubilee of their Sacerdotal Ordination. Rt. Rev. Bishop Felix Toppo was also felicitated at this function as he is celebrating his Golden Jubilee in the religious life.

There were more than 120 priests for the Eucharistic celebration; the cathedral was full with the religious and laity. Congratulations to everyone who made Chrism Mass -2018 a memorable one. 

Community College, Mango, Jamshedpur

The community college, Mango, Jamshedpur held its 9th convocation day on 17th March, 2018 in the college premises. Most Rev. Bishop Felix Toppo, S.J was the Chief Guest for the function and Mr. Ratan Prakash (Asst. Divisional Manager, Tata Hitachi) was the Guest of Honor. The Sisters from PDDM Congregation, Sr. M. Cidia Awoki, PDDM, Sr. M. Refugio Saldate, PDDM, General Councilor too graced the occasion. The parents of the students and well-wishers of the college too were present for the function. The students of the 10th batch presented a well-arranged programme. The principal Sr. Tessy PDDM in her annual report spelled out various programs held in the college during the year. The students are trained as heath assistants. Along with this program, the students are also taught a) life coping skills, b) interpersonal relationship and communication skills, c) basic computer skills, d) conversational English, e) Yoga-meditation Skills.

Two students of 9th batch shared their life story which brought tears in the eyes of the audience. A hope of better tomorrow was seen in their eyes. They thanked the sisters and the instructors for motivating them and finding placement for all 21 students. Congratulations to Srs. Tessy, Reshma and Zita for training these students and finding placements for them. (Fr. Edwin Coelho)

Richard Miranda
Leo John D’Souza
Sahaya Thason
Paulus Bodra
Pascal Minj
Sushil Dungdung

APRIL 2018


09.30 am
Meeting with the Superiors of Communities and Principals and Secretaries of Schools
06.00 pm
Farewell Function of the Seminarians at Pratiksha
09.30 am
Finance Meeting with the Auditors
07.30 am
06.00 pm
Silver Jubilee of Sr. Premlata, A.C. Park View
09.00 am
Youth Programme by Mahila Sangh. Cath. Charities
09.30 am
JDES GB Meeting
07.00 am
Sr. Emelda Soreng, Provincial, DSA, Gumla
To Bangalore

Board Meeting of CBCI CARD
To Delhi

Hindi Regional Bishops’ Meeting in Goldakkhana
Return to Ranchi, JSR

06.00 pm
Golden Jubilee, Sr. Marie Zelie, A.C.
07.30 am
Confirmation St. Paul Miki Church
09.00 pm
Seminar of Principals