Report of CRI National Assembly – Hyderabad, 28-31 October 2012

Sr. Ancy John fsp, Provincial
Mumbai

The National Secretariat in Delhi had been working hard toward this Assembly by planning the entire programme meticulously together with AP CRI (CRI Andhra Pradesh).

The Theme was: INNOVATION in Consecrated Life for Greater Effectiveness.

National CRI MeetFrom the Major Superiors 558 were present out of 865 in India for this National Assembly. It was in the Grand Hall of Leonia Holistic Destination at Hyderabad. I combined this assembly together with my visit to the community of Secunderabad.

The National Assembly was officially inaugurated with a Solemn Eucharist and a welcome dance by the students of Nirmala school of Nursing. The dignitaries on the inaugural day evening were Most Rev. Thumma Bala, Arch Bishop of Hyderabad, Indian Administrative Officer of AP & Chief Commissioner of Land Administration an IAS Officer Mrs. Mini Mathew, and the Telegu Film actress and MLA of the Secunderabad Constituency, Mrs. Jayasudha, who is also a zealous follower of Christ.

The Archbishop of Hyderabad in his speech highlighted how the CRI has always been a special honour to the Church and especially to the diocese of Hyderabad, and he underlined powerfully the role of Religious in India today. As a disciple of Christ, he invited the religious Major Superiors present to opt for the poor and challenged Religious to see the face of Christ in the poor and downtrodden.

Mrs. Mini Mathew in her address brought home to us the contribution of the Catholic Church and in the development of the people. She said that the problems we encounter today are different than the ones a decade ago. She highlighting the problems we face in families, schools and society at large recommended us to uphold the values and bring a strong revival in the Christian Faith.

Mrs. Jayasudha, MLA applauding all the educational institutions and health care services in the country run by the Religious said, that the conferences like CRI will bring change in our system, and thanked all the Religious for the selfless service to the country.

There was the keynote address by Dr. P.M. Bhargava, a Hindu, who has got the award Padma Bhushan and a great Visionary of Science. He, in his address highlighted three points; Innovations, Building our standing Institutions and the Problems we face in running higher educational Institutions. He also gave emphasis about having in mind always the 5 Cs, Commitment to the institutions, Commitment to the objective, Courage to act, Concern for People, Compassion and readiness to Change. He also stressed upon the Principles of being a good leader; Perseverance, Forgiveness, Openness, Transparency, Accountability etc.

On the following day we had three talks on Innovation in our Mission, Life-style and Formation. What I felt personally was that we had been reflecting on Redesigning of our presences, it can go in line these three talks.  For some the expressions are re-founding, for others it is innovation etc.

Two concerns were also pointed out:

1.      Our invisibility on the media: We have not sufficiently come in the forefront of media, therefore the need to be seen, heard and read.

 2. Need for Inter-congregational Collaboration and Networking: We need to work together in collaboration with other Congregations in the area of the mission, sharing the mission with other Congregations.

 They also stressed on the need for us to work in the Government offices, hospitals, schools, Editorial board etc. I can say that the stress was that “Religious must revision their lifestyle, mission and formation to remain authentic to their calling and relevant to the local Church and to one’s own Congregation.

As regards to mission, the thrust was to ensure that members move out of their “comfort zone,” shake off any “stagnancy” and allow the context to shape the content of mission. “Innovation in mission is a challenge of being a disciple of Jesus creating a community of prophetic people in order to be close to the poor and under privileged.

In order that this is done, the invitation was to be even daring to close down ministries that are irrelevant in the given context.” About formation of members, formative structures of their communities should be defined by particular contexts. However, “formation in mission for the mission” must continue to be the primary process.
The CRI has a total of 334 congregations and 822 major superiors representing more than 125,000 Catholic Religious brothers, priests and sisters in India.

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Symposium on the Year of Faith – Pauline Family enterprise

A symposium on the “Year of Faith” was organized by the Pauline Family and the Diocesan Catechetical Centre on the 24th Oct 2012, at Alberione Hall, St Paul’s Media Complex, Bandra (W), Mumbai. Bishop Percival Fernandez was the chief guest of the symposium and the main speakers were: Fr Terence Murray, Director of the Diocesan Catechetical Centre,  on the apostolic letter “The Door of Faith”,  Dr Pauline Chakkalakal DSP, on the Biblical Faith with special reference to St Paul, Fr Joe Eruppakkatt SSP on Communication Media for Faith Formation. There was also sharing of Faith experience by Smitha Anthony and Bhisham Chandiramani. Dr Marie Fernandez, Principal of St Andrews’s College was the moderator.

The programme began with an invocation dance by the postulants of PDDM.  Sr Caroline Duia DSP gave a warm welcome address, followed by the lighting of the Lamp. After a short inaugural message by Bishop Percival Fernandez, Fr. Terence Murray skillfully presented the Apostolic letter “The Door of Faith” by Pope Benedict the XVI.

This Year, we recall to mind three significant events of Faith: first, the 5oth anniversary of the Vatican II, in which the Universal Church calls us to update ourselves so as to read the signs of the time. Secondly, the 20th anniversary of the Catechism of the Catholic Church which holds the content of our Faith, the summary of what we believe. Thirdly, the General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on “New Evangelization” which is “joyful living”.

Sr Pauline DSP, spoke on the “Biblical Faith” with reference to St Paul. She said, “The Bible considers Faith as the source of all religious life or spiritual life.  In other words, life of wholeness or holiness. Quoting several passages from Deuteronomy, Exodus, Hebrew and the Letters of St Paul, where the word Faith occurred 200 times, Sr Pauline carefully explained the various meanings and implications of Biblical faith connected to the words justification, fidelity, loyalty, belief, conviction of things unseen etc in relation to God and his people.

The third speaker Fr Joe SSP spoke on the Communication Media for Faith Formation. Fr Joe began by giving a brief sketch of the three major initiatives that shaped and enhanced the Churches Faith formation or Evangelization.

  1. Mother Angelica of the Poor Clare , who  in her humble effort to reach out to God’s people began writing her reflections in books  which were gradually  produced and distributed by her sisters in forms of talks in CDS and VCDs . No one ever thought it would one day grow to become The Eternal Word TV network (EWTN) the largest religious TV network presently in the world.
  • In the 1980’s, a small group of young men from Kerala, in their effort to bring peace to families and Society prayed and were inspired to use  the Communications Media. Now under the leadership of Mr Benny, Shalom Times, Shalom TV, Shalom internet ministries, cover all the corners of the world.
  1. James Alberione a young seminarian of 16 years, prayed, reflected and studied much to bring God to humankind and humankind to God. Thus, nearly 100 years now, the Pauline Family he founded has 10,000 members dedicated to evangelizing and using the Mass Media. They are present in all the five continents. Pope Paul VI called Alberione “A marvel of our time”.

Finally, the Sharing of Faith experience (Their journey from Hinduism to Catholicism) by Smitha Anthony and Bhisham Chandiramani was truly inspiring. It shows us how the Holy Spirit works actively in the midst of God’s people and the importance of the witness of our Christian Faith in our world today. There was also a lively interaction of questions from the audience and answers by the speakers.

 Sr. Salome, Mumbai

SIGNIS Asia Meeting 2012

Kuala Lumpur: The SIGNIS ASIA Assembly was held at Kuala Lumpur with the theme, Promoting Media for the Culture of Peace. The sub theme was Visibility for the Vulnerable: Refugees, Victims of Human Trafficking& Migrant Workers.

Bull. Guwahati photoThe SIGNIS aims to network among the members, and educate and inspire the Society towards a culture of peace. It also tries to engage with media professionals and support Catholic communicators, inspired by the message of Jesus. There were 51 Catholic Media Professionals from 16 Asian Countries at the meeting held at Petaling Jaya, Kuala Lumpur in October. The members discussed the plight of vulnerable communities in the Asian context.

 Explaining the Significance of this Assembly in Malaysia, Signis Asia President Mr Lawrence John from Malaysia said, “Hosting this meeting in this country is exceptionally significant because Malaysia is not just the destination of the powerless and vulnerable communities, but also a hub and transit point of the region.”

Terence Fernandez from the Newspaper Malay Mail shared his experiences of working with various newspapers and with migrants. According to him “The migrants undergo atrocities in the refugee camps, and women face harassment in the camps.”

A TV journalist Charles Mohan through visuals presented the situation of “Women Trafficking”. He said that many women are falling prey to prostitution after having been promised jobs. “Are these affected people given visibility through the media,” he asked. “We have to change with the situation, our mission has to be adapted, or the situation will change us,” he said explaining the various situations in Malaysia and other Asian countries where migrants form large communities and are considered “A Stateless People.”

“How do we deal with the vulnerable we are not comfortable with,” he challenged, pointing to the different communities of gay & lesbians, migrants and sex workers. “As journalists we must take people as they are, and have to be understanding towards all, he said.

Ms Mendes from an NGO “TENAGNITA” shared how she started working for the people in a vulnerable situation and said, “Though she has no home of her own, she still accommodates the homeless.” She observed, “We do not want to take risks and challenges. To safeguard our structure we keep silent.”

Mr Mike from Saba, Malaysia shared how he started working for the migrants in his spare time  and how it has helped them improve their lives. Now he runs a computer Centre, managed by and used by the migrants themselves. The centre has been instrumental in improving the life situations of many migrants from various Asian countries.

In a statement given to the media the 51 delegates endorsed that “the existence of vulnerable communities is a reality which is on the rise around the region, and needs to be addressed urgently. The statement added that, “We are aware that the issues concerning the lack of visibility for the vulnerable are major struggles, which need to be highlighted by media professionals and social communicators.” As a practical step the members decided, “As Catholic communicators, we accept that our role is not just about disseminating information but also about interacting and advocating. It is not just in telling but it is in doing; it is about collaborating.”

The statement exhorted the members to have the courage  to stand up for our personal convictions on how far we would go to fight for the vulnerable, regardless of race, creed or gender, without choosing only the groups whom we are comfortable with, but being inclusive of all those who are facing subtle discrimination. The members hoped, “This would affirm and align our works on the social teachings of  the Church because religion without compassion and sacrifice is merely a ritual, and theology without mission is merely dogma.”

DSP Guwahati Pauline SistersThe meeting also provided the participants an opportunity to visit the island of Malacca, where St Francis preached. He was also buried in a church there before his incorrupt body was brought to Goa in 1553.

( I am very grateful to Sr Ancy and her team for giving me this  wonderful opportunity. May God bless each one of you.)

Sr. Lissy Maruthanakakuzhy, Guwahati

Pauline Book Fest 2012, Bangalore

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The Pauline Book Fest 2012 was inaugurated at the famous Pauline Book and Media Centre, Museum Road, Bangalore, on Saturday, the 10th of November 2012 by Rev. Fr. Celestine Serrao SJ, Principle – St. Joseph’s Boys High School, amidst well-wishers and the Daughters of St. Paul, Bangalore Community.

Much preparation had gone into making the Book Centre wear a festive look, not just with an array of important books, but also with loving pink princess curtains, “Book of the Day” stand, special theme counters and the decorated traditional lamp placed majestically before His Holy Word…

2012-11-10 10.29.26At 10:30AM Rev. Fr. Serrao prayed for the success of the Book Fest and then cut the ribbon at the entance following which, Rev. Sr. C. L. Clare, dsp from the Community of Bangalore, Directress of the Archdiocesan Catholic Enquiry Centre (CEC) Bangalore, led the group of people gathered through a short and meaningful programme.  This included a formal welcome by Rev. Sr. Marisa, dsp Sister-in-charge Pauline Book and Media Centre, when she apprised everyone present on the Pauline way of sharing Jesus Christ – our Divine Master, the Way, the Truth and the Life.  “As our Founder Blessed Alberione says” she explained, “our Book Centres are not mere Book shops where we are merely engaged in selling books and CDs, but it is a place where we can help people encounter the person of our Lord Jesus through our daily interaction with our visitors.”

2012-11-10 10.35.35As the gathering sang the hymn “Light of the world Christ called us to be” the lamp decorated with strings of jasmine was formally lit by Rev. Fr. Serrao – Guest of honour; Rev. Sr. Teresina – Superior, Community of the Daughters of St. Paul, Bangalore; Mrs. Shashi Minz – Commissioner (Customs, Central Excise and Service Tax); Ms. Parimala Selvaraj and Mr. Francis Abraham – Pauline Collaborators.

After Rev. Fr. A. Hrudayaraj, Assistant Parish Priest St. Patrick’s Church read from the scripture (Mt 5: 14 – 16) Rev. Fr. Serrao shared his thoughts regarding the Pauline Mission, especially highlighting their evangelical role in the Book Centres.  Explaining how important our calling is to share Christ who is the Light of the world, he drew a parallel to the untiring efforts of the Pauline Sisters in taking this Light to the people, through their Mission.

A song of praise and thanksgiving for the Pauline Mission was portrayed through a prayerful dance performed by Sr. Anisha a Junior Sister from the Community of the Daughters of St. Paul Bangalore.  She thanked God for all the gifts and graces bestowed on the Daughters of St. Paul and the related Pauline Family of collaborators in a graceful recital which also represented a feeling of oneness with the gathering.2012-11-10 10.42.45

A testimonial to the living, growing essence of the Pauline Mission, Mrs. Shashi Minz, explained how the Daughters of St. Paul, having reached the little corners of our country, have touched the young and old through their noble Mission.  She joyfully shared her experience during her education in Ranchi, when the Pauline “Better yourself” books played an important role in helping her grow as a person.  At every stage in her education and during her life’s journey thereafter, she was in constant touch with the Pauline Book and Media Centre in different parts of the country.  Her first articles were published in well-known magazines “Teenager” “Charisindia” etc., and together with her family, she is even now in touch with the Pauline Mission, which she very enthusiastically recommended to all.

2012-11-10 10.57.22Sr. Teresina then proposed a heart-warming vote of thanks to all present, to those who contributed in a very special way especially those who assisted with preparatory activities behind-the-scene and all those involved in prayer and partnership in making the event a success and the Book Fest an important event to remember.  She then invited one and all to a short fellowship after the programme which was a curtain-raiser to the 10 day mission at the Pauline Book Fest 2012.

Ms. Parimala Selvaraj (Pauline Cooperator),
Bangalore

Holy Land Trip – My journey to faith-discovery

It was a long cherished dream come true in my life. I had always desired and dreamt of going to the Holy Land, and even my mother used to say I hope you all (my religious sisters) will have a chance to visit Holy Land, and I am hoping and praying for it. And when Fr Selva Rathinam our director of MBS in JDV told us that as Biblical students you will get a chance to go to Holy Land I was thrilled and overjoyed. I was waiting for November to come, so we can go to Holy Land. When the time arrived as if to test me I had a fall and my collarbone had a fracture. But my companions were too good to help me all the time and I can say they carried for me the luggage and helped me in all my needs. A special thanks and appreciation to them and may God bless them all abundantly.

The journey was from 7th November to 16th November. We went first to Mount Nebo- Moses’ Burial place- Moses saw the promised Land- 12 springs- the Abu Badd Stone. Then to Cana- and had the Holy Mass there. The next place was Nazereth- Annunciation Church- St Joseph’s workshop- marian devotion of different countires- Greek orthodox church, Mary’s well.

The Mount of Beatitudes, Church of multiplication of five loaves, (closed), Church of Primacy of St Peter, site of the Sea of Galilee, where Jesus calmed the sea, walked over the water, prepared breakfast, asking Peter three times, “do you love me”?, Capernaum Synagogue, Peter’s mother in Law’s house, Peter’s House- church over Peter’s house, boating in the sea of Galilee, Peter’s fish for Lunch, Jordan river-baptismal place of Jesus, Mount  Tabor-Transfiguration Church, chapel of Moses, chapel of Elijah, via Maris, Jericho- Mt of Temptation, Mount of Olivet, Church of Ascension- Foot prints of Jesus, Pater Nostra church- Jesus taught “Our Father”, grave yard of Jews, Muslims, Christians- far sight of the city of Jerusalem, church of Dominus Flavitus- where Jesus wept looking at Jerusalem- the altar of the church is towards east to west, Mary Maglene Church( only saw from far), Gesthemene- olive tree where Jesus prayed, rock inside the church, where Jesus  prayed, Kidron Valley, Gehanna, David’s statue with the harp, Last supper Senacle, David’s Tomb, Mary’s tomb- Dormition Abbey.- place of the coming of the Holy Spirit, Shepherd’s Field- Bethelehem, Milk Grotto- drop of milk spilled while Mary fed infant Jesus, (tradition from the fourth century), Nativity church- place of the birth of Jesus were very heartwarming to see.Rosely 1 Rosely 2

We went on to visit still more holy places like, Stephaneus gate- through which Jesus was taken to the house of Antoneus, Caiphas, and for his Trial, Pool of Bethsaida- where Jesus healed the paralytic, church of St Ann- place where Mary was born (tradition), via Dolorosa- Mass in the Church of Flagalation, map of the journey of the cross, holy Sepelchure Church- 10th station on ward in the church, mount Calvary, rock , where Jesus body was washed and laid in the arms of Mary, burial and resurrection place- Holy Sepulcher, chapel of St Helena, where she found the true cross of Jesus, the rock of the Calvary, broke open at the time of the death of Jesus, wailing wall, Ain Karem- the Birth Place of John the Baptist, Bethany- the house of Martha, Mary , and Lazarus- olive press, the Church at Bethany, the Tomb of Lazarus, city of Jericho- the Sychamore tree on which Zacheus climbed, dead sea, Qumran caves, Taba boarder – Egypt, Sinai mount- the mountain top where Moses received 10 commandments, St Catherine Monastery, burning bush, well of Moses, golden calf, Suez canal- to the continent of Africa, Egyptian Museum, holy Family Church- tradition (where holy family stayed when they had ran away to Egypt), great pyramids, shop of perfume, papyrus shop and Nile Cruize.

Reflection: The most reflective places in the Holy Land were for me the Church of Cana, Nativity Church, Mount Nebo, Lazarus Tomb, Holy Sepulcher Church and The Burning Bush. In Cana during the Mass I prayed for all the couples especially of all our people at home and I too joined in thanking the Lord for the beautiful sacrament of marriage and all who renewed their vows on that day. The stone jar reminded me of the abundance of wine Christ provided for the couples, a life of love and joy in abundance.

 In the Nativity Church I realized how humble and simple I need to be in order to experience God and see him in my daily life. On Mount Nebo I reflected about Moses though a humble servant of God he was not able to reach the Promised Land. At times in my life to I may have wishes that are genuine yet it may not take place as I wish, I need to surrender fully to God and be happy with what life offers to me. At Bethany Lazarus was buried for 4 days, but faith in the resurrection brought him back to life. Christian death is a sleep, but resurrected life is eternal where I will live with God forever. Though divine, Jesus was crucified like a criminal and buried in a borrowed tomb. This tomb brings life and hope to many, who believes in him will have eternal life. It inspired me to think of the many who have laid down their life for others, the soldiers and the many leaders, who for others gave their life willingly. Am I able to give life to many? The burning bush was a symbol of God’s presence with me and with everyone. God is creatively active in the history and in the life of everyone. Though Moses tried to escape the responsibility God strengthened him in his call. So does God always strengthen me in my call.

I prayed for all of you as we journeyed on. I am very grateful to God and the provincial team for giving me this great gift of grace.

Sr. Rosely, Pune   

Vocation Work in Uttan

– Joeyanna , Bandra

Right from January 2012, Vocation Sunday, we have been working in Uttan, which is part of the Marathi speaking belt of the Bombay Archidiocese. At that time, Fr. John Lopes had given us the permission to speak to the Junior College Students later in the year. Not wanting to miss this opportunity, Sr Stella and myself made the appointments necessary and in November, spent half a day at St Joseph Junior College, Uttan.

100_7860This college belongs to the Parish of Our lady of the Sea , Uttan. With the help of a powerpoint which was already prepared, and the use of some prayer song videos Sr Stella animated the young women and spoke to them about our congregation. It was an interactive session and they were given a chance to talk about the visuals they saw. In conclusion we informed them about the various opportunities availing them for making a recollection in the coming year, at our place in Bandra or at Vasai.  Those who were interested in these gave us their names and mobile numbers. Let us hope the Lord has in store for us some vocations from Uttan. 

Archdiocesan Consultation 2012, Bombay Archdiocese

LogoFrom 12 – 14 November, 2012 the Archdiocese of Bombay had the Consultation at St Pius X College, which came as the culmination of a 10 month preparation beginning from January 15, 2012 thanks to the Working Committee headed by Rev. Fr. Gilbert De Lima, Coordinator of the Consultation.   The last time an assembly of this kind was convoked in 2006, which was the Mid-Term Synod Assembly (MTSA) which was held in order to examine the progress made in the implementation of the recommendations of the Archdiocesan Synod of 2001. The opening Eucharist was presided by Bishop Bosco Penha.  Bishop Agnelo Gracias solemnized the Eucharist on the second day.

Besides Cardinal Oswald Gracias, and the aforementioned Bishops, also participating were Bp Percival Fernandes, representatives of the Archdiocesan Curia, both Administrative and Judicial representatives of the  Archidiocesan Consultative Bodies, Committees and Commissions, parish priests, elected assistant parish priests, Provincials, Superiors General and lay representatives from the various deaneries.  There were nearly 400 persons participating.

Bombay Archdiocesan Consultation 2012 Our provincial, Sr Ancy John fsp was invited to participate in the Archdiocesan Consultation, in capacity of being Provincial. Sr Matilda D’Souza also attended as representative of the CRI (Mumbai).  Sr Joeyanna was already part of the organizing committee since April, as she was requested by the Consultation Working Committee to collate the responses online from all the parishes during the two phases, when discussions were had regarding various aspects, like faith, family, youth, governance, environment, education, SCCs, CCOs, marginalized, gender sensitivity, medical care and media networking in relation to the diocese.

At the Consultation from 12 – 14 November, Sr Ancy was also invited to be one of the nine Chairpersons. Her topic was Gender Sensitivity, which she handled very effectively on 13 November, the second day of the consultation.100_7885

From 9 a.m. of 12 November to 7 p.m. of 14 November, the time was tracked and meticulously planned by the Working Committee of the Consultation.  There were 9 sessions in order to discuss the topics already mentioned above. After the session was introduced by the Chairperson, 40 groups of about 8 – 10 participants each discussed the questions given for about half an hour. Their answers through the respective secretaries were collated by 8 collators, and read at the assembly.  This was followed by the plenary assembly on the particular topic which was finally concluded by the Chairperson.

There was no time wasted, and even when the assembly had to wait for reasons of collation of data and secretarial work after the group discussions, the masters /mistresses of ceremony kept the participants occupied.  It was obvious that those involved, Fr Gilbert DeLima, the Coordinator and the Working Committee of 13 members, Mr. Melwyn Sequeira and the OLCM team of volunteers(guided by Fr. Aniceto Pereira)  had worked round the clock to accomplish this mammoth task and not left any stone unturned in order that the participants be comfortable and that the consultation run smoothly. 

On the third day, the two final plenaries were held and through all these the Final Document was being prepared. The participants seemed adept with signs of the times and were eager to have their points included. Meanwhile the draft working committee too put in a lot of hard work to incorporate the grievances and suggestions of the participants which obviously reflected the groups or parishes they were representing, besides being their personal views.

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The Consultation concluded with a solemn Eucharist which was liturgically very beautifully planned, presided by Cardinal Oswald Gracias. Let us hope that an implementation committee is formed in order that all the hopes and joys of the Archdiocese be made a reality.

Sr Joeyanna fsp, Mumbai