Category Archives: Teacher

Ideas for Celebrating Halloween

Shine A Light’ To Witness To Christian Faith – Christians across the dicoese are being invited to place a light in their window on 31st October as a sign to passers-by that they are followers of Jesus Christ.
The initiative is called Night of Light and is the inspiration of Damian Stayne, the founder of the Catholic community, Cor et Lumen Christi. He explained: ‘The Night of Light is an international initiative to reclaim Halloween as a joyful Christian celebration. In many countries around the world children’s celebrations are being organised, as are prayer gatherings, with people putting a light in their window to visibly witness to neighbours and friends.’
He added: ‘The evening of 31st October is called Halloween (‘All Hallows Eve’) and is the vigil (beginning) of the Feast of All Saints – the feast in which Catholics celebrate the glory of God in His saints, the victory of light over darkness in the lives of God’s holy ones in heaven. Jesus is the “Light of the World”. The saints lived by that light, and became a beacon in their own generation. Everyone is called by Jesus to live out this vocation – to be the “Light of the world” for others today.’
Making faith visible – Archbishop Vincent Nichols recently wrote in his Pastoral Letter to the diocese: ‘Making faith visible is so much a part of the invitation the Holy Father has extended to us all.’ Participating in the Night of Light is offered as one way of responding to that invitation. As participants are able, suggested key elements of the Night of Light include:
– Attending a vigil Mass for the Feast of All Saints
– Spending all night adoring Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament
– Providing treats and fun for children in celebration of All Saints and the Light of Christ; e.g. a bonfire or dressing up as saints.
– Placing a light in your window (safely) as a sign to passers-by that yours is a Christian household and Christ is your light.
– Some may like to wear a white item of clothing as a symbol of their allegiance to Christ, Our Light.
A sign of hope – Although the Night of Light has run previously, this year in partnership with the Home Mission Desk of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales it is being offered as a way of following up the Visit of the Holy Father to the UK.
Bishop Kieran Conry (Arundel and Brighton), Chair of the Department for Evangelisation and Catechesis, said: ‘Halloween is now the biggest commercial festival after Christmas and Easter, and it is time we reminded Christians of what it really is. The celebration of feast days is an important part of our Catholic culture. On the evening of 31 October why not do something to make your faith respectfully seen and heard? Light a candle or display publicly another kind of light, for example, perhaps alongside animage of Christ. This could be a powerful way in which we can show people that we have hope in someone other than ourselves. The light will provoke questions and is a way that people can be signposted to goodness. I encourage everyone to participate.’
Additional ideas and resources to celebrate the night can be found on: http://www.nightoflight.orghttp://www.rcdow.org.uk

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Fr. Jim Borst Served Quit India Order

Fr Jim Borst MHM

Dutch missionary Fr Jim Borst, the only Mill Hill Missionary serving in the Kashmir Valley since 1963 has been served a notice by the Foreigners Registration Officer, Kashmir to quit India by July 2010. There has been a systematic campaign not only of calumny but also terror against Fr Borst as terrorists attacked his educational institution Good Shepherd School, Pulwama on two occasions in a row in 2003. It is only too well known that a section of the Muslim intelligentsia which is also running many schools in the same vicinity where the Catholic missionary has been running his school, have been campaigning against Good Shepherd School. Its underlying grudge is that the schools run by them are not in a position to compete with the school run by the missionary. Since there would be no purchasers of that grudge, it has been giving currency to the idea since 2003 that Good Shepherd School was carrying out conversions of the local population in the name of providing education.
The Mill Hill Missionaries have been pioneers in the state of Jammu and Kashmir in the field of arranging education and health care facilities since 1891-92 and there is no trace of evidence yet to confirm that the percentage population of Christians has grown to more than what it was a century earlier. Fr Borst has been Principal at the St. Joseph’s School, Baramulla and the Burn Hall School, Srinagar.
It is true that Dr.Farooq Abdullah to Mirwaiz Umer Farooq and the present Chief Minister Omar Abdullah all are the products of the schools started by the missionaries both the Catholic and Protestant.
I am reminded of the days of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi when the Swiss Augustinian missionaries in St Augustine’s school Kalimpong (N.Bengal) were served quit India order on the pretext of “national security”. When their appeal to reason and hallowed constitutional rights did not prevail, the missionaries approached their home department which deftly intervened by threatening to freeze Indiraji’s Swiss Bank accounts… And presto, the missionaries were served a fresh letter from the Home Ministry praising their work among the hill tribe!!!

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Unsung Heroine: Irena Sendler

Irena Sendler (1900 -1998)

WARSAW – A 98 year-old Irena died 12 May 2008. Irena Sendler was born in 1910 in Otwock, a town some 15 miles southeast of Warsaw. She was greatly influenced by her father who was one of the first Polish Socialists. As a doctor his patients were mostly poor Jews. In 1939, Germany invaded Poland, and the brutality of the Nazis accelerated with murder, violence and terror. At the time, Irena was a Senior Administrator in the Warsaw Social Welfare Department, which operated the canteens in every district of the city. Previously, the canteens provided meals, financial aid, and other services for orphans, the elderly, the poor and the destitute. Now, through Irena, the canteens also provided clothing, medicine and money for the Jews. They were registered under fictitious Christian names, and to prevent inspections, the Jewish families were reported as being afflicted with such highly infectious diseases as typhus and tuberculosis.
But in 1942, the Nazis herded hundreds of thousands of Jews into a 16-block area that came to be known as the Warsaw Ghetto. The Ghetto was sealed and the Jewish families ended up behind its walls, only to await certain death. Irena Sendler was so appalled by the conditions that she joined Zegota, the Council for Aid to Jews, organized by the Polish underground resistance movement, as one of its first recruits and directed the efforts to rescue Jewish children.
Irena, got permission to work in the Warsaw ghetto, as a Plumbing/Sewer specialist. She had an ‘ulterior motive’ … She KNEW what the Nazi’s plans were for the Jews, (being German.) Irena smuggled infants out in the bottom of the tool box she carried and she carried in the back of her truck a burlap sack, (for larger kids.)
She also had a dog in the back that she trained to bark when the Nazi soldiers let her in and out of the ghetto.
The soldiers of course wanted nothing to do with the dog and the barking covered the kids/infants noises.
During her time of doing this, she managed to smuggle out and save 2500 kids/infants. She was caught, and the Nazi’s broke both her legs, arms and beat her severely.
Irena kept a record of the names of all the kids she smuggled out and kept them in a glass jar, buried under a tree in her back yard.
After the war, she tried to locate any parents that may have survived it and reunited the family. Most had been gassed.
Those kids she helped got placed into foster family homes or adopted.
Last year Irena was up for the Nobel Peace Prize … She was not selected.
Al Gore won, for a slide show on Global Warming.
It is now more than 60 years after the Second World War in Europe ended.
20 million Russians, 10 million Christians, 6 million Jews and 1,900 Catholic priests were murdered, massacred, raped, burned, starved and humiliated with the German and Russian Peoples looking the other way!
Now, more than ever, with Iraq , Iran , and others, claiming the Holocaust to be ‘a myth,’ it’s imperative to make sure the world never forgets, because there are others who would like to do it again.

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Vatican Radio Interview

Fr. C. M. Paul & Robin Gomes at the Vatican Radio

VATICAN CITY – The Vatican Radio English language for India broadcast a two part interview on my receiving the “Multimedia at the Service of the Gospel Award” at the 25th International Catholic Film Festival, Niepokalanow, Poland, 27 May 2010.
Mr. Robin Gomes from Kolkata who has been with Vatican Radio for over 20 years did the interview.
First part of the interview was on the Film Festival of Niepokalanow (Warsaw, Poland) which concluded on 30th May and the “Multimedia at the Service of the Gospel” award I received at the festival inauguration, 27 May from Catholic Film Association of Poland. It was broadcast on 24th June.
The second part of the same interview was on Indian films at the festival and on the need for a Catholic film festival. It was broadcast, 1st July.

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Salesian Appointed Vice-Chancellor of Lateran University Rome

Fr Enrico Dal Covolo

ROME – Pope Bendict XVI appointed Salesian Father Enrico Dal Covolo the Vice-Chancellor (Rettore) of the Pontifical Lateran University Rome, 30 June.  He succeeds Archbishop  Salvatore Fisichella titular archbishop of Vicohabentia who is President of the Pontifical Academy for Life.
Fr Dal Covolo is professor of ancient Christian literature at the Pontifical Salesian University. He is a member of the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences and, since 2002, a consultor for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. In Lent 2010, he preached the annual seven-day spiritual exercises for the Pope and the Curia. Fr Dal Covolo, 59, is also the general postulator of the Salesians of Don Bosco.
The Pontifical Lateran University (Pontificia Università Lateranense or Lateranum) is a university by pontifical right based in RomeItaly. The university also hosts the central session of the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family. The university is known as “The Pope’s University” as it is the only Pontifical University in Rome which was neither founded nor is currently governed by a Religious Order. The university’s Grand Chancellor is the Vicar General to the Holy Father for the Diocese of Rome, and thus the university is placed directly under the authority of the Pope. The university can boast of four saints among its alumni. Today the Pontifical Lateran University has a student body from over 100 nationalities. The Lateran University was founded in 1773 by Pope Clement XIV after he had suppressed the Society of Jesus, and officially entrusted the clergy of Rome with the mission to teach theology and philosophy to seminarians from Roman Colleges. The university today has five faculties: Philosophy, Theology, Utriusque Iuris, Canon Law and Civil Law.

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Sisters Renewal Programme Animators Awed by Group Enthusiasm

L to R: Sr Edna and Sr Maire at Project Mornese.

MORNESE, N. Italy, (C.M. Paul) — The two animators of 29 member Project Mornese English (PME) speaking group say they are overwhelmed accompanying the groups each time. While for Irish Sr Maire O’Byrne it is the 10th time accompanying PME, for U.S. born Sister Edna Mary Mac Donald former provincial of Australian province it is the 5th time.
“I have always found the experience very life giving for myself, as well as for the group. I feel it is a privilege to be able to accompany my Sisters in this experience, especially those who would not otherwise have an opportunity to visit the places of our Founders,” says Sr O’Byrne, 44 years a Salesian Sister.
“Those coming to Italy for the first time are in awe as they come into personal contact with the places and centre of the Catholic Church and of our charism,” says Sr Mac Donald who discontinued accompanying PME group on appointment as Salesian Sisters provincial of Australian province.

Sr Edna and Sr Maire Tending the flame!

“These Sisters return to their provinces with a renewed sense of purpose regarding the Church, our congregation and are re-energised in their personal call to continue to deepen their own human, Christian and religious journey,” adds Sr Mac Donald.
“Accompanying each group, I come away in awe at the journey each Sister is wholeheartedly willing to continue and to pass on to others what is truly life-giving,” explains Sr Mac Donald who served two terms on AMOR (Asia/Oceania meeting of Religious) Executive.
An exhilarating moment in accompanying the group is “to see the wonder and amazement on the Sisters’ faces when they actually come in contact with sacred places in Rome, Turin and Mornese,” says Sr Mac Donald who holds a PhD degree in education from the University of South Australia.
She spells out major group experiences as “depth of prayer in the group, a sense of profound gratitude for the privilege of the pilgrimage and being blessed to walk with others along the journey of life.”

Project Mornese Sisters Maire, Rosalia, Lucy & Edna

“The PME methodology is experiential and allows for the true sense of pilgrimage to be actualized maximising the possibility for growth and change to occur in each Sister at her own pace,” says Sr. Mac Donald who had her religious training in the U.S. and Italy before moving to Australia as a young religious. She has worked for over 40 years in education and is involved in the initial religious formation program of FMA South Pacific Region province.
Sr Byrne adds, “ One of the most important aspects [of PM] is that it is designed for every Sister not just a privileged few. It is also very valuable because [it] is based on experience and gives time for personal reflection and going in depth.”
The PM gives Salesian Sisters worldwide opportunity to re-vitalize their Christian, religious and Salesian charism. The month-long course is offered each year in five languages (Italian, English, Spanish, Portuguese and French) through a progressive pilgrimage in three places connected with their charism – Rome, Turin and Mornese.

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Reminiscences of First Indian Salesian General Councilor

Dr Thomas Panakezham SDB

ROME – Dr. Thomas Panakezham, the first Indian Salesian to be provincial of Chennai and first Indian to serve on the SDB General Council in Rome from 1977 (70th year of SDB presence in India) is 80 years old and marks 60 years as Salesian and 50 years as priest, this year. Celebrations are scheduled for 3 July 2010 at Kristu Jyoti College Bangalore. He was 18 years General Councilor. Currently spiritual director at Viswadeep Centre for Catechetical studies in Bangalore, Fr P.C. Thomas talks to NewsGrab.

1) What were the major challenges of the region as you took over as the first Indian General Councilor from Asia?
I started as regional Councilor for Asia. For sometime I looked after also the countries of East Africa (Kenya, Tanzania and the Sudan).
The major challenges were: fidelity to Don Bosco and his tradition; better liaison between the centre and the periphery; a better understanding of the Asian situation, its variety of culture, language and especially religions. Feeling the need of togetherness among the provinces.

2) Could you share some major moments that brought you pride and overwhelming good will of Salesian family in the region and the world?
Meeting confreres and members of the Salesian Family much more often than before helped appreciate the charism of Don Bosco better. The Centre was not a distant nebulous reality known only through letters of some chosen people. Confreres and members of the Salesian Family felt that they were really part of a big family. Regional councilor was seen as a help and not a hindrance!

3) Do you remember how many new members of the Salesian Family, particularly from Asia were approved during your tenure?
Caritas Sisters of Myazaki (Japan) known today as Caritas Sisters of Jesus; Missionary Sisters of Mary Help of Christians (MSMHC), India; Sisters of Mary Immaculate (SMI), (India) and Sisters Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (Thailand).

4) What would you say were your vision for Asia  in 1977? How much of it was realized? How many provinces when you started and how many when you ended your term?
Asia had its own contribution to make to develop the charism of Don Bosco. India had to contribute its share and so some efforts were made through the conference of provincials, various centres of ongoing Formation, unity of intent and realization gradually developed. How far this became a concrete reality I am unable to say. Some national structures were in place for Ongoing formation as well as for the Salesian Brothers.
East Asia did not have a provincial conference then but an annual meeting of provincials brought a certain kind of unity of vision among them with regard to Formation, Youth Ministry and Salesian Family.
Mumbai province was divided from Chennai, then Bangalore from Chennai, Dimapur from Guwahati, Hyderabad from Bangalore and New Delhi from Kolkota.

5) How do you rate the mission progress and Salesian expansion of the region during your 18 year tenure?
The first great step towards missionary enterprise started when Indian provinces took up Project Africa. Today East Africa is a flourishing province. Slowly we entered Nepal and we had our presence in Yemen. Hesitant efforts were made to send confreres to certain places in Europe.
The Salesians entered into Papua New Guinea. Cautious beginning was made to start something in Mainland China. Also, Japan ventured into Solomon Islands

6) What is your take on the role of “Regional Councilors?” What would you envisage as their role? What kind of role would you assign them for today’s changed situation?
Not knowing the actual situation of the relationship with the provinces I would not venture to make any comment.

7) How do you see your 15 years as a regular confrere today, spending time in formation houses of Alua and VD Bangalore?
I must confess that I was mentally prepared for the change after 12 years as regional. So it was easy to pack up and work as an ordinary confrere. I think I find fulfillment in my vocation working in formation houses. Having only limited capacities the little I am able to do is a contribution.
Certain inevitable shortcomings due to age, lack of knowledge of the local languages and at times generation gap and smallness of mentality produce a kind of loneliness which is part of life. May the good Lord help me to spend the rest of my life for Him contentedly.
I can sincerely say that I have tangibly experienced God’s extravagance to me. May HIS NAME be praised for ever!

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